Friday, June 20, 2008

Reunited and It Feels So...Meh

Some of you have asked, possums, and the answer is yes, we did watch the reunion special. And yes, we ought to have written about it yesterday, but frankly, we were still simmering a little from the bait and switch. For a couple of days at least, Bravo had been running promos for the reunion practically on a loop, during which the newly chipmunk-cheeked Dale Talde was seen sternly saying, “That is the one thing I am not going to talk about now,” or words to that effect. So of course, there is nary a sign of that statement, or the circumstances that prompted it, when the reunion actually airs. Not to put too fine a point on it, but WTF?

If we’re a teensy bit cross, it isn’t because we think, though we had hoped, that Dale’s statement (or the question that led to it) would have contained some earth-shattering revelation. Rather, it’s because the bait and switch manifests a lack of respect for the audience and (justifiable) lack of confidence in the show.

We’ve admittedly come a ways from the first season reunion, which included free-flowing alcohol, and the second season, when there was no reunion because of a well-based fear that first- or second-degree homicide might be broadcast on national t.v., but really, to paraphrase original chefbian Gertrude Stein, there was not a lot of there there.

And from the other clips posted on Bravo’s website, it appeared as though there was another reunion show, a more entertaining and revealing one, that, because of editing, we simply didn’t get to see. Mind you, the impression that we got from the reunion show that did air was that there was another more entertaining and revealing Top Chef: Chicago that, because of editing, we simply didn’t get to see. Look, we understand that with so much footage, and only around 40 minutes per show, editing choices have to be made; we’re just puzzled that so many of those choices fell on the less entertaining side of the line.

Perhaps this was the year of the woman, or the year of the chefbian, or perhaps it was decided that rampant if unconscious homoeroticism—er, “bromance”—was so last season, Howie-and-Joey. And yet. This is Bravo, for fag’s sake. How they could have resisted airing, “I’m not gay but I’d probably let him bang me,” is absolutely beyond us. Andrew D’Ambrosi as a power bottom—who knew? (It becomes even more entertaining when paired with another unaired clip from the season where Andrew talks about how Richard always comes in and takes charge, and he, Andrew, loves it.) Or Spike’s unconsciously revealing statement, “We’ll be boys forever”; yes, Spike, that’s exactly the problem, BFF or not.

Still, there were a few things we liked about the reunion special:

There was the moment when Andrew was told that viewers suspected he was smoking something stronger than cigarettes, and those naughty Bravo editors cut to Padma Lakshmi. That was the most lowdown, dirty thing on the show, and it was great. Eisenstein would have been proud, boys!

And how about the implication by Raggaydy Andy that Mark’s was a green card marriage to avoid having to leave the U.S., and Mark’s seeming concurrence? The “man soup” (or should that be “man stew”?) footage certainly won’t help his interview with the immigration authorities, will it? That’s how we think Mark would say it; the reunion made us miss his deadpan delivery all over again.

Having seen a copy of the application that contestants seeking to be on Top Chef have to sign, we understand how onerous the contestants' promotional obligations are; potential contestants sign away their lives. We remember the brouhaha over Harold Dieterle being forced to participate in that shticky, Season 1 vs. Season 2 cook-off thing that aired right before Season 3. He was busy with his restaurant, and did not want to participate, but, according to newspaper reports, his feet were held to the contractual fire and he had to schlep down to Miami anyway. As such, we had to smile when Richard Blais thanked Bravo for allowing him to participate via satellite from Atlanta, instead of having to miss the birth of his first child in order to schlep to New York to participate in the thankless reunion.

Well, Bravo, so much for our culinary boner.


Buzz Kill said...

Charlus, you make some very good points about Bravo's bait and switch tactics. However, most of it is completely lost on me because of that picture of Gail. She is so damn hot sort of curled up accross the table, almost sucking her thumb in that green dress that is streched tightly over her curvaceous form....I'm sorry - what were we talking about?

hughman said...

yeh the reunion was pretty snoresville. other than the "if i wasn't straight, i'd let him bone me" second.

i kept hoping gay husband simon from the RHNYC would crash and give them all the skeeves.