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Top Chef: New York Reunion – Happy Birthday, Please Pack Your Knives And Go


The final installment from Top Chef: New York is the inanity that is a reality show reunion. Top Chef manages to be almost infinitely more ridiculous than, say, Survivor. At least Probst is hosting and delivering the final vote. Say what you will about Probst … dude is a good host.

Andy Cohen? Not so much.

Who is Andy Cohen? Well, that is part of the problem. I think he may have one of the strangest jobs on the planet. He is never seen at all on Bravo reality shows until the reunion. So as far as any viewer is concerned, his ONLY job is to host reality show reunions and ask stupid questions from viewers. He is also apparently contractually obligated to make some sort of gay reference to straight contestants. Remember your audience, of course.

Let’s not forget his unbuttoned shirt straight out of the brochure – How To Look Like A Background Actor At the Reagle Beagle. Wow, I just made a Three’s Company joke. Didn’t see that coming, did you?

My wife suggested while we were watching that it would be a lot more fun to have Bravo assign the hosting duties to James Lipton. I must agree with that – not just because I have to. Although, I may prefer Will Ferrell’s James Lipton impression. Regardless, anyone but Mr. Furley’s nephew would suffice. That’s two; maybe I can pull off a third somewhere.

Anyway – not much in the way of plot, so this one is pure random thoughts. Or as I like to call it for Top Chef

Quickfire Thoughts

• There are various video packages making up the bulk of the reunion show – some dedicated to individual contestant montages, some to some goofy stuff. As usual, the goofy is far better.

• Hosea’s package (Get your mind out of the gutter, folks) – I like hearing the thoughts from the other contestants. Carla thought his food was “approachable and not-high brow.” Radhika thought he had great vision and talent.

• Tom gives some insight to the finale – All the food was good, Carla really surprised them down the stretch, and her dishes in the semi-finals were some of the best of the season. Toby added that Hosea just had a really good day.

• Stefan is acting really strangely this whole show – first he pretends that he can win Fan Favorite, and then he tries to say that he is fine with Hosea winning.

• Second package – the “let’s pretend that Stefan and Fabio are gay” package. Sigh. However, the montage of bald head kisses is quite funny, as are Stefan’s attempts to shrug off Fabio’s massages! Carla calls them an old married couple and the footage of them in the car together is classic, ending in Stefan’s “shut it” to get Fabio to shut up. Anyone else think of Dr. Evil?

• Of course, Padma is forced to explain the obvious…Fabio and Stefan are European and it is not uncommon to have male affection there. Heck, Fabio is friggin’ Italian!

• Fabio describes how his finger broke when he slipped on the wet floor. Just trying to write about it makes me queasy.

• Carla’s package is about her being weird and quirky. Worth it for the Judges Table Song (did we even know that Carla sang?), When I think of Judges Table/I think of a place/Of stress and apprehension. Stefan shows her respect, too, saying that while she struggled early, she rebounded and is a good chef.

• Carla’s Hootie Hoo is ruined. She gets it everywhere she goes now. She and her husband need a new gimmick.

Best Part of the Show #1 – The Birthday Curse. This package is edited so well, I can’t even tell you. Let’s see … Daniel’s birthday happened, and he got eliminated. Then Eugene had some cake in the Stew Room, and he got eliminated. Next it was Radhika’s turn. Next, awesomely, Padma brings it up during a Quickfire and we learn that Leah’s birthday is next. Padma mentions that her birthday is coming up and in perhaps Leah’s best moment (until later in the reunion), she jokes that Padma can’t be eliminated. And THEN LEAH GOT ELIMINATED! Wow. Padma’s face is hysterical as she eliminates Leah. I remember when that happened and I thought that Padma made a funny face. Now we know why. Awesome. This is why we should have reunion shows.

• Daniel tells us that he has a personal birthday curse – bitten by a spider, cracked his head open, 101 fever, eliminated from a cooking competition.

• Jeff’s package is in the extra scene and the theme is how he makes incredibly complicated dishes. This was funny last year when it ran for Ryan. Although seeing Jeff’s elaborately decorated dishes makes me think of Chris March’s dresses from Project Runway.

• May I once again – and for the last time this season – point out Padma. Boots and Jeans. I’m telling you. Boots and jeans.

• Tom saves someone with the Heimlich Maneuver here in DC. Wow.


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