As I sat in Mrs. Shassi’s office, I couldn’t figure out why I was filled with such dread. She seemed nice enough. Big smile, light Texas accent, huge hair…nothing abnormal here. Still, I wanted to cry. “Flipit, I called you in here today because you seem like an interesting kid and I wanted to get to know you.” Humongous smile. Alarm bells were screeching non-stop in my head. No school counselor had ever wanted to just “get to know me”. Was I about to get my wish and get kicked out of PE forever? Please, LORD!!!
“You’ve been skipping Physical Education, huh, Flipit? I used to want to skip class, Flipit. I really did. Especially home-ec with the sewing and what not. I just dreamed all day of skipping class.” The enormous, intense, toothy grin was still plastered to her scraggly face. I was sure she was going to pull out a pen knife and slice me to bits, but I couldn’t run. I’d been ditching PE.
“But I went to class every single day. Except for when I had mono. Am I blushing? I still to this day find mono embarrassing, don’t you?” I sat silent. “I went to class, Flipit, because anything else would be a down right sin.” Intense toothy grin. “I do not commit sins, Flipit, and that’s why I’m a happy person. I have a family who loves me, a job that needs me, and a Lord who guides me.” She walked me to the gym to make sure I wouldn’t run and bent down to look me in the eye. “PE won’t hurt you, Flipit. But I will.”
She grimaced and giggled like it was all a big joke, but as she squeezed the feeling out of my shoulders I knew she was dead serious. A month later, she was fired for slapping a janitor.
This week, Top Chef taught us that everything we know we learned in kindergarten, a smile can be scary as sin, and someone always loses in a gang bang. Craaaaaaaaaaaaccckkkk…Since we have all had two (glorious, painful, giddy, heart-wrenching) weeks off for the holidays, we are treated to an extra-special “Why We All Pick On the Monkey” documentary as our what happened previously clip. There’s Marcel sniping at Betty while she tries to concentrate on her challenge! There’s our boy trying to steal credit during last week’s Elimination judging! There, look! He’s throwing poop at Frank! Betty says he’s like a little gnat buzzing around her ear, and it looks like we’re being primed for the week Marcel gets his ass tossed. I feel something in my throat. My stomach. My heart? No matter how shitty the guy, I always cry at break ups. We’re in for a feeler, here.
Elia is awkward and confused after last episode’s Martyr Mia Christmas Miracle, but she’ll take it. She’s thankful she’s still in the competition, and when she cements it with pure humble giddiness and charmingly broken English, so am I.
Ilan stumbles into the kitchen in full on grouchy Elton John mode and openly hates on Marcel about selfishness, eggs, and his being a virgin. Marcel just laughs it off but I have to pause the Tivo. Is Marcel a virgin? Awwwwwww! That explains a lot.
The bitch is back, and he wants eggs.
Mike is extra sexy this morning. He’s just had a tooth pulled and has a big sore on the corner of his mouth. He said it was like having dental surgery in someone’s kitchen, or like when your mom puts a bowl on your head to cut your hair while she’s yappin’ on the phone and yelling at your little sister. LOL, Mike. Nice to have some insight on Bravo’s employee health care system. Is that what happened to Gail Simmons? Did she get poor medical attention after a tiny paper cut and die of a staff infection? WHERE IS GAIL?!? Michael is supposedly drugged up and out of it, but he’s exactly the same as always. He hopes the Quickfire is short, painless and easy. If he wins, he plans on skipping the next challenge to have a little “Mikey Time” and I reckon he means it. Good luck with that. On the way out, he does the you got something on your shirt thing to Marcel, which makes me officially start to appreciate Mike.
Gail, I’m sorry I called you boring. Please come home. Heart, Flipit.
The guest judge for today’s Quickfire is Ted Allen, and I’m kind of annoyed. Ok, Bravo. We get it. We fucking love Ted Allen, ok? Now unchain Gail Simmons and bring on some fresh guest meat. They’re promoting this guy heavier than a Glad bag.
