"Oh, that one chef, that kind of looks like ... "
In the midst of "TC's" second episode, this fact was abundantly clear to Channel Surfing bloggers Sara Boyd and Thomas Rozwadowski. Yes, even we have difficulties remembering who "that one guy with the crazy tattoos who looks like a gang leader" is.
So to help fellow "Top Chef" fans ... here's a sample of the "nicknames" we've given to certain contestants. Because let's be honest, these people could be eliminated next week -- who wants to waste the energy in learning their real names?
Fabio (aka: Ben Affleck ... aka: Luigi)
The man is a straight up rip-off. With a thick Italian accent from Mario Bros. (He's-a-Fabio! He's-a-gonna-weeeeen!) and "I didn't shave in a week" peach fuzz ala Ben Affleck, we suggest you refer to Fabio as "Luigi Affleck." -- Sara
Jamie (aka: D.J. Tanner from "Full House")
Clearly, not really young D.J. Tanner, but recent Donna Jo Tanner -- man, it's almost like they're long lost twins! Except one's a rainbow-pride lesbian and one's married to a hockey player. (If you're confused by the scary resemblance, real Jamie is in the middle, Candace Cameron is on the left.) -- Sara
If she calls Gene the Hawaiian Gangsta a "nerd bomber" during this week's episode, I might do a backflip in my living room. -- Thomas
Jeff (aka: John Tesh)
The only memorable thing about Jeff thus far is that he's apparently in love with his hair. Like, "Top Chef" chose to point that out about him before any mention of his culinary expertise. That makes him a prime candidate for Ryan "Mimbo" status, but we also couldn't help but notice his potential as a young, wispy-haired John Tesh. Though, even if Pretty Jeff somehow manages to win "Top Chef," he'll never top that time the Teshmeister toured with Yanni. -- Thomas
Radhika (aka: Kelly Kapoor from "The Office")
Argue that I played the "they're both Indian" card all you want -- but with their respective haircuts, they really do look alike! Plus, Kelly Kapoor is easier for me to pronounce. (Yeah, I'm all anti-cultural.) Let's hope for Radhika's sake she doesn't get duped by a Ryan Howard in any challenges. -- Sara
Stefan (aka: Our very own Packers reporter Pete Dougherty)
This one is a bit of an "Inside" joke (get it, Insider? Har har), but we get to see Press-Gazette Packers beat reporter Pete Dougherty everyday and we're pretty sure he wouldn't mind being compared to the most talented contestant -- well, for two shows, at least -- on "Top Chef." They're both bald. They both like vinaigrette (at least we're assuming Pete does. We didn't actually ask him to endorse this look-a-like nonsense.) And in an odd twist, Stefan actually used some Wisconsin cheese with his hot dog/sausage plate during last week's Quickfire. The man's from Europe! What business does he have using Wisconsin cheese as an ingredient? Freeeeeeeeaky! -- Thomas
Melissa (aka: David Lee Roth)
Melissa seems like a nice enough girl, even if she is kinda dead from the neck up. Cruel of me, I know. But as Boyd pointed out during a "Top Chef" viewing, "If you're on TV, you deserve to be made fun of." A bit "mannish" to be sure, her '80s look might not be so bad if she just did something about those ridiculous bangs. Which is why we can't help but see Melissa as "Just a Gigolo" ala Diamond Dave. Yikes, let's hope she at least ages better than the former Van Halen frontman. -- Thomas
Leah (aka: Vanessa Carlton)
To be completely honest, I totally thought Vanessa Carlton was Michelle Branch. In fact, I Googled the wrong name first, and the only thing I really know about Carlton is that she used to date that loser from Third Eye Blind. I also thought Leah's name was Jen, so go figure. Anyway, all we've really learned about Leah is that she can only place high in challenges when she's making Italian food. Bottom line: my lack of memory with this comparison isn't a good omen for Leah's culinary skills -- even if you think both subjects are sneaky hot. -- Thomas
Danny (aka: Turtle from "Entourage")
Before you get any ideas, this is about way more than just being "big-boned" with facial hair. Danny's a clear New Yorker -- Turtle is rooted in Queens. Danny's got that tough exterior but seems like a teddy bear inside -- Turtle, well, that's exactly what Turtle is. Now, if Danny starts wearing matching flat-brimmed hats and shoes then I may have to call up Johnny Drama and tell him to let Turtle fly off with Jamie-Lynn Sigler -- we've got a replacement. Though Johnny probably won't like someone new taking over the kitchen. -- Sara
Carla (aka: Miss Finch from "Follow that Bird" ... aka: freaky ostrich)
Ahhhh, the best for last. It occurred to me in the previous episode that one Miss Carla -- especially when she gets excited about something -- is one of the scariest looking contestants "Top Chef" has ever had. Her Sideshow Bob hair matched with huuuuuuge bug eyes forces me to shield the TV when she's being interviewed. It got me thinking: the last time I felt this sensation may have been as a youngster watching the all-time classic, "Follow that Bird." When Big Bird flew the coop, it was one, Miss Finch, who brought a similar reaction to my innocent child eyes. Seriously, they share the exact same mannerisms and instill the same fear. It's uncanny. I added in the freaky-looking ostrich because well, throw an afro on that thing and it's a dead ringer. -- Sara
Hopefully, this will provide you with a guide for watching this week's "Top Chef" episode -- or at the very least, give you extremely random references for deciphering each character throughout the show. If all goes as planned, viewers will sit and watch while muttering things like, "Wow, David Lee Roth really overcooked that risotto."
Are there any comparisons we missed? Comment now!
Catch "Top Chef" at 9 p.m. Wednesdays on Bravo.
-- Sara Boyd, firstname.lastname@example.org and Thomas Rozwadowski, email@example.com