We won’t get into the reasons for our absence of the past week, mostly because in spite of all recent, firsthand evidence to the contrary, we refuse to accept that we inhabit a world in which illness and mortality have any more purchase than they do in a Pedro Almodóvar film. Into the bubble of the blogger’s basement no shafts of reality must be allowed to make their way, nor shall they.
Instead, let us agree to a version in which our silence was that of the well of loneliness, the soundless scream of the daughters of Bilitis, at the pykagging of our Sapphic mini-Fergie, Miz Jamie Lauren. Fortunately for us, though, our Uranian grief was assuaged by the sweet, sweet balm of the Christian Bale freakout remix on constant replay.
After all, which of the world’s ills can’t be cured by a good house beat? As a straight (that’s what he said) friend told us many years ago, being a good gay is about “dancing through the pain.” Mind you, this was in the context of the Hex Hector remix of Toni Braxton’s “Unbreak My Heart,” but the principle is the same.
And so, yes, the loss of Jamie was rather difficult, all the more so because it seemed so unavoidable and so very just under the circumstances. In the wake of Jamie’s exit, we wondered whether it was possible to feel simultaneous boredom and despair—despair at her departure, and boredom at the prospect of a final that doesn’t include her—as one feeling would seem to negate the other.
Oh, fickle, fickle gays!
We could not possibly have anticipated just how good and entertaining last night’s episode would be, and we had to laugh at the pleasure of watching the show cheerfully violate its own stated principles about it being a one-challenge-at-a-time, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately competition.
Had that principle been followed, Stefan Richter would and should have been sent packing for the undistinguished (and undistinguishable) spinach and the salmon that was unanimously deemed to be overcooked, an unpardonable sin on a season that has been so much about “respecting the protein,” and on an episode that was preceded by the hazelnut-and-butter-accented presence of the St. John the Baptist of fish cookery, Le Bernardin’s Eric Ripert (come to think of it, his accent is more the equivalent of Nutella eaten out of the jar with one’s finger, but we digress). What is a thinned hollandaise sauce in comparison to that?
Surely on the scales of PYKAG justice, Leah’s sin of a thin hollandaise sauce was outweighed by the greater, audience-perceived sins of weakness, whininess and immorality (about which more later). We declared ourselves fans of Stefan from the outset, so we would have been grieved to see him go, but it also would have made a satisfying kind of narrative sense for him to have gone out now—hubris, Icarus, the Finland vs. Sweden thing, etc. Instead, the show opted for a more timeless kind of American narrative—Hester Prynne is pilloried to satisfy public morality while the bald, stolid, chin-merkin’d Dimmesdale (and how dim indeed) is allowed to continue in a halo of xenophobic, phallocentric (tiny shrimp!, eel!) anxiety and insecurity to battle the European savant Chillingworth (we haven’t quite worked out all the details, but give us time). How will it all turn out?