Wednesday, December 13, 2006

99 Bottles of Beer, Off the Wall: Tom Colicchio's Subtle Argument for Repealing the 21st Amendment

Is it us, or is Tom Colicchio feeling a little contrite?

After the Thanksgiving episode, when a drunk, raging El Bully (what else is new?) threatened to beat Marcel so badly that his mother would not recognize him, all because Marcel had the temerity to move El Bully's toothbrush and make-up bag, Tom Colicchio wrote on his blog that Frank ought to be aware that physically threatening your staff could get you brought up on charges.

On this week's blog, however, Tom seems to be changing his tune a little, saying of the cheftestants, "Is it any wonder that they flip out when someone touches their toothbrush?"

Of course, to appreciate our point fully, you ought to read the whole thing:
The chefs have few pressure outlets; they’re allowed limited internet access in order to research food, but they aren’t allowed to disappear for a long walk, or hole themselves away with headphones, etc. since the show depends upon their engaging with one another. They can’t even listen to music, since this would interfere with recording dialogue! One of the only ways the chefs can blow off steam is by drinking -- which only contributes to the exhaustion. To top it all off, they have been, by necessity, divested of their money to discourage independent forays out into the world and are kept isolated from other people (except the judges, crew, and the people they feed) which gives their world a surreal, hermetic quality. Is it any wonder that they flip out when someone touches their toothbrush?
So let us get this straight. The cheftestants are required to "engag[e] with one another." They have been "divested of their money." But "[o]ne of the only ways [they] can blow off steam is by drinking." So if they've got no money, how is it they can always get their hands on alcohol? (We'll leave aside the resourceful Beer Bong, who took money from his Elimination Challenge budget to buy beer instead of cheese for his cheese steak sandwich.) Who could be giving them the booze? Could it be...Satan?

Some would call it hypocrisy. As it is Wednesday, and a new episode is promised (and one where Padma appears to look good!), we are feeling charitable, so we will call it contrition.

We have a suggestion. If the drama of the competition requires the cheftestants to be sozzled, why not incorporate this need for alcohol into the competition itself? Bring on an oenophile, sommelier, or lush as a guest judge, and as an Elimination Challenge have each cheftestant create his or her own bathtub moonshine from the remains of the Quickfire Challenge. That's definitely a show we would watch.


eric3000 said...

Stephen "have I mentioned I'm a sommelier" Esprinio tried to incorporate alcohol into most of the challenges last season and, actually, I don't think it helped much. There was that wine-pairing episode that was OK; hopefully they'll do that again. But I didn't find that drunken mess of a finale amusing at all.

Ms. Place said...

Then again, I might choose to be sloshed when watching the finale of this TC train wreck. Although last night's episode was riveting, the interaction among this bunch seems to be way out of control. I'm afraid I can no longer look at Marcel with a sober eye.