It's one of the few shows that everyone in my family watches. Well, aside from my mom, who doesn't really enjoy it (she doesn't like thinking about food when she's not eating it), but she humors it when I'm in town and want to watch it. As for the rest of my crazy clan, we go nuts for Tom Collichio's bald head and critical tongue, and the lot of those often arrogant, potty-mouthed cheftestants.
While I normally enjoy the show alone in my WeHo apartment with only a bowl of ice cream to keep me company (looking at all the food always makes me hungry), this past Wednesday I was home for Thanksgiving, and watched it with my mom and dad. I knew what would happen even before my dad changed the channel to Bravo -- the hour-long episode would be similar to a pop-up video on VH-1. My parents, particularly my dad (my mom understands the golden rule of television-viewing, ie. no talking allowed), would not be able to resist adding in their commentary.
Part of me wanted to staple gun my dad's mouth shut so I could focus on all the sweat and steam and sauteing, but ultimately, most of what he said was spot-on. I agreed with his remarks, and feel it is appropriate to share his play-by-play analysis of the third episode rather than creating my own interpretation. Of course, since this is "Diana Takes a Bite," I do feel somewhat compelled to provide my own thoughts on his thoughts. (Especially since I abide by the no-talking rule and didn't get to verbalize them during the episode itself.)
The contestants each draw a recipe out of the Top Chef cookbook that they will have one hour to re-create. With fifteen minutes remaining, Padma informs the chefs that they must take the ingredients they are using to make a soup instead.
Pop-up commentary: My dad guffaws, his hearty chuckle startling me from across the room. "Fifteen minutes? It takes hours to make a good soup!" He chortles.
My thoughts: "Poor chefs. What a waste of all their pretty ingredients! The tuna tartar is going to be ruined!"
Pop-up commentary: (Re: Carla and her shrimp, coriander, tomato soup) "I like her. She's good. She knows what she's doing."
My thoughts: "Yeah, when she's not busy channeling her spirit guides and meditating about love and light..."
The contestants are divided into two teams, and each team is charged with the same assignment -- create a Thanksgiving dinner for the Foo Fighters. Using microwaves and toaster ovens. The winning team gets to attend the band's concert; the losing team has to clean up.
Dad: "What's a 'Foo Fighter?'"
Me: "They're a band."
Dad: "How does one get to be a 'Foo Fighter?'"
Me: "They're a band."
My Thoughts: "Foo Fighters? Really? That's the best Top Chef can get?"
Pop-up commentary (from my mom): (re: the "Cougar" team, their choice of name and mascot (Ariane)) "I don't like that term. It's derogatory toward women. They don't have a name like that for men who do the same thing."
My Thoughts: "I see your point. Until that older woman steals my boyfriend (if I had one...)"
Pop-up commentary: (re: Jeff who is running around the "kitchen" like someone dumped hot water down his pants) "He's trying to do too much."
My Thoughts: "Plus he looks like a pretty boy. I don't like men who are prettier than me."
Team "Sexy Pants" (side note: lamest name ever) wins the challenge, and Team Cougar is sent to the chopping block. The desserts and potatoes are deemed the weakest part of the meal, and Richard's s'mores, Danny's undercooked mashed potatoes, and pretty boy Jeff's pumpkin mousse and fig stuffing, are immediately singled out as the worst dishes.
Pop-up commentary: (re: the initial line of questioning from the judges) "S'mores boy is gone."
My Thoughts: "Gosh darnit, Top Chef! Yet another predictable episode! I want a shocker! And not just one that involves Ariane actually cooking something good."
The chefs sit around and yell at each other.
Pop-up commentary: (Still looking at Carla) "I like her. She's good."
Danny eats a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and Jamie yells at him for spilling peanut butter on the floor.
My Thoughts: "Since when does peanut butter drip? Is it warm peanut butter? Mmm... that sounds good. Maybe I'll have that for lunch tomorrow..."
Final Judge's Table
"S'mores boy" (Richard) is eliminated.
Pop-up commentary: "Hah! S'mores boy is gone!"
My Thoughts: "S'mores boy is gone. I want a cookie."