Thursday, March 5, 2009

Top Chef Season 5 Reunion Show: A Glimpse of What Could Have Been

I didn't laugh. Not when Stefan admitted that he was "happy" he didn't win the title of "Top Chef." Not when host Andy Cohen (who is that guy?) presented a montage of this season's bald chefs, and certainly not when video was played of the extremely drunk Leah and Jamie giggling like psychopaths at the judges' table.

I wanted to enjoy the show. To find something to smile about after last week's beyond disappointing finale, but once again, "Top Chef" season five came up short. The only segment that brought even the slightest wrinkle of joy to my face was the Stefan-as-ladies'-man montage-- in particular the final image of his face, aglow with infatuation, at the sight of Padma walking in the room. I liked seeing that softer side of Stefan and wish that the producers' had shown more of that humanity throughout the season instead of always portraying him as the big bad European wolf. It might have made me appreciate him more. And it might have made me feel more invested in his food rather than always focusing on his poor attitude and bulging ego instead.

In many ways, last night's reunion show was a bitter reminder of what could have been with not just Stefan, but all the contestants. Part of my problem with this season was my inability to connect with any of the chefs other than Fabio, and at the end, Carla. The feeling was only further excerbated by each montage played last night. The show took each of the chefs and stripped them down to be defined by a single characteristic or moment in the season. Jamie was her whining, Fabio was his accent, Carla was her "hooty-hoo's." As hard as it was for me to relate to most of the chefs' personalities, part of me wonders how I would feel toward them if I'd seen the whole picture -- before the final cuts were made.

Maybe if I'd seen more of the spirited hi-jinks in the "Stew Room" I might have come to see that Leah is not just boy crazy, she is also a bit of a boozer. Maybe I would have noticed that Jamie can be lovable when she's not busy complaining about never winning. And maybe I would have had a reason to tune into the show week after week that did not involve Fabio. At the very least, I would have been priivy to a depth of flavor that was not present in the episodes that came to air. Like any good chef knows, a little salt and pepper can go a long way.

6 comments:

Esi said...

Andy Cohen is an executive at Bravo who (inexplicably) feels the need to host boring reunion shows with the casts of his "hits".

It was a boring show to end a boring season and I really hope the next one is better!!

Alessandra said...

I actually liked Leah more after seeing this show. I get the feeling that the producers at Bravo went a little overboard in editing this season, as all of the characters were very one-note on the show. They all seemed a lot more interesting on the reunion show, and I agree that it made me wonder how much better the season would have been with a little spice!

Nicole said...

I was pretty bored w/the reunion show, especially the montage of the bald dudes. I wish they had spoken with each of the chef's more about their experiences on the show, what it was really like behind the scenes...disappointments, etc etc.

Reeni♥ said...

I second everything you said and also Esi's comment. Even the reunion show was dull...

Heather said...

uggggghhhhh. andy cohen is the worst. he's so annoying and nasaly. i didn't watch the reunion show - antm was premiering last night so that got my attention instead.

Pepsi Monster said...

That was the problems on the whole season for the shows. The editing and direction for the show was poorly constructed.

I did watched those exclusive clips on Bravo's website and Hulu where they show the contestants entering the "castaway motel room" where the rest of the cast off contestants are congregated. They would take guesses on who will be booted it off and entered the room. A lot of them were shocked when Ariane and Radhika got in. Jamie too.

A lot of those behind the scenes videos were fun and I wished those get incorporated on the personalities of the contestants. Instead, it's the lame USA vs Euro battle where they forced Fabio, Stefan, and Hosea cheesy lines on a supposed rivalry. The one that really was a great contestant with a lot of vibrant personality was Jamie and I wished that get showed more instead of snipplet of her tired and sleepy doing those interviews. It does look like she was uncomfortable doing those interviews (I think it was right after she got eliminated).