Thursday, August 20, 2009

Unpacking the Story of a Much-Needed Lobe-otomy

Well, possums, it was quite a night for Mexican food in the world of Top Chef.

On the plus side, un gringo bien chingón, Rick Bayless, won Top Chef Masters with his rendition of the Oaxacan black mole. (We’ll savor the victory for a few days before ungratefully discussing just how patronizing the franchise’s attitude to Mexican food seems to be.)

But before that, we had to suffer through an Allison Anders film, or perhaps the sequel to Quinceañera, in which tattooed chola Jennifer Zavala trotted out the cheapest and oldest of stereotypes—ay Dios mío, in the name of Lupe Vélez, I am such a Mexican spitfire—and further debased it by attempting to illustrate it with, of all things, a chile relleno.

Yes, mija, because when one thinks of spicy and fiery, it is of chiles rellenos that one thinks. As if.

Of course, she was doomed from the beginning. From the moment we saw her obscenely distended earlobes and the chest and neck tattoos (is she really “scarred” or just “scared” and saddled with a tattoo artist who can’t spell?), we had a squirming, exasperated, bourgeois reaction. This is the best representative of Mexican food the producers could find?

Matters weren’t helped by her prescient refusal to unpack her suitcase: “I’m not unpacking anything. I’m, like, very superstitious. I feel like it’s bad luck.”

Oh, how conveniently stereotypical, possum, but that’s not superstition; that’s low self-esteem. And look what happened—you got kicked off anyway, even though you didn’t unpack. So there you go; you can let go of that “superstition” now. Unless you did unpack. Well, didja?

As an extra narrative kick, we got the photo and story of her blue-eyed, güero kid whom she had intended for Harvard or Yale, which made her turn on Top Chef “not so much an opportunity; it’s more of a have-to.”

Well, Bravo, we hope you feel great for having kicked her off. Now, thanks to you, that kid is not going to Yale. And all we got was Stand and Deliver Bad Chiles Rellenos.

1 comment:

Peli Grietzer said...

Someone should tell her Harvard has excellent financial aid.