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Well, hello ‘Gasmii! How’ve you been? It’s been ages since we got to watch people crying in a kitchen, hasn’t it? Did you miss it? Well, no worries…Food Network Star brings back bitchy back-biting this week. Maybe no Ah-LISH-ah style tears, but fun nonetheless. Let’s get cooking!
The “previously” reminds us about how much of a doofus Frat Boy Chris is and how domineering (and disliked) Penny is. We’re also reminded of how Justin Food Blogger and Susie Mexican were criticized last week as being awful. I hope that portends a redemption arc for both!
We open this week with Justin Food Blogger. He’s worried that his confidence is getting shaky lately, and he hopes that the judges will get to see the real him sooner than later. Vin “Eyebrows” Vegas beckons the group to get on the road. It’s time for the first challenge!
(I love how we get about 20 seconds of introduction into the show before the first challenge is set up, which makes me think that this show will just flyyyyyy on by. But no! No, they get through the first challenge in a jiffy so they can spend WAY TOO MUCH TIME on the second challenge. Like, this is another 90-minute episode that didn’t need to be a 90-minute episode. Ugh.)
(From the look of that hilly driveway, I really think it IS the Money Hungry house! And I know I’m the only one who cares, so I’ll stop talking about it!)
The contestants walk into the kitchen, and who’s there to make them all gasp in polite, “I’m sure we’re supposed to act pleasantly surprised” shock? Melissa D’Arabian, winner of a former FNS competition. Was she just two years ago, or three? All I remember is that she used her French connection the whole time on the competition, but her actual show is one step up from Sandra Lee’s budget cooking show. I DO like her dress!
In the Product Placement/Camera Challenge this week, it’s Kellogg’s products. There are Keebler cookies and Eggo waffles and assorted cereals. They have 45 minutes to prepare an hors d’oevre for a surprise guest, using the Kellogg’s product as the main ingredient. The random selection this week is that their assignment is hidden under straw domes on a plate. Ichabod “Trying Too Hard” Justin gets exactly what he wanted, Cheese-Its. Well, that’s nice. Will it help you be interesting on camera?
I’d love a challenge one day where they open the domes and find rats and snakes and spiders.
(Can you tell I miss Fear Factor?)
It’s the usual cooking scramble we’ve all seen a jillion times. I should say “Jyllian times,” eh? Because, ya know, Jyll is making something awesome again. She got Rice Krispies and is mixing them with crab to make crab cakes. Um, YUM.
You’re holding the box the wrong way, dumbass. It isn’t product placement if you can’t see the product!
Frat Boy Chris, however, is going the totally unimaginative route, by using Corn Flakes to make fried chicken. Like recipes across the land have suggested for decades. Great call. I really hope the “celebrity” judge isn’t some asshole who hasn’t heard of doing this before and thinks it’s great. Pleasepleaseplease!
Justin Food Blogger doesn’t really know what he’s doing with his Crispix, so he’s wandering around looking for things, but he doesn’t know what, and it seems pretty hopeless. For someone who needs to impress the judges, this ain’t good.
So, who’s the celebrity they’re all out to impress? Michael Symon! Yay! I actually don’t really know who he is, because I don’t watch Iron Chef America (I’m a “fu-qwee-san” purist), but he’s apparently kind of cool. He’s bald and smiley and won a James Beard award. Each chef has prepared about a dozen little bites of their dish, so I hope other judges are here to talk turkey. (Psst, Susie Mexican has a crush on Mr. Symon.)
See? Cute dress. And goofy grins on both.
Oh, and since this is a camera challenge, they each get a minute to take a bite of their creation and tell their audience just how delicious it is. I already know that Ichabod and Frat Boy Chris are going to botch their presentations. Orchid and Jyll will probably nail it, and Mediocre MaryBeth will somehow come across as creepy.
