Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Surprisingly Contrite Hung Huynh (Who Knew Bisexuals Could Feel Remorse?) Disowns Monkey, Looks into CJ Jacobson's Soul and Sees a Loser

It seems, possums, that after the Brian MFMalarkey interview, there is still more delighted squirming to be had, this time from his bisexual little brother, Hung Huynh.

In an interview with The Albany Times-Union, Hung performs an "act" of contrition:

“I regret talking back to Tom Colicchio,” Huynh says, about one of his reactions to criticism. He’d also take back a comment that a rival’s dish was so easy that a “monkey could do it.”

Is Hung disowning his macaque? Say it ain't so! What's a good bisexual villain without his evil anthropomorphic familiar?

“I was a (jerk) at times,” says Huynh, on the telephone from his job as executive sous chef at Restaurant Guy Savoy in Las Vegas....Huynh says, “I was an exaggerated version of myself on TV, as a strategy. … If they were worrying whether I was being a (jerk), they weren’t concentrating on their cooking. I knew none of those guys could outcook me.”

Aw, possums, isn't it sweet that a newspaper can't bring itself to print the words "asshole" or "shit"? "But wait," said Miss XaXa, "does this mean Hung isn't really a certified professional asshole, that it was all an act?"

"Possum," we gravely replied, our forced insouciance masking a gimlet-eyed, vodka-gimlet-soaked lifetime of experience, "he's a bisexual. They're always pretending to be something they're not."

Lest we lose hope entirely, though, Hung comes back with a last Gong Li stab:

He says he does not dislike his fellow contestants – but then mentions C.J. Jacobsen, a 6-foot-10 Californian who has been trashing Huynh in inteviews. Huynh dispatches Jacobsen with a comment as sharp as a knife blade: “C.J. … has been saying that my food is soulless. Well, his food had so much soul that it couldn’t keep him here (on the show). I’m still standing.”

Um, first of all, it's JacobsOn. Second, he's 6'8". Third, meeeeow!

But might the bisexual bitchery have an explanation, a narrative that could be used as fodder by Top Chef's editors? We think so.

Today's Union-Times article tells us:

He grew up in Pittsfield, Mass., where his mother, Tran Thuong, has long owned the eatery in which he learned to cook, Kim’s Dragon Restaurat. His 33-year-old brother, Huy, is now the chef there.

And you'll find Hung saying tonight that he owes everything to his mother, and that he didn't see his father until Hung was nine years old, because of the aftermath of the Vietnam War.

When we did a little digging earlier, we came across a little something that we knew would be useful for the armchair psychologist. It's from a 2005 article in The Berkshire Eagle:

Fans of Kim's Dragon Restaurant on West Housatonic Street were quite upset when the place closed a year ago after an oil tanker and dump truck collided in front of the restaurant, spilling thousands of gallons of oil into the parking lot.

Legal battles and the subsequent poor health of the owner's wife (the sole chef), left everyone guessing as to whether it would ever reopen.

Happily, it has. Huy Van Huynh, son of the eponymous Kim, has taken over the helm and is now, literally, chief cook and bottle washer.

He refers to himself as just a puppet and a slave to his mother's recipes, but is really is more than that.

"My mom tells me what to do and I do it," he says. "I can't argue with the old school. And she's getting old now, about 62!"

While his father, Kim van Huynh, is off enjoying the warmer climes of Florida, his mother has remained here and, when feeling well enough, still helps in the kitchen.

When asked if he misses his father, Huy replies, "Everything but his yelling."

"So," said we to ourselves, stroking a Herrdoktor's goatee, "Hung has a very close relationship with his mother, and an absent father who yells. Very interesting. That would explain a lot in a cheap psychological way, nein?"

And then there was the tragedy of the oil spill on the restaurant, a tasty little narrative morsel. If Hung doesn't get kicked off tonight (as some conspiracy theorists are predicting), this will be the strain of sympathy used to make him a palatable winner. Mark our words.


anonymityisconfusing said...

You guys are hilarious. Love all of the allusions--there has to be an underpaid literature major in there somewhere. Please, keep writing!

