Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Season Three

So Top Chef started last week and I didn't say anything about it. It's already Wednesday again, so we're sort of at that "Speak now, or forever hold your peace" bit. You know, if it applied to blogging about television instead of weddings. Or something. I thought I had an analogy there. Or a metaphor. I need coffee.

They led into the new season with a Season One vs. Season Two cookoff, and S1 handily spanked Team Hairdo. The only surprise was that Lee Ann Wong (from S1) is the cooking consultant for the show now, which is cool. I liked her. Ilan, the S2 wiener, showed that he can't cook eggs in the quickfire challenge. Marcel did some stupid shit with gel and foam. Did anyone really expect them to win? Oh well, at least Elia had really great hair. She's ditched that mop she shaved off when they all got drunk last season and showed up with white spikes that totally rocked. Go Elia! Ilan, Marcel, take notes.

Oh yeah, and they showed us all the Season Three contestants. Hey, what do you know, Marcel's pal can be a dick! Hey, there's a dopey Southern guy! The chef from Chicago has a mohawk! There's a big fat guy with an Italian soccer jersey! Won't this be exciting?!? Meh...

And then Season Three also started with few surprises, despite a challenge to cook surf and turf with the wackiest dead animals they could think of, and... Hey! Anthony Bourdain acting like a big jerk on cable television! We haven't seen that since, well, S2. He's still less of a tool than Bobby Flay, and he not only drew obscene doodles in the autographed books he gave the winner, but he promised to take them out and get them crazy drunk, which earns him style points in my book.

So who got eliminated? Dopey Opie Southerner. Ha! He didn't even know what an amuse bouche was. He gave them an apple filled with fruit. What a chump! (I looked it up last season. It's a one-bite appetizer. Why the hell can't they just call it an appetizer? Frankly, anything that rhymes with douche just doesn't sound all that appetizing to me.)

So let's get to the giant flaw in this series. It's a three parter: a) We can't taste the food, b) The results are obviously gamed by the producers, and 3) We can't taste the fucking food.

I can't do anything about problems a) and 3), but I can offer some advice about the middle thing.

Stop saying stupid shit like "It's all about the cooking." In the S2 episode when Michael got eliminated, he was eliminated for not buying saucers. Those saucers weren't on the list prepared by Sam, the team leader, and Ilan, who was responsible for the front of the house, not only left olive pits on the tables, but he then seated the judges at a dirty table. Way to go! In fact, Ilan fucked his team over from start to finish and stayed in. Not only did he screw up the front of the house, he burnt the bacon and put them way behind schedule. Hell, I can cook bacon and eggs. Where's my TV show? Sam managed to screw up cheese and fruit in a bowl. How hard is that? But Michael, the only person on his team that episode without some kind of cooking-related disaster, was eliminated for not buying plates. So shut the hell up about it only being about the food. I know that "It's often about the food" doesn't have quite the same punch, but we'll respect you in the morning.

Next, come right out and say when the producers are affecting the results. Even though we can't a) taste the food or 3) taste the fucking food, we can still tell when you're playing games. Just come out and say it. The quickfire challenge already grants immunity. Add a second immunity for the producers. "Marcel, everybody watching just heard the guests say that your food looks like cat vomit. You'll want to stop that. However, the producer's kids loves them some Jimmy Neutron, so you get immunity this round." Easy fix. For bonus points, you can make up a new and amusing name for the Producer's Immunity each round. It'll be fun. Let's play along at home in S3. We'll show you how it's done.

With that fixed, tell the judges to stop pissing and moaning about good food. If it's all about the food (see above) then shut the hell up if the contestant didn't prepare it exactly the way you would have. If the fried rattlesnake tasted good, don't get pissy about the fact that "anything tastes good fried". Well, duh. That's why we like fried food. If the snake tastes good fried, the chef should be serving Fried Snake, not Poached Serpent in Sauce de Pretence with a Mango Pine Nut Cranberry Chutney.

And finally, here's the biggest change and I'll even let you take credit when you pass it along to your buddies over at Project Runway. If a contestant doesn't actually do the challenge, everybody else is safe. It's a simple rule. It's on obvious rule. Why didn't you think of it? The challenge was to prepare a Surf and Turf, not a Surf or Turf. Two contestants ran out of time and didn't serve both parts. Neither went home. That's just wrong. Go ahead and do the judges table. Tell Dopey Opie that his food sucked. Then tell him to thank the losers who couldn't even manage to turn out two bad items, and send one of them home. Seriously, make him thank them. It'll be funny, especially if someone cries. Do it once, and you probably won't have to do it again, but it will give you a little more credibility. I'd do something here rhyming "credibility" with "edibility", but I don't do that kind of blog, and I really do need some damned coffee.

If I get really enthusastic, I may stick in some links and pictures later, but you all have google. Knock yourselves out.


Johnny Yen said...

I'm certain that in these shows, they choose the people for maximum conflict or unsuitablity. For instance, on that wife swap show that Kim loves, they'll do think like put a militant athiest white guy with a rabidly religious black baptist, or the hard-drinking punk rock guy with the whitebread suburban mom.

I've watched Hell's Kitchen a couple of times, and given that I've worked in the business for nearly 30 years, it's obvious to me that they pick people who haven't got a clue.

deadspot said...

Oh yeah. I think they just like giving Gordon Ramsey an excuse to flip out and swear a lot.

... not that he really needs an excuse.

Natalie said...

I loved the premier of Top Chef and will be watching tonight. It's almost as good as Project Runway but not quite.

I felt real bad for the dopey southern guy and I think you are right that someone else should have gone home. Then again, it was real funny that his two dishes were worse than the other guy's one. I thought the third guy put out surf and turf but he wanted to a third surf/turf mixed dish that didn't get plated?

So glad to see someone else who is not a fan of Bobby Flay. That guy blows.

Natalie said...

Oh yeah, I don't think any "reality" shows are really all about whatever they want them to be all about. They just kick off certain people because they know from the start that no matter what that person will not win.

deadspot said...

Yeah... I think they put Dopey Opie on to exploit his personal tragedy, but he didn't really seem qualified to mix it up with the others on the show.

I know Brian (the third guy) had a mixed soup and the fried rattlesnake, but I thought they said he didn't get the eels on the plate. I should probably pay closer attention if I'm going to blog about this stuff.

I hate hate hate Bobby Flay. There is not a bigger asshole on TV.

vikkitikkitavi said...

I love Bourdain. The episode last season when he judged the Thanksgiving dinner was awesome. He gave that asshat Chef Radicchio shit by asking him what kind of crackhouse competition he was running, which was awesome. Love him.

Johnny Yen said...

I haven't seen Bourdain on tv, but I loved Kitchen Confidential.

BeckEye said...

I can't stand cooking shows. But I totally want to have sex with Ilan, regardless of whatever weird hair configuration he's going with these days.

deadspot said...

Hey, Vikki, have you ever seen Chef with Lenny Henry? They used to run it on PBS down here. I think You'd like it.

You're the second person to recommend that recently, Johnny. I've got it on my summer reading list.

Really, Becks? Did you see this episode? His hair is pretty spectacularly bad now.