Frat Boy Chris displays awful grammar from the outset, saying, “Me and my sisters” instead of “my sisters and I.” The editor in me cringes. He doesn’t do too badly otherwise, except he almost forgets to take a bite of his dish (part of the challenge) in his 60 allotted seconds. He crams in two chicken nuggets at the very end, which makes the judges laugh. He still comes across as a childish simpleton, and I don’t think Squinchy Bob is going to think him more mature after this.
But actually, Bob thought it was Chris’s best (not saying much), at least until the childish end. But I guess that’s improvement. I hate it, but I think Chris is around for another week or so. Dang it.
Robot Whitney is next. She gives us a lesson in what our tongues taste, and it kinda doesn’t make sense. Salty, sweet…acid and bitter? When did pH come into it?! Melissa D’Arabian looks pissed. Whitney made some kind of parmesan cracker topped with goat cheese mousse, a cherry, and Pop Tart crumble. Squinchy Bob squinches extra at the offhand mention of “Pop Tarts are all I had in my pantry.” He loves Whitney. I smile at her botching of her pronunciation of “Pop Totrs”. Melissa’s final judgment is that there’s not enough Pop Tart in the dish.
Vin “Eyebrows “Vegas schmoozes in, talking about his Pecan Sandies. His COOKIES, people, get your mind out of the gutter. Anyway, he breaded some scallops in a Pecan Sandies breadcrumb mix, which sounds fine. Melissa gives him a bit of stink eye. Michael Symon compliments Vin’s look, which elicits a mild chuckle from everyone because it’s the “bald guy complimenting a bald guy” thing. Michael has a good point, though, actually, that it’s important for big bald guys to smile a lot, or else they look too mean. (My boyfriend is a big bald guy with a wonderful smile, and I’m sure he scares a few people off when that smile goes AWOL.)
Jyll’s next, and she feels like she’s done pretty well with the camera challenges so far, so “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” She kinda overdoes it for me this week, though. Her food (the crab cake with Rice Krispies) sounds good, but her presentation is schmaltzy. Do the judges agree? Ugh, no. Melissa thinks she’s great.
Susie Mexican is next. She’s historically flubbed her camera challenges before, which is a shame, because she’s a little cutie-patootie that people can probably relate to well. She’s especially nervous this time because of that crush on the celebrity judge. And, she botches it a little. She says the wrong thing for the product name. To be fair, I’ve never even HEARD of Townhouse Flip Sides. She says “Flip Shares,” whatever those are. She never recovers, and the judges make “huh?” face the whole time. At least her crush compliments her food, saying it’s the best he’s tasted yet today. (She made lettuce wraps with pork and those crackers as a filling.)
It’s okay, the Keebler elves clearly haven’t done well with their marketing if a formerly obese TV junkie
who reads a lot of magazines has never heard of the product.
Time for Penny. She speaks the product name slowly and deliberately, so we at least know she’s a quick study. She made some mahi mahi with the Keebler flatbread cracker thingies crumbled up to make a crust. Her presentation is fine, and I’m sure the food is good. Settle in to see Penny on your TV for a while, kids. Wait! The curry aioli wasn’t good! The dish wasn’t great! YAY!
Justin Food Blogger goes next. He’s rebranded himself as “The Flavor Factory,” hoping it’ll be a better fit for him to showcase his personality and tastes. Meanwhile, he still looks kinda dumpy in his flannel and t-shirt the color of a stain, plus the big glasses. I LIKE the big glasses, but he otherwise looks like he crawled off the broken sofa bed just in time to compete. He seems to be doing okay with his presentation, except he’s not paying attention to the time, so he wraps up about 20 seconds too soon.
Oh, and when he says, “tastes like cumin,” Squinchy Bob makes a horrified face. I’m like, “What, did Justin not previously mention that there was cumin in the dish, and Bob’s mad because it seems like he’s scattered?” Nope. No, Bob thought Justin said it tastes like HUMAN. LOL. I mean, that’s really kinda stupid on Bob’s part, but it’s fucking funny. Meanwhile, the judges ding Justin all over the place, for not mentioning flavor or texture much when that’s presumably the angle of his show, and for the flavors he DID mention not coming through strongly enough.
