Saturday, December 20, 2008

Top Chef New York, episode six: Eleven Chefs a-Choking!

Katie Lee Joel: "Welcome to our Christmas Carol! I am the ghost of Top Chef past!"

Padma: "Bitch, don't even."

We start the episode with more scenes from the bromance between Fabio and Stefan:

Fabio: "Stefan says we are a dynamite duel. I don't know what that is. Also, he has a shoe in his ass. I told him he should see a doctor."

We witness Hosea's call home to check on his father, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. He wishes he could be with his father. You know what that means. Hosea's going home. They make it so obvious.

The judge for the quickfire is Martha Fucking Stewart! Some of you may not have heard of her but, believe me, she's very famous in the culinary world! This is a big deal!

The chefs have to make a one-pot dish. The trick to a one-pot dish is to use one pot. Because if you use two pots, it will be a two-pot dish. I'll give you a moment to write that down.

Padma: "Martha, do you have any words of advice?"

Martha: "As Albert Einstein always said, 'Keep it gay, keep it gay, keep it gay!'"

Padma: "Martha, are you drunk?"

Martha: "Yes. Are you?"

So, most of the chefs are creating dishes with at least two separate components and, while they are technically using one pot, they are defeating the purpose of the challenge. Of course, there is a reason we don't get more stews:

Eugene: "I used corn starch to thicken my stew. I hope Martha Stewart doesn't notice that it tastes like crap."

A few minutes later:

Martha: "This tastes like crap. Did you use corn starch?"

Stefan makes a veal stew with chanterelle mushrooms:

Martha: "Oh, I love chanterelle mushrooms. I pick them every morning on my estate. I highly recommend having an estate with chanterelle mushrooms. Everyone should have one."

Martha also likes Hosea's paella. He's obviously going home.

Padma questions Jamie about whether scallops are a winter dish:

Martha: "Padma, you dumbass, scallops are absolutely associated with winter. We go diving for them off my waterfront estate in Maine in January. I highly recommend going diving for scallops off your waterfront estate in Maine in January. Everyone should do that."

Padma: "Let me get this straight; you put on a wetsuit and go diving off the coast on Maine in January?"

Martha: "Don't be ridiculous; when I say 'we' I mean the lackeys who do my bidding."

Ariane wins a signed copy of Martha's cookbook:

Martha: "I highly recommend having a signed copy of my cookbook. Everyone should have one."

Jamie just misses winning again:

Jamie: "Always the lesbian bridesmaid and never the bride at a same-sex wedding."

The Harlem Gospel Choir shows up in the kitchen and tries to sing the Twelve Days of Christmas but Bravo gets bored and stops after three days. The point is that each of the chefs has to create a dish for a charity event based on one of the lines from the song.

During the commercial break we get really unhelpful tips on leftovers:

Richard: "Take everything you have in your refrigerator, add cheese, and put it in the oven."

Yeah, that doesn't sound good. I can't believe he didn't go farther on the show.

Here is a list of the themes and what the chefs made:

Radhika - A Partridge in a Pear Tree (duck)
Carla - Two Turtle Doves (fresh New York City pigeons)
Leah - Three French Hens (three french hens)
Oops, no four! Someone lost count when they planned this episode!
Eugene - Five Golden Rings (ceviche on a pineapple ring)
Ariane - Six Geese a-Laying (deviled eggs)
Jamie - Seven Swans a-Swimming (scallops)
Melissa - Eight Maids a-Milking (something vaguely related to dairy products)
Fabio - Nine Ladies Dancing (crab)
Jeff - Ten Lords a-Leaping (leaping cheese)
Hosea - Eleven Pipers Piping (smoked pork)
Stefan - Twelve Drummers Drumming (chicken pot pie)

Stefan explains that three hours is not much time:

Stefan: "First you have to walk into the kitchen and put your shopping bags down on the counter and then look around to make sure Fabio is nearby for emotional support and then you have to take the groceries out of the bag and the next thing you know you only have ten minutes left to cook."

The chefs work late into the night and cram all their food into the refrigerators. The next morning they arrive in the kitchen to find that the door of one of the refrigerators wasn't closed. Who could have done it (Tifanniy Faison)? I guess we'll never know. Again, I have to just say it's too bad we aren't filming what goes on in the kitchen.

Anyway, without blaming anyone (Tiffani Faison), we learn that Hosea and Radhika are royally screwed because the pork and duck are spoiled. Obviously Hosea is going home.

The chefs all pitch in to help Hosea and Radhika. It's that Christmas spirit in July! It's heart-warming! Or maybe that's heartburn. I had onions at dinner.

The chefs serve the guests at an event for amfAR, or the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. No, that's not right. Well, I'm sure it's a good cause, anyway. Otherwise Natasha Richardson wouldn't be there:

Natasha Richardson: "Hello, I'm Natasha Richardson and these are my breasts."

Pleased to meet you!

Everyone loves Radhika's duck.

Eugene is talking about the voyage of the Hokule'a, which is a nice story that has absolutely nothing to do with five golden rings.

Everyone hates Jamie's warm, raw scallops. Even the guy from Xanadu the Musical hates it, and that can't be good.

Fabio does not charm the judges this time. Probably because he's talking about crabs laying eggs and that's not appetising.

Arian's deviled eggs are good but the judges think deviled eggs are boring. I think it was weird that she made six different kinds, one for each of the geese that are supposedly a-laying, but who wants to eat six deviled eggs?

Hosea had the pipers piping so he passed around a bong and got everyone high and then they all loved his food! He's obviously going home.

All the ladies at the event were flirting with Hosea and Jeff. Well, there weren't a lot of straight men to choose from in that crowd.

The top four are Jeff, Stefan, Radhika, and Hosea. Obviously Hosea is going home.

Other Eric: "Stop saying that! He's obviously not going home!"

Hosea wins! Obviously, he's going home.

Other Eric: "Stop it!"

Everybody wins Michelle Bernstein's book!

Martha Stewart: "Big deal."

The bottom three are Jamie, Melissa, and Eugene.

Jamie's scallops made Padma gag and Eugene is told that his dish was too sweet:

Eugene: "That's funny because I didn't put sugar in it."

How is that funny?

The judges are really turned off by Eugene's attitude. Actually, they weren't that impressed with most of the food but they decide not to send anyone home.

Tom goes back to talk to the chefs:

Tom: "In the spirit of the holidays, I just want to tell you that you all suck."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More adventures in babysitting!

So last night I spent half an hour standing in line at Sephora behind Markie Post and let me just say that if you have to stand in line at a store with the slowest customer service on earth to buy a small tub of Dirt that costs more than caviar (For that price, there should be real dirt in there!), there are worse people to be standing behind than Markie Post. Stars: they hum along to Christmas music ... JUST LIKE US!

Anyway, after I finally escaped from the mall, I went to babysit for a friend's son. Julian's nanny was at the house and she apparently didn't know who I was. I've met her before but I guess she forgot and she was told to expect Eric and obviously she was expecting the Other Eric. So she asked Julian if he knew who I was and he nodded halfheartedly. OK, good enough. She left the baby with a total stranger.

Poor little guy was not feeling well and wouldn't eat dinner. He usually wants to play with cars but, instead, he said he wanted to go "rest." Other Eric arrived and read to him for a bit in bed and finally he started talking about some Cars short where a car is on fire and has to go to the car hospital and Mater is the car doctor, or something like that. Other Eric actually knew what he was talking about. At the end of his story, Julian toppled over and started snoring.