The Challenge is to design an artistic dish based on one color, and that’s not all. There will be no immunity from now on. Doh! The only one unaffected by this news is of course Cliff, who’s playing to win whether he has immunity or not. Elia giggles nervously over her white knife and Marcel frets over picking brown. Cliff is color blind, so he’s screwed no matter what he picks. Still, it’s hard to get me worried about Cliff.
Betty smiles that big plastic smile, confident with her green knife. I have a feeling she would have had the same reaction if she was told she had to use dead relative meat. She talks about how hard she worked and is positive the magic happened for her today, but her green zucchini tamale plate looks like the bottom of a really old pond. Marcel’s French press exploded, creating a sewer like lake surrounding his steak and egg tower. It didn’t help that the garnish was coffee “foam”. No one sees where Marcel’s going with the whole foam thing, but he might just win this competition and spread the Monkey Spit Foam Craze all across the country. It’s been happening secretly for decades. Soon, you might be paying a pretty penny for a side of that shiny bitter waiter loogie and bragging to your friends about it.
When Ted asks Cliff if any of his peers helped out in the color department, Cliff says Marcel offered (sweet little thing) but Cliff did it on his own. His red snapper with grilled eggplant skin over a pickled beet and blackberry compote had a lot of purple in it, but there was also a lot of white and yellow. No one seemed to mind, because as usual, it tasted great. While Ted fawns over Sam’s “interplay of sweet and savory throughout” his yellow breakfast, Padma takes one of many real life bites and EATS. I love seeing a beautiful skinny woman chow down, and I don’t even care if she just throws it all up later. For now she’s just like us, only extremely hot. And rich. And married to a really old dude who’s marked for death.
Ted isn’t so keen on Betty’s green, calling her out as the worst dish. Hers should have been the easiest, and it was messy in both it’s flavors and presentation. Ted postmarks that with a “not to be unkind…” and Betty snaps “well you are!” and shakily sucks on her Aquafina bottle. She’s flabbergasted. She only had thirty minutes and it was definitely green. Well, so’s a boogar, Betty. But if it’s not seasoned right or presented tastefully, who’s gonna eat it? Oh, wait. Michael just ate a boogar. Never mind.
Ted likes the idea of Marcel’s steak and eggs, but the coffee moat made the whole thing look dirty. Ilan smirks unabashedly until Ted says his tartare with fried Taro root was only ok. He stuck too literally to the red theme and didn’t properly contrast his textures. Slap down. Ilan is becoming a self satisfied, arrogant prick, so I’m glad to see the look of confusion on his face. Elia’s white dover with mushrooms and a poached egg placed her right in the middle, but the dish was real perty. Ted named Sam’s egg yolk sandwiched between a corn and a lemon muffin with a side of crudo salad the most visually appealing, and he also liked Cliff’s red snapper. None of this is shocking. Then Bam! He is impressed with Mikes “clever” use of salmon and carrot chips for his orange dish and anoints him winner! First time Mike’s won, and also first time he’s been called clever. Too bad there’s no immunity, sucka! He won a challenge but lost a nap, which totally wiped away his joy. (sad horns)
As Americans welcome in the new year, we traditionally binge on alcohol, reminisce about our past mistakes and vow to be better people…tomorrow. If we actually did something about our sins and transgressions, there would be nothing to feel guilty about and throw a party for next year, so it’s fitting that this New Years Elimination Challenge is to use each of the Seven Deadly Sins as inspiration for a seven course meal. I heard this and flashed back to the movie Seven (one of the most disturbing flicks EVER), where a serial killer posed his victims to represent each Deadly Sin. Why does Top Chef insist on grossing me out at least once every episode? In thirteen minutes they’ve given me
and this (sorry bout this one, but I couldn’t find Gwyneth’s head in a box)
The dinner party will be for the hilarious and oddly gorgeous Debi Mazar, also known as Shawna (“Fuck you, Turtle!”) from Entourage, which means the remaining Chefs better come up with something good. Debi doesn’t seem like the type to mince words.
