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Top Chef: Just Desserts – Episode 2 Commentary – The Red Hots Were For My Mommy


Ladies and Gentlemen – For your viewing pleasure, one of the most annoying people to ever appear on a competition reality show. So that exempts Kate Gosselin, the Jersey Shore cast and anyone to ever be on the Real World. However, for the other shows, who are generally less about watching freaks than watching the show formula, I present to you – Chef Seth. Who has singlehandedly begun to wrest control of this Top Chef spinoff with his insanity.

The episode as an expanded 75 minutes long, and clearly it was made longer because Seth lost his mind. It says something about the show that after two viewings I remember more about Seth than I do about the desserts created. So, let’s talk about the wild manic behavior witnessed.

To me, Seth came across as either an emotionally stunted Mamma’s Boy, or as someone suffering from a cocaine addiction. Perhaps both. The show opened with a shot of Seth and Morgan bonding over their heterosexuality, and not 30 minutes later found Morgan calling him an a**hole. In between we got to witness a moment that gave us some background to the badness – Seth chatting with his mom on the phone and revealing her serious health problems.

As you know, I refuse to get on anyone dealing with the loss of a parent or the illness of one, due to my own past. But as Yigit rightfully said after Seth’s meltdown, he doesn’t know what the rest of them are going through, what gives him the right to treat people so poorly because he and his family are suffering. Yigit lost his dad to cancer recently, but he is dealing with it as a grown-up. Poignant words from someone four years younger than Seth. Having spent far too much time with my parents in the hospital, and finally in funeral homes, and having to dig through their belongings and paying their debt, I would like to believe I did without being a total dick in the process. Seth can’t say that.

He elected to make a Quickfire dish that was inspired by his mom’s love of red-hot candies. Very nice. However, like Malika the previous Quickfire, Seth had time issues and failed to plate his dish properly. Unlike Malika who sucked it up and took her lumps, Seth burst into tears and fell to the ground like a toddler. Again, there is no crying in Top Chef. He was so distraught that Morgan, and eventually guest judge Elizabeth Faulkner, had to come over to console him and feed into his desperate quest for attention. Poor Faulkner didn’t know what she signed up for when judging this episode. Heather H put it perfectly – “Seth is crying because he didn’t put ice cream on his plate.” He sobs the title of this commentary – and a 33-year-old man should never, ever be referring to his mother as “mommy.”

In the wake of this meltdown, the chefs were asked to travel to Mark Peel’s restaurant (yet another old Master chef) for their Elimination Challenge set up. They were to create a dish inspired by a cocktail, and use only ingredients found behind the bar (supplemented by the Top Chef kitchen, of course). After drawing lots, the chefs had two minutes each to find their muse. When Seth took his turn, he tried to find grapefruit for his dish, but failed to find any. He panicked and pouted. All the while, his fellow chefs (all in good fun) chanted for him. My favorite one was – Go Seth Go, let those creative juices flow!

However, Seth didn’t see it that way. His reaction reminded me of Mama Weaver from the Amazing Race: Family Edition who had problems with the Linz siblings calling “hey batter batter, SWING, batter” while Rolly Weaver batted in a baseball challenge. Clearly, she had never seen Ferris Bueller. However, there is a great difference between teasing and mocking, and teasing in good fun. The Linzes meant good fun, as did the other dessert chefs. Seth whined about having to pay off his mother’s medical bills, so he is not here to have fun.

Memo to Seth – I bet your mother never asked for that. Nor did she enjoy seeing her son freak out on television. You’re 33-years-old, act like it.

Meanwhile, the meltdowns may have ended but the annoyance was only starting. We have seen manic behavior in the kitchen on Top Chef – Ed from DC, Hung from Miami, even Moonen from Masters, were a bit frantic in the kitchen. But Seth is literally running in circles – he looks so manic while doing so, that it feels as if he is on coke or speed or something. If the daggers shooting from Danielle’s eyes were real, it would be a bloody kitchen.

In final plating, Seth was so behind the game that Zac had to help him get his blue cakes on the plate. Afterward, Seth aggressively offered his assistance to Malika who looked like she wanted to kill him. He repaid Zac by destroying his chocolate squares in a kitchen accident (I believe DC Alex about the pea puree, I don’t believe Seth here – he dropped the chocolate). He compounded it by taking up precious kitchen space cleaning it up and further getting in Zac’s way. Stop making me take Zac’s side, Seth!

Seth completed his tour de force by telling the other chefs that he will stop being nice (!) and plans to beat them all, and they can all “suck it.” When Seth went off to Bottom Threeville, I can guarantee that the others prayed he would go, and that disappointment when he didn’t was genuine.


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