No dinner, no bath, he didn't pee or brush his teeth, he was still dressed in jeans and he was sound asleep. Worst babysitters ever! I thought maybe I could at least change him into his pajamas without waking him up so I started undressing him. But I think he thought his mama had come home to tuck him in because at first he was half asleep and giggling a little and then he slowly woke up and opened his eyes and then he wasn't happy anymore. He was obviously thinking, "Hey, this isn't my mama. It's just some guy trying to take my pants off." So then he commanded:

Julian: "I want to be alone."

Alright, Marlene Dietrich, I'll leave you alone! Sheesh.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Top Chef New York episode five: Hot Night in the Hen House!

First, I'd just like to say that it is a travesty that Selma Blair was not nominated for a Golden Globe for her work on Kath & Kim. I'm serious! I could watch a half hour of nothing but Selma Blair rolling her eyes. And the opening credits to the show, set to the music of the Scissor Sisters, is the best music video I have ever seen!

Anyway, last week Alex was sent packing and Ariane won the chance to be on television. She's already been on television for the past four weeks but whatever.

We start this week with Melissa telling us she needs to do better. Duh. And we watch Ariane sweeping the floor:

Ariane: "I'm a 41 year old woman here with a bunch of younger people. I'm here to clean up after them."

We also learn that Stefan has the hots for Jamie:

Jamie: "Perhaps I was a little too subtle about the fact that I'm a LESBIAN!"

Stefan: "I don't believe there are lesbians. Just women who have not met Stefan yet."

The quickfire is a tasting challenge. Although we get this challenge every season, the producers somehow manage to get reaction shots of the chefs looking totally surprised and confused. The chefs are paired up for tongue to tongue combat:

Stefan: "That sounds sexy!"

Jamie: "Ugh."

This tasting challenge is a combination of Name That Tune and a ping-pong tournament. They have to name the ingredients in soups in three rounds that narrow the chefs down to Stefan and Hosea, with Hosea ultimately wining immunity for the elimination challenge. Congratulations, Hosea!

For the elimination challenge, Padma is hosting a bridal shower for Gail! Fun!

Gail: "My girlfriends like food. These are not girls who like their salad dressing on the side, if you know what I'm saying. Actually, what I'm saying is that I want every woman at this dinner to gain at least twenty pounds. If any of these bitches looks better than I do at my wedding there is going to be hell to pay. Padma, please use your stylist from season two. Thank you."

The theme for the dinner is "something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue." Surprisingly, Ariane is not on the old team.

Ariane: "I heard that!"

Team Borrowed is Ariane, Jamie, and Radhika. They will be "borrowing" from Radhika's culture. The concept for making Indian food is Jamie's. Radhika is naturally concerned that the judges will think she can only make Indian food but she goes along with it. Ariane will be responsible for the main part of the dish, the lamb chops, but Jamie is the team leader on this one.

Team Blue is Melissa, Leah, and Fabio. Tom helpfully points out that there is no blue food so they should just give up and go home.

OK, so yes, most "blue" fruits and vegetables, like blueberries, blue corn, and blue potatoes, are really closer to purple but so what? The veins in bleu cheese look pretty blue and there are edible flowers that are blue so I'm sure they could have done something blue. Smurfs are also pretty good if you cook them the right way. But Team Blue goes for an ocean theme, instead. It makes sense. The problem is that the dish is way boring and Gail thinks Chilean sea bass is offensive.

Team New is Eugene, Danny, and Carla. Danny suggest making pickles because Gail likes pickles:

Carla: "Are pickles new?"

Excellent question, Carla. No, they are not.

So then Eugene wants to do sushi, which also is not new. But at least the concept of sushi brings to mind really fresh ingredients. And fresh is kind of like new, right? Yeah, it's a stretch. Carla is not totally on board with this and she should have spoken up but her two teammates are very excited about it so I don't blame her for going along and trying to make the best of it. A team can't have three leaders.

Team Old is Josea, Stefan, and Jeff. They go with a trio of dishes based on heirloom tomatoes. The heirloom tomato concept is good but I'm worried that it's a lot of tomato dished for one plate.

Carla: "Hootie?"


Don't ask.

The night before the dinner, Eugene has a "brainstorm" that will result in a shit storm. He decides that the "sushi" will be served with all the ingredients spread out all over the plate and the guests will be responsible for assembling their own food:

Stefan: "Those women will not want to assemble their own food."

For once, I am in total agreement with Stefan. Padma does not want to work for her food. If she could get someone to shovel food into her mouth for her, she would.

The "trio of tomato" course is pretty popular. The guests like Hosea's gazpacho and they love Jeff's savory tomato sorbet, both of which Stefan predicted would bomb.

The roll-your-own sushi dish is a disaster. Obviously. Danny accurately describes it as "sploodge" on a plate. Danny ruins Carla's salad with reconstituted mushrooms without telling her. Eugene forgets to mention to the guests what exactly they are supposed to do with the plate full of crap sitting in front of them. Danny tells them to eat the sorbet at the end of the course, when it will have melted. The dish makes Gail sad.

Fortunately, the next course makes Gail happy! Yay! Everyone loves Team Borrowed's lamb dish. Everything is perfect! Ariane almost screws up the lamb by starting it too late, leaving only a few minutes to plate the food, but all the chefs help out in an assembly-line and get it done just before the clock runs out.

Team Blue's fish course is really boring. But Fabio is charming:

Fabio: "You see, we have the greens and the yellow corn and green and yellow make blue."

uh . . . no.

Gail: "Shut up! Fabio's talking! Nobody cares if he makes sense! Plus, he said I'm pretty."

I've been saying you're pretty for years!

Gail: "Yeah, it's not the same."

Fine. Whatever. Anyway, the guests think the dish tastes good but it's mushy and boring.

Ariane wins the challenge because the lamb was so good. Jamie is pissed because she was leading the team and it was all her concept. I don't blame her.

Danny is out because his palate is completely hopeless. I think Eugene should have been out because he was clearly leading that disaster.

Gail: "Padma, thank you so much for hosting my bridal shower. I just have one question."

Padma: "Yes, Gail?"

Gail: "Where are the damn strippers?"

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Top Chef New York episode four: It's Morning Again in America!

Before we get to throwing people under a bus, and we will, just a quick reminder about a Day without a Gay, which is next Wednesday, December 10th. The LGBT community and straight supporters are asked to take the day off from work, if possible, and to try to avoid spending money or otherwise contributing to the economy for that one day. That means no shopping, no Internet, and definitely no watching of Top Chef next week. OK, I'm just kidding about that last one. Of course you can watch Top Chef. Just cover your ears when Padma talks about the Glad Family of Products.

Moron: "But if I don't go to work I'll be fired and I'll lose my house."

That's an excellent point, Moron. If taking the day off will cause you to be fired or cause you financial hardship, then please go to work. For heaven's sake.

Dumbass: "But if we destroy the economy won't people hate gays even more?"

Good question, Dumbass. But one day of reduced shopping will not have a significant impact on the overall economy because we will just spend twice as much on the 9th and the 11th. The point is not to destroy the economy or put anyone out of business but simply to demonstrate that the LGBT community and its straight supporters make up a significant segment of the economy.

Finally, the Day without a Gay Website suggests you use your day off to volunteer in the community, which I think is an excellent idea. I would totally do that if I weren't so lazy.

Anyway, on to the recap! Last week Ariane made good turkey:

Ariane: "It was very annoying that everyone was questioning if I could do it."

Seriously, I don't know why there was any question. She had clearly demonstrated that she was a complete screw up. No question. But, as it turned out, she proved us all wrong.

Richard was sent packing. He wrote a very emotional twelve-page letter to Alex, from which I have excerpted the following passage:

Dear Alex, I am really going to miss being The Gay Guy on Top Chef this season. Whatever you do, don't think about your upcoming wedding. Seriously, just wipe it out of you mind. Don't let the fact that you are about to make the most important decision of your life cause you to make something stupid for the elimination challenge. Love, Richard.