Cliff is a little too excited about this challenge. He tells us he’s fascinated with the Seven Deadly Sins and excitedly names them for us wrath, greed, envy, pride, gluttony, sloth, and lust. He said he’s broken at least one and probably all of them. He’s obviously past the sloth stage (if he was really ever in one) and the rest of the sins look kind of hot on him. Tell me a wrathful, greedy, envious, proud, jealous, lustful Cliff doesn’t make you hear “Let’s Get It On” by the late, great, Barry White? Raaaaaaar. Confess, Daddy.
After the Chefs picked knives to determine their Sins, Michael was given the opportunity to switch out his knife for someone else’s. He traded his lust for Marcel’s envy, and Betty’s sloth stood right where it landed, like a decree from the Goblet of Fire. Ouch. I really hate me sometimes. Marcel is shocked Mike traded out lust. “To have lust and give it up? That’s crazy.” Those words ring through my ears the rest of the episode, as it becomes clearer and clearer that the little monkey hasn’t become a gorilla yet.
The Chefs gather and talk over course assignments. Everyone is in agreement except Marcel, who wants to discuss and ponder his options while holding the silver pepper mill. Bet Betty wishes she never came up with that rule. The Chefs stare at him, clearly annoyed. He takes his sweet ass time and decides to go sixth and do dessert. Ilan is seventh which kind of has to be dessert, and no one tries to stop this two dessert disaster from happening. This is the point where they should have all slammed their feet down and put the monkey in his cage. Instead, they stayed silent, let him have his way, and bitched and moaned to us the rest of the episode.
Yes, Marcel is a prick. But you gotta hand it to him for throwing down the gauntlet to someone who’s been tormenting him. Ilan looks surprisingly worried about the dessert face-off, but calls Marcel slow and indecisive and tells us beating him will be “a piece of cake”. Ah, puns. For envy, Mike was going to go with imitation crab to envy his real crab, which was a great idea, but there was no crab at the store. He decided on a trout to envy the much larger salmon. That doesn’t really have the same sparkle to it, and he just won with his orange salmon. Oh, well, lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice, but he’s wearing a button down shirt and it looks like he took a shower, so I give him props for that.
Ilan over spent on dishes, but was given a last-minute discount. This pisses off Marcel, who says that’s against the rules and he would have taken a discount too, if that’s how they were playing. Thank got Marisa was kicked off already, or there would be trials and resignations. Sam starts sniping from the side, calling Marcel rat boy and a cheesy fuck. He says Marcel is like a gnat, always buzzing around his ear. Betty doesn’t care that he’s just regurgitating her words because she’s having so much fun egging him on. Ilan joins them and this is where the Chefs made a tragic mistake. You may not like someone, you may hate them. But if you gang up on that person with everyone else, you turn them into a victim. Marcel says he doesn’t like being talked about behind his back and Sam loses it. He puts his finger in Marcel’s face, shouting. He tells him no one likes him so he should just keep his mouth shut and buzz like a gnat somewhere else. Everyone but Elia snickers and looks on, and I immediately hate them all for forcing me into rooting for the monkey.
Back in the kitchen, Mike points out that Betty did tomato soup for the TGIF challenge and here she is using it again. “Get off the soup, Betty!” Funny, coming from someone making salmon two challenges IN A ROW. Ilan, who just accused Marcel of being indecisive and slow, still doesn’t know what he’s making, but he’s frying funnel cake and pouring chocolate into pans. He says if he can’t get gluttony right in a dessert challenge, he should go home right now. From the looks of it…buh bye, then. When Daddy Tom comes into the kitchen to check on their progress, he doesn’t seem too impressed by the two desserts with chocolate thing, but as usual, no one listens to him. They never learn on this show.
