February 17, 2011

Reality Rundown: Literal Iron Chef

The Biggest LoserNew! Survivor: Redemption IslandTop Chef All-Stars

The Biggest Loser - Arthur and his dad discuss Arthur's strategic move last week and knows he has to perform this week or the angry girls will vote him or his dad off. It's short-lived because there's a pop challenge: everyone is tied together and has to untie themselves fastest. The winning team gets the one and only key to the gym which is funny because it's clearly an antique key so good luck using that piece of shit to get into a state of the art facility. Oh, they put a prop antique lock on the door for effect. Snazzy. The red team wins so it looks like the noobs get the gym. Oh but there are workout bikes outside in the yard for the other team so they're not completely helpless.

In the workouts, some chicks on the black team whine about being underdogs and that Olympian guys is disappointed in who he is now and wants to get his glory back. Cara encourages him to open up because if you can't talk it out you're screwed. Oh someone is really getting into Jillian's turf. Eh, Jillian's leaving anyways so we need a surrogate. The red team chills out by having swimming contest for a Subway breakfast. Oh god, I think I vomited in my mouth. Not from obese people swimming, but from the idea of eating breakfast at Subway, let alone anything from Subway. As the red team cut loose, the black team teaches Arthur how to cook since he's learned nothing up until this point it seems.

There's another challenge for the teams to really push, literally. The teams will have to push a 24 ton train 800 feet. Because pushing a train is too easy, they have to answer trivia questions regarding food and nutrition. The prize is worth it though: the winning team will get to select a member of the opposite team to not count at the weigh-in. The black team finishes the challenge in 2:05, while red finishes in 1:35. However, due to trivia penalties, the times are changed: black team ends up at 3:05, red got 5 wrong but was still able to beat the black team's time.

Weigh-in. The red team weighs in first for a total of 63lbs, which means the black team of self-described underdogs has to lose more than 52lbs. In the worst decision ever, the red team doesn't choose Arthur as the player to omit. They choose Irene, which is dumb but the black team is full of duds so it might not matter. Arthur is held to dead last, his team's fate lay is his hands with 13lbs needed to keep the black team safe. Arthur steps on the giant fake scale and loses a whopping 20lbs, leading to cheers from his team and tears over on the red side. Dumbest move ever, red team. When voting, the numbers on the scale don't matter and the red team selects loyalty over weak players and sends Jay home, per his wishes, instead of his daughter.

New! Survivor: Redemption Island - Welcome back to Nicaragua for another go-round of the adventure of a lifetime. A bunch of strangers are dropped off with Jeff via military helicopter but are immediately informed two more players are joining the game, and in come Boston Rob and Russell. Fuuuuuuck. There's big cheers for Rob, groans for Russell. Rob ends up on orange (Ometepe), Russell on purple (Zapatera). Jeff also reveals the twist of the season right away, explaining Redemption Island where an eliminated contestant will live and survive alone. When the next person arrives, they duel and the winner gets to stay and the other person is gone for good. Eventually, the Redemption Island champ gets back into the game. It is real-life Thunderdome.

Zapatera gets to camp where Russell won't STFU about how he'll dominate again. A product placement Craftsmen toolbox is at camp to help build shelter. Well that's no fun- I prefer the suffering way of building. Russell does his exact same plays by picking a cute girl to be his #2, or should I say #1 because Russell always loses to his partner because he sucks. It doesn't fall on blind eyes, as David notices Russell pulling his cute girl move and informs Mike. The guys know it's important to get rid of Russell as soon as possible. PLEASE DO.

Ometepe bonds quickly and looooves Rob soooo much and is annoyed a lot by Phillip (good thing I didn't make him my pre-show winner pick). Phillip comes right out with him being able to read people and liars, he was a secret agent, and he'd love to be voted off first. He didn't say the last part, but he's asking for it with this speech. Kristina is searching through the tools and Rob knows she is searching for a clue to an immunity idol. Be a little sneakier, lady. Kristina and Phillip bond and decide to work together, stay with the young girls, avoid Rob. Desperate to find the idol, Kristina takes a shovel out to search and poke around. She finds it easily hidden below some rocks. Jesus Survivor, haven't you learned to hide it better? Kudos to Kristina for finding it and not being a troll in a fedora. Phillip starts get super defensive, paranoid and demanding about who Kristina and Francesca want to vote off and they aren't having it and already regret aligning with him.

