Thursday, February 08, 2007

Amuse-Biatch Beats a Dead Horse Good, and Raggaydy Andy Tackles the Whole Truth About the Paradoxical "Integrity" of Editing

In the latest edition of his daily blog, and in apparent response to viewer feedback, Bravo VP Raggaydy Andy Cohen once again tackles Clippergate, why there wasn't a reunion show, and how Top Chef became unbalanced:

The lingering question that y'all want to re-address is one that I answered on Watch What Happens several weeks ago, the Elia/head shaving question. On almost every show we do ... we condense material that takes place over hours and hours of time (like cooking and judges' table) into minutes. The night in question was no different and we did not alter the integrity of what happened, which is that Marcel was bullied. That was the focus of what occured that night and what led to Cliff's dismissal the next morning.

Another question that I have been asked a lot is why Marcel was not disqualified for tackling Elia on the beach. There is not a person on the production team who equated that with Cliff's incident with Marcel weeks later. It was plain frollicking by the beach between friends, which at that point they were.

In the big picture "listening to viewers" category, we are constantly striving to find the balance between the drama and the cooking, and many of you felt we didn't hit it right this season. It IS a show about cooking but it's always a tough call in the edit room when there is drama that is informing what's going on in the kitchen between the chefs. You feel we missed the mark on that BIG TIME and I hear that loud and clear.

One of several reasons we didn't do a reunion show this season was because of your feeling that the show was too negative and the drama too intense. See season one's reunion show if you want a refresher on how a cooking reunion show can turn into an episode of "Jerry Springer" and that will further clue you in about our thoughts this year. You weren't crazy about that show, either.

We have something much better planned for the chefs this year, so watch what happens for more on that!

Now, we're going to be serious for a few minutes, so just bear with us.

While we appreciate Raggaydy Andy's addressing the question more fully than before, if we may be so presumptuous as to offer advice, part of the problem may lie in the repeated use of the word "integrity."

Take a look at how Merriam-Webster defines it:

Main Entry: in·teg·ri·ty
Pronunciation: \in-ˈte-grə-\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English integrite, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French integrité, from Latin integritat-, integritas, from integr-, integer entire
Date: 14th century
1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility
2 : an unimpaired condition : soundness
3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness
synonyms see honesty

Now, when a thing is edited, it by definition lacks "integrity," because it is not whole or complete. But let's leave that aside for a moment. Instead, let's focus on what Raggaydy Andy says, namely, that Bravo "condense[s] material that takes place over hours and hours of time (like cooking and judges' table) into minutes." However, this, and the word "condense," seem to imply, at least to us, that the chronology of an event is preserved, e.g., if it takes a cheftestant two hours to bake a cake, the "condensation" may show it happening in two minutes, but it doesn't first show the cake being put in the oven and then the flour being mixed with the eggs. No matter how "condensed" the time, things are still shown in the order in which they occurred.

But, as we know all too well, this is not what happened in Clippergate. Bravo altered the chronology of events, and both Elia and Marcel have confirmed that Cliff and Ilan attempted to shave Marcel's head first and only after that attempt was unsuccessful did Elia and Ilan shave their own heads. And yet Bravo can't seem to admit that, and won't say, "Yes, we altered the chronology, and Elia shaved her head after the attack on Marcel." It really would be that simple. But that's what makes viewers angry, this unwillingness to own up to a clumsy lie after it has been exposed as such. And so, until Bravo comes clean or releases the "integral" video of that night, the repeated use of the word "integrity" will continue to be so jarring and ring so false.

Now back to frivolity, bitchery, and Padma Lakshmi's clothes.


Anonymous said...

WOW! Andy is PISSED!

As for the editing, I'm over it. From day one, they type casted Marcel as the villain. Despite this attempt, I immediately liked him after watching the first show.

Regarding the clipergate conspiracy, it does bother me that they rearranged the events. However, top chef fans were very quick to notice.

Lastly,"watch what happens" was fine. i liked how the fans could call in or text message the chefs questions. Before, I really wanted a reunion show to watch them interact with each other. However, I have changed my mind. Based on all the post interviews, the majority of chefs are still complaining about Marcel. Therefore, if they had a reunion show they would probably do the same. I do not want to watch this.

Anonymous said...

Stay on them! Don't let them slink away.

If it hadn't been for that brief glimps of hairy headed Elia, they would have gotten away with trying to sanatize that night. I also think they vastly underestimated the public reaction.

Anonymous said...

oh anon...i don't think that's a problem...i would check andy's blog regarding the fan mail. he quotes some heated emails and then addresses them. based on his responses he doesn't sound too regretful.

Anonymous said...

here's the link to what i was talking about.....

(note: you'll have to copy and paste the address together)

Anonymous said...

The editors thought we were too dumb to notice the reverse, now Raggaydy Andy, and Sam, when asked, "I think so", won't cop to it. Like were going to buy that BS or anything else that comes out of your mouth's from here on out. The first poster here needs to check out TWoP/Marcel's thread. He has more positive posts than all the others combined. Oh yah, but they're probably hired Marcel hackers. How could WWH be fine if the host skirts the clippergate question altogether. That was insulting to the intelligence of the knowing audience, at least to me it was. I don't know who's creepier, Andy or Sam. Be honest, it won't kill you, but it may ruin your phoney "look good".

An ashamed St. Louisan said...

Flog that dead horse, FLOG IT!!!!

In all seriousness, I enjoy the public groundswell that still (inexplicably to me) exists to get Bravo (to quote Season One's Dave)"Admit [their] Shit".

From what I see in his blogs, I doubt Andy Cohen can exist under constant criticism. I'm sure he now hates this show and the tarring effect it had upon his fledgling public image.

Gawd, he is such a media-whore tool. He even mentions where he went to high school rather than discuss viewer issues.

robin said...

Ugh, Andy is a tool and a douchebag.


Why won't he admit flipping the timeline??? Both Marcel and Elia have stated publicly that it was out of sequence. Why doesn Andy Asshat and Smarmy Sam persist with their lies???

Andy better read that definition of INTEGRITY in the dictonary. He has none.

Andy's reputation is in the gutter. Shit. I'm even starting to believe now that he may have planted those pattern books in Keith's room...

Anonymous said...

oh snap! Maybe Andy is responsible for that craftsmanship that Jeffrey Sebelia pulled out of his ass (accorindg to Laura Bennett) on last season's Project Runway finale! Hey! Was Andy anywhere near the grassy knoll in Dallas that fateful day!?! ;)

Anonymous said...

To be fair, there's no way to know if Elia's desire to shave her head came only after the Marcel incident. To assume this was just a face-saving gesture is not only cynically skewed but probably impossible for Bravo to refute onscreen or on the web. Even if they supplied the entire raw videotape we still might not get the whole story. Some of this may have happened off camera.

And finally, if these participants REALLY thought they'd done something wrong, they would have simply erased or destroyed the tape. And BTW, I'm definitely a Marcel fan...

zach said...

To be fair, there's no way to know if Elia's desire to shave her head came only after the Marcel incident.

Um, actually, there is. Elia, herself, has stated that she and Ilan shaved their heads AFTER they tried to shave Marcel. In addition, Marcle, himself, has stated that they shaved their heads AFTER they attacked him.

If boht Elia and Marcel have confirmed the film footage and publicly stated that they sequence was flipped, then I believe them.

The real question is why did BRAVO change the sequence, and why to they persist in covering it up?

If two contestants have confirmed it, why won't Andy? That says a lot about his so-called "intregrity", or rather, the LACK thereof.