Commercial Interruption: No cheeeeese? Eeeeees-a Weeesconseeen, Greeeeeen Bayyyyy!
Sara: Wow. Wa-wa-wow. I mean, did I just watch an episode of bizarro "Top Chef" where nothing's as it seems? Winners are actually losers and crazy-eyed ostriches rule the world? All I needed was to see Tommy Boy Colicchio with a full, sweeping mane, Toby Young ask what an analogy was, and Padma announce the challenge as a stout, 4-foot-tall midget. As upside down as last night's episode played out, more than anything -- it was totally awesome. Bringing back the likes of foul-mouthed Andrew, fedora-toting Spike and Chunk Miguel also brought a little heat from the kitchen. Finally, these cooks had the fire under their bellies to try and produce good food and more or less, beat the snot out of the cocky all stars.
Clearly, some did well -- if Crazy Eyes bugs her eyes out like that after a win again, I guarantee they'll shoot from her Sideshow Bob noggin and smack Toby Young straight in the yellow-tinted sunglasses. And some did ... well, they sucked it up. Seeing a bottom three comprised of Fabio ("oh nooo, not-a Faaaabio!"), Stefan, ahem, the, er, unstoppable? and Mimbo Jeff was heartbreaking.
Even Fabio's clear advantage of having Green Bay ... where we have the freshest and, um, most delicious food ever ... nearly had him packing his knives and heave-ho'ing. And really, as much as I heart dear Fabio, overcooking venison is a crime -- it turns it from a delicious game dish to meat-flavored chewing gum. But hey, more props to Fabs for utilizing our staple -- cheeeeeeeese. A poor attempt to incorporate it, but an attempt nonetheless, which is more than I can say for Spike. When all was said and done, it was magical, John Tesh-erific Mimbo Jeff who was sent tossing his blonde locks and catching a taxi back to the Dilido Beach.
So Thomas, we all failed in the power rankings -- our collective bottom choice was the winner and our coined unstoppable man was nearly stopped. Where do we go from here?
Thomas: It was rather poetic that we've become so enamored with Fabio and he gets "stuck" with our barren little wasteland as his chef-tastic NFL city. I hear ya on the cheese, Boyd. But no beer? Lambeau drunks know that you always get the masses to scream for you by getting wasted first, then taking off your top, right? Where was the showmanship? Strictly amateur hour.
Seriously though, I was really on the edge of my seat during last night's episode, and I guess that's why I've been enjoying this season so damn much. I honestly don't know who's going home nowadays. When you throw Stefan into that volatile mix -- we'll give him a one-week hiccup because of overconfidence, and he did still win the Quickfire -- all bets are off. And while I shouldn't give Fabio a free pass on charm alone, I still don't want him to go home before Crazy Eyes or Ho-Hum Leah the Ho. I mean, really, what's up with this constant sleepwalking? First Radhika and now Leah ... "oh, yawn, I don't know what to do with oats and fish ... hmm, yawn, I made some New York strip 'cuz it's simple." Fabio's been absolutely uninspired since, well, pretty much this whole season, but man, there's a lot of dead weight still floating around. And yes, I say that even with Carla earning an upset victory. She's a nice enough chef, but man, I can't take the bug eyes and in-your-face enthusiasm anymore.
Count me as one who'd rather sleep in a "bunky bed" than jump on the Carla Love Bandwagon. Ba-DOW, Ba-DOW!
Boy, did we all end up with some monkey ass on our faces during Power Rankings, eh, MJ? You seemed to have a soft spot for Mimbo Jeff. Where did the Dilido Dynamo go wrong?
Malavika: I made the mistake of googling "monkey ass" earlier (I do not recommend this), but I can assuredly tell you that no fried banana is going to help our power rankings out this week. We're just a bunch of empty clam shells.
I was an early fan of Mimbo Jeff because I felt he had the kind of creativity that went a step further than "like, I fried some fish crusted in oats" Leah or "I made a watermelon salad" Ariane. Where he went wrong -- and he admitted as much -- is that instead of focusing that creativity into one dish, he was all over the place.
One complaint about last night is that if "Top Chef" producers really wanted to give our chefs a run for their money, they would have picked a few chefs from previous seasons who were the real heavyweights. Instead, we got mediocre Nikki (blue-tinted-glasses), twice-eliminated Andrea and some chick I couldn't even remember (Camille?).
Props for bringing back Andrew -- whose killer impression of Stefan was priceless -- and fedora-lovin' Spike, but couldn't we have gotten a few heavy rollers to spice up the competition? Can you imagine Stefan taking on Hung or Hosea in a head to head challenge with Stephanie? Or Fabio competing against Lisa? "Deees ees not a-esticky rice, eeets-a monkey ass!"
I know we all love him, but does Fabio still have a chance?
Adam: Of course Fabio has a chance, and here's why: He's the only likable character the show has. And yes, I said "character," because while "Top Chef" is a competition show, it's still a TV show, and the producers aren't stupid. The same way they kept "I Can't Think of Any Other Mean Names to Call Her" Lisa around last season for the infusion of drama her can't-cook-a-lick ass provided, they're going to hold onto the Italian Scallion at least until the final four. Because he's funny, he's charming, and, judging from our reactions to last night episode, he's the one we want to see go home the least. I'll agree: Stefan deserves to win. But Fabio doesn't deserve to lose. Hell, he deserves his own damn show.
Thomas: Adam, when did you become so cynical about reality TV produc ... er, nevermind.
Stefan is still unstoppable, but I also think Jamie has a legit shot at winning this thing. From the looks of Hosea's mea culpa about "SkankGate," he doesn't stick around too long. But ever since the raw scallop smackdown, Jamie has been confident, strong and slightly under-the-radar.
Also, here's my theory about Leah. She needs to get laid. It's that simple. It's like the "Seinfeld" episode where Elaine doesn't have sex with her boyfriend, so the garbage bags start piling up in her head. She was on the verge ... oh so close with that kiss ... and then, ARRRGGGGHHHHH, deep pangs of regret. Now she's swimming in a lost sea of fish and oatmeal.
Come to think of it, with all that wink, wink stuff and his "making babies" shirt, Stefan needs to get laid too. Actually, according to Costanza logic, that would hurt him. Hmmmm ...
Stay tuned: Dismal power rankings report next week ...
-- Sara Boyd, firstname.lastname@example.org, Thomas Rozwadowski, email@example.com, Malavika Jagannathan, firstname.lastname@example.org, Adam Reinhard, email@example.com