Thursday, August 09, 2007

Top Chef: This isn't 'Top Clubber'

I wonder if the contestants of a reality show have ever mutinied against the producers? There must be some sort of anti-mutiny clause in the contract that they all have to sign, because I'm sure if the contestants of any show were to do it, it would have been the ones from Top Chef Miami, and it would have been this week, due to all of the jerking around that the show subjected them to. After softening up the chefs with an ice cream-based Quickfire – which demonstrated that a couple of chefs didn't learn from Marcel's avocado and bacon ice cream of yore – Padma told them nothing about the Elimination Challenge, just that they would be going clubbing that night. But guess who was there at the club, with the guest judge and a couple of catering vans, when the Hummer limo pulled up? Buzzkill Padma.

The chefs – particularly the primped-out women – were all upset by this development, and a few of them interviewed their surprise about getting a challenge instead of a night out. Surprise? Really? Remember the party for the designers of season two of Project Runway, when they were forced to cut up their own clothes, and Andrae lost it all over the runway? Yeah, Bravo apparently thinks it's fun to ruin parties. So, already grumpy from being denied their clubbing time, the chefs are split into two teams and told to come up with bar food for a crowd of drunken revelers (all the while thinking, "Man! Those drunken idiots could be US!"). This while they were staying up all night, becoming more sleep-deprived by the moment, and while they watched Dale, the Quickfire winner, do nothing but go out to dinner. Sounds like fun, right? Why has Top Chef become, this season, a string of unpleasant surprises? Is it any wonder that the chefs were demoralized?

So, no surprise: the lack of sleep only augmented the existing crabbiness of the chefs, and the judging became extremely emotional. I think I've figured something out, and if Bravo has realized this too, then we'll be seeing it happen a lot more, because: drama! My hypothesis: when Bravo ruins a party, there will be crying at judging. It happened to Andrae, and it happened to Sara N., too. While she and her losing team were defending themselves to the judges, Howie called Sara "the baby of the house," which doesn't sound so bad, until you factor in the sleep deprivation, stress, and the fact of being slammed to your face. Luckily, she managed to mostly hold it in in front of the judges, because I guarantee you that Tom, for one, would not have been sympathetic, and probably would have informed her that the show wasn't Top Crier. And although crying in the pantry really didn't do anything to disprove Howie's accusation, the other chefs were mostly on her side, glaring at Howie like – well, like a big jerk who just made a nice girl cry – while Howie trotted out the old standby, "I'm not here to…, I'm here to win." He chose to put "hurt anybody's feelings" in the blank, an interesting choice. In the end, though, it was Sara who went home for her listless cooking. I'll miss her; she was a good, kind of snarky interviewer, and it was always fun to hear her take on things.

And while we're talking about this week's episode, a question: is Brian ever off? He was running around all episode, playing with the catering truck and screaming at the customers, and he never seemed to wind down. Is it his natural energy or does he take performance-enhancing stimulants like coffee?


ArtfulSub said...

Brian is the only person who's demonstrated leadership abilities. I suspect, and my cop friend suspects, he takes some sort of stimulant. Hopefully legal and prescribed by a Physician.