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Thursday, June 5, 2008

'Top Chef' finale, Part 1: Lisa squeals like a pig, still eludes slaughter

An Open Letter to Our Friends at Bravo:



We don't mean to go all Meredith Grey on you, but you leave us no choice but to get whiny and self-indulgent for a few minutes here. Or a few hours. Or a few days. Because we're pretty sure that's how long it's going to take us to get over the fact that YOU chose to keep The-Chef-Who-Doesn't-Deserve-To-Be-There for the finale when more than 90 percent of your viewers believed she should pack her knives and doo-rags and head back to the cave that spawned her. Is she Padma's secret lover (maybe Padma's feeling a bit blue since she left Sir Salman Rushdie, who ironically was on The Colbert Report last night)? Does she have a videotape of Tom Colicchio getting lewd with GLAD ware? Does she have mind control powers we're not aware of because she is in fact Satan incarnate?


The Channel Surfing Blog

Additional thoughts from our Channel Surfing team on last night's infinitely rigged "Top Chef" episode. If you're keeping track, with Antonia's ill-fated departure, Thomas is the first one out of the contest, so we'll let him get the first word in.

Thomas: Birds were supposed to be singing this morning. Children were supposed to be laughing. Food — my god, food! — was supposed to taste better.

Like Kramer in the infamous "contest" episode, I'm officially out of the free lunch sweepstakes before it even got started.

While this week wouldn't seem to be as egregious a leapfrog as episode's past — Antonia seemed really shaky from the start — I guess I'm most disappointed that we've fallen for the "Top Chef" ruse. It's always been a two-horse race since Dale's dismissal, so why not just make it a Richard versus Stephanie showcase showdown for all the marbles? (Dale made a massive blunder by leaving the pork belly out last night, but he also proved that aside from one bad butterscotch inspired dish, the man deserved to be competing with Steph, not serving as her sous chef ...) Cut Lisa out of the equation in a double smackdown and keep the finale legit. Not good enough TV without She Who Must Be Congratulated? I scoff at that notion.

I'm past anger at this point. I find myself laughing hysterically while sticking plantains down my pants and contemplating a name change to Jicama McSweetbread. I don't even know what that means, but having been so thoroughly befuddled by Lisa's continued existence, it will have to do.

Sara: It's ironic that last night's Top Chef tested the chefs' skills at slaughtering full pigs and even though Lisa had a clear advantage (being from the same family and all) she still ended up on the bottom. Oh wait, that's right. That's because she can't cook. I nearly forgot, because Top Chef producers continue to keep her alive in this competition. It can't possibly be her cooking skills, because 91 percent of viewers see she doesn't have those ... so what is it?

I, too, agree with Mr. McSweetbread and believe if this is supposed to be a true competition of talent and fine cooking, axe the bandana-hack and let's have a serious finale. The fact that she pouted about not being congratulated is pretty hilarious. Perhaps she even knows she shouldn't be there.

But enough about our rage-soaked hatred, let's move on to bigger and better. In the form of one Richard Blais. He done it again. The thing I really love about Richard is his modesty — even after winning a huge challenge and a sweet ride, he keeps his bragging rights to, well, he didn't really have any. He knows it was a tough challenge and this late in the game means emotions are high. The man's got class, that's all there is to it. Now, back to thinking about where I shall have these chumps take me to lunch ... hmm. (Yeah, I don't have any class.)

Malavika: Ignoring the fact that The Queen of the Damned, Undercooked Rice and Doo-Rags will walk into the finale — *stabbing self in eye repeatedly* — my girl Stephanie made me proud, especially when she won her first Quickfire challenge AND averted the potential disaster of leaving the pork out all night (I want to make a "that's what she said" crack here, but I'm too disgusted and weary from my efforts to erase the memory of last night's episode). I will now spend the next week trying to find a way to use parental control systems to block Lisa from my TV. Suggestions anyone?

Adam: Excuse me a second whilst I do a little victory dance...

Go Lisa! Go Lisa! It's your birthday! It's your birthday!

OK, I'm done.

As happy as I am that I'm still in the running for this silly little contest of ours, I'm HORRIFIED BEYOND ALL MEASURE OF HUMAN COMPREHENSION that Grumpy Sourpants McBulbousButt the Gross defeated fair Antonia, crushing Antonia's daughter's dreams of her mommy's future success and happiness. Way to go, Lisa — you made a little girl cry. (Apart from Sara and Malavika, obviously.)

I agree with Jicama, though — Antonia just didn't bring her A-game last night, and Lisa (barely) squeaked by as a result. Her demands for acknowledgement from Richard and Stephanie bordered on the surreal, and reminded me a little of Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction": "I'm not gonna be ignored, Dan!" But by that point, in my heavily discombobulated state, she could have ripped her face off, "Mission: Impossible"-style, revealing herself to be in fact reality-show whore Danny Bonaduce and I wouldn't have batted an eye.

Thomas: First, the gratuitous shots of a sullen Antonia standing alone at her table with (gasp!) Blue Tinted Glasses Chick told you everything you needed to know about where the final outcome was heading.

Second, Richard's bronze medal comment? Would you like some more 'zing' with your pork ribs, madam? All hail 'The Blais!'

Do we at least have to address the prospect of Lisa the Hutt pulling off an upset for the ages? Or can we just talk about Gail Simmons', er, revealing island dress now?

Adam: Wait...which one's Gail? Did I miss the revealing dress!? I'm the "Top Chef" newbie here, so you gotta help me out with these things.

Regarding a Lisa upset, I think it's entirely possible. She has stood on the chopping block before the judges for three weeks now, paired with superior competitors, and walked away with only perspiration on her doo-rag. If Richard and Stephanie make mistakes next week like Antonia did last night ... all bets are off. (Except for ours, of course. I'm expecting some very good, very expensive lunches from you all.)

Sara Boyd,

Malavika Jagannathan,

Adam Reinhard,

Thomas Rozwadowski,

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Question: Why does Padma always talk like she's sedated? Her slightly slurred speech is how I sound after an Irish Car Bomb.

I agree that Antonia didn't bring her A game, but that still doesn't dismiss the fact that Whiny Self-Indulgent She Devil shouldn't have even made it to Puerto Rico in the first place.

The major sticking point seemed to be Antonia's undercooked beans. Why was undercooked food not a factor in the Undercooked Rice by Aforementioned She-Devil Debacle of '08?

By Blogger Ms. Quarter, At June 5, 2008 at 1:01 PM  

Answer: I think she probably is a bit sauced. How else do you think she can stand looking at Lisa?

I do agree that it seems rather ridiculous and unfair that Antonia gets sent home for undercooked beans but Doo-Rag-Devil escaped not once but TWICE for undercooked rice.



By Blogger Press-Gazette blogger, At June 5, 2008 at 1:43 PM  

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