For the quickfire challenge, the chefs will be making a breakfast amuse bouche. Padma introduces the guest judge:

Padma: "I don't need to tell you that this is Rocco DiSpirito, looking hotter than ever! That facelift is really holding up well, Rocco!"

Rocco: "Thanks, Padma! I'd just like to say that I love bacon."

Padma: "Well, everyone loves bacon."

Other Eric: "I hate bacon."

I'm sorry but that isn't possible. Everyone loves bacon. Padma just said so.

Other Eric: "No, I really hate it."


Most of the chefs create nice little dishes but most of them are a little bigger than bite-size. Leah is one of the few who creates a true amuse bouche:

Rocco: "That's the perfect bite!"

Leah: "Yeah, well, unlike some people, I decided to actually do the challenge."

Rocco: "Wow, what a bitch. I am so turned on right now."

Leah: "You can be my boyfriend. I'm really lonely."

Leah wins the quickfire! Congratulations, Leah!

For the elimination challenge, the chefs will have to create a dish in two and a half minutes.

Chefs: "What?!!!!!"

I said you will have to create a dish in two and a half minutes.

Chefs: "Oh, sorry, I thought you said two minutes. Two and a half minutes is no problem."

OK, so they actually have an hour to make the dish but they need to prepare a two and a half minute cooking segment demonstrating the dish, like you would do for a live television segment:

Carla: "Oh, my god. Live television is vicious. If you don't finish in time, they will cut you."

Kathey Lee: "Yeah, I will CUT you."

Will someone please get that psycho away from the knives?

Fabio is worried about his presentation because his English, she is not so good:

Fabio: "Obviously, my biggest concern is that everyone will just find me so adorable that they won't notice the food."

They are supposed to be creating dishes that the average viewer at home could and, presumably, would want to make. Some of the chefs make some bad choices, such as Eugene's decision to make sashimi, Melissa's decision to blow everyone's friggin' heads off with habanero peppers, and Alex's decision to make a dessert he won't actually be able to make.

So the chefs perform fake live television segments for Padma, Tom, Gail, and Rocco. A few chefs don't finish their dishes in time, a few finish but make bad dishes, and a few just don't make good television personalities.

Unsurprisingly, the judges love Fabio:

Tom: "I could listen to him talk all day. He's so dreamy."

He made something with tuna because that's what his momma likes, but really, nobody noticed what he was cooking:

Fabio: "See? That's what I'm saying. It's a challenge being this adorable."

Tell me about it. The judges also thought Ariane and Jeff did a good job. Ariane made a tomato, watermelon, and feta salad, which doesn't sound very exciting to me but made sense for this challenge, and Jeff made some shrimp dish rolled in something green, which I think was interesting without being too unrealistic.

Tom wakes up Fabio, Ariane, and Jeff at two in the morning to cook on the Today Show. Except that they won't actually be cooking on the Today Show. Just the dishes are on the show. Oh, right, I just realized why they couldn't appear on the show: this appearance must have been on television months ago and this way the dishes could appear anonymously. Duh. Sorry, I'm a little slow.

Psycho Kathy Lee spits out Jeff's food and then Ariane wins the challenge. Congratulations, Ariane! She wins Rocco's Favorite Things:

Rocco: "Caaaashmeeeere SWEATERS!"

She also wins a real appearance on the Today Show. I guess that would be an amazing opportunity if anyone actually watched the Today Show.

The bottom three are Melissa, Jamie, and that guy who is going home tonight.

Melissa: "I'm not saying that there is someone else who doesn't really want to be here, but I just want to point out that I do really want to be here."

Tom: "Who exactly are you not saying doesn't really want to be here?"

Melissa: "Well, I'm not saying that Alex doesn't really want to be here, that's for sure."

Padma: "Alex, I'm afraid you've been thrown under a bus. After receiving medical treatment, please get on the bus and go home."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Top Chef New York episode three: Thanksgiving in July!

Happy Thanksgiving! And to those of you who don't celebrate Thanksgiving, happy holidays! What am I saying? Bill O'Reilly is right, as always; this War on Thanksgiving is getting out of control! It starts with a half-vegetarian meal for the Foo Fighters and the next thing you know some godless communist will put a Smurf balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! What?! That already happened?! It wasn't just a brining-induced nightmare?! Oh, my god, we're all doomed!

Anyway, last time Jill went home after the chefs ruined American cuisine for Tom Colicchio:

Tom: "I used to love American food but now it's dead to me."

Fortunately, Fabio saved the day by finally bringing Italian food to the New World:

Fabio: "The dish was financed by Queen Isabella of Spain because I saved the princess from a dragon."

This week Fabio is being financed by the Olive Garden and he will travel to China to steal the idea for pasta.

Before the challenge starts, the chefs have a few minutes of downtime. Richard takes this opportunity to talk to Alex about his favorite subject, being gay:

Richard: "Oh, my god, I totally missed Gay Pride to be here!"

Alex: [sound of crickets]

The guest judge for the quickfire is Grant Achatz. Someone mentions that he had cancer and I realize I've read about this guy in the New Yorker. He had tongue cancer and his doctors wanted to remove his entire tongue but he sought alternative treatments so he could save part of it because, obviously, his tongue is very important to him. He managed to keep cooking even though he had no sense of taste during much of his treatment. But you know the most inspirational part of the story? He's pretty cute! God, I'm shallow.

Padma: "Just in time for the holiday shopping season, we would like to remind you that there is a Top Chef cookbook. It's the perfect stocking stuffer for people who wear really big stockings, like Tom!"

Tom: "Padma, I keep asking you not to talk about what I do in my free time!"

Padma: "Sorry. Anyway, for this challenge you have to put your own spin on one of the recipes in the book. And by 'put your own spin on it,' I mean 'copy it exactly.'"

So the chefs start copying the recipes by former Top chef contestants. Then, halfway through cooking, Padma comes into the kitchen and makes an announcement:

Padma: "You know what? I changed my mind. I'm in the mood for Chinese."

So the chefs have to take their half-made dishes and turn them into Chinese food.

Tom: "Finally, everyone else gets to experience Padma's crazy mood swings that I have to live with every day."

Fortunately, the chefs will get to use Swanson's Chinese Broth in a Box.

Leah wins and she gets to pick her team for the elimination challenge.

Team Underpants is Leah, Jamie, Hosea, Stefan, Melissa, Radhika, and Fabio.

Team MILF is Richard, Alex, Ariane, Carla, Danny, Eugene, and Jeff.

The chefs will have to cook Thanksgiving dinner several months early for the Foo Fighters and twelve thousand fans at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York:

Foo Fighters: "The food needs to be vegetarian. But with lots of bacon."

The chefs go shopping. Why on earth would you use turkey bacon with turkey? That's a little redundant, isn't it? It doesn't make it vegetarian, if that's what they were thinking.

The chefs are taken outside to cook their food in the alley behind the stadium, next to the dumpsters. They are hit by a hail storm and then the locusts descend:

Chefs: "Oh, come on!"

Tom: "Stop your whining!"

Apparently the Foo Fighters like chocolate-covered frozen bananas so Richard has the brilliant idea of making chocolate-covered frozen bananas. Fortunately, he is unable to use that idea because they don't have a freezer. Unfortunately, he and Jeff come up with the even worse idea of making banana s'mores. Who would want a soggy, cold graham cracker at the end of a Thanksgiving meal? Nobody, that's who.