Ichabod Justin’s turn. He made a mac and cheese with a Cheese-It crumble. It looks good, so all he has to do is NOT fuck up his presentation. He’s doing okay with it for a while, too, until he makes a word-play joke that goes over Bob’s head. Is Bob that dumb? Or is he just looking to trip them up? I’m sure it’s the latter, but the pretend-dumb routine is getting old. Anyway, Ichabod had said “Shiitake, that’s good.” Kinda fun, but it fell flat. He also rambled at the end, too. The judges get frustrated when they critique Justin, because he explains his dish really well to THEM, not to the camera. And Melissa loves his smile, which he always hides when on camera.
Smiles are for suckers.
Comedian Jeff’s Kellogg product was All-Bran, which he used to bread some pork. He comes into his camera challenge all set to make the Iron Chef laugh, so he goes with some constipation humor. It doesn’t go over well. Squinchy Bob deflates at the poop joke. (I’d watch a poop-joke themed cooking show!)
Poop jokes are for awesome people!
We cut to the winners and losers presentation for the camera challenge without seeing what Mediocre MaryBeth or Orchid had to say. Frat Boy Chris and Jyll are the top two this week, which infuriates me because Chris’s dish was that unoriginal. Jyll secures her second win in a row, though, which is pretty great for her. I don’t find her to be too objectionable. What I DO find to be objectionable is the Toothy Grin Contest she and Michael Symon appear to engage in. Stop it! Stop it right now!
Jyll engages in some serious smile workouts. This is repetition 12 of her second set. She includes small hand weights in the next set. Isometrics aren’t enough, apparently.
We jump right into the second challenge of the night, the big one that sends people packin’. Surly Bobby Flay is standing with Busy Phillips, of Cougar Town. Some other guy is with them. Oh, he’s the creator of the show, also executive producer. Good for him. Maybe he can smile sometime. Also, Penny relates to the show, since she’s a cougar. I actually gagged a smidge when she said that. Not hyperbole.
The challenge is to cook lunch for the cast and crew of Cougar Town. They’ll break into groups to cook for the five groups on the show: the Art Department, the Crew, the Writers, the Vanities (hair and makeup), and the Cast.
Specifically, the Art department needs food that looks good; the Crew needs a hearty meal; the Writers are accustomed to take-out, so they need something better; the Vanities are health-conscious and need something vegetarian; and the Cast needs something light that won’t bloat them up on camera.
This challenge is so exciting!!!
The contestants are paired as follows: Comedian Jeff and Ichabod; Penny and MaryBeth (they hate each other, FYI), Vin Vegas and Jyll, Justin Food Blogger/Susie Mexican/Whitney, and Orchid with Frat Boy Chris. They’ll have four hours to cook and $2K to spend at only two stores of their choice. But for right now, they’ve got to plan their strategies.
Whitney, Susie, and Justin Food Blogger talk first about where they want to shop, which is Restaurant Depot and Whole foods. They’re in charge of cooking for the cast. All I hear about their food is quinoa.
Orchid struggles to help Frat Boy Chris focus long enough for them to decide what they’re doing. They’re cooking for the writers, so it needs to be elevated take-out.
Penny and MaryBeth, to their credit, act like adults as they sort out what they want to do. Wait, I take that back. Penny snorts, “That’s disgusting, I don’t want to do that,” in reply to something MaryBeth suggested. Not nice. Then again, there are terrible people we all have to deal with every day, so at least it’s realistic. They fake hug at the end of their planning session, with Penny’s voice-over saying she “really can’t stand to work with someone so square.” Wow.
What if Mediocre MaryBeth can’t stand to work with someone so crappy and Gene Simmonsy, hmmm?
