E: Well, M, we’ve taken some time off blogging Top Chef – enough time for it to break The Amazing Race‘s seven year stranglehold on the Reality Competition category and win an Emmy, woot! – and there have been some serious twists.
M: Yeah, I’ve been slacking, sorry!
E: Well, you’re back now. So, shall we quibble? Or maybe just chat.
M: Let’s quibble, that’s always more fun.
E: I imagine we agree on most of this. Who’s unhinged, who was robbed, who doesn’t deserve to be there (and you know who I’m talking about, don’t pretend you don’t) …
I know Kenny was your horse from the beginning, M, and it was a shame to see him go even though he hadn’t lived up to the way he blasted out of the gate. But Tiffany! I almost don’t care, now that she’s gone.
M: Yeah, I was a bit shocked when I got back from vacation to find that Kenny got the boot. However, when I thought back on it, he started really strong, was in the bottom a couple times (once because of game play), but had consistently fallen in the middle, not the top. In retrospect I’m more upset by the circumstances, since he had done three things that week, one of which (exec chef) he did well, while Amanda had dome one thing and done it very poorly.
E: I know. It’s tricky. I guess the judges felt that putting out two bad dishes was worse than putting out one. In happier news, they’ve had fun with the location – I loved the CIA and astronaut challenges. Those have been much more fun than the whole “grill a picnic for interns” starter episodes.
M: I agree, though the Mount Vernon location for the picnic was great. The “let’s go to an organic farm” episode was the one that stuck out like a sore thumb to me. It’s not like they were in California or the Pacific Northwest.
E: Well, they’re all about the locavore movement, so it’s not really surprising. Maybe that’s the point; there’s local food where ever you go. Back to our original discussion of shocking exits, though, what can we say about the meteoric rise and fall of Tiffany? Stephen, Amanda and Alex – whatever. By all rights Tiffany should have made the finals over perpetual bottom dweller Kevin. I knew as soon as they started talking about her food, though, that Tiffany was a goner, and it made me miserable. The girl has a big laugh, and brings real joy with her. I believe she brings the big flavor. I believe she cooks with love. And I totally want to try her food. Her tears upon elimination slayed me.
M: Hey now, Kevin hasn’t been a bottom dweller at all! He’s been middle to top all year, and has won a handful of challenges, too.
E: By which I think you mean one.
M: If it was only one, he was still in the top more. Regardless, I think he was only in the bottom once or twice, and that can be said about everyone this season.
E: It was only one. And he’s been in the bottom five times. Seriously.
M: Most of those were team or partner competitions.
E: Five team competitions? I don’t think so.
M: He only made it there on his own once or twice.
E: Whatever, Mr. Revisionist History.
M: Anyway, if it hadn’t been Tiffany going home, and had been maybe Ed or especially Angelo, I think you’d be fine with it. He hasn’t been a star, but he has been good. As for Tiffany, it was very sad. However, as I said to you in person, you could see it happening the entire episode, so at least it wasn’t a shock. It stinks, but when it all breaks down in front of our eyes like that, it’s somehow easier to take. Like in past finales when Richard Blais and Kevin Gillespie each bonked, it doesn’t make it ok, but it makes it understandable.
E: Well, easier might not be the right word, but yeah, I understand why she went home. But at least Kevin G and Blais and my beloved Carla all made the finals.
M: True, but that’s of little importance to me.
E: Well excuse me!
M: There’s the winner, of course, but then there are the people that we like who keep showing up and use this as a stepping stone. The Fabio’s and Spike’s of the Top Chef world. They don’t have to be finalists, and Tiffany will definitely fall in that group.
E: Oh, fine. I hope you’re right about that.
M: The strange thing is, now I have no idea who I want to win!
E: I like Kelly, always have, and now she’s my only hope. I know, I know sometimes she’s seemed a little controlling, but come on! Who’s her competition? Angelo? Come on. Who can root for Angelo?
M: I like her too, and have from the start. My problem is that since Amanda went home, I’ve like everyone but Angelo, and believe it or not he was starting to grow on me.
E: You’re right, I don’t believe it.
M: Of course, he got cocky…
E: Oh, is that what we’re calling it?
M: …and started talking about making love to his meats again, and I’m just not down with the whole bestiality thing.
E: It’s worse than bestiality – it’s necrophiliac bestiality.
M: Yeah, that’s more accurate. However, Anthony Bourdain used that to provide some comic brilliance, telling Angelo he had no idea what he just said, but that the food was great. LOVED that.
E: Not to mention the way he rags on Eric Ripert, leaving them both smiling. I’ve never liked him so much.
M: Totally, the back and forth between them was great. Wait, I got lost, what were we talking about again?
E: Who we want to win.
M: Oh yeah, apologies. Please continue.
E: Kevin seems like a nice guy, and I love his earnestness and his devotion to his family, but he’s so inconsistent. I just can’t get behind him. I also want to think better of Ed than I do. I suspect it was his confession that he’d “banged” Angelo’s college girlfriend, like that was a point of pride, which soured me on him.
M: Despite my defense of Kevin earlier, I do agree with you on both of them. I want to like them a little more than I actually like them. I feel a little bit like that with Kelly too, actually. With her it’s similar to Kevin, I want her food to have been consistently awesome, but it hasn’t been. So I’m stumped.
E: Oh. Hmmm. I suppose I can agree that I’m not jumping up and down in Kelly’s corner, either, but she seems easily the most acceptable candidate. Moving on to Angelo, it was interesting to find out that he got divorced because his in-laws thought he didn’t have a proper job (which, did he marry his in-laws or his wife? just saying) and that he’s now engaged to a Russian in need of a visa? Like – a mail order bride? What on earth?
M: Yeah, the whole in-laws/divorce/fiancée thing was really odd, and the timing of it was a little too close together for my liking, too.
E: Exactly. Is his son even a year old? That’s awfully fast to have divorced one woman and be ready to marry another.
M: And be hitting on Tameka… and maybe Stephen.
E: Ugh, yes, I forgot that. Not the Stephen part, you made that up…
E: …but the Tameka bit. Not cool. And you know, if he wants to set up shrines to great chefs to motivate himself, I’m not going to judge him for it, but he seems less and less stable as the season goes on. And I don’t care if he gets emotional, either, although like you I do wish he would stop talking about making love to his food. Do you usually baste your dates over low heat, Angelo? Wait, don’t answer that.
M: I think we all already know the answer!
E: And on that note, we head to the finals tonight! May the best Kelly win.