Team MILF is making turkey, stuffing, roasted potatoes, pork roast, macaroni and cheese, pumpkin parfaits, peach cobbler, and banana s'mores.

Team Underpants is making turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, side salads, pumpkin tiramisu, and fruit crisp.

Judging Team MILF:

The judges like Ariane's turkey and decide that she has redeemed herself and is, in fact, a MILF. They also like Eugene's ham, which he made on a homemade charcoal grill:

Eugene: "I asked myself, 'What would MacGyver do if he were cooking Thanksgiving for the Foo Fighters in a parking lot?' The answer was obvious."

The judges didn't like the undercooked potatoes made by Howie, er, I mean Danny. They also didn't like the stupid s'mores and the pumpkin mousse parfaits:

Foo Fighters: "More like barf-faits! Ha ha!"

Hey, I happen to like parfaits! I know I didn't taste them but I thought they looked pretty good.

Judging Team Underpants:

The judges liked Jamie's vegan cornbread stuffing and they also liked the sweet potatoes. They didn't like the turkey as much as the other team's. They liked the fruit crisp, which looked revolting, and they loved Fabio's pumpkin tiramisu.

Team Underpants wins and they get to attend the concert! Congratulations, Undies!

Team MILF has to clean up the stadium after the concert:

Team MILF: "Oh, my god, is that a used condom?"

The losing team has to go in and be judged:

Richard: "I just hope we don't resort to cannibalism."

OK, so it comes down to Jeff, Richard, and Howie, um, I mean Danny. Why do I keep doing that?

Jeff emerged as the unofficial team leader so, in a way, he was responsible for the meal. And his stuffing and dessert were bad. But I really think he contributed so much to that meal I would hate to see him go. I think it should come down to Danny and Richard. I'm sure they were doing plenty of other things for the team but, when you are being judged as part of a team, you have to make sure you have very specific, major contributions that can be judged individually. Those s'mores were not only terrible but they didn't seem like much work.

Richard is out. Sorry, Richard!

Tom: "For a band traveling on tour, July is a very important time of year when they are all thinking of their families. Richard, I hate to send you home on fake Thanksgiving, but someone has to go."

Jamie: "Hey, Stefan, remember in the previews when we were arguing about whether vegetarians eat fish? I totally thought that was going to be in this episode!"

Stefan: "Yeah, me too! Since the Foo Fighters wanted vegetarian food and we were on the same team, I was sure we were arguing about this meal. But as it turned out, both teams almost completely ignored the need for vegetarian food."

Jamie: "Seriously! I'm glad nobody noticed."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Top Chef New York episode two: Restaurant Wars! But without the wars! And with only one restaurant! And they aren't actually creating the restaurant because it already exists. But, other than that, it's just like restaurant wars!

Last week we lost two members of the CIA. This week the FBI will get involved, with agents Mulder and Scully investigating the mysterious disappearances:

Scully: "These heels are killing me."

Mulder: "I enjoy looking at porn."

Well, OK, so apparently they have more important issues to address.

We start this episode with Fabio talking about dragons:

Fabio: "Yeah, dragons are super cool! They, like, breath fire and shit!"

So that's not really what he said but, honestly, I have no idea what he was talking about.

Stefan says that Fabio is his biggest competition and then Fabio says that if Stefan were a princess he would totally rescue him from a dragon and then they kiss. No, really. Serious bromance going on here.

Donatalla Versace is the judge for the quickfire:

Donatella: "Padma, your outfit is very Isaac Mizrahi . . . for Target."

I never get tired of that joke.

Padma: "For the quickfire, you have to make a hot dog. Of course, the actual definition of a hot dog is pretty vague so you are pretty much free to screw this up any way you want."

This was a weird challenge. A hot dog can be described as a specific type of sausage that is ground to a very fine, smooth texture and pre-cooked. Or a hot dog can be described as serving any type of sausage in a bun. So when you are instructed to "make a hot dog" it could mean you are supposed to make a very specific type of sausage or you are supposed to put a pre-made sausage in a bun and choose the condiments. I wasn't sure what Padma wanted them to do. I can tell you, however, that wrapping a pre-made sausage like sushi in no way fulfills the instructions of "making a hot dog."

Most of the chefs make their own sausage. The judges like Radhika's and she wins immunity! Congratulations, Radhika!

Stefan: "There is nothing wrong with my wiener."

Fabio: "I'll be the judge of that."

Jeez, get a room!

Angelina of Nathan's hot dog stand is supposedly competing against the chefs. She takes out a pre-made hot dog and puts it in a bun and Padma acts like it's a major accomplishment. She declares Angelina the winner. I'm telling you, this challenge made no sense.

For the elimination challenge, the chefs will be cooking at a restaurant. Specifically, Tom's restaurant. Of course, Tom's not going to let them cook for his real customers:

Tom: "New Yorkers are really critical. In fact, they are a bunch of whining losers. I just want to punch them in the face."

How are those anger management classes going, Tom?

So, the chefs have to split into groups doing appetizers, entrees, and desserts. For some reason, it seems like everyone wants to do dessert. That's weird. I guess the contestants finally got the memo about learning how to make dessert.

Fabio buys olives. Then he grinds up the olives and make them into new and improved olives. Yeah, he made olives. Who does he think he is? God?

God: "Seriously! I spent a lot of time creating olives and he thinks he can make better olives? Oh, who am I kidding? I created the whole world in six days so I didn't really spend that much time on olives. But I still called them good and that should be enough for you people. Having said that, I kind of want to try those new ones."

Yeah, get in line, God. Since God doesn't live in Los Angeles (trust me) he will probably have an easier time finding spherical olives than I will. For some reason, we do not have much in the way of molecular gastronomy here on the West Coast. Yeah, apparently I can go to Beverly Hills and have Marcel serve me some foam but to get the full experience I need to go to Chicago or London.

Jill buys ostrich eggs and then scrambles them so that there is no way to tell they are ostrich eggs. Other than the terrible flavor.

Hosea can't get the fresh crab meat he needs so he gets canned crab meat, since you won't be able to tell the difference. Other than the terrible flavor.

Fabio is still talking about dragons:

Fabio: "I just love dragons. I could talk about dragons all day. Hey, remember that movie where Sean Connery played a dragon? That was awesome! Who else likes dragons?"

Seriously, why does he keep talking about dragons?

Eugene tries to make a joke about the long flight back to Europe, forgetting that the flight back to Hawaii is even longer:

Eugene: "Oh, yeah."

During the commercial break, Leah falls in love with Hosea because he happens to be sitting next to her. They get married and live happily ever after:

Hosea: "What the hell just happened?"

The chefs are serving dinner to a bunch of Top Chef rejects who think they are better than everyone else:

Tom: "God, they're worse than regular New Yorkers."

Jamie made a cold corn soup and the judges love it.

Hosea made a disgusting and slimy crab salad that is universally reviled. He thinks he might have won the challenge.

Leah's scallops were OK but the presentation was totally 80s:

Padma: "I felt like I was on the set of the Golden Girls."

The judges love Fabio's reconstructed salad.

Melissa made an avocado and apricot salad that is pretty boring.

Jill's quiche is bad. She should have used regular eggs and then called it "mock ostrich egg quiche," which could be served while asking the question, "wouldn't it be cool if this were made with ostrich eggs? Fortunately, it isn't; but try to imagine how interesting it would be if it were!"

The judges don't like Eugene's presentation of his meat loaf. That's a long flight back to Hawaii, Eugene.

Eugene: "Oh, shut up."

Stefan's halibut is good.

Jeff's jerk chicken is good:

Jeff: "I didn't make jerk chicken."

Any chicken you make is going to be jerk chicken.

