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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Commercial Interruption: Skanky Fish vs. Salty Celery

Sometimes there's just too much television for one Channel Surfing blogger to handle. That's when we need a break to sit back, relax and indulge in some friendly back-and-forth (via email of course, we don't actually like to speak to one another in person). Channel Surfing bloggers Sara Boyd, Malavika Jagannathan, Adam Reinhard and friend of Channel Surfing Kelly McBride are still in shock at what went down last night as they mourn the death of Team Rainbow. Who would’ve thought a little salty celery would be enough to override giving up on a Quickfire Challenge AND failing to make fish yet again? (*Also, excuse the photos -- Bravo changed its Web site and now we can't get any of the recap shots! Booo.)

Sara: I’ll be honest, last night’s episode, that asked the final contestants to merely recreate a dish by world-renowned French chef Eric Ripert, did not give me a culinary boner.

We’re down to the final six here, it’s no time for monkey see, monkey do – let’s see some creative monkey ass in clam shells! I’m sure we all knew something like this was coming after the chefs were told, “Hey yeah, why don’t you just come over for lunch? We’ll all get together and the six of you will have a nice SIX-course meal together and nothing else.” Oh, “Top Chef,” you think you’re so sly.

I will give them credit for one thing this episode — way to pull the ol’ loop-de-loop on the typical opening credits set-up of whoever calls home might as well pack their bags ‘cause they’ll be packing their knives soon enough. I got real nervous when Fabio was shown calling his wifey to tell her all about his bunky bed. Every other time, that’s been the “TC” hook — let the viewer get a little more emotionally attached … then pull de plug. Thank God for all viewers, however, our Fab Fabs ended up in the top three.

Also, thank you “Top Chef” for ruining all seafood for me. After seeing Stefan go total Nazi on that freshwater eel – nothing like a nail through the head to make you hungry for some unagi! – I nearly called up PETA. That was just disturbing. Was anyone else uncomfortable watching Mr. Ripert, er, pet the fish? Yikes.

Moving on, when all was said and done the show came down to Leah’s ability, or inability, to once again cook fish versus Jamie’s saltlick celery. The judges discussed how they admired that Jamie was able to say she too thought her celery was awful and then continued wondering why Leah is even here when she was so quick to give up in the Quickfire. I thought for sure it was going to be Leah packing her knives and um, kissing Hosea goodbye. Oh silly me. Letting Leah go would mean producers would also have to let go of potential drama. I mean, maybe if they keep Leah and Hosea around a leeeetle longer and stock the “TC” house with a leeeetle more boozey woozey, well, who can pass that up?

Alas, that meant it was death to Team Rainbow. Jamie was told to pack her endless amount of rainbow T-shirts and leave.

So now that we’re getting down to the final – where does that leave the rest of the gang? Clearly Stefan is back to being unstoppable, but is it possible that Carla could finish off the foursome?

Kelly: First of all, it's great to be back and pinch-hitting for one Thomas Rozwadowski, who apparently has more important things to do than discuss last night's Fish Fest with Miseur Ripert. What these things could be, I have no idea, but I'm thankful for the chance to jump in and give my two cents about Leah Da Ho, Crazy Eyed Carla and the rest of the remaining "TC" crew.

A few weeks ago, I'd have been happy to see DJamie "I want this win" Tanner pack her knives and go, but seeing her booted last night made me angrier than a still-twitchin' eel. Sure, she botched the celery, but the whole challenge -- from skinny sardines to the freakish eel undead -- was about fish. And if Leah has shown one thing during the past few episodes, it's that she can't cook fish. Period. Add to that the fact that she's been mentally checked out since her little tonsil-hockey fest, and she's long overdue for the boot. I know the producers want drama, but I don't see any future for our little lovebirds. Leah needs to go.

Unfortunately, I think she's sticking around as part of the top four. Crazy Eyed Carla has been way impressive these past few episodes -- but between the Ho-Leah saga and Leah's overall strength throughout the competition (pre-makeout sesh, anyway), I daresay she'll be filling out the final four. Stefan has been amazing, and even the Italian Stallion might have trouble unseating him at this point. MJ, do you see an all-male top three? Or will Fabio become a kitchen casualty, as alluded to in last night's tantalizing "next week" preview?

Well, Manny Mota, let me tell you something -- I've stopped believing in the "Top Chef" gods of all things rational and sane, so you'll get no predictions out of me. Except this one -- if Fabio is kicked off next week because of his on-the job hand-slicin' accident, meaning Leah sticks around, I'll eat a fresh eel.

Really. I will devour that wiggling, raw, snake-like ... ew ... OK, maybe not. Still, Leah has overstayed her welcome. She's never done anything spectacular -- in fact, she's never had an elimination challenge win -- and for most of the show, she's skated by. If a cheftestant like Jeff who consistently placed in the top can get the boot, Leah needs to get her whiny, fish-lovin', giving up self a one-way ticket home. I never had a problem with Leah prior to the guilty couch action -- and it's possible the show's producers are making her look ditzier on purpose -- but her lack of enthusiasm is irritating.

The one thing I liked about last night's episode -- and I must disagree with Sara here -- is that while the challenge seemed obvious (a six-course meal for six contestants? whatever could that mean?), I liked that it was simple enough to give people problems. The apparent simplicity of the challenge separated someone like Carla who managed to figure out a subtle difference in the sauce from someone like Leah who couldn't even mimic a good dish. I do think that Stefan picked the easiest dish and should have been called out on that -- asparagus, lobster and Hollandaise sauce? Even a monkey ass could do that.

Adam: Let me play Toby Young here for a bit: I was so mad when Jamie got the boot instead of Leah, I was like Peter Finch in "Network," urging people to get out of their chairs in outrage. It was more confusing than the ending of "2001: A Space Odyssey." I had not seen a lesbian go down like that since ... OK, maybe I should stop right there.

But seriously, what the hell? Leah gave up. She GAVE UP. Shouldn't there be a "Top Chef" bylaw that says if any contestant gives up during a challenge for reasons other than death or dismemberment, they should automatically be sent home? I was so confident that Leah would be axed last night (thus, I'll admit, giving me beaucoup de points in our Power Ranking) that in that split second before Padma announced the knife-packer, when you see her turn her head in somebody's direction, I just about crapped myself. I admit that freely, too. I'm not ashamed. Unlike Leah, who should be ASHAMED OF HERSELF for quitting during that challenge, then LYING to the Colicchio when asked if she really wanted to be there. You don't, Leah. You don't. And we don't want you there either.

Check back soon for updated Power Ranking scores!

-- Sara Boyd,, Kelly McBride,, Malavika Jagannathan,, Adam Reinhard,

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I'm on Adam's side. Leah needed to go home, and not just because I, too, would've gotten some points for once. Top Chef, formerly the one reality show that seemed fair and based on talent, has become a crap shoot. And I hate crap. Just the fact that either Carla de Crazy Eyes or Leah de Hobag will be in the top four (or worse, both *shudder*) has me second guessing my Top Chef loyalty.

By Blogger Ms. Quarter, At February 6, 2009 at 6:47 PM  

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