At least they were enjoying themselves. From left, non-winners Cliff, Lia, Clay, Sandee, Camille, and Micah.Photo courtesy Bravo
This week’s Top Chef provided viewers with a nasty surprise: Instead of another dramatic contest, featuring a promised run-in with Rocco DiSpirito, we were treated to an inexplicable let’s-look-back special, featuring contestants from previous shows and the current crop of rejects sitting on couches, all laughing uproariously at their own antics as captured in outtakes. Was it shameless, more cheesy, or more boring? Grub Street and Adam Platt were flabbergasted by the banality of it all.
Ozersky: Holy God. That was the most painful hour of TV I’ve ever sat through.
Platt: Who was the goofball in the tan suit? And why were none of them wearing socks?
Ozersky: Not sure about the tan suit, but Ilan’s tuxedo with no socks made me hate him even more than I did before.
Platt: I hate him, and I don’t even know who he is. Who is Ilan? Did he win something during one of the years I wasn’t watching?
Platt: It makes me happy I missed the first season. And, come to think of it, also the second one.
Ozersky: He won the last season. He’s a cook from Casa Mono.
Platt: Casa Mono?!
Platt: A cook from Casa Mono was top chef?!
Ozersky: He was indeed, and was that smarmy the whole time … But seriously, what the hell were they thinking? Why would they put this on in the middle of the season? It’s like the opposite of a sweeps stunt.
Platt: I didn’t mind some of the audition outtakes. There was hurricane Howie sweating into his pots and pans.
Ozersky: I know, ew! But at least his food it will never lack salt.
Ozersky: Seriously, this show just lost a ton of credibility with me. I had forgotten how cheesy it was for a while. Then they pull a stunt like this.
Platt: Let’s review what we learned about chefs during this 40 or so minutes of self-congratulatory puffery: They like to drink a lot. They’re generally a little nuts. They like Padma’s clothes.
Ozersky: They’re horrible actors, too. Their forced, endless laughter was about as convincing as Michael Corleone’s "I’ve learned I can change" speech from Godfather II.
Ozersky: Lia sure looked good though…
Platt: Lia looked very healthy, as usual.
Ozersky: Did you see Vongo make a Special Guest Appearance?
Platt: Umm, I missed him. My eyes were glazing over by the second minute. I perked up a little when, in some dim outtake, they started shooting off errant bottles of Champagne.
Ozersky: This episode was definitely a potent soporific. The only thing that kept me awake was trying to understand why they did it.
Ozersky: Why, Platt, why?
Platt: I can’t help you, my porcine friend! It was drivel from beginning to end! It was all smiling and self-congratulation. But I wondered a little why certain chefs from this season weren’t there. Where was hurricane Howie? Where was Hung?
Ozersky: It was all losers, except for Ilan and Harold. And us, for watching.