Ilan, who is now making brittle and still seems to have no plan, starts up with Marcel again. He says cherries are supposed to lower your sex drive, so his idea might not be too good for lust. Marcel says he finds cherries “pretty lustful”, and Ilan says maybe it’s cuz he’s never had sex and he should have stuck with envy. Ooookay. Ilan is pretty bold with the sex put downs today and I have to wonder when the last time was someone stroked his duck tail and massaged his pock-marks. Ilan, shut up. You are GROSS. We kind of liked you when you were nice and humble, but now you’re looking like a sad Eminem rip off who can’t even make a decent dessert. Marcel finally gets defensive and tells Ilan to go fuck himself, and I strongly second that.
When they get to the dinner party, everyone is psyched that they are in a gorgeous home with a huge kitchen, and I am psyched that Debi Mazar drops the f bomb just as much in real life as on TV. The Guest Judge is her favorite chef, Roberto Ivan from Fred Segal. Aw, that’s sweet. If I ever get to guest judge Top Chef I’m bringing along my favorite chef, the hot dog lady from Costco. Debi’s friends are fun and rowdy Italian C-listers, so there was a lot of laughing, drinking and bleeping. Debbie Mazar “ciao” s Marcel and shakes his hand. She talks to him like he’s five, and it’s hilarious. Someone else says “how old are you?” A tiny dorky white boy is a bouncy beach ball to an Italian C-lister dinner party. Might not be a virgin for long, Marcel Vigneron! Good luck, brah.
Sam started the meal off right with Wrath. Everyone loved his spicy shrimp ceviche and chile popcorn and things were looking good…then Betty took a stumble with Sloth. She came out and addressed the party like a kindergarten class, elongating her words and smiling real big. She finished by drowning the guests in cheese, saying she was off to take a nap. Oh, Betty. Why? She served three different soups in champagne flutes, and they were a chunky mess. Daddy Tom didn’t like the texture, and said it was definitely lazy. Snap, Daddy Tom! He’s getting fatter and funnier by the day. Does fat equal hilarious? You be the judge.
Funnier with each pound.
Mike was going to make Sam serve his course, because he didn’t want to gross people out with the gaping sore on his face. Aw. The Italians wouldn’t hear of it, and Debi insists he show his face. When he comes out and describes his dish, she has a look of perfect understanding of who Mike is.
His salmon and trout looked like the cover of Food and Wine Magazine, and I am shocked to report there wasn’t one fried item on the plate. He was confident his Envy creation could win, and so far that’s not an unreasonable idea…Daddy Tom is as shocked as we are. “Our Michael did this? What the hell? He should get his tooth pulled every day!” Atta boy, Mikey.
Cliff’s Greedy seafood boullabaisse got a lukewarm reception, but Elia’s Proud Chicken went over really well. With triumphant electric guitars serenading her, no less. Ted loves it, and Debi calls it “clear, uncomplicated and nourishing.”
When it comes time for Marcel’s Lust prep, he rejects his team-mates help, preferring to do his own work. Betty tries to leave with a dish before it is finished and he says “No, don’t! Not yet!” Betty takes this as him “snapping” at her. Why would you take out a dish before the Chef tells you to? At restaurants I’ve worked at, you could get your hand cut off for that. Ilan jumps on the over-reaction bus and says none of them should help Marcel carry his plates. Elia tries to object, but no one listens. Marcel asks them for their help and Ilan makes him apologize to Betty first. So. Retarded. Marcel rises above it and sells the shit out of his dish, going so far as feeding Artie Bucco’s wife a cherry and dripping chocolate into her mouth. Still, Debi’s not won over. She thinks the foam looks like cat spit and the meal seems like it was prepared by someone who hasn’t had enough sex to really know how to make a dish that makes you wanna fuck. LOL. Everyone is over the Spit Foam Phase, and it’s not lookin’ too good for the monkey. But, as a consolation, his rival wasn’t doing much better. Ilan tried to reheat the funnel cakes in the oven, but that dried them into crispy cookies. Sam suggested he just not use them, but he insisted. Elia proposed dipping them in simple syrup, and Ilan did. After he described his gluttonous dessert to the guests, he sealed his turn to the dark side and added “Just so you know, cherries are actually supposed to drop your libido.” Thanks for the random assholeness, now can we eat? Debbie snaps like “Girrrrrrrrrrrl”. Ilan has officially jumped the shark. The judges frowned upon the soggy funnel fiasco and poorly done chocolate cake with macadamia brittle. It was a soggy mess, and Debi found the chocolate too rich. So sorry.
