September 17, 2010

Reality Rundown: Jackie Kennedy Would Not Have Camel Toe

New! Survivor: NicaraguaFinale! Top Chef DC
New! Top Chef: Just DessertsProject Runway

New! Survivor: Nicaragua - 2 jumbled up groups meet in the middle of the Nicaraguan rainforest not to sell heroin, but to meet up with Jeff Probst and begin the ultimate game: Survivor. After getting some first impressions and whispers of "That old man is an NFL coach!" Jeff informs everyone there is something called the Medallion of Power hidden. First person to find it gets some sort of power for their whole tribe. Everyone skedaddles, searching high and low (and in the water) for the medallion but a cute young girl, Brenda, spies it in the tree and secures it for her tribe. Older guy in blue shirt Marty is psyched, but Jeff tells him don't get too excited: these groups aren't their tribes. Jeff puts the 40+ people on the blue tribe (Espada) and the under 30s on the yellow tribe (La Flor). I could've guessed it by the semi-coordinating outfits; young people in yellow/brights, old in blues/darks. Then Jeff gives some info on the Medallion of Power: La Flor can trade in the medallion now for flint and fishing supplies or hold onto it and use it later. If they hold onto the medallion, Espada gets the flint, etc. After much debate, La Flor chooses to keep the flint and fishing gear, giving the old fogies a shot at a future power.

Espada gets the focus first and former NFL coach Jimmy Johnson is the hot gossip. His tribemates are sort of in awe, while Jimmy knows he's gonna have to really make some moves to get everyone to align with him and not just vote off the famous guy. In the middle of the woods, swim coach Holly tries to make an immediate alliance with kooky cowboy hat wearing goat farmer Wendy. Jane, a dog trainer, amazes all by starting a fire with a pair of glasses. Jimmy Johnson gets so amped and overexcited that his body shuts down on his and gives him the dry heaves later that night. Jimmy comes to the realization that after watching every episode of Survivor you wouldn't know how hard it is out there. Really dude?

We then meet up with La Flor who has this dude Jud who has long blond hair and rocks acid wash jeans; he's also extremely dumb and the men name him Fabio. Shannon comes off as the team douche first, wanting to align with strong Chase (my pick to win) and make sure a woman doesn't win this; they've both got blurred underwear bulge- hot! But later Chase bonds with Brenda and an instant trust/bond is formed, so Chase now has 2 alliances and might be screwed (d'oh). Brenda says he's clueless; totally using him. Save him til week 3 for my record. Speaking of women, Kelly B. who has a noticeable limb realizes she can't keep her secret very long and reveals to her tribe that she is an amputee and has a prosthetic leg. Jud/Fabio is baffled and wonder how she gets it to work [slaps head]. Everyone praises her braveness, but also know you can't bring someone like that to the end. Hello, target. Kelly B. and Alina find a clue to a hidden immunity idol at tree mail, but it's confusing so they hide it. Alina also knows Kelly B can't stay long because of sympathy votes.

Immunity challenge! Before getting there, Jimmy Johnson gives a pep talk because while he knows he can't win, he wants one of his tribemates to. He talks a lot- he'd annoy me at camp. Anyways, the tribes are brought in by Jeff (with La Flor doing a tribal chant or something) and explains the rules: one person will pour water into gutters held by tribe members to lower some puzzles, solve the puzzle and win. Espada has the Medallion of Power so Jeff reveals that the MOP gives a huge advantage at challenges: if they use it, they can start with 1 bucket of water in the barrel and since it takes 5 buckets it's a good headstart. Espada chooses to hold onto the MOP to prove a point that they don't need no stinkin' medallion. The challenge starts and Jeff has completely given up on tribe names on day 2 by calling them "older tribe" and "younger tribe." La Flor gets a slight lead, but Espada is close behind. The women work on the puzzle and it becomes a true battle of old vs. young since it's so close. La Flor aka younger tribe wins immunity sending someone from Espada to early Survivor retirement.