At Restaurant Depot, Frat Boy Chris is acting spazzy. He’s going to make some elaborate lamb dish, but his lamb is still frozen in the center. He ain’t worried, he don’t give a shit. It’ll be good by morning. Foreshadowing!
Justin Food Blogger is at Whole Foods while everyone else is at the Depot. Susie calls him to ensure that he gets her quinoa while he’s there. He confirms several times, “Two boxes? Got it.” Thing is, Susie keeps saying TEN boxes. More foreshadowing! He also can’t find any of his ingredients for his amazing salad with trout that he’s made a zillion times before. Really? At Whole Foods?
When Comedian Jeff can’t find any ground meat at Restaurant Depot (really?), he calls Ichabod. Ichabod is at Whole Foods (I think) but doesn’t seem to offer to buy any of that ingredient there, which confuses me. I guess Ichabod only has so many dollars for his portion of their meal? Jeff needs to do something, so he decides to go with tofu for his thai basil dish. Sounds fine to me, and I’m sure that if any group on the Cougar Town show will be okay with it, it’d be the Art department. So relax!
MaryBeth is at Whole Foods, too, and she’s stressing out about Penny not getting her ingredients at the Depot. She doesn’t trust her. On Penny’s end, she’s running frantically through the Depot but has to stop every three minutes to take a neurotic call from MaryBeth. (Except Penny’s panting on her end of the phone, which almost seems more desperate than MaryBeth.) They BOTH annoy me, Penny for being such a bitch and MaryBeth for being needy and short-necked.
Back at the house, everyone’s kvetching about their dishes. Food Blogger doesn’t have the ingredients he needs, Comedian has to make tofu awesome somehow. (Newsflash: cooking it “for a couple of hours to dry it out” ain’t the way. You have to PRESS it, then sear it, and then it’s good stuff!)
And Frat Boy Chris is outside, taunting a raccoon in the back yard. Yep, next Food Network Star, folks.
The next morning, Comedian Jeff is pining for his wife and kids, showing pictures to Ichabod who does the obligatory, “oh, how cute” reply. Susie Mexican is practicing her show intro in the mirror, getting frustrated with how she sounds. She has angel wing tats on her back, but they’re too small.
Off to cook!
I’m guessing Orchid has kids, because she’s got a good strategy to help keep Frat Boy Chris focused. If he gets too nutty, she’ll say, “Code Blue.” He’s actually going a little nutty already, as she’s telling us about Code Blue. Like, he’s singing “Code Bluuuuuue…Code Bluuuue” to himself as he scrambles around. Uh oh. Their food, by the way? Chris’s is that multi-ingredient lamb shank. Orchid’s making dirty rice and collard greens.
That foreshadowing about Chris’s lamb? Dead on. It’s not defrosted yet. He says that it’s a dish he normally takes 12 hours to make back home, and he’s only got three hours here. And it’s not even defrosted. Awesome.
MaryBeth is doing her best to work with Penny, who’s not doing her best to work with MaryBeth. MB, by the way, is making a buttermilk glazed meatloaf. I love meatloaf, though I’ve never given it a glaze. Seriously, though, the crew should love this.
Penny’s too busy to help MB, since she’s making a shit-ton of mac and cheese. Like, many gallons of it. It looks a little disgusting, how much cheese and cream is in there. Penny asks to share the basil by saying derisively, “Do you need all the basil?” MB’s like, “No, we can share it.” MB playing nice. Penny thinks it sucks, knows it’s fake. Yeah, but you guys have to work together, so play nice. Then again, MB seems to keep making Penny hug and kiss her, which is too much, too. So, they both suck.
Justin Food Blogger can’t catch a break. He ended up using salmon for his salad, instead of trout. And now he’s realizing his salmon is full of those pin bones. So, he starts pulling them. Never fun. Whitney thinks Justin should have let go of that original trout salad idea and gone somewhere completely new. I think he’d be lost either way, but maybe she’s right.
