Archive for August, 2010

Like the rest of the world, I can’t believe Kenny was just sent home on Top Chef.  It makes no sense.  But I’m very confident that I’ve got it figured out.  I’ve watched enough seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette to know that reality TV shows rely on The Twist.  Top Chef can be no different.  The Twist of this season (“Hail to the Chief!”) is that they’re going to bring Kenny back in a future episode.

Here is the evidence:

  • Kenny received hearty compliments for his executive chef skills in this episode.  He was clearly talented in the management role.
  • Kenny’s dishes in this episode weren’t stellar, but they weren’t awful, either.  OK, the goat cheese got panned at the restaurant table (though I can’t see how a dish consisting of so much goat cheese could possibly be bad), but the beet salad, it seemed, was OK, just a little extravagant.  Once we got to the judges’ table, though, it suddenly sucked a lot more.
  • Amanda’s dish was horrible, at the restaurant table and the judges’ table.  And she did not display any additional skills, as Kenny did as executive chef.  If anyone had to go home from that team, it should have been Amanda.  She’s really cute, but we all know there’s no way she’s ever going to make it into the top three.
  • We’ve been set up from the beginning to expect Kenny and Angelo to be in the final round.  You might, as I naively did, think that you saw something special in that first episode.  I watched it and thought, “I know how this show will end!  Angelo and Kenny will be in the finals!  They are the best!  I can predict the future!”  But as we all know, and as that quick flash of a disclaimer at the end of each episode reminds us, these shows are heavily produced, and decisions aren’t always based solely on who really deserves to win and who really deserves to go home.  The producers had a hand in that first episode.  They wanted us to anticipate Kenny and Angelo as finalists.  That way, when they sent Kenny home prematurely and without adequate reason, we’d be terribly disappointed and even, yes, furious, and then when they brought Kenny back later, we’d feel relief and gratitude and joy.  That’s the way these things work.  It’s called Good Television.
  • Finally, the Pea Puree.  This pea puree has been a key player in every episode since it appeared.  Ed’s puree disappeared.  Alex suddenly had a puree, without enough time to have prepared it!  Alex claimed not to even know Ed had made a puree, but we know that he did know, because the night before someone had told him.  It’s on camera!  (That’s the thing with reality TV — there are cameras around to record almost everything, including thievery.)   Likewise, if Alex didn’t steal the puree, there’s footage of him preparing his own to prove it to us.  So we’re in suspense, but they can’t possibly keep us that way forever.  That would be Bad Television.

Here’s what I think.  I think that the producers and judges are well aware of Alex’s crime.  They’re keeping the revealing footage under wraps for a reason.  That reason?


At least, to top all previous Top Chef twists.  (I don’t think there are any.)

Here’s how it’ll play out.  Maybe next episode, or maybe a few episodes from now, we’ll get to see that revealing pea puree footage.   Once we know that Alex definitely stole the puree from Ed, we’ll know that our suspicions are correct: Alex does not deserve to still be a Top Chef contender.   The producers and judges will agree.  They’ll determine that in being a thief, Alex has violated some previously undisclosed rule (undisclosed because no Top Chef contestant has ever dared to steal something before ON CAMERA) that stealing someone else’s food on Top Chef is an automatic ticket home.

But you can’t just send someone home and bypass that episode’s elimination round!  What will they do?  How will they solve this problem?


Because Kenny is lovely, and he’s talented, and he deserves to be a Top Chef finalist.


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