Now who’s limp?
Judgment time. Eila, Michael, and Sam are the top three. The Judges thought Sam’s ceviche was spicy and complex, and they all agreed Elia’s chicken was perfect, but Guest Judge Roberto chose Mike’s Envy dish as the winner. Two times in a row! Nice work, unpredictable lightning! Ilan, Betty, and Marcel are the bottom three.
Ilan blames the soggy funnel cakes on Elia’s simple syrup idea (pussy) but no one buys it. They also call him out on dissing Marcel’s dish. He just giggles and says he was playin’ around, but no one buys that either. Ted calls Marcel’s cherry dessert the most beautifully presented, but doesn’t think it screamed Lust. When Padma told Marcel the Spit Foam had to stop, Betty chuckled and Ilan smirked. Jesus, people. Could you act like adults for five freakin’ minutes?
Betty’s smile was wiped off her face when Daddy Tom said her soup’s texture was unappetizing and her flavor combinations were way off, and Guest Judge Roberto agreed. When asked who she would send home if it was her decision, she shockingly named Marcel. She said he deserves to go home and his gelee was flavorless. Ilan agrees, repeating what she said almost verbatim. Marcel stands up for his gelee, saying he used pure fruit juice and if they couldn’t taste anything they needed to get their palettes checked. He concedes that people seem to have a problem with him, but he says he is there for the food, not the people. Marcel talks like a teenage girl, but he sounds more adult than Betty and Ilan combined.
Back in holding chambers, Ilan skips in (seriously) and tells everyone they just had a Marcel bashing. Marcel says he just lost any remaining respect for him. Took you long enough. Ilan goes off on a semi-sensical rant about how no one likes Marcel and he doesn’t know what he’s doing and he should take his foam and go cry in a corner. For the first time, it looks like the poor little guy might just do that.
The sun’ll come out tomorrow, kid
The Judges were having a hard time deciding which dish was the loser, as they all had problems. Padma said the funnel cake was the worst thing she tasted all evening. She hates things that are limp and flaccid, and I personally wish she would keep her married life to herself. Ick. She sticks up for Marcel’s cherry gelee, saying she found it full of flavor, and Tom called bullshit on Betty and Ilan calling it out as the bottom dish. Still, it didn’t represent Lust. Betty’s soups were an all around disaster. She didn’t strain them properly, and Daddy Tom is shocked that they are half way through the competition and she doesn’t know some very basic things. Plus, they didn’t taste good. Ugly food is one thing, but ugly gross food and you’re out. And with moments to spare, she earns the moniker slutty_whore bestowed upon her here weeks ago. Ugly Betty smiled real big, saying she was extremely grateful and her only regret was not beating Marcel, as she feels she is better than him. Immature to the very end. Elia looked like she was trying to muster up some tears, but she couldn’t. Neither can we. Sorry, Betty, but there are too many cooks and you’ve spoiled your soup. Buh-bye.
“I’m a winner!” Craaaaaaaacccckkkkk
Next week, the remaining Chefs have to open a restaurant, and it looks like a bad dream. And Gail’s back! Bravo healthcare comes through after all. So what do you think, dear Readers? Will Sam ever change his t-shirt? Will Mike still be the same man when the Vicodin wears off? Will Elia finally give the monkey a pity romp?