Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Amuse-Biatch Guessing Game: The Lee Anne Wong Blind Item

Well, possums, we’re always suckers for a guessing game, and Season 1 contestant and Top Chef culinary producer Lee Anne Wong has a nice and not too taxing one in an interview she did with Zagat (though we must say she looks awfully thin in the accompanying photograph; don’t go overboard now, Lee Anne). Aside from taking the blame for last season’s Scallopgate (just how many people are going to fall on their sword over this?), Lee Anne drops this little bit:

I always tell the smart [cheftestants] to remember that the cameras are always rolling. Top Chef is a stepping-stone and an opportunity to find out the blood and guts of yourself as a cook, and also who you are as a person. The ones who listen to what the judges have to say and move forward usually have a better chance of keeping in the public’s good favor. Every now and then you get a contestant who believes too much in their own hype, and then they self-implode. It’s up to you to figure out who I’m talking about….

So, possums, whom do you think she means? Guess away in the comments section.

The Real World: New York—Bravo Shows Hellish Vision of Limbo as a Halfway House for the PYKAGged and the Dispossessed

Possums, we have just come from Bravo’s website, where we saw the most terrifying neologism since “extraordinary rendition,” namely, “sequester house.” Don’t it sound all Patriot Act?

It indeed turns out to be scary. It’s the house where those who have “gone down on apples,” cooked gummy noodles, or were done in by ostrich eggs are imprisoned while the rest of the competition goes on. It’s done presumably to prevent leaks and spoilers about the results of the competition. If a TwinkleGay leaves home to be on Top Chef and returns a few days later, well, you know what’s happened, don’t you?

And starting this week, Bravo will show scenes online from this house of horrors (for sample, click the vid above).

As you may have gathered, we’re all for deconstructionism, but this is a terrible idea. When Lauren was sent packing on that ferry, like Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl, having just been reunited with, and cruelly separated from, erstwhile best friend, TwinkleGay Patrick, well, who didn’t shed a secret, glycerine tear at the tragedy? After all, what’s a hag without her fag, a fruit fly without her fruit?

But though Padma rained on her parade, Lauren discovers at the sequester house that she is one of the luckiest people in the world (i.e., people who need gay people). And really, where’s the fun in that? Who needs the uplift?

The dead should stay dead, the PYKAGged PYKAGged to the end. We want the poignancy, the cruelty, the reality-tv bloodlust sated by the Padma-wielded whims of fate. We want real battle casualties, not Civil War reenactments where they get up from the battlefield to have lunch.

And so, unless this is going to turn into Big Brother (unlikely, though Bravo's Raggaydy Andy Cohen is a huge fan), with hot tub orgies and the like, we want none of this. We don't want reality-show revenants sitting around, drinking beer and contractually prohibited from doing the horizontal mambo. What's the good in that? We reserve the right to change our minds, but for the time being, this doesn’t look good.

A Tour of Tom Colicchio's Craft

Monday, November 24, 2008

Padma Lakshmi Wears Cankle Boots, Discusses the "Sugar Bomb in [Her] Mouth" and Doing Something On Camera for the First Time

Amuse-Biatch Photoessay: “The call is coming from INSIDE the ‘Top Chef’ kitchen!”

Amuse-Biatch Queery of the Week

As per Miss XaXa’s musings, “I thought Hosea Rosenberg was Jewish. These look, um, European.”

That Off-White Couch Is Sure Getting a Lot of Action: The Morning After, in the International Language

Amuse-Biatch Photoessay: That Off-White Couch Is Sure Getting a Lot of Action, or Hot Shots! Part Deux

“I see lot of talking, cawddling, butah I theenk they just getting a leetle beet clozer coz of the frensheep. I don’t theenk there ees notheeng going on, and eef there ees, goood for them.”

Amuse-Biatch Photoessay: That Off-White Couch Is Sure Getting a Lot of Action

“I see lot of talking, cawddling, butah I theenk they just getting a leetle beet clozer coz of the frensheep. I don’t theenk there ees notheeng going on, and eef there ees, goood for them.”

Amuse-Biatch Heterosexual Monday: Padma Lakshmi Shows Her Craft, Defies You to Spit in Your Napkin

Friday, November 21, 2008

Jill Snyder’s Heartbreaking Cri de Cœur: I’m Unskilled Because I’m American!