Susie Mexican is looking for her quinoa. Like, she found the two bags that Justin bought, but where’s the rest? This is obviously manufactured by the producers, because Justin looks instantly sheepish and says, “You said two bags.” No, she said ten. Frowny frustration. Justin feels bad, and Susie now has to bulk up her stuffed peppers with something else. She’s going to add more chicken, which sounds fine, but she sounds like she’s stressing out about it.
“Something’s burning!” Penny runs over to the stove to see what it is and concludes, “Not us.” She can’t see that her ginormous kettle of cheese is scalding on the bottom. If you’ve ever scalded a milk product on the bottom of your pan, you know it ruins the dish. Like, there’s no recovering from that, even if you pour everything out into a new pot. It’s gone. But since she doesn’t even notice it, she thinks it’s all good and lets it go. Ha!
Ichabod Justin is preparing something that sounds absolutely yummy: seared tuna with isreali couscous. I’m already worried for him, though, when he says that the couscous is mostly a texture element, not a flavor element. Um, if it’s on the dish, it needs to taste good. This is a problem! Also, will couscous be pretty enough for the art department?
Oh, Vin Vegas’s dad is a hair stylist? That makes sense. Because of that, Vin knows how to feed vegetarians. Apparently. He’s making a penne with roasted veggies and a pistachio cream pesto. Sounds good, actually. I’m starting to like him a little more now, but those overdone eyebrows still turn me off.
Jyll, meanwhile, is making a salad. I guess that’s a good call for makeup artists and hair stylists, but it still seems like it’s just a salad. A delicious salad with cranberries and pumpkin seeds and roasted pita with pumpkin hummus, but still just a salad. A classic “cooking for vegetarians” mistake.
Whitney’s cooking for the cast, and she’s making a Mediterranean platter of some kind, trying to show us that she’s versatile or something, or that we at home can go outside our comfort zone, or something? Thing is, she’s just cooking up vegetables. It’s nothing terribly complicated.
Oh yeah, there’s supposed to be a special guest at this lunch thingie too! I forgot about that! Luckily, the contestants started to natter about it, which reminded me. And then when their cooking time is up, who but Paula Deen comes out to tell ‘em? Everyone screams! I’d probably shout with one earnest, “YAY!” if we’re being honest.
“We will try to put aside our differences to cheer mutually for your presence, Mistress Deen!”
Paula’s main piece of advice for everyone right now is to not edit yourself. The editors will do that for you, you just be yourself and give ‘em what you got. Let the TV monkeys figure out how to tell the story. And that’s that for now, bye!
The next day, the gang is setting up at the Cougar Town set. They’re all blown away by how Hollywood it all is, that the set looks like a little street. Then they all start setting up. Penny’s missing a chafing dish. I think this is probably the least of her concerns right now.
Paula Deen and Bobby Flat (<–a typo that I’m keeping!) stroll into town, and they start visiting each station to learn about what they’re serving. Paula’s advice for the Crew team (Whitney/Susie/Food Blogger J) is to keep smiling. Okay, great. Thanks.
Justin, you’re not listening.
Paula enjoys meeting Orchid, who informs Paula that she lives very nearby in South Carolina. Then Orchid shows off her collard greens. Paula lives up to her reputation by suggesting that Orchid’s dish needs more butter. HA! (Has anyone seen that Paula Deen episode when some British chef from New Orleans is her guest, and they’re making deep-fried cupcakes, and she mocks his accent, and then he makes passive-aggressive comments about her obsessive need to butter everything up to the max? Isn’t it great?)
