Wednesday, December 10, 2008

“Top Chef” or the First Ad in JDate’s National Television Campaign?

Of course, there’s a third possibility to explain the actions of Leah Cohen and Hosea Rosenberg in the interstitial, but we’ll get to that in a sec.

But first, possums, we call “bullshit.” The interstitial was broadcast after the obligatory Stew Room scenes and right before Alex Eusebio was euthani-pykagged by Padma. The strong implication, since the “tribal marking” session clearly took place in the Stew Room, was that it was happening the same night that bridegroom Alex was to be put out of his Miss-ery and launched into Mrs-ery.

This, however, doesn’t appear to be the case. As shown below, during the breakfast Quickfire Challenge, little hearts drawn by Hosea could be seen on Leah’s hand. This means that the love graffiti was inscribed the night before, i.e., the night that Richard was pykagged.

Why the deceit, and what was the point of this whole interstitial in the first place?

Certainly it could be part of the Leah-and-Hosea-sittin’-in-a-tree storyline, but we already had that in a previous episode, so this seems unnecessary. It’s apparent from the reaction of those around them that their antics have caused some amount of eye-rolling (except for the always understanding Carla, who chalks it up to sexual chemistry). We find something unsettling in this setting up of Leah as a needy, clingy Jezebel twining herself around a gap-toothed Rocky Mountain patriarch (and it isn’t just the name Hosea that makes us think this; his very features cry out for a Mennonite hat and a barn-raising, and Harrison Ford hiding out from the bad guys).

Indeed, when Alex went into the sequester house with the other misfit toys, he re-enacted that twining and referred to Leah as a “Ho fo’ Sho’” (leaving aside for just a second how sexist this is, wouldn’t it be more accurate to call her, in light of the object of her affection, “Ho for Ho”?). Would any self-respecting chef, especially someone who cooked under Anne Burrell, want to be portrayed on television as a cat in heat and called a “ho”? (Furthermore, given how proud a number of Asian-themed blogs and media outlets are of Leah (her mother is Filipina), it seems an added injury for the editors to trot out these suggestions of the old, sexualized, “me love you long time” image of Asian women in this portrayal of Leah.)

But what if the whole thing was about nothing more than product placement? It cannot have escaped anyone’s notice that Hosea was using a Sharpie to write on himself and on Leah. So wasn’t the entire Leahosea episode just an insidious Sharpie commercial? Can it be just a coincidence that Sharpie’s commercial tagline, “Write Out Loud,” is practically the same as “Live Out Loud,” the tagline for the Oxygen Network, which—wouldn’t you know it—is run by Bravo’s president, Lauren Zalaznick (indeed, as detailed in a New York Times story, she was instrumental in choosing the tagline)? And yet, we find no record in the end credits of Newell Rubbermaid paying any promotional consideration. We nonetheless find it hard to believe that Bravo would feature a product for nothing; it’s simply not in their corporate genes. On verra.

You know, possums, this rant originally had a point, though we’d be hard-pressed to find it now, so while we’re ranting, let us call “bullshit” on two more things:

* Padma saying in the previews for last week’s episode, very somberly and dramatically, “We have a situation,” of which nary a mention appeared once the episode aired. We say, “Bullshit” (and narrative cockteasery).

* Hoda Kotb making Kathie Lee Gifford faces while sampling Jeff McInnis’ malfouf roll, as if the flavors (including sumac) were so very exotic or unknown. Um, (C)Hoda Kotb is Egyptian-American, spent summers in Egypt while growing up, and worked extensively as a reporter in Egypt and Iraq. We say, “Bullshit.”

OK, possums, rant over. We’ll go lie down for a second to ponder how a harmless little post on cheftestant puppy love turned into a rant, and we will think of Gail Simmons to cool our fevered brow.


TROLL said...

Hosea wasn't a "patriarch" and Jezebel wasn't the clingy needy type.

It's possible that she'll be the Gomer to Hosea's Hosea, however.

If so, in simple terms, she'd be a slut who is impregnated by men other than Hosea. Perhaps Fabio and Daniel.

JacquelineC said...

Given tonight's "we both have people back home" -- I think you might be right on the product placement. I hadn't even put 2 and 2 together though I recall thinking "that's a sharpie" when I saw it.

Thank GAWD Mr. 'gIsland is gone back to the 'gIsland. How annoying.

Did you catch Mr Pretty Boy's tummy fuzz? Of COURSE you did!

Anonymous said...

What makes you assume the PINK sharpie was Hosea's and that it wasn't leah's own hearts on her own hand?

Buzz Kill said...

Charlus - you and Miss XaXa must rerun every TC episode like Oliver Stone watching the Zapruder film. The misspellings and conspiracy chains that we mere mortals always miss, you two can always find. Great writings although I will say a fair amount goes over my head. But it forces me to question, which is why I read your blog. Keep up the good work.

By the way, you don't happen to know who killed Kennedy do you?

Anonymous said...

Leah shows no talent or substance for cooking. She obviously thinks she can get by on her 'charms'. The restaurant she works at, Centro, is one of the worst ever. And true rumor has it that she gave Anthony Bourdain a special "treat". This 'rumor' comes from a source that knows Leah, went to school with her, and was on Top Chef himself.