Thursday, June 28, 2007
Oh possums, never, not even during the run of “Sprockets” on Saturday Night Live, have we wanted to touch anyone’s monkey less, and yet, following this week’s episode (which we have subtitled, “Elks and Whelks”), Hung Huynh’s monkey is all we can think about. As Miss XaXa put it, “Is it a rhesus piece or is it a macock?”
And yet, it was in part thanks to his monkey that Hung made another stab at transforming into Hatsuhomo, demonstrating that he’s still in the running towards becoming America’s Next Top Potentially Gaysian Villain. (This made up somewhat for last week’s performance, where the self-anointed CPA, Certified Professional Asshole, acted more a like a real CPA and less like a real asshole as he helped Sara Nguyen figure out that 20 times 10 equals 200, and that she was using up her whole budget on meat, thus helping her into the top three during the Elimination Challenge.)
As Hatsuhomo, Hung finally answered the question, What Would Gong Li Do?
Well, for starters, how about hogging shellfish, leaving defenseless crayfish to die on the floor, turning off ovens, referencing your monkey, and dissing Beard Award-winning chef Alfred Portale as not getting the concept? In fact, as we learned, it takes big croutons to mock Alfred “Master Chef of the World” Portale.
We were introduced to Chef Portale during the Quickfire Challenge, announced by Padma as “catch and cook,” which unforgivably reminded us of that horrible Jennifer Garner movie. (We were extremely impressed by the flourish with which Lady Rushdie pulled the cover from the fish tank holding the live seafood; it suggests a history, or a future, in game shows and magic acts.) Upon seeing Chef Portale, we thought he looked vaguely familiar. “Doesn’t he look like Adam West’s gay, nerdy accountant brother?” we asked hesitantly. “Gayer than the original Batman?” scoffed Miss XaXa. “I don't think so. Besides, Alfred was the butler on Batman. Try Stanley Tucci in The Devil Wears Prada.” Why, of course!
Joey Pickles helpfully informs us that Chef Portale is known for his plating techniques, and references the Sistine Chapel, making this the second Michelangelo reference of the season. Given what happened to Micah, the first person to reference the old sonnet-penning, marmoreal poofter, we wonder about Joey’s fate in the next two weeks. Is there, as Carrie Bradshaw might type on a PowerBook filling the screen, a Michelangelo curse? (“Make that a Micahlangelo curse,” suggested Miss XaXa.)
The contestants had mere seconds to scoop up shellfish from the tank with a net. Hung went first (though we’re not quite sure why; is it because he won the last Quickfire?; if so, how was the rest of the order determined?), and demonstrated a thing or two about Vietnamese fishermen. Even Sara Nguyen was forced to say, “Save some for the rest of us.”
A crayfish plunged to the ground from Hung’s heaping bowl, or, as CJ puts it, the “crawfish falls awry.” (He’s got the oddest locutions; is it an Orange County thing? Linguists of the world, get to it.) Mr. “How You Walk, How You Talk, How You Approach the Ingredient Tells Me Who You Are” apparently doesn’t believe in the five-second rule, and, in a move designed to endear him to PETA, leaves the wee beastie gasping for air, shell(fish)-shocking and awing the other cheftestants. Hasn’t he ever seen The Little Mermaid, or Finding Nemo? Doesn’t he know? It’s the perfect Hatsuhomo move, demonstrating his contempt for crustacean life to his competitors (Hung the Merciless!) and creating a potential slip-and-fall, premises-liability issue to wipe one of them out. He’s almost like a villain in one of those godforsaken Jackie Chan-Chris Tucker movies.
Invisible Gay Dale Levitski takes off his Invisibility Cloak, giving us the best line of the night, “I don’t really have time to dick around with a conch,” which sounds better and gayer with a Chicago accent. Indeed, it almost sounds like his coming-out statement, or, as Kanye West might have put it, “I ain’t saying he a conch-dicker, but I never seen him with no clam-digger.”
“Actually,” Miss XaXa reminded us, “clam-diggers are all he seems to wear in the kitchen.” Well, we’ve never let truth stand in the way of a bad Kanye West pun.
Hatsuhomo dismisses his competitors for mixing shellfish with white wine because “my monkey can do that.” We can’t decide if this is of the “Aw, snap” or “Meow” variety. In any event, Hung still has a ways to go in the “cutting remarks” department of Gay Villainy. Where, oh where, is George Sanders when you need him?
Pretentiously-behatted, alliteration-and-assonance-addicted poseur Brian Malarkey tells us that he had better win this seafood Quickfire, since he works in a seafood restaurant. If he didn’t win, his employers would fire him and his whole world might dissolve. “Actually, Brian,” Miss XaXa snarled at the television, “my whole world might dissolve if you don’t take off that fucking hat. Asshat! You’re losing your hair, deal with it.”
Howie, who’s got the cockteasing Bravo Redemption Edit™, makes ceviche, and, since this is a Quickfire, speeds the “cooking” of the seafood in citrus juice by adding salty sweat dripping from the end of his nose to the dish. CJ serves “fruits de mer,” which he pronounces as “froots de mare,” which in turn positively gave us the vapors. CJ, possum, it’s pronounced “FROO-EE,” like “Phooey” with an “r”; hell, you could even get away with pronouncing it “free.” But “froots”? Froots?!? We sat there clutching and kneading an antimacassar for a good five minutes before we calmed down. We won’t go so far as to say that if you can’t pronounce the name of the dish, you probably can’t cook it, but we do say, If you can’t pronounce the name of the dish, why don’t you just call it what it is, e.g., “assortment of shellfish”?
In the end, though, Asshat, his soul patch, liberal use of white wine, and his fucking habit of giving cutesy names to everything (“eyes with fries,” “medusa,” “electric venom soup,” “tres rios” [WTF?]) prove too powerful, and he and Hung’s white-wine-addled monkey win the Quickfire Challenge, which, though it makes our world dissolve, grants him, alas, immunity from elimination.