Jyll’s kinda freaked out after Paula visits her station. Paula’s oozing with love for Vin Diesel’s penne melt, but she’s bored with the salad. See? Important chefs know that salads don’t win competitions. Though I’ve known many a great salad in my lifetime, I wouldn’t list it as one of my top meal memories. (Well, the goat cheese salad at the French bistro down the street is pretty fucking awesome…)
Comedian Jeff asks Paula Deen for a hug but seems to know she’d turn him down. I think the big red sweatband ensured that, hon. But the hug was for his mom! She kisses his hand instead, which is sweet. Then she turns to Ichabod and says, “You have big holes!” In his ears, those big gage thingies. Comedian Jeff is worried about his tofu, especially since Paula seems unenthused.
“Shit, son, your arms have more to say than you do!”
Time for lunch! And time for each contestant to shill for their offering, which is kind of embarrassing. These poor fools just want to eat lunch, dammit. Mediocre MB is off to a strong start, garnering compliments for her meatloaf. No one wants the mac and cheese, though. Haha, Penny! (Why, though? Can people smell the burnt-ness? Or did one person get it and pass along the news?)
Comedian Jeff knows he’s got a tough product to sell, but he does his best. He convinces a few naysayers to try his tofu. (Is that Michael McDonald from MAD TV?)
While the crew shuffled in and took their food banquet style, the red carpets roll out for the cast. They get seated and served at a nice table with nice linens. Everyone’s psyched to be in the same airspace as Courtney Cox. Bobby Flat (oops, did it again) explains the situation to the cast, and then starts bringing the food over. Oh, the cast is going to eat everything each team prepared? Really?
Frat Boy Chris and Orchid are up first. They cooked for the writers, who are used to working 18 hour days and eating a ton of take-out. Orchid kicks off the presentation, and she doesn’t do very well. She gets totally star-struck and does NOT actually kick off the presentation. Chris is like, “Um…hi!” He ends up starting the presentation, and he does fine. Orchid unfreezes and finishes up her portion of things.
The table loves Orchid’s collard greens and rice, but they’re not so in love with Chris’s lamb. It’s chewy. They DO love that his presentation skills seem to have improved—which is to say that he did NOT do anything terrible. As Bobby F says, “it’s a step in the right direction.” As in, still not there.
Now time for Ichabod Justin and Comedian Jeff. Comedian Jeff knows he’s up shit’s creek without a paddle, trying to talk up the tofu. He does a good job, though, getting the cast and judges to laugh. The laughter dies when Ichabod takes over for his part of the presentation. He’s just so boring. As Comedian Jeff says, he’s clinical. I cringe when he instructs the table to include something else with the couscous, because it’s a little bland. No bueno.
If only Ichabod had busted out the Crane Technique during his presentation…
The editors fool with us when the table talks about the tofu. Paula seems very down and out about the tofu at first, but she admits that it was really good! The rest of the table agrees! Hooray for Jeff! The table wasn’t so complimentary about Ichabod, noting the very same stuff I noted. Don’t tell people your food is bland! And don’t just rattle off ingredients, either.
Team Whitney/Justin Food Blogger/Susie Mexican is up next. They’re pretty basic in their introductions, and their food seems rather basic, too. I’m a little hungry right now, and I think Susie’s appealed to me the most. But it could be because I made my own quinoa-stuffed peppers a few months ago and really loved them.
The table gives forth judgment. Justin’s dish was disappointing—kinda bland. But they like his glasses! They loved Susie’s personality, and they loved her dish. Busy Phillips noted that she could have used more quinoa. Fist-shake at Justin! The group is not impressed with Whitney. Her dish was boring—just vegetables?—and so was she. Ha! I think Whitney’s used to always succeeding, and I’m a bitch, so I’m happy to see her not doing so hot.
Jyll and Vin Vegas take their turn. Jyll’s a little toothy as she explains her dish, but that’s been working for her so far, so whatever. Her salad sounds good, but Vin’s baked pasta dish sounds better. What did the judges think? They think the world of Vin Vegas, for both his food and his look. Like, they really like him. I think he might get an acting job soon, which may be Vin’s entire reason for doing this show. Jyll, though? They thought the salad was only “eh” and that she was too polished. Like, they wouldn’t want to watch her show. Ah! Squinchy Bob squinches at that.