Immunity challenge: push blocks along a track to build a base of a temple, do some climbing, and do a puzzle. You know, like every other challenge this show does. So many stupid puzzles. Winning team also gets flint for fire-building. Boston Rob and Russell both end up becoming the leaders of their team during the puzzle (though David initially leads the Zapatera puzzle movement), and Zapatera wins. It's hard to be excited since that means Russell is on my TV another week.

Ometepe has to get their game on and send someone to Redemption Island. Kristina lets Francesca know she has the idol and has a master plan: get all the young girls to vote for her, then the rest of them will vote for Rob. Play the idol, blindside Rob. Francesca likes the idea of it, but they are a physically weak tribe and need to get rid of the weak and the young girls. Francesca suggests eliminating Natalie instead. Kristina also lets Phillip know she has the idol, but worries maybe she shouldn't have told him. Boston Rob initially wanted Francesca out because Francesca knew his game, but also knows Kristina's deadly because she was seeking an idol. Rob tells the children (because that's what they are) to split the votes between Francesca and Kristina.

At Tribal Council, Phillip gets pissy and openly declares that Francesca and Kristina asked him to vote off Rob. It gets better, even if he's annoying: Phillip announces that Kristina has an immunity idol. She admits it and the whole plan blows up. Kristina tells Rob her plan was not to vote for him but for Natalie. Hot mess of a Tribal! A deal is brokered between Rob and Kristina: give Rob the immunity idol and she'll stay in the game. What a bunch of dummies, seriously. The votes are cast and Francesca, another person I liked pre-show but knew she wouldn't last, gets eliminated. Sort of. Now Francesca heads to Redemption Island to feed off the land and prepare for her first duel next week.

Top Chef All-Stars - Quickfire challenge has Padma speaking like that reporter who had that stroke on air, but Elmo, Cookie Monster and Telly pop from Sesame Street pop up behind a table as this week's judges. Love it!! The actual challenge is to make the best cookie cookie cookie cookie ever and the winner gets $5k. There is nothing more adorable than Elmo cheering for a zuccini cookie.. nothing!! Cookie Monster is so hungry he attempts to eat the tablecloth, which I guarantee is tastier than Mike Isabella's cookie. Cookie clunkers: Richard's ice cream non-cookie, Angelo's dry cookie. Favorites: Dale's potato chip sweet and salty cookie and Antonia's super chocolately gooey cookie, which Elmo says looks like "cow chips" (Google it). The winner is Dale and I really want that recipe because it looked really delicious and easy to make.

$25k is on the line for the Elimination Challenge, which lets the contestants go all Supermarket Sweep on a Target, where they have 3 hours to raid the store for ingredients to make a dish for 100 Target employees. They can't bring any of their own gear, they must buy everything at Target (knives, cooking equipement, etc). A shopping spree in Target is basically my dream in life, so I watch this episode in awe. Better stock up on the Foreman grills. Once they've shopped til they dropped (another epic PAX gameshow), they set up their stations in the middle of the aisles. Everyone is settling in, but Carla is still roaming the aisles for decorating her table and barely finding ingredients. Pull it together Carla, don't let me down!

As the chefs prepare their dishes, mainly soup it seems, a decorator sets up table for the employees. Will the employees have to clean this shitshow up later? Dale makes grilled cheese and tomato soup with an iron, which is pretty awesome. The judges take their seats and my main man Ming Tsai (East Meets West!) and Thomas O'Brien (designer guy from earlier) are the guest judges. Ming Tsai wins the Pun of the Year when he comments Dale "is trying to be an IRON Chef."

Judges' Panel and the chefs are exhausted from the all-nighter. Top dishes: Antonia, Dale, Richard. Richard has his loin cooked two ways, which showed a lot of hard work. Antonia's runny eggs were the perfect consistency. Dale's grilled cheese was crispy and the soup had a smokiness that was good. Dale wins the elimination challenge too, pocketing $30k tonight. Someone's going up a tax bracket! See people, you may laugh at my passion for grilled cheese and tomato soup but it pays... big time! Carla, Tiffany and Angelo are the bottom of the pack, meaning we're still stuck with Mike Isabella. What gives? Carla's soup never boiled so there was a weird texture and lacked a protein. Angelo's baked potato soup was way too salty and maybe a little rich. Tiffany's jambalaya used a prepared spice mix, which ruined the dish. Angelo is told to pack his knives and go, which is a shocker because I totally thought it was Tiffany's time to go. Thus ends the bromance of Angelo and Mike "How are you still on this show?" Isabella.

Photo Credits: BravoTV.com, CBS.com, NBC.com, Survivor.com