NBC’s Celebrity Cooking Showdown may have tanked in the ratings (fourth place), but I still checked it out. How could I not? I’d already hyped it up with two posts last month. Besides, I just had to see how Naomi Campbell and Sandra Lee would co-exist in the same room. Surely some fur would be flying. Well, turns out Naomi was nowhere to be found (probably because of that whole court case against her), and Sandra Lee was totally MIA (she was probably passed out under a doily after having imbibed a pitcher of her beer margaritas). Without these two queen bees, I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to get through this hour, but at least I had the dulcet tones of Alan Thicke’s voice. And then there was Cindy Margolis’s heaving bosom. Strange how she always seemed to be bending over to get something. Truth is that I really love the premise of this show. The execution? Well… it makes you pine for Alton Brown and the whole Iron Chef gang.On the plus side, Celebrity Cooking Showdown is fairly engaging. I found myself drawn into the event, despite fake audience enthusiasm and the silly contrivances the producers threw in (such as “missing ingredients”). On the downside, Alan Thicke’s banal commentary was more distracting than helpful. It was clearly all added in post-production — we could tell by the way he lilted his voice at the end of every comment as if he were reading a list of lines. His entire play-by-play effort had the disengaged, generic sound of Al Michaels on Madden 2006. There was no sense of urgency or spontaneity, let alone any traces of educational factoids. Then there were the judges. I enjoyed Gael Greene’s crotchety remarks, mostly because she sounded like the sort of woman who spends all her free time browsing through Zabar’s. But Colin Cowie — this guy just has to go. It’s bad enough that he coordinated Rob and Amber’s wedding, but must we hear his take on Tony Gonzales’ penne à la vodka too?
For those of you uninitiated to the ways of Celebrity Cooking Showdown, here’s how it works. Three celebrities are paired with a professional chef each night. They must create a gourmet three-course meal for two judges in fifty minutes or less. Each judge will grade each meal for taste and presentation. There are three nights of competition (nine celebs total), and the chef with the highest score each night will move onto a finals round. There, they will cook again, and then the audience at home will vote on their favorite chef — which doesn’t really make sense since we can’t taste the food. Anyway, on the fifth night, a champion is anointed, and on day six, the entire bonanza is cancelled. Anyway, let’s take a look back at all the boobs, burns, and blunders of the competition.
Thicke and Mandel? FINALLY!
Off the bat, I’m incredibly concerned. The hour begins with Alan Thicke appearing on Deal or No Deal in an effort to drag the audience over to Celebrity Cooking Showdown. I’ve always felt strongly that these two men should never be in the same room together, and my fears are soon realized when they engage in some mind-numbingly awful badinage.
“Your show’s cookin’!” Alan Thicke says, praising the game show.
“No, YOUR show’s cooking!” Howie replies. Get it? Because it’s a cooking show.
“Well, that’s nice of you to say.” Alan responds, as if we really believe that he’s too dense to get the joke.
“No, no, no, literally, your show’s cooking,” Howie then says. OH! NOW I get it! Thanks for spelling it out!
After a few more lines of atrocious dialogue, Alan says “Meal or No Meal” (groan) and then runs off the set to the neighboring sound stage. Inside is NBC’s faux Kitchen Stadium where a rowdy audience cheers Mr. Thicke’s very presence.
Yay male plastic surgery!
If Jessica and Ashlee Simpson had a love child, it would be that random girl in the audience.
The opening credits roll, and I’m fairly disarmed by the remixed version of “Dude Looks Like A Lady” that serves as the show’s theme song. It doesn’t really make sense. Literally. This is a cooking show, not a transgender exposé. Anyway, our celebs and their chefs soon emerge. The teams: Wolfgang Puck and model Cindy Margolis, Cat Cora and football star Tony Gonzales, and Govind Armstrong and actress Alison Sweeney. Let’s get cookin’!
It’s the battle of the face-lifts!
These two are my favorite. However, I can’t help noticing that Cat’s breasts are just barely higher than Tony’s groin.
“What is that?” Cindy asks Wolf. She learns that it is an exotic bird, one that few people know of. Something called CHICKEN.
Meet the judges. They look like they’ve just returned from some sort of cruise involving The Captain and Tenille.
Oooh! Time for a big twist! Each celeb will be missing two ingredients that will be hidden in the pantry!!! What a cruel and merciless game this is!
Tony struggles out of the gate. Time for a forced sports metaphor! “He’s already trailing by a field goal!” Alan Thicke says. Dynamite!
Cindy Margolis handles her raw chicken…
…and then, without washing, she scoops out vanilla ice cream by hand. Mmmmm… E. coli sundae!
And now the real reason(s) Cindy Margolis is on the show…
Don’t you just love when chefs play with their hair? Then again, I hear E. coli makes for wonderful conditioner.
Oh no! Cindy’s missing an ingredient! Off to the pantry! Seriously, why do they even have this stupid twist?
That’s right. To see Cindy’s boobies bounce. (Insert “bowwm bowwwm” noise here)
As Tony cooks, Alan Thicke says, “Look how Tony uses the cookie cutter to make perfect tomato rounds to stack his mozzarella cheese. He’s GOOD!” Has he ever seen a cookie cutter before? It’s really not such an amazing feat.
“Hey viewers! Please don’t leave! I have breasts!”
As Tony chops an onion, Alan Thicke says, “He’s moving so quickly, I hope he gets that shallot cut up evenly.” ME TOO!
Yes Alison, we know what a steak is. By the way, thanks, Country Crock, for sponsoring every square inch of this mess.
Each celeb is allowed to call their chef for help twice during the competition for two minutes at a time. Tony plops his flag in the bucket to bring in Cat Cora, and of course, Alan Thicke chimes in with another wonderful pun: “Here’s Tony. Flag on the play!” Sounds like someone just got blitzed… with HILARITY!
Time for another football pun! “Tony’s feeling the pressure at the end of Cat’s two-minute drill,” Thicke says, which is followed by an audible groan across America. Holy shit, I just made a football pun too. That was totally unintended. HELP ME! I’M TURNING INTO ALAN THICKE!!!
“Wolf, are those things real?”
“Oh ya. They are like two mighty luftballoons.”
The real reason Wolfgang Puck had Cindy make a Baked Alaska?
Lots of freezer checks!
With the clock winding down, the chefs all rush out to help their stars with last minute touches. Alan Thicke notes, “It’s past lunch time. It’s crunch time!” Isn’t it possible that crunch time could fall before lunch time? This comment makes no logical sense. And it’s also profoundly stupid.
Funny thing about burning hot pans. THEY BURN.
And now Colin Cowie and his yenta-tranny life partner shall taste the meals.
I never knew Jerry Seinfeld’s mom liked food so much.
In general, the judges like Cindy and Tony’s dishes. But when it comes to Alison’s bleu cheese infused tenderloin, Gael says, “I don’t really like salty cheese inside of a steak.” Why does that sound so kinky?
As for Alison’s citrus crepe, Gael comments, “I’m not going to say what I think because I want to go home alive.” Hey Alison, you just got a mouthful of GaelSass.
Ultimately, Cindy winds up with the highest score, just narrowly beating out Tony and then Alison. And so concludes hour one of this five night event. I don’t know who Cindy will be going up against, but if they don’t get some implants fast, I’m thinking she’ll be walking home with the viewer vote.
What did you think about this show?