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
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.