August 21, 2009

Reality Rundown: Auf Wiedersehen, Bravo! Lifetime, you're IN!

New! Top ChefTop Chef MastersBig BrotherNew! Project Runway

New! Top Chef - Viva Las Vegas! 21 new aspiring chefs arrive in the city of sin to show off their culinary chops. Cheftestants include a James Beard nominee (which is a big deal in the culinary world, as I learned on Top Chef Masters, brothers, and a lot of tattooed ladies. Right off the bat, a bunch of showgirls come into the Top Chef Kitchen and Padma gives them their first Quickfire: the Mise En Place relay. They are split into 5 teams of 4 by drawing chips, and the person who gets the gold chip gets to sit out and gets immunity (and this person is old lady Robin)- pretty sweet deal! The Blue Team wins the relay, while one team doesn't even make it past phase 1 of shucking clams. So the 4 Blue Team members learn this season there are big stakes: they will each cook a dish against each other and that person will win $15k! After some good dishes, Jennifer wins the challenge (I originally didn't think she ever smiled, but was happy with her win), and has set the standard, since 3 out of 5 seasons the 1st Quickfire winner also won Top Chef. Elimination challenge: each chef will prepare a dish inspired by a personal vice they have. Umm, what? It seems most chefs are serious alcohol lovers and make a lot of booze dishes. The guy who I thought was the loud mouth New Yorker (and he is) actually had my favorite concept which was a piece of fish that looked like a bar of soap, since he has a foul mouth. World-famous chef Wolfgang Puck is the guest judge, and I didn't even recognize him at first; he turns out to be the most hilarious judge, even throwing one chef's donuts across the room. Very tattooed and very stretch-eared Jennifer makes a stuffed chile relleno, but stuffs it with this nasty wheat gluten stuff (seitan), and despite a few other flubs by other chefs, she is the first to pack up her knives and go. (Image from

Top Chef Masters - Finale! And yes, I again drifted off in this episode, but only during one of their excruciatingly long commercial breaks. The task this week is to cook the autobiography of their cooking lives (very cool idea). 1st dish: 1st food memory, 2nd dish: What inspired them to be a chef, 3rd dish: the opening of their first restaurant, and 4th dish: where they are heading in the future. The normal judges will be present, along with Tom, Padma, Gail, and the 5 winners of Top Chef "Classic" (as I affectionately call it). And these final meals are so mouth-watering on screen, even for someone who isn't a foodie. For a while, I thought Hubert Keller had tonight in the bag, but then thought maybe it would be Michael Chiarello. Wrong on both counts! Rick Bayless puts together an amazing meal from beginning to end (stumbling on one fish stew dish) and is declared Top Chef Master and gets $100k to give to his charity (something about farming). All in all, it was a good series, even if I may have used the 10pm timeslot as naptime occasionally. (Image from

Big Brother - Thursday's episode, originally scheduled to be a double eviction, is all pretty live. The POV competition, ceremony, eviction, and HOH competition are all live in the hour. First up, we see what's been happening in the house. With her back up against the wall, Natalie is trying her hardest to stay and decides planting a seed of doubt about Michelle and Russell having a final 2 deal could help. Kevin approaches Jeff late at night and tells him he overhead a conversation between Michelle and Kevin, which causes Jeff to doubt Russell's allegiance. But in better drama, Natalie and Lydia finally realize Jessie played them against each other and used them; but at least Lydia can brag she gave an HJ in the BB house (left out of the TV broadcast: the role Natalie's sweatshirt played in Lydia and Jessie's hook-ups- bleckh!) Natalie gets her phone call from home and it's her dad, who says he watches every episode with her boyfriend (which is a huge relief to her). Onto the live stuff: the POV competition is a series of questions about if events happened before or after other events. All I'm thinking is, "Please don't let Kevin win!" because then Russell might replace someone on the block and cause some problems. Surprisingly, Jordan wins again (and this time, on her own!) and decides to leave her nominations as is. When it comes time to vote, the final tally is 3-1 and Lydia, still dressed as Captain Unitard, is evicted from the house. Yay! While the gamer in me says Natalie was a better move, Lydia was so annoying and defeated. She claims she'll be giving Jessie "hell" at the Jury House, but I'm sure "hell" is just a dirty euphenism to her. The HOH competition has the HGs dropping cans into 2 tubes- 1st to 25 wins HOH or whoever has the most in 1 hour wins. The show ends as the HGs let cans clatter everywhere and we'll find out HOH on Sunday (or you can just go to Jokers Updates to find out who won). (Image from

New! Project Runway - With all the legal issues finally over and a network change (we're on Lifetime people!), Project Runway is back and goshdarnit, they're going to make it work. After attempting to sit through the 2 hour PR All Star episode (I had to fast forward to fit in time for this episode), 16 new designers arrive at PR's new home in Los Angeles, where we learn they will have their workspace at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (aka FIDM aka where Lauren Conrad went to school. Hey, I watched The Hills for like 2 seasons. I'll remember some stupid facts). There's so many designers that it's hard to keep track, but there's a former druggie, the usual guy with no training, a lot of young people, and a Samantha Ronson doppelganger that at least wears make-up and a lot of neon colored unitards. The always fabulous Tim Gunn brings the designers to the empty Red Carpet from the Emmy awards (which shows you how long ago it was taped) and gives them their first challenge: design a Red Carpet look for any time of award show. Mood has set up a satellite shop in LA for the show, so we get the prerequisite shizzshow of designers running amuck to get their gear. Onto the runway! The usual judges, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia, are back, but there's also a guest judge who knows a thing or two about the red carpet (insert a nudge, nudge, wink joke here): Lindsay Lohan! And when I see Lohan, I get a bit angry thinking "Where's Fonzie leaping over the shark?" but I have to admit: I thought LiLo was a pretty decent judge. She provided some good criticism and seemed to know her stuff, but this will not convince me to buy any Sevin Nyne tanner. With the gowns overall, I'm not extremely impressed. I thought there were a few good looks, but nothing that blew me away for week one. The winner is young midwesterner Chris, the guy with no experience, for a short dress with some volume (I thought it was OK, maybe a little too Betsey Johnson). However, there is one hot mess of a gown because it's not even a gown. It's a giant silver space hoodie with short-shorts and the designer, Ari the Ronson Twin, is a wackadoodle. While one guy sent out a completely sheer dress that was completely unwearable (he had no time to fix his original design), it's no contest that the Ari is sent home- and ironically it's the week Lohan judges- how hilarious! (Original image from

Oh, and if you really care about the models on the show, you can watch Models of the Runway afterwards, but that is a lot of Runway for one night for me!