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Top Chef: Las Vegas Ep. 10 – It Sucks Being Told You Suck


I must issue my sincere thanks to Top Chef.  So many thanks go out to them, and I will grant them a pass on something stupid that they may do in the future.  I promise I will not mock that future moronic event. 

Top Chef provided me with Padma Lakshmi and Natalie Portman making sex jokes with each other.  I may give them two freebees now that I think about it.
I think we must address this glorious event in pop culture history before getting into the rather mundane dishes provided by this week’s challenges.  BryanBot had just presented his Elimination Challenge dish, a meal which had a bit of kick to it.  Padma said that it gave her a “prick on the tip of her tongue.”  Natalie giggled and advised her not to say something like that.  Laughter ensued.  Men around the country who were watching with their wives stopped whatever they were doing and started paying attention.  Padma described the feeling as a combination of the sharp shallot and the garlic blossoms, which were “tiny in size, but big in her mouth.”  More laughter ensued, and fantasies were crafted.  One of Natalie’s friends said what we were all thinking about that line, “That’s what usually happens!”

I’m sorry.  There is no way I could talk about this episode without addressing two of my laminated list ladies making sex jokes. 

Anyway, so there was some other stuff going on in this episode, including a couple of good challenges which produced some surprisingly boring food.  In the end, Kevin won both, and MM was given his walking papers.  Quickly, some bits on each of the Final Seven …

Hawk – It seems as if Hawk is starting to get the classic villain edit.  It is the Rob Mariano edit – he’s really good at the game, arguably the best in the season, but is so wildly arrogant that it keeps people from rooting for him.  Hawk is a really good chef.  There is no question about it.  His only misstep this year (other than the usual Quickfire mistakes most of the chefs make from time to time) was in the challenge where his equipment failed.  But, criticizing Kevin the way he did is a one-way ticket to villainy.  Hawk said that dish was something from his second year of his apprenticeship and the kind of food he makes hanging out at home.  As Tom said in his Bravo blog, “Yes, they’re employing advanced techniques versus Kevin’s more basic methods, but at the end of the day unless you can pull off those elevated elements and actually make the food taste great, I don’t care how many blowtorches it took to create the dish — Kevin’s food not only is consistently well executed but also tastes really incredibly good.”  I couldn’t have said it any better than Tom does there.  Watch it, Hawk.  I want to like you, don’t piss me off.

Kevin – No question about it, Kevin is the chef to beat and is getting the hero edit.  He has the more polished and technical chefs criticizing him.  He had BryanBot get in his face – to the extent that BryanBot can – in the Stew Room a few challenges ago when Hawk was on the chopping block.  And Kevin continually gets the funny lines.  While the brothers make an art form out of expressionless and emotionless answers – it’s like “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xYW5WRLUX8″>Shaq is being interviewed – Kevin gives us great humor when talking about eating 130 wings in an hour, or chuckling and merely acknowledging his growing list of prizes won.  Clearly the fan favorite this season.

BryanBot – Is it me, or has BryanBot been kind of boring with his food along with his personality recently?  It seems as if Kevin and Hawk have moved ahead into one tier and BryanBot and Jen have dropped to a second tier of leaders.  While he isn’t really doing anything wrong, he isn’t doing much inspiring.  I can’t see him really messing up, he usually plays things very safe within his range of talents, but I also can’t see him winning.

Jen – Oh, Jen, what has happened to you?  I wonder if Tom’s assessment is correct that Jen is suffering from the infamous Killer Fatigue which has destroyed many a reality contestant.  That coupled with what seems to be a crisis of confidence stemming from her poor Restaurant Wars showing has our girl on the ropes.  Tom indicated in his blog that while her dish was too tiny, she was not really in any danger of going home from it.  However, it is a bad trend to be starting.

Eli – I have lost patience with the man-boy.  This interestingly enough has coincided with his best performance to date.  When you claim to have no knowledge of Gilligan’s Island but can make a Jimmy Buffet joke?  You’re a dumbass.  When you claim that Natalie Portman’s best and only work of note was her George Lucasy awful performance in the Star Wars prequels, you are a dumbass and a geek.  May I suggest Eli watch this?  Or this?  Or this? Or this?  Heck, even this.

Robin – Seriously, is she still here?  I have to say, I am starting to root for Robin.  She is the kitchen version of Dandrew.  She is going to ride second to last finishes all the way to the finals at this point.  If she wins this competition, it may be the biggest reality show upset ever. 

MM – Here’s what happened with him.  He is so cocky that he seems to think he is a lot better than he really is.  That goes to such levels that he was certain that even though he screwed up his dish – really, really badly – he thought that Robin was so inferior to him that there was no way he was being sent home from making inedible leeks.  He was wrong.  Top Chef is a challenge to challenge competition.  It is like playoffs in sports.  Even if you blowout your opponent in one round, you start from even ground in the next one.

So, before I go on for too long, let’s all take another moment to think about Padma and Natalie.

Ah, that’s better.  Now for the challenges. Quickfire – with the help of Paul Bartolotta and TV Guide, the chefs must take a classic TV show and make a TV dinner based upon it.  We learn several disturbing things.  Robin has never seen Sesame Street.  How is that even possible?  Even more bizarre, MM has never seen Seinfeld!  I’ve already mentioned Eli’s Gilligan’s Island claim.  Were they all raised in a bubble?


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