Review of A&E’s Designing Blind with Alexandra Hedison

 
 

The episode with Colin and Yvette is especially poignant; we discover that they had suffered an earlier miscarriage and that Yvette had been on bed rest for much of her current pregnancy. This explains Colin's significant hesitancy about accepting a blind designer. After waiting so long to become a father, he wanted to be sure that his son's room would be perfect — and it was.

Utilizing a circus theme and the parents' desire to incorporate animals from around the world, Eric hired artist Charlotte Jackson to paint a gorgeous mural all over the room, including the ceiling. The walls showcase animals with textured coats, so it will be a tactile experience for their son when he becomes a toddler — a truly magical and playful room.

As co-host, Hedison is delightful, injecting much humor and levity into the sometimes tense atmosphere. She is often softly sarcastic, usually in a friendly rather than snarky way. In the last section of each show, she provides a voiceover recap of what has occurred along with additional explanations for why Eric made some of the choices he did.

Hedison is clearly a prominent and entertaining member of the team on Designing Blind, but I found it odd that the design work is solely Eric's domain. Hedison's creative eye and talent as a photographer could be an asset to this show, but instead, it's never mentioned.

Her photography has been published in Time, People and the New York Times, as well as The Advocate, which ran her photographs of Ellen DeGeneres the same week their breakup was announced. Some of Hedison's current photography can be seen on her website, www.hedison.com.

Those looking for lesbian content on the show will be disappointed. Yes, Hedison is easy on the eyes, engaging and funny, but the only thing that comes close to a personal remark about her is an offhanded joke about her and Eric getting married. For those who know that in real life, these two are not the opposite-sex marrying kind, it's an inside joke, but for everyone else, it's just a throwaway.

Eric, who is openly gay, jokes about being “back in the closet” while showing off the new closet in Colin and Yvette's new nursery, but no other information about his personal life is discussed on the three episodes I previewed.

Learning about Eric's process and the adaptive tools he uses, such as a talking measuring tape and raised blueprints, is quite interesting, but the half-hour format of the show allows only a small taste. I wanted to learn more about Eric's insights into space, energy and senses other than sight. The idea that a designer does not need sight to have vision could have been more thoroughly explored in an hour-long format.

For example, I would rather have learned more about how Eric uses scent to design a room than watch Luca propose to Laura at the end of their episode. Presumably the process Luca and Laura went through with Eric in making the choices for their new living room were stirring enough that Luca felt moved to propose. That may have been the case, but we really didn't get a chance to see it.

But Designing Blind is significant in that it offers a much-needed reminder that people with physical challenges both exist and are able, in many ways. People with different abilities are much more rare on television than they are in the real world, and it's important that they be represented as well.

Ultimately, I like the idea of this show, but felt more teased than fulfilled by what it actually shows us. Then again, a half hour spent with the charming Eric B. and the cute and humorous Alexandra Hedison is more pleasant than most of the other offerings on TV this summer.

Designing Blind airs on A&E Sundays at 5 pm ET

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