Espada comes back nursing their war wounds and another loudmouth, Jimmy T, wants to vote off Jimmy Johnson. He doesn't want to get blinded by stars and thinks he's talks of wanting to win someone else a million is a crock. Jimmy Johnson would like to vote off Wendy, sending Holly into sheeeeeeeit mode since she stupidly made an alliance with the person that was obviously the weakest person on the show. Wendy knows she's in trouble since she has no bonds and Holly is avoiding her. The question is who will make the tribe stronger? At tribal, Jimmy J keeps trying to use the jury won't give him a million argument, but Jimmy T disagrees thinking a jury would most definitely give him the prize. Wendy is upset no one knows anything about her and didn't ask her age, which is stupid because everyone knows you don't ask an older woman her age. Wendy interrupts Jeff to try and make a last ditch effort to save herself, but she's so annoying and her attempts at humor stink so she's eliminated.

Finale! Top Chef DC -We pick up where last week ended which is immediately after elimination where Padma enters the stew room to bring the final 3 back to judging. They arrive to find the infamous knives and learn about their final challenge: create a 4 course meal of the most amazing food of their lives. Course 1: vegetable, course 2: fish, course 3: meat (Tom and Eric Ripert will choose the protein for them- perhaps monkey, course 4: dessert. They get some extra help, which is where the knives come in: 3 past Top Chef winners, Michael Voltaggio, Hung, and Ilan, will be their sous chefs (selected by a knife draw). Kevin and Michael actually worked together 10 years ago, so that's definitely a benefit. Angelo wanted Hung since both cook Asian food, so he lucked out. Ed is with Ilan. They head to the house to prep, but Angelo is feeling sick. The 3 winners give some good advice: don't cook stuff you haven't done before. Sounds like a duh but someone always effs up.

The next morning Angelo is feeling like hell, vomiting and feverish. He doesn't want to give up, but a doctor is coming because he's so miserable. The doctor gives him a 20% chance of being able to compete at the final challenge the next day. The show must go on for the other 2, so Kevin, Ed and their sous chefs (and Hung all alone) meet Tom and Eric to see the ingredients they bought. It's like when you buy new clothes and show them off for your mom but instead of jeans it's cockles, slipper lobster and duck. The fish course must be rouget and the meat must be duck, but they have to incorporate some other wacky proteins too. The chefs go on a supermarket sweep, but slower with more deliberation. Hung has to shop via a phone call with Angelo but it seems to work OK. They head to the kitchen to begin prep while the doctor gives Angelo a shot in the butt.

Day of competition: the doctor gives Angelo the OK to cook. Game on, chefs. Prep, prep, cook, cook, Ed sweating, everyone swearing. The usual kitchen stuff. The usual judges take their seats and bring along some special guests but there's too many to name. Also, there's too many courses to name/write about each dish so let's skip the dinner critiques and get right to the panel judging, which is where it matters. Angelo is first: they really enjoyed his seafood brother, didn't understand the cherry thing with his duck. Ed's duo of duck, particularly the stuffed neck, was excellent. His dessert was OK but it wouldn't win the competition for him; this is funny because he didn't make the dessert, he had his sous chef conceive and create it. Kevin's duck l'orange was perfectly cooked and his Singapore Sling 2010 dessert was refreshing, surprised, and universally loved. It was a great meal for the finale, but the winner is the person who took the most risks and made the best meal. Kevin is declared Top Chef. Congratulations Hosea, you're no longer the most blah winner of Top Chef ever.

New! Top Chef: Just Desserts - I know many people are dreading this spinoff of the Top Chef franchise, but I can't wait. Personally, I'm a baker, not a cook so I can't wait to delve into pastries. It's also hosted by TC judge Gail Simmons, and I really like her. Do we still call them cheftestants? Maybe baketestants would be better? Plus, I wonder what the witty baking elimination catchphrase will be?? The baketestants are picked up at the airport in a double decker bus waiting to what's to come: Gail arrives with the head judge, Johhny Iuzzini who is a famed pastry chef with a sweet Elvis/Crybaby haircut. The first Quickfire is to introduce their skill and talent through their signature dessert; winner gets immunity. What's mind boggling is that recipes aren't allowed in this competition and pastry/baking is all about precise measurements. Oh man, I'd be sca-rewwwwed!