Oh dear, Lon Guyland patriot Danny Gagnon is sure to be gaggin’ on this.

Sure, from the mid-calf down, the lanky lass is all red, white, and blue. But this daughter of the Liberty Bell state and resident of the city that gave birth to “The Star-Spangled Banner” tells a different story when she opens her pillowy lips. As she related to our pals at Grub Street:

You know, if I lived in Italy my whole life, I’d probably have a lot of skill, too.

Aw snap, Betsy Ross.

But don’t worry, possum, we believe you. You lost the New American cuisine challenge because you didn’t grow up in Italy. What could be more logical?

Is it any wonder that she is contemplating becoming an actress? (We do give her points for joking that she’s going to buy an ostrich farm.)

Amuse-Biatch Photoessay: Kill All the Dragons You Want, But Who Gets the Preen-cess?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Stefan Richter: I Did Not Call That Woman, Ms. Lauren, a Douchebag!

In her recap of this season’s inaugural episode, our pal Lesley of Eater LA touched on the “this season on Top Chef” montage, in which Stefan Richter and Jamie Lauren are having a teensy bit of a discussion.

During the rapid montage, the word “douchebag” is uttered, and Ms. Lauren appears to take umbrage, presumably thinking, as does the audience, that it was directed at her. And so Lesley wrote, “…Stefan calls Jamie a douchebag.” (As an aside, we ought to note that Jamie falls far short on the Angry (Lesbian) scale as compared to last season—no chairs thrown, no trashcans kicked, no crotches grabbed.)

But Herr Richter has stepped forward to say, “ ‘Tain’t so.” Quoth Stefan: “by the way i did not call her a douchebag, i said i don't want to look like one.”

Fair enough. He wants to clear his name, and of course it’s a good thing that he didn’t resort to calling Jamie that. And yet we can’t help being the slightest bit disappointed. After all, what kind of reality television villain would disclaim these kind of legend-burnishing attributions, and so early in the game?

For of course he is being groomed by Bravo’s editors, and by Daniel Gagnon’s xenophobic insecurities, as this season’s villain (though in our book, idiocy can be much more villainous than competence). No matter; we like Stefan as a villain, even if the editors have to resort to the Eurovillain trope that runs from Henry James to the James Bond pictures to Alan Rickman in Die Hard and Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs. Stefan is a savvy villain, and this tickles us. For one thing, he clearly plays to the camera and gives good “villain face.”

We’re certainly convinced. If we saw him in the supermarket produce section going through the fava beans and with a bottle of Chianti in his shopping cart, we’d definitely run the other way.

So alright, Stefan, possum. It’s fine to play nice, but not too nice, you hear?

Preview: Who Will Go Down on the Hot Dog Challenge?

Amuse-Biatch Has a Eureka Moment: Seriously, Is *Everyone* a Bear?

Tom Colicchio: “You’ll Never Beat the Cast from Season 3”

This, at least, is what the Ursus Major told Dale Levitski’s mother at the finale of Season 3, held in Chicago just before filming on Season 4 started, as Dale recounts in a new interview with Chicagoist.

Oddly enough, we had of late found ourselves missing those Miami folks. Not that this photograph of Brian MFMalarkey (sans chapeau!) as the Karate-You've-Got-to-Be-Kidding-Me from this past weekend had anything to do with it.

And you know, possums, we did find it terribly telling that this season hasn't been the subject of hyperbolic praise for how much better the contestants are. Most telling of all: Tom saying during Judges' Table on last week's episode that we were in for a "nice" season. Ouch! Don't be so enthusiastic there, Papa Bear.

Other interesting tidbits from Dale's interview:

* He's still living with Season 3's Sara Nguyen, but they don't have cable.

* Of Hung Huynh's victory: "I won, but he got the check."

* He was supposed to appear on Season 4, but had a conflict of interest because it was he who had recommended eventual winner Stephanie Izard to producers.

* His new restaurant still needs investment money. Perhaps certain men from certain Bravo reality shows would be better served by putting their money into a new restaurant venture from a talented chef than by spending it on life-sized plastic dolls who claim to be 29 (yeah, right). So come on, sugar daddies, pony up.