Jeff: "Oh, ha ha, very funny."

Alex made pork tenderloin and it is not good.

The judges don't like Radhika's avocado mousse dessert, which Padma describes as sweet guacamole.

They like Daniel's pound cake.

Ariane's lemon dessert is too sweet and Padma almost dies:

Padma: "That bitch tried to kill me!"

Richard makes banana bread with peanut butter but Other Eric is making so much noise about how heavenly that sounds that I have no idea what the judges thought about it.

The judges like Carla's apple tart.

Tom talks about how disappointed he was in the food. The food was so good in the first challenge that he doesn't know what went wrong. Well, first of all, the chefs obviously don't know what "new American cuisine" means. Probably because it doesn't actually mean anything. Secondly, they were only making food for four people in the first challenge and that's just not the same as preparing food for dozens of people in a restaurant. But I certainly understand his disappointment. That food was crap.

Jamie, Fabio, and Carla are the top three and Hosea, Jill, and Ariane are the bottom three.

Four salads and two desserts. The entrees were all in the middle.

Fabio starts defending his dish because he thinks he is on the bottom:

Fabio: "I don't know what's wrong with you people! Most people would love that salad! I took cheese and grated it and then I melted the grated cheese and formed it back into a block of cheese and then I sliced it very thin, sealed it in an envelope, sent it around the world by FedEx and then served it to you and you don't appreciate it? I also took the dishes and ground them into dust and then I used the dust to make clay, which I formed into new dishes using a potting wheel and a kiln. It's a lot of work but I think it's worth it. As my momma in Italy would say, 'you can all bite me!' I don't understand why you didn't like it!"

Padma: "We DID like it, you dumbass!"

Fabio: "Oh."

Fabio wins! Congratulations, Fabio!

Fabio: "Thank goodness! Now Stefan won't be embarrassed to be with me."

Padma: "Jill, you really screwed up. If we keep you on the show, how will you keep from screwing up in the next challenge?"

Jill: "Well, it was just the pressure of the challenge that made me screw up. So next time I'll be fine as long as there is no pressure."

Jill is out.

Ariane is crying because she thinks she doesn't deserve to be there:

Ariane: "You know how every time you cook you just keep tasting it over and over and over and every time you taste it it's still just as bad but you hope that if you keep tasting it it will somehow get better but it never does and you make everyone else taste it and they all tell you it's too sweet and you know it's too sweet but you just hope that the problem will magically go away? Does that ever happen to you?"

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Top Chef New York: If you can make it there, you must be very proud of yourself!

Ooh, I just realized I haven't posted in almost two weeks! Well, a lot has happened. Thank you again, everyone, for your messages of congratulations on our shotgun wedding! That and the stress of the election almost killed me. Last Tuesday was very exciting but my body just couldn't take it anymore and I came down with a cold and spent most of last week in bed. Anyway, I'm feeling better now and ready to start blogging a new season of Top Chef. One more note before we start: December 10th will be A Day Without Gays. Joel Stein had suggested the 5th but apparently other people had already started organizing for the 10th so mark your calendars. Take the day off of work, don't go out to eat, don't go shopping, don't use the Internet. Just stay at home and read a book or watch a DVD. If everyone participates there will be a lot of homophobic women walking around that day with terrible haircuts and hideous outfits and unable to get a decent apple martini. And Banana Republic will probably go out of business. Seriously, a lot of people don't realize how empty their lives would be without gays. Could they live without us for one day? Probably. But it would be interesting to find out.

OK, so let's meet this season's lesbians! Where are my lesbians?

Jamie: "Here I am!"

One lesbian? Really? That can't be right.

Richard: "Don't worry, I'm so gay you won't even miss all the lesbians! No, really, I'm super super gay! I'm not kidding! I'm totally into everything gay! I like rainbow flags and Judy Garland and, oh my god, I would totally have sex with Tom Colicchio! Tom is so yummy I want to have sex with him right now! THAT is how gay I am!"

I can't argue with that kind of evidence.

Patrick rounds out our trio of gays/lesbians:

Patrick: "Don't you think it's time for someone with a lot of heart and absolutely no experience to win Top Chef?"

Yeah, no, that's not going to happen. But thanks for playing.

Fabio is Italian:

Fabio: "I can't believe it's not butter."

Eugene is from Hawaii and has lots of tattoos.

Jeff thinks he has amazing hair.

Radhika is Indian. No, Indian Indian, you know, like, from India:

Radhika: "People think because I'm Indian I'm going to make a lot of spicy curries. And I probably will."

Lauren's husband is currently deployed in Iraq:

Lauren: "I didn't want to sit at home by myself so I figured I might as well enter a cooking competition."

Sure, why not.

Ariane is from New Jersey and has two daughters.

Danny is from New York and he doesn't feel he's appreciated:

Danny: "Everyone always assumes I'm gay because of the industry I work in so I'm going to talk about football . . ."

No, Danny, this is the one Bravo show where you don't have to worry about that.

Danny: "Oh, right. Never mind. Well, I just hope people notice me."

Carla is a caterer.

Leah doesn't want to look like a little bitch.

Stefan is European:

Stefan: "Well, of course I am European, you son of a silly person! Why do you think I talk in this ridiculous accent? I blow my nose at you. Your mother was a hamster and your father smells of elderberries."

Why are you insulting me?

Stefan: "You think a vinaigrette is an emulsion! Stupid Americans! I fart in your general direction! Now, go away before I taunt you again!"

Fine. Forget it.

Padma tells us about the quickfire:

Richard: "Ooh, what's she wearing?"

Oh, please. Who cares.

Padma: "For the quickfire challenge, you will have to symbolically peel the city of New York. Your time begins NOW!"

The chefs run wildly through the city trying to figure out what Padma means. Some of them try taking the copper siding off the Statue of Liberty, others try acid washing the Empire State Building, and still others try undressing trannie hookers but that really doesn't have anything to do with the challenge.

Padma: "For heaven's sake! I was talking about peeling apples! They're sitting right there on the table!"

Oh, that makes sense. So they have a series of challenges where the chefs peel, dice, flambe, and juggle apples.

Radhika: "Everyone just assumed that because I'm Indian I would make a chutney. So that's what I did."

Lauren and Patrick, who trained together at the Culinary Institute of America, are the bottom two. Not great advertising for the CIA.

Jeff: "How's my hair?"

It's fine. So, anyway, Lauren is eliminated and the rest of the chefs pick knives with New York City neighborhoods that will inspire their ethnic dishes for the elimination challenge.

The chefs go shopping and then go to the Top Chef kitchen, where nothing too exciting happens. Ariane watches a pot boil, Patrick screws up cooking noodles, and Jeff realizes it takes longer than five seconds to plate food.

At judges' table are Tom, Gail, Padma, and Jean-Georges. The chefs go head to head:

Stefan beats Ariane making Middle Eastern cuisine.
Jamie beats Richard making Greek cuisine.
Jill beats Radhika making Jamaican cuisine.
Hosea beats Carla making Russian cuisine.
Leah beats Melissa making Italian cuisine.
Daniel beats Patrick making Chinese cuisine.
Eugene beats Alex making Indian cuisine.
Jeff beats Fabio making Latin cuisine.

Fabio needs a translator to explain his dish:

Barbara Billingsley: "Excuse me, but I speak douche."

Oh, Barbara, that was uncalled for! I'm sure Fabio is very nice.

Ariane and Patrick are the bottom two:

Tom: "Ariane, your basic cooking skills are lacking. What would you do at home in New Jersey if someone asked you to make Middle Eastern food?"

Ariane: "I would look at a book."

Tom slaps Ariane in the face:

Tom: "How DARE you use that word in my presence!"

