Bom dia a todos. Eu sou Joshua David Stein. The world's worst hour of television aired yesterday. It was called Top Chef and it's an hour I wish never happened. Now let's relive it.
Season Five of Bravo's Top Chef was never an easy season. Like a colicky baby, it mostly consisted of whining, wailing, and runny poop. But some babies grow out of this stage and for a while, it seemed like Top Chef could too. No dice.
Last night, the top three contestants—piss of shit Hosea, arrogant sweetheart Stefan, and cartoon saint Carla—were asked by a very good looking Indian woman and her blue-eyed Paddington Bear to cook the best meal they could. The meal would consist of three courses, be for twelve people and would be judged head-to-head. Of course, there was help. Or rather, "help." From the shadows in the courtyard emerged the runners up from the last three seasons. Marcel, who lost to the pela cuca Ilan; Richard Blais, the adorable dad, who lost to Stephanie Izzard last season; and Casey, the zombie bitch from hell who fucks everything up who combines confidence with idiocy. You may remember her from Season 3, when she fucked up so horrendously in the final that her name has become synonymous with abject failure at a straight-forward task. "Oh, man, I totally Caseyed my taxes this year. I'm not getting any refund!"
After drawing knives, Hosea picks first. He picks Blaise. Stefan picks Marcel. Carla is stuck with Casey. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. FUCK! WE DESERVE TO BE EXPLAINED WHAT IS GOING ON. Here I'll help: Hosea fucks Stefan by taking all the foie gras. Hosea fucks Stefan by taking the caviar. Hosea gleefully eats a cake—he's a fucking fat whore—in which he finds a golden baby. This translates into his using the golden baby to fuck Stefan some more by giving him alligator meat whilst choosing the less challenging red fish from himself. Hosea continues to demonstrate a creepy and malevolent obsession toward Stefan that transcends the competition and delves into deep, if well-founded, insecurities on Hosea's part concerning his lack of intelligence and skill. Casey advises Carla to sous vide steak which is not only a bad idea in pure