And now time for Penny and Mediocre MB. Penny’s pretty staid in her presentation. As in, “I made mac and cheese, and I hope you enjoy it.” MB explains her meatloaf a little more, tells a joke about pork injections or something, and everyone laughs. Penny’s like, “ew, jokes.”
Turns out, the table loved the jokes AND the meatloaf. Paula Fucking DEEN wants to use MB’s tricks on her next meatloaf. That is a high honor.
The mac and cheese? Hopes dashed, Penny, they did NOT enjoy it. At all. Because it burned! The main thing I’m concerned about? Giada selling Penny as a strong woman, full of life. Like, likes her and is selling her so she doesn’t go home this week. Boo, Giada! Meanwhile, I don’t think Penny even tasted her own dish, or she’d know it was burnt!
“We could tell immediately.”
Okay, thanks Cougar Town! Bye!
Back at the house, everyone’s shit-talking. Penny’s mac and cheese is the first topic. Everyone agrees, it was burnt. Food Blogger Justin got a “rancid peanut oil” flavor from it, too. Oh, yuck.
The girls are sitting around the table, talking about Penny. Penny’s upstairs, somehow within earshot, listening with delicious, villainous glee. Like, “told to put her hand to her ear and act amazed” gleeful. The other girls are shit-talking her, too, but Penny’s pretty fixated on MB. And the thing is, MB isn’t saying anything scandalous. Like, this isn’t Bad Girls Club or whatever. She’s just saying how she feels, which is that she wants to like Penny but she doesn’t. So what?
Penny’s fixated on the idea of not trusting people in the house, not making friends. But what about everyone else? They certainly seem to understand that this is a competition, but that you don’t need to come out stabbing. They’re making friends. Sure, they’ll send one friend home every week and hope to win things for themselves, but again, no stabbing. Penny came out stabbing, and now she whines that she can’t trust people. Penny sucks.
It’s time for the final judging, the time when someone wins and someone goes home. I really hope Penny goes home for her boring mahi-mahi and her burny mac and cheese. Justin Food Blogger is pretty sure he’s going home, since he’s been unfocused and boring so far. Comedian Jeff is worried about his tofu, but this is manufactured drama because we all know the judges loved it.
Giada explains that while some teams created great food, no one team totally nailed it, so they’ll instead pick one winner from each team, and those five will be safe. The rest will possibly be up for elimination. Whee! But first we have to talk about everybody. A lot. There’s a lot of talking. And a lot of it rehashes what we already heard, so maybe I’ll summarize some of it.
Squinchy Bob is impressed that Orchid was able to keep Chris focused. I think he may also be impressed that Chris recognized his own lack of focus and embraced Orchid’s help. I mean, that’s huge. Otherwise, the chatter is what we’d expect. Chris’s lamb wasn’t good, Orchid choked when she saw a celebrity. That’s about it.
“You didn’t suck so bad this week, kiddo!”
Team “Cast” is next. Susie gets high compliments from everyone, including Giada telling her that Courtney Cox literally licked her plate clean. Wow, that’s awesome. Whitney’s told that her food was pretty boring and basic, and that she’s not bringing magic to the camera. She bristles at the criticism, but hopefully takes it constructively and makes it work better next time.
Justin Food Blogger is called out for his salmon salad being boring, too. Then Squinchy Bob notes how Justin FB previously seemed really “sharp” and now he’s getting “blurry.” Is his story, his point of view (the newly minted “Flavor Factory”) not working? Justin gets a little teary as he tries to hash it out with them. He’s not sure what’s up, he’s just feeling lost. Then he mentions that he was a high school drop out, that he feels like he has something to prove. Well, what does that have to do with anything? It prompts Bobby Flat (I swear, I’m not doing it on purpose) to admit that he was a drop-out, too. Really? But in the end, Squinchy Bob says it right—you don’t want to go home because you sleepwalked through the whole thing. Go BIG and go home, no other option. Justin nods.