Ariane: "What word? Book?"

He slaps her again:

Tom: "We are chefs! We do not read!"

Patrick is out. Sorry Patrick.

Leah, Stefan, and Eugene are the top three and Stefan wins!

Stefan: "You silly Americans are always winning Top Chef. It's about time a European chef won!"

Tom: "The winner of the first elimination challenge always goes on to win the season so we're just going to go ahead and declare Stefan the Top Chef winner of season five!"

Wow! Congratulations, Stefan! Well, that was such an exciting season! See you for season six in Pittsburgh!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Cantaloupe? Oh, yes we did!

Yesterday the Erics got married in the cute little Tuscany Chapel at The Hollywood Wedding Chapel in West Hollywood! It was a very sweet, simple service performed by the Rev. Lorelei and attended by a couple of friends. It was really lovely and I highly recommend The Hollywood Chapel for all your wedding needs. They also do beach weddings or other locations but their two chapels on Santa Monica Blvd. (we were in the smaller of the two) is perfect if you don't want to reserve a church or make a bunch of other plans.

We didn't want to make a fuss so, originally, we thought we would get married at the courthouse in West Hollywood but we waited too long and they got booked up. We also couldn't do it in Beverly Hills because they were also fully booked by the time we got our license! So they gave us an appointment at the courthouse near the Los Angeles International Airport, which didn't sound very nice to begin with, but the date also turned out to be problematic. So then we were able to get another date at the Norwalk courthouse, which is the main courthouse for Los Angeles County, for October 31st. We were not thrilled with that, either. Getting married on Halloween in some city we've never been to just seemed depressing.

So, then Eric found The Hollywood Chapel and it was such a lovely, yet inexpensive, alternative to the courthouse and we were able to do it on November first, which will make our anniversary very easy to remember! We got the elopement special and kept it very casual. We were in jeans and dress shirts and wore leis that my mom had shipped from Hawaii. Afterwards, we went down the pub for pints and fried food. Perfect!

Anyway, I just wanted to put up a little post about our day. Thanks to everyone for your kind wishes!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ted Stevens, Top Design, and High School Musical!

What do these things have in common? Absolutely nothing. Why would they? I just felt like mentioning them all in one post. Do you have a problem with that?

First, Ted Stevens was just found guilty. The most shocking thing about this whole sordid story is that it took him forty years of corruption to build that totally shitty house in Alaska. Seriously, have you seen that dump? When I saw the house I thought it must be the "before" picture but, no, that's what it really looks like. It reminds me of the movie The Jerk, when Steve Martin gets rich and his family rebuilds their shack into a gigantic version of the exact same shack. I'm pretty sure if I were as big a criminal as he is I would have a much nicer house than that. I almost feel sorry for him.

Second, I wanted to mention the Chandelier Challenge going on over at Blogging Top Design! Have you ever wanted to disappoint the amazing Margaret Russell? Well, now's your chance! You can design a room around a chandelier just like the designers did on Top Design and even have the opportunity to be judged by a Top Design judge! Will Margaret think you are a hack or next big thing? To be honest, it will probably be the former. But you never know! Seriously, check out the contest and submit an entry! There is a chance Margaret will actually see your design! No shit!

Third, if you have not seen High School Musical with several hundred screaming pre-teen girls then you have not had the full High School Musical experience! It is hilarious! And the movie is not horrible, either. Zach and Vanessa's love songs made me want to gauge my ears out but the rest of the movie was really fun! Except for the really annoying British girl, I liked the characters; the choreography is great; a few of the songs are enjoyable; and the chubby cheerleader is the most amazing dancer, which sends a very positive message to girls: it's OK to be overweight as long as you are a cheerleader. No, seriously, I really enjoyed watching her dance! There were some weird parts, like when Sharpay's gay twin brother almost came out of the closet while dancing with a hot shirtless guy and then he ends up falling in love with the girl who plays the piano because they both wear dumb hats. And, of course, the message of the movie is just as muddled as the last one (your friends are more important than your education?) But, all in all, I thought it was fun!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I am totally obsessed with with the electoral college maps on Yahoo! You can play around with different scenarios to see how each candidate gets to 270. The really fun part is that there is no realistic way for John McCain to reach 270! The McCain campaign is pretending Pennsylvania is still in play but they are just fooling themselves. The only way for McCain to win is if he wins Nevada, Colorado, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. Seeing as Obama is ahead in all those states, that will be quite a challenge. McCain could easily win most of those states. But all of them? I don't think so.

Just because I'm feeling generous today, I'm going to give McCain all the states where Obama is leading by less than 8 points. So we'll give him Nevada, Colorado, Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida. Obama still wins! New Mexico? That's pretty safe for Obama but, just for the sake of argument, McCain can have it. Sorry; not enough! McCain wants part of New Hampshire? Fine. We'll give him two points there. He still loses!

To me, the exciting state to watch on election night will be Virginia. Obama has an 8 point lead in Virginia. If he wins the state, the election will be over early. Once he wins Virginia, he doesn't need any other battleground state. Obviously, Florida would do the job, too, and if he wins Virginia and Florida, it will be a landslide. If Obama loses Virginia (and Florida), it will be a longer night. We may have to wait to see what happens in Colorado.

So, the point is, I don't think McCain has much of a chance. He has to win 8 states where Obama is now leading. Many of them are close and if he worked really hard he could erase Obama's lead in most of them. But I just don't see how he could win them all. For instance, if he spent all his resources in Virginia trying to convice people that Obama is in favor of murdering babies, he could probably win that state. But then he would end up losing Colorado or some other state so it wouldn't do him any good.

Finally, just a quick comment on the Bradley effect. The Bradley effect is a horrible racist relic brought to you by the beautiful state of California. You're welcome! In case you aren't familiar with it, it refers to a black Los Angeles mayor who lost his bid for governor even though he was ahead in the polls. Apparently, people said they were voting for him because they didn't want to seem racist but then ended up voting for the white guy. This was decades ago and I don't think it's as bad anymore. Some people mentioned it when Obama lost New Hampshire in the primaries but I think that was just because people changed their minds. I don't think we've seen much other evidence of it. Still, some analysts suggest it could account for as much as a six percent discrepancy in polling. Fortunately, even if you factor in six points, Obama still wins!

But, as Michelle Obama pointed out, a black man running for president will be the underdog until he is actually sitting in the Oval Office. So don't take anything for granted! Make sure you vote!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Project Runway Season Five, Finale, Part Two: We survived another season!

Heidi: "Welcome to the finale of season five! I know I say this every time but this was definitely the worst season ever!"

Harvey Weinstein: "You're welcome!"

Seriously, I understand that the Weinsteins hate Bravo so they don't want to make a good show and Bravo wants to make sure Lifetime is buying a piece of shit so they don't want to promote the show, but I think they might have gone a little overboard. So we get the least talented group of designers, the worst challenges, and then no reunion show? Hello? Project Runway? Bravo just isn't that into you. After watching this season I can't help wondering if Lifetime could possibly do a worse job. I have a sneak peek of season six at the end of the post.

Anyway, last week Jerell was out and the remaining three designers have brought their collections to New York and they are making the final preparations for their runway shows:

They pick models. Korto needs hair, Leanne likes aliens, and we have an exciting two second reunion with Morgan from season one. We also get to see that girl I liked from "Make Me a Supermodel." Remember her? She was actually too tall to be a model! I didn't know that was possible.

The designers learn that they need to prune their collections from twelve to ten looks.

Tim argues with Kenley about the judges' reaction to her wedding dress:

Kenley: "Well, you aren't going to be the one judging my collection so I don't care what you think!"

