Monday, July 09, 2007

First Reaction, Part 3: Discomfort Food

Now comes the much-hyped hot tub scene, which is remarkable mainly because Brian “Asshat” Malarkey actually gets into the hot tub without his hat. We’re shocked. As it is, we sort of envision his headgear as a kind of talking, Harry Potter-style Sorting Hat, whispering into Brian’s ear, “You’re so money, baby,” and we can only imagine the distress at their parting. After all, what’s an Asshat without his hat? Merely an ass. In a brilliant example of Bravo Foreshadowing™, Asshat jokes how it’s all fun and games until you’re before Colicchio during Judges’ Table. Cue Bernard Herrmann.

It’s the next day, and everyone is at the Elks Lodge. Tom is doing his troop inspection, during which he learns that Camille loves “chuna.” We remain fascinated with her speech patterns, the way she speaks…so…slowly, and the way she pronounces her “t”s. We still remember how, during one Quickfire Challenge, she talked about how she loves to flavor things with “cheese,” only to realize, as she kept talking, that she meant “teas.” We’ll get to our fascination with her eyebrows in a different post.

CJ mangles yet another French word in this episode. Having set him straight on “froots de mare,” we feel compelled gently to point out that “tuile” is pronounced “tweel,” not “twill.”

Sara and her chicken à la king are joined by Howie at the oven, and we clearly hear her ask Howie to “turn it up to 300 for [her].” She returns later to find that the oven is on cool-down. Hung tells the camera that he turned the oven off after his chickens finished roasting, but he tells her that he didn’t turn anything off. It’s a fabulous, eyebrow-plucking, Gong Li move, but be careful, Hung, lest someday the chickens à la king come home to roast.

CJ confesses that he is struggling. He is having difficulty plating his dish, which repeatedly crumbles: “I know it’s not going to totally stay up; it’s not going to stay all erect.”

Of course, we chortle, as Bravo no doubt intends us to, but then we wonder whether it is right for Bravo (and us) to make erectile dysfunction jokes about a man with a Neuticle.

And Miss XaXa reminds us that there was female imagery as well: “My sauce broke” and “When I added the tuna, it leaked out all its juices.”

He greets the judges (Alfred Portale, Tom Colicchio, Ted Allen, and Padma, Lady Rushdie) thus: “Hello, chefs and Padma.” There’s something quite right and quite droll about this, everything in its place; Ted can be a chef, but Padma can’t. And then he mispronounces “tuile” again. Ted pronounces CJ’s dish “very grassy, green,” which prompts Miss XaXa to yell, her eyes atwinkle, “Of course! Jowly Green Giant, that’s what we’ll call him.”

The other chefs present their dishes, and then it’s Micah’s turn. In introducing her meatloaf, she notes, “I know Americans like to put ketchup on…” and Alfred Portale and his slender-fingered musician’s hands, crossed across his chest, are not pleased with what he terms “a little attitude.” Verdict: “It’s terrible.”

Asshat—did he think the old folks would look kindly on the retro chapeau?—presents a lobster dish, but, surprisingly, no cutesy name for it.

And we’re back at Judges’ Table, where Ted Allen describes CJ’s dish as a “big, green blob.” Ho, ho, ho, Green Giant indeed. Tom torpedoes Micah’s dish as “the meatloaf that keeps giving.”

“Like herpes,” Miss XaXa chimed in.

The two favorite dishes are Howie’s and Dale’s. Having been in the bottom, and now in the top, Miss XaXa points out, makes Dale officially versatile. Good news, Gays. Nonetheless, the dead father narrative arc wins out, and Howie is the victor of the challenge.

There are five people in the bottom this time around, Micah, Sara, CJ, Lia and Brian. Fittingly enough, with five people and CJ standing right in the center, it looks like a giant middle finger being given to the judges.

The Bravo Foreshadowing™ is justified by Asshat’s presence in the bottom five, despite having immunity, and by the dressing down Tom gives him: “You’re gonna have to start looking at meat at some point.” Asshat resists the obvious comeback, as do we. It was all fun and games and stupid hats, wasn’t it, until he was indeed in front of Colicchio. Asshat silently swears (we surmise) never again to joke in the hot tub.

The U.S. citizen who went to middle school and high school in Massachusetts and who admitted in an interview to having made turkey meat loaf for her clients pretends never to have seen meatloaf before: “They showed it to me yesterday and it was just a round of ground beef and brown gravy.”

Sara also tries the foreigner defense for not being familiar with American comfort food: “I’m from Jamaica.” Ahem. Why, then, didn’t she pick the fried chicken and macaroni cheese when she had the chance, since, as she told the Jamaica Gleaner News, “Both my grandmothers were excellent cooks. One was a very rustic cook. She was from the Turks and Caicos Islands, so she cooked macaroni and cheese and fricassee chicken and all that good stuff”? In other words, she knew how to cook mac ‘n’ cheese and all that good stuff. Indeed, as the paper points out, “[s]he started out making French toast and muffins for her family as a four-year-old.”

Portale tells CJ that his dish was “so green, so green that it was frightening.” Yup, Jowly Green Giant is definitely sticking.

Lia is chided for not doing enough, which prompts her to utter the immortal line, “I guess I didn’t really understand how complex franks and beans are.” Honey, welcome to Gender Studies 101. FTMs across the land salute you.

There’s a commercial break, and then Bravo is about to announce the results of the phone poll as to whether Joey or Howie is the better cook, but not before showing Padma spanking Tom with what looks like a wooden spoon. “Oh my,” says Miss XaXa. We’ve got it taped, but if anyone has a screencap, we’d be mighty grateful.

In the end, Fauxmicah is pykagged and, rednosed and crying, manages to stir the depths of Jamie Lee Curtis’ soul in a New York bar.

And so it goes, possums.


mumblesalot (Laura A) said...

Discomfort food. good one!

Comfort food has never looked so sad. At least make it look sensual with large mounds, fresh buns and sausages broiled till they are juicy and ready pop.

I really like the name the Jamaican Gleaner. It is rather a humble name for a paper. I think we need a Gleaner affiliate in Boston.

jullesdelight said...

awesome, awesome recap!

hughman said...

green is not something i associate with tuna cassarole, it is a rather beige dish if anything. as much as i relate to him being tall (I'm 6'7") i wonder where he's coming from.

yay dale!!

your intrepid reporting also reveals alot.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

FTM = Female to Male transsexual. Surgery to crate the "frank and beens" is apparently really hard and really gross.

rob said...

Also known as an addadictomy.

Ms. Place said...

Yeah, but Micah never looked so good with her legs spread as Saint Jamie. Goodness, Charlus and Miss Xa Xa, where on earth did you unearth that find of our relaxed Ms. Curtis? It must have been taken in her Wanda Fish days when she was still funny and kept her holier than thou mouth shut.