Top Chef Sets up Game in Vegas

02Sep09

elvis impersonatorsBravo TV welcomes back its foodie reality show, Top Chef, this time throwing contestants in a Vegas hotel for a sin-city beatdown. This season starts off with some 40 chefs. Well, it might as well be 40. I swear these shows are doubling the crowd every year – there’s no point in learning names for at least three weeks. The talentless hacks that were brought in just for freak factor will be gone in the first month, including a self-taught neck-tattooed cook who served up vegan meat-substitute seitan on the first challenge. Brave, but brainless. Next to fly the nest was the squeaky cartoon-voiced bird whose hideous shrill made my ears bleed. And this week we’re sweating bullets for likely victim, the rainbow-bright-inked-up, lip-pierced fatty who has good ideas, but painfully fails to follow through (probably because she’s too busy sampling the fare).

The producers have already thought up some new ideas for this season’s festive background, gambler’s paradise. The quick-fire round, which starts every show, now features a cash-money casino chip as the prize, in addition to a free pass from elimination that day. Sweet! I only wish they would follow it with a forced spending spree, where the winner has to blow their load within the hour, laying cash out on a table, dropping it at a stripper’s pole, or snortin’ it off the back of their driver’s license. Let’s at least hope they continue to come up with new challenges and tests for our entertainment, because watching people shuck oysters and chop onions is about as exciting as watching paint dry. How about serving up meals to late-night Elvis impersonators working the totally-tanked after-hours crowd? I’m thinking deep fat fried peanut butter banana sammies dipped in chocolate sauce.

Unfortunately Bravo has stuck with the old staff cast, including the host, gravel-breath herself, Padma, Padme, pat me. Whatever it is. Again we’re forced to listen to this waify hag drone on about tasting fine cuisine when we all know she’s chasing the endless heaping plates of food of with handfuls of laxatives in order to maintain her just-above-the-poverty-line figure. And we get to endure another year of with Grumpy Dwarf (who uses stage name Tom Colicchio on TV). The second episode was an awful teaser, when contestants were required to make an appetizer paired with a shot of liquor. Surely after 80 shots of the hard stuff even a raw bastard like Tom Colicchio should be markedly more amusing, right? Meh. Total let down. Drunk or sober, this guy’s manages to be the token party dolt at any event. Maybe the chefs will be required to cook up a spicy batch of meth on this week’s episode. We’ll at least be able to separate the cows from the cowboys! And after firing up some wicked rocks it should make for a lively judge’s table. Just please, dear TV gods, make sure that Tom keeps his pants on.

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