[insert laugh track here]

Korto is so disappointed that Tim hasn't sprung one final challenge on her that she decides to make two new looks at the last minute. It doesn't help.

Tim makes his rounds and tells Kenley he's not crazy about the ropes:

Kenley: "Well, my dad would think this is rad as hell."

Kenley's Dad: "Yeah, I think it's rad as hell. Because I'm a tugboat captain and I say things like that."

A dog walks into the design room and shits on the floor:

Harvey Weinstein: "You're welcome!"

On the day of the show the designers are dressing the models. One of Leanne's models lost weight and one of Kenley's models gained weight so they switch models. Not really. Kenley finally zips her model into the dress but Leanne has to put her model in a dress she wasn't planning to use. It's not a great dress.

Jennifer Lopez was supposed to be the guest judge but she lost a foot in a horrible Manolo Blahnik accident and is recovering in Greece. Tim Gunn will be taking her place because they couldn't find anyone else. It's too bad there were no other fashionable celebrities in New York during New York Fashion Week. What? There were? Well, anyway, Tim is the guest judge:

Tim: "Well, butter my ass and call me a biscuit! I am so pleased to be here!"

It's not that I don't think Tim makes a good judge, but there was a reason he hadn't done it before: there is the slight conflict of interest problem because he is the designers' mentor and is involved in the work process.

I was shocked by this announcement:

Me: "What? Jennifer Lopez was supposed to be the guest judge and she's not there?"

Other Eric: "Are you kidding? We've known about this for weeks!"

Me: "Well, I don't pay attention to the fashion shows and I work very hard to remain clueless. Just like Kenley."

Let's see the shows!

Kenley is inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Whatever. Other Eric and I like three looks in the middle of her collection: the black tulle skirt, the long black dress, and the adorable white dress with the full skirt and painted flowers. That one was especially cute. There were pieces I really liked in this collection but, overall, it wasn't very good.

Korto wants to know if you are ready for her. Well are ya, punk?

I really didn't like this collection. Some of the colors were nice. That's about the best thing I can say. Most of the pieces were wearable and pretty but I was bored. I can't believe she didn't come up with something more exciting.

Leanne lost millions of hours of sleep over her collection. You can tell. I recommend Lunesta. Because that Ambien shit will seriously mess you up. One of the side effects is sleep-sewing. It's tragic. Leanne's collection was interesting but it was a little too much "variations on a theme" for me. It was certainly cohesive. That's good, right? Actually, I really liked many of the pieces but I just got a little bored by the repetition. But I guess it's the best of the three.

Leanne wins a hundred thousand dollars:

Leanne: "This brotha's gettin' paid !"

uh, ok

So, here's the preview of season six on Lifetime:

Season Six of Project Runway, staring Tracey Gold in the inspirational true story of an aspiring fashion designer who overcomes a brain tumor, a rape, and the abduction of her child and seeks revenge against her cheating husband.

Yeah, that's what I was afraid of.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Project Runway Season Five, Finale Part One: A Very Eric Wedding!

What does that title mean, you ask? Well, it was just a coincidence that this episode was about a wedding dress challenge because Other Eric and I just went down to the Beverly Hills courthouse this morning and picked up our marriage license. I would like to take this opportunity to remind people that there is a ballot initiative on the November ballot in California to take away the right to marry from same-sex couples. I think most people reading this blog would agree that gays and lesbians should have equal rights. But just in case some of you think using the word "marriage" sounds weird because we aren't used to it, ask yourself this: Is the fact that a word sounds weird because we aren't used to it a valid reason to discriminate against people? The answer is clearly no. If you live in California, please vote no on Proposition 8. Whether or not you live in California, please consider donating money to help defeat this ballot initiative. The No on 8 campaign is running excellent television commercials but they need more money. You can donate online at Equality California. Thank you!

Heidi: "Wow, now I almost feel silly asking Tim if my skirt is too short."

Last week nobody was eliminated and Jerell got no advantage for winning. Oh, and everyone hates Kenley.

This week we learn that the four finalists will go home for two months to create collections and, as part of those collections, they will each be designing a wedding gown that will judged in order to pick the final three.

Everyone goes outside and catches taxis:

Jerell: "I don't know what the other girls will be doing with their eight thousand dollars but I will be buying some high-grade cocaine!"

Tim visits Korto in Little Rock:

Tim: "I can't tell you how thrilled I am to be in Arkansas."

Korto: "Well, who wouldn't be?"

I love the colors in Korto's collection but the shapes are not as exciting as I would have liked. And, apparently, Arkansas has some weird-ass wildlife:

Korto: "I'm using the colors of the florescent lime-green trees outside and I've been killing and skinning these gold-lamé snakes."

Tim: "Well, I think it's fabulous. I'm just a little concerned about the fact that this one dress looks like a gigantic vagina."

We meet Korto's lovely family, she performs for us on the drums, and she tells us how her family had to flee the civil war in Liberia and start over in the United States.

Next, Tim visits Leanne in Portland:

Leanne: "Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be on Project Runway. This is a dream come true."

I really like the flaps on Leanne's collection. I'm liking it much more than I liked anything she did in the competitions. Her wedding dress is awful. She's going to change it.

Tim visits Jerell in Los Angeles:

Jerell really specializes in separates so obviously he is doing a collection of hideous evening gowns. I'm really not liking what he's showing Tim.

We meet Jerell's "love interest":

Jerell: "We aren't dating; we're just interested."

OK, I don't think I've ever heard anyone use that term before but I just realized that's how you describe characters in a story:

Jerell: "Right; this is a story about the world-famous fashion designer Jerell, who has a retrospective of his life at the Metropolitan Museum. Oh, and of course there is also a love interest."

Whatever. We also meet Jerell's mom:

Tim: "What did you think Jerell would be when he grew up?"

Jerell's Mom: "Well, I had no idea but I knew it would be something gay. I'm so proud of him."

Jerell also tells us about growing up in South Central during the riots. I can't immagine. It was scary enough being an adult and living in Hollywood during the riots.

Tim visits Kenley in Brooklyn. I don't see enough of Kenley's collection to form an opinion. She tells us about her grandmother and that she died really recently. Like right about the time they were finishing filming of the main part of the show. I'm assuming it happened right after they left to start making their collections because she didn't leave during filming to attend a funeral. That's so sad.

Pleather: "Oh, yeah, Kenley's grandmother visited me in my dreams and told me to wear my underpants on my head."

Oh, shut up, Pleather. That is so rude.

For some reason, we don't meet any of Kenley's family or friends. She must have at least one friend, right? Right?

The designers meet up in New York. The designers give Kenley a little bit of a cold shoulder but Jerell is at least polite to her and after she apologizes for being a bitch, people start to relax and are a little friendlier. The champagne probably helped, too.

The for final surprise challenge they have to design a bridesmaid's dress to go with their wedding dresses.

Jerell: "My bridesmaid's dress is perfect because it's really ugly."

Korto: "My bridesmaid's dress is going to look exactly like the wedding dress."

Sure, what bride wants to be the center of attention?

Tim cries.

On to the runway with no special guest judge:

Jerell's wedding dress is almost pretty. I completely agree with Nina that the warm gold of the satin and the cool grey of the tulle doesn't look right. It looks accidental. I don't like his bridesmaid's dress. It isn't terrible and I see the connection to the wedding dress but I just don't like it.

Kenley's wedding dress is gorgeous! It's nothing original but it's very cute. Her little blue bridesmaid's dress is also very cute.

Korto's wedding dress is pretty hideous. I really don't like it. Her bridesmaid's dress is OK but the judges find it inexcusably boring.