Anonymous said...

Hung's family is actually a lot more messed up than he's let on so far. One of the Bravo posters found an old article about his dad:

I suggest you don't read it if you don't want to feel sorry for Hung, though.

Anonymous said...

ive never understood why some people consider Hung a villian. And am i the only one completely tired of hearing how much "heart and soul" Casey has, and how Hung is some cold technical master. After Smurf Village, i dont see how anyone can say that Hung is some emotionless drone.

george said...

anonymous 10:08, times union apparently charges for archived stories...what was the gist of the article?

and i agree. i like hung a lot and wish they would cut out the excessive harping on all technique/no heart thing. which outside of the problematic dimensions already pointed out by charlus, just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. in other artforms i can understand and see/hear the importance of infusing heart, but personally, i can get food with heart in a lot of places--far cheaper than anything casey or dale would cook for me. and they're not the ones i would turn to first that's for sure. but i've only had a few dinners i think would qualify as technically perfect. in the end, i think that defines high end food far more than someone's ambiguous definition of heart (whether or not that's actually a good thing is another matter).

Anonymous said...

As usual, Charlus, right on the mark!

Anonymous said...

He mentions as an aside that his mother yelled less than his father. Welcome to the club!

Lisa B. said...

I never thought Hung was the jerk that Marcel was. It looked like he saw how well Marcel did and "played a role". Now my friend V. disagrees and hates Hung because he is Marcel's friend.

I am pretty sure that it was Dale that said Hung was lacking a "heart".

The word, soul, did get passed around a lot last night --- My Jimmy Swaggart Pentecostal growing up roots happen to cringe when I hear that word. Yikes!! (No offense to born again Christians -- my family tree is full of them, it's a personal belief).

ace52387 said...

I can't help but feel that hung is a little inconsistent in his personality, and I would have to attribute that to the editing. Recently, the being an immigrant thing JUST came to surface, and it's certainly true, but I get the feeling it's not something that he actually wanted to say.

If you notice when he talks in his personal interview things, sometimes he seems very comfortable (like when he mentioned his monkey could do something), but when he talked about the quickfire where they had to imitate the fish wrapped in sliced potatoes, he made a quick comment about how it should be easy for classically trained chefs. He certainly didn't seem into saying that, nor was he into saying his immigrant bit. It sounded almost like he was reading off a was quite unnatural.

I agree that talk of food not having soul is ridiculous. Technique isn't just skill. It's also attention to detail, and really caring about the product, like a painter would a painting. That's artistry, the mark of not only a professional, but an artisan, and that's something he has. I mean...I would consider that soul. You can say there's no pizzaz, and that he hasn't yet made his "grandmother's specialty" type dish, but he has certainly put himself, in the form of that care and attention, into his food.

He also suddenly doesn't seem very cocky anymore. He's still confident his technique is the best, but he doesn't just assume his food will be the best. He's relieved that only 1 person is going home, but scared that he has to compete with two in the finale. He also says he knows everyone's food was good, and he can only hope that his was better. He's afraid of his competitors. He seemed a lot more egotistical about it before, which I feel also came from editing.

scotty said...

Not only is Mrs."MFM"alarkey freaky but quite well spoken and witty also. A "triple" threat! Get it? :) Nice to know the Malarkey's have a sense of humor. So the threesome queen seems to have a soft spot in her heart and possibly an enlightened consciousness towards bisexual immigrant Asian-bots who had tough upbringings? That's so Angelina Jolie...Quite the turn on

I have to say the finale is a straight man's worst nightmare. Three chicks with dicks (one big gay Capri wearing Pollock with a stereotypically gay faux hawk/low hawk. A bisexual villainous heartless Asian-bot with an imaginary monkey and a charismatic bipolar wife/husband/boyfriend/grandma swapping and at times spazzy and already eliminated Brian) and a over enunciating, over inflated, " I have an accent for every occasion" Texas cheerleader.)

That being said, it's been an awesome season. I really enjoyed it. Can't wait for the final episode. I'm rooting for the bisexual. Team Monkey all the way! War Hung!

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