Sunday, February 11, 2007
Completely Heterosexual Otter Ilan Hall Gets Real About Reality & Epistemology, Falls Prey to Fideo-Eating "Hyperbola" Virus
In a companion piece to his mother's editorial on why people care so much about reality television and how unjustifiably mean people were to her baby boy, Ilan Hall talks to Newsday about: keepin' it real, how we can ever know what reality is, how Frank Terzoli's quest to promote cheeseball Italian stereotypes extended to singing opera on the set, how Michael "Beer Bong" Midgley gave the Roseanne Barr treatment to "The Star-Spangled Banner," the politics of the ladies' room, his bad reputation on the blogosphere, Marcel's sneakiness, and how (in hyperbole that would do the Bravo marketing department proud) the Bravo editors are like Michelangelo (who, of course, was straight). Here, as always, the cherce bits:
It's interesting to see what the editors decide to keep or leave out. There was a whole thing in the first episode of "Top Chef" where Michael got into an argument with Frank for singing opera. They made an agreement that if Michael would sing the entire national anthem perfectly, then Frank would stop singing. Michael is a natural comic and doesn't have the softest voice in the world. It was hilarious. We thought it would be entertaining for us as potential viewers, but it was never used.
[The editors] create situations that make you seem a little more conniving than you actually are. They don't show entire conversations that would explain why you are reacting in a certain way. They will cut out encouragement or instigation from other contestants. But I would say the editors' work is like Michelangelo's. He felt that the final sculpture was already inside the stone, and his work was to bring it out. The editors are polishing off bits they feel are unnecessary. They are sculpting this world from many hours of shooting.
They kept me saying some nasty things and cut away some nice things, because they wanted to make it more compelling to watch. But they never put words in my mouth. What you saw on TV was me, just an edited me. I didn't feel self-conscious during the filming, but you always know the camera is there. Sometimes you can find ways to sneak around it. The other finalist, Marcel, was a master at avoiding saying nasty things on camera. When we saw the show on TV, we thought, "What about all the stuff he said the second the camera turned away?" The portrayal of him is what he wanted it to be. Viewers think he's a little annoying, but he's really much more difficult to get along with.