The Just Desserts kitchen is beautiful: colorful Kitchen Aid mixers, baking pans galore... can I live there?! As the chefs are full-steam, Gail and Johnny arrive with a twist: their dessert must be transformed into a cupcake. Everyone freaks out, runs around like mad people- it's pure chaos! The least favorite is Monica (who didn't finish), Tim (because it wasn't a cupcake at all), and Zack (marshmallow failure). The best are Seth (an herby cupcake with basil frosting), Tania (interesting flavor combo), and Heather C (carrot cake with creme fresh). The winner is Seth (who says he looks like Mark Wahlberg or Dexter, but I see Danny from Lost), and he gets immunity.

The elimination challenge: create a luxurious chocolate dessert to impress 50 chocolate connoisseurs including Jacque Torres aka Mr. Chocolate. The party begin in the Just Desserts dining area where we meet the other judges for this week: Dannielle Kyrillos, editor-at-large for Daily Candy and permanent judge, and Jacques Torres of Jacques Torres Chocolate. Jacques tries his first ever whoopie pie, which is amusing to watch. Seth, Heather H, and Zack are called to the judge's table first and are the top 3. Zack is crying, comparing desserts to a baby. Zach makes chocolate fondant and even puts some "disco dust" on it; it has a lot of textures and components, being called a "party in their mouth." Heather dark chocolate mousse topped with Grand Marnier has some great crunch to it. Seth makes a cutting edge curry for dessert, surprising the judges. Heather wins for embracing chocolate decadence best. The bottom 3 are Danielle, Tania and Morgan. Danielle's tart "exploded" on the plate, making it hard to eat. Tania's mousse had a weird texture and didn't have enough chocolate to balance the bad mousse. Morgan's milk chocolate flan separated and had too much, making a "jarring contrast." Tania is eliminated for poor execution of her mousse- her "dessert just didn't measure up. Pack your tools and go." Boooo- booooooring!

Project Runway - Heidi tells the designers they are stepping back in time and to go meet Tim. Wow, amazing hosting. THIS gets an Emmy nomination?? Tim stands in front of a collage of photos of Jackie Kennedy and her iconic classic American sportswear. The challenge is to create their own take on American sportswear. 1 word: JOVERALLS. They sketch on their product placement things, shop at Mood, and get cracking in the workroom. The pressure is on because not only is Jackie Kennedy legendary but there's only a few designers left so you can't mess up. On the day of the runway show, Tim arrives to announce that it is not runway day. Maybe it's a "say something hat day?" No, the designers now have an additional day and have to create outwear to accompany their sportswear. Line of the night goes to Tim critiquing Andy's pant's crotch: "Jackie Kennedy would not have camel toe." Put that on a t-shirt!

Runway show! The guest judge is January Jones who you may know as the dead-behind-the-eyes-worst-mother-in-the-world Betty Draper on Mad Men. Christopher creates an asymmetrical shimmery dress with a fur/leather shawl. It's very Jackie Kennedy- classy, sexy, but the don't dig the "dirty dish rag" shawl. Mondo's look is awe-some: it's a large purple houndstooth pencil shirt with a horizontal black and white strip top with a little black jacket. It's fun, elegant, and clever. Love itttt! Plus, Mondo matches his model. Ivy made some big elephant pants, a white asymmetrical top, and a sheer gray chiffon jacket; Heidi thinks there's too much design, but other judges like it. Mondo wins the challenge- yay!

Valerie makes a wool vest on top of a dark purple jacket, which she tries to say is a blouse. It's meh and Michael Kors says it's sad. Michael Drummond's pleated skirt looks like H&M gone terrible. The jacket is ugly. It's a hot mess all around and Michael Kors says it's insulting to sportswear. Andy makes curtain pants- that's what I'll call them. They are draped and have a big wedgie in the butt. Heidi wants to LOL at this look, thinking about how hideous Jackie O. would look in them. Michael Kors calls it "MC Hammer meets the Beverly Hillbillies grandmother" and keeps saying "c'mon!" (channeling Gob Bluth) I'm pretty shocked that Andy is safe, but the judges respect him at least not being boring. Michael Drummed is out and it looks like my Diff'rent Strokes jokes end here.

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