Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Scarlet Letter from Amuse-Biatch


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?


Anonymous said...

It is certainly possible to experience both despair and boredom. As Jacques Pepin would say, "C'est ennui," at least he would if was back home in Frogland and actually experienced that emotion.

Jamie's packing was justified, but axing whiny-girl Leah would have been entirely justified under the circumstances. Jamie knew exactly what she had done wrong and how to fix it. If she had more time, it would have been fine (not the challenge, I know but bear with me).
Leah had no idea what she was preparing and if she had had more time the dish, her dish would have been exactly the same. It was a judgement call as to which culinary sin was worse, but I'd say if the challenge is supposedly about re-creating the dish then Jamie should have stayed.

Anonymous said...

I think I'm feeling a little sick. Did anyone else think that on the previews for the semi-final it really looks like Stefan is shown saying that Hosea's gumbo was terrible while giving his exit interview?! First Ariane, then Jamie, now if Stefan goes I have absolutely no interest in watching this show anymore - heartbreaking as that is to say. I hope I'm wrong but with all of the statements that the finals " have a twist that changes the entire complexion of the competition" and Gail saying that "nothing is as it seems" I feel that the last solid chef standing will be the first to go! Say it ain't so....

Aimee said...

Yes, I WAS very upset that Jamie was sent packing last week. Leah should have been gone LONG AGO but...c'est la vie. As for Stefan this week, I KNEW they would not send him home, although he totally ruined his dish and should have been sent packing...Leah got the ax because they all knew that she did not deserve to be in the final. So much for judging the chefs on individual dishes. Aren't you all still thrilled to see "Sending you the love" Carla in the final? Yes, I would want her to cook my last supper...

Anonymous said...


"Did anyone else think that on the previews for the semi-final it really looks like Stefan is shown saying that Hosea's gumbo was terrible while giving his exit interview?! "


OK - I'll bite.

How would "Hosea's gumbo was terrible" mean Stefan is going home?

Anonymous said...

"How would "Hosea's gumbo was terrible" mean Stefan is going home?"

No, No --not what he said, but that it was in the "exit interview" that meant he was going home.

JacquelineC said...

First: what's with Padma's nipples - don't they teach models about wardrobe fixes. Of course they do. Have we seen a woman so enamored of her breasts since Karen Walker? I think not.

Second: How does Stefan STILL have such arrogance when EVERY judge said he overcooked salmon?

I'm so glad to be over Leah. The Leah-Hosea high school drama can now be over.

I love Fabio and Carla has grown on me. Glad they're both in it.

Anonymous said...

I noticed the chefs look pretty different in New Orleans. Does anybody know how much time has passed between filming the show and filming the finale?

And why did it look like it was Stefan's exit interview?

Kristine said...

It's at least a few months between filming the final four elim and the finale. It was reported on Jan. 20, 2009 that they were headed to New Orleans to film the finale. And this season was filmed in the summer of 2008, August-Sept, maybe? Remember when Elia shaved her head, and then had a couple inches at the finale...

Anonymous said...

Welcome back. The Possums have missed you!

Anonymous said...

why do you guys think, it's his exit interview? they all do interviews all the time, don't they?

Anonymous said...

I love Stefan's arrogant arse. He is the real deal. Carla is great, but as long as it is in small doses - those wild eyed poses sometimes scare me. Fabio eese sooo Italino, how could you not love him?
Please send Hosea home next. Done with him since he laid his paws on hippy chick Leah.

Buh bye.