Penny and Mediocre MB are next. Bobby introduces them saying, “Interesting team.” Do they all know how much these two hate each other or something? Penny snorts and says, “Very.” Bitch. MB tries to make the best of it, though. I mean, what else can you do. You can’t both be the villain! Anyway, they loved MB’s meatloaf. Like, fucking loved it. And they think she’s fun, they love her jokes, especially since she’s got the expertise to back up the silly factor! Penny looks chagrined.
Oh, Penny. Your mac and cheese was awful. And you don’t know it until they tell you! Delusion—ain’t it grand? Bobby tells her, and she’s all furrowed eyebrows as she responds, “That’s bizarre.” I don’t know what happened in the editing, but Giada says firmly, “It was unanimous.” Like, Penny tried to dispute it? Bobby said it tasted like a campfire!
Frat Boy Chris jumps in to say they all thought it smelled/tasted burnt, too. Penny turns to him and says, “If you want to throw me under the bus because you’re intimidated, that’s fine, but leave me alone right now, I’m annoyed.” Hahahah, he’s not throwing you under the bus—because it’s something you did! All by yourself! And don’t believe! And of all the people there, I don’t think Chris is intimidated by you. I think he’s too stupid and too full of himself to be intimidated by you. So, wow.
Jyll and Vin are up next. Jyll is bummed that no one liked her salad. She thought she was making it more interesting for everyone, but really, it was just a salad with a bunch of random shit on it. And then they compliment Vin for his interesting pesto, his filling pasta and veggie dish. Squinchy Bob is excited that someone who seemed so crappy in the beginning is moving way up in the ranks.
Then there’s Comedian Jeff and his straight-man, Ichabod Justin. And we get this out of the way first, assuaging Jeff’s fears that he’s going home for serving tofu to Paula Deen. Nope, buddy, exactly the opposite! She loved it! Yay!
Ichabod, though, didn’t impress anyone. (And his black shirt/black sweater/gray combo’s not impressing me either—he looks like a funky priest.) His food was under-seasoned and bad. And his presentation? It was like a waiter reciting the specials. (So true, Bobby Flat, so true.)
Finally, it’s time for this 90-minute monstrosity to end. First, we pick winners. Comedian Jeff! Orchid! Mediocre MaryBeth! Susie Mexican! Vin Vegas! They’re all safe. Now who’s going home? Let’s not dilly dally, please. Penny? Please say it’s Penny.
Justin! You’re going home! YAY!
Nope! It’s Ichabod Justin! Well, yeah, that really makes sense, too. He’s just awkward on camera and not getting better. Justin Food Blogger needs some work, but he’s got more potential. And Penny is a producer’s dream—she just made one bad dish this week. I laugh a little at the staring contest Ichabod does with the judges. Like, “Are you fucking kidding me? I will cut you.” No, they’re not fucking kidding you. Get out.
In the stew room, and in his interview, he’s full of swagger, like, “You can’t kill me, this isn’t the last you’ve seen of me,” etc. Um, it’s fucking Food Network. Relax. You’ll be fine. You’re a fishmonger!!
“But I’m a fishmonger!”
(I’ll freely admit that I zonked out last night before I saw the end. What do you want? I was up at 3AM for a triathlon and was absolutely exhausted! So when I woke up this morning, I sleepily checked the results on my phone. I saw “Justin B” and didn’t know which one it was, so I assumed it was Food Blogger. I was kinda sad about that. But then I saw later that it was Ichabod, and I wasn’t as sad. Aren’t you glad I shared?)
So, what’s up for next week? Oh no, it’s Guy Fee-Yeti week. Crap. Looks like it’s a 4Th of July themed show, which could be interesting or really stupid. Penny stirs more shit. (Maybe if she stirred her cheese, she’d have known it was burning. SNAP! You got told!)