Leanne's wedding dress is pretty amazing. It's both pretty and interesting. It perfectly represents her collection. Her bridesmaid's dress is very pretty and works perfectly with the wedding dress. The flaps are really dramatic without looking gimmicky.

The judges love Leanne's and she will be competing at Bryant Park.

The judges think Kenley's dress is a copy of an Alexander McQueen but they love it anyway. She will be competing at Bryant Park.

They hate both of Korto's dresses and both of Jerell's dresses. Jerell is out!

I was a Korto supporter from the first episode but I think the judges made the wrong decision on this one. Korto completely blew this challenge and should have been out. Jerell screwed up too but slightly less than Korto.

Next week we get to meet a dear old drunk, er, I mean, a dear old friend.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Project Runway Season Five, Episode Twelve: What was the point?

Heidi: "Hey, Tim, how do you like my tuxedo?"

Tim: "It's fine, I guess."

Howie Mandel runs out and rips off Heidi's tuxedo to reveal a miniskirt:

Tim: "What the hell was that?"

Heidi: "It's called comedy, Tim. You wouldn't understand."

We start the episode by learning that Korto is really old:

Korto: "I'm thirty-three."

Wow. She would be in her forties by the end of her second term as president.

We start the hating on Kenley:

Leanne: "Kenley should have gone home long ago because I don't like her."

I guess I missed the part about this being a competition for Leanne's friendship.

Heidi: "Oh, yeah; it's right there in the fine print. Right next to the part about having to pretend you drive a Saturn for the rest of your life."

Jerell is all alone is his apartment and he's losing his mind:

Jerell: "I painted a face on this volleyball with my own blood but it could never take the place of Pleather. For starters, Wilson has too much dignity to talk about himself in the third person."

Heidi comes out in a dress that makes her look like she was swallowed by a very small leopard:

Heidi: "Guess what? We're actually using the models this week! Hey, has anyone seen the models? I know I left them laying around here, somewhere."

Heidi tells us that only three of the designers will be competing at fashion week:

Heidi: "Notice that I said 'competing.'"

Yeah? What's your point?

Tim takes the designers on a field trip to a magical place where flowers and other plants grow right out of the ground, instead of in pots and vases like they are supposed to:

Tim: "It's called a botanical garden."

I think you're making that up.

But, the one thing I would expect to find at a botanical garden, if such a place existed, would be Collier Strong, L'oreal makeup artist. And, sure enough, he's there!

Collier Strong: "I love driving my beautiful and fuel-efficient Botanical Garden to photo-shoots, where I use the new Liquid Extreme Botanical Garden on my clients so they can appear in a spread for the next issue of Botanical Garden."

I am so sick of all the blatant botanical garden promotion on this show.

Anyway, the designers have to design an evening gown inspired by nature.

Then we have a sentimental montage sequence set the music of Tears for Fears: The designers are taking pictures of flowers and having pillow fights, Kenley finds the perfect fuchsia snakeskin fabric and Leanne is being chased by bees, everyone laughs and eats cotton candy on the boardwalk, and then the summer is over and everyone has to go to different colleges.

The scene at Parsons the New School for Design gets ugly when Kenley realizes that she forgot her tulle at Mood and, even thought the other three designers all had tulle they weren't using, none of them will offer her any. I understand they don't like her but that's just rude. One nice thing about Project Runway is that the designers help each other even though it's in their best interest not to. The designers should want to win because they have the best design, not because someone forgot fabric at Mood. I'm not a Kenley fan but I bet she would have given the other designers her extra fabric if they had needed it.

Anyway, to relieve the tension caused by that scene, Alison from season three or four pretends to design some dress inspired by the Saturn that she was forced to drive for a few minutes.

Tim lets Kenley go back to Mood to get her tulle and she is very gracious about not lording it over the other disappointed designers. Thankfully, she can now complete her horrible, hideous dress.

Collier Strong does the makeup for the show:

Collier: "I'm going to use purple eye shadow for the purple dress and green eye shadow for the green dress."

You're a genius, Collier.

Kenley tells us what a struggle her life has been:

Kenley: "My father was a tugboat captain and that's why I turned out like this."

That was such a inspirational story.

Back in the design room Tim makes his rounds:

Korto's lace is bothering him.

Kenley's fish scales are bothering him.

Jerell's unfinishedness is bothering him.

Leanne's Hello Dolly costume is bothering him.

For some reason Tim is so proud of each and every one of them. He gives his final words of advice:

Tim: "Remember to borrow egregiously from the Bluefly wall."

Designers: "Absolutely!"

At the commercial break Bravo asks if we would have given our extra tulle to Kenley.

Here are your options:

a) No way would I help that bitch.

b) Absolutely not.

c) Why the hell would I?

d) Kenley can drop dead.

Gosh, that's a tough one.

Before the runway show, we see Korto praying:

Korto: "Dear Suri Cruise, please grant me the strength to get through this challenge."

That's interesting; I didn't know Korto was a Presbyterian.

On to the runway with judges Michael Kors, Nina Garcia, and some woman named Georgina they found hanging out in front of Parsons.

Leanne created this really ugly dress based on lavender. I can see the flower inspiration and I'm sure the ruffles were hard to do but I really hate it. The silhouette is so boring I just want to slap someone. God, I hate this dress. The judges, of course, like it.

Korto created an almost pretty dress based on a really beautiful orange flower. The flower was so gorgeous; it really would have been the perfect time to do some of her magic with volume. Instead, she created a simple silhouette, though not nearly as boring as Leanne. The lace is just godawful. I don't know what she was thinking. The judges think it is a beauty pageant dress.

Jerell's dress is the only one that's interesting. It's based on roses and I think it's really kind of cool. His model looks like she has a stick up her ass but I think she always looks like that. The dress isn't finished well but the judges like it.

Kenley created a dress for a drag queen. The top part is actually a very beautifully-fitted, though boring, sheath dress. But then she put all these horribly tacky leaves on the bottom. It looks like a craft project. Nina thinks it looks like a reptile:

Nina: "But not in a cool way."

That's right. It looks like a reptile in an uncool way.

Heidi: "It's not elegant."

Kenley: "I wasn't going for elegant, Heidi!"

Heidi: "Well, we don't like it."


Michael: "Kenley, why are you being so ungrateful? We all are such big fans and we just care about you so much and want you to succeed."

Nina: "Oh, don't be such a yenta, Michael. We all hate her."

Jerell wins . . . nothing. No, seriously, did he win anything other than bragging rights? I always say someone didn't win anything and then someone points out that I'm wrong and he actually won an internship as an assistant Editor at Large or a date with Collier Strong or a shirt inspired by the amazing new Saturn or something. Let me know if I missed the prize.

Heidi tells us that this was the closest decision in the history of the world:

Heidi: "Actually, just in the history of Project Runway."

Same thing. Then she tells us who is out:

Heidi: "Nobody is out!"

I KNEW IT! YOU LIAR! You said only three people were going to Bryant Park!

Heidi: "No. I said only three would be competing at Bryant Park. Remember?"

oh, yeah.

So, all four of them will create collections and be back for Fashion Week but one of them will be out before the show so that only three will be competing in the finale. It's similar to last season. The difference is that, instead of the bottom two competing against each other for the third spot, any one of them could be out. So we are exactly where we were when this challenge started. If it weren't for the hideous dresses, this challenge would have been a complete waste of time.

I leave you with the designers telling us which of the other designers should not be competing at Bryant Park:

Leanne: "Kenley sucks."

Korto: "Kenley sucks."

Jerell: "Kenley sucks."

Kenley: "Well, I think Korto's style is just too classic to really wow them at Fashion Week."

Korto: "I can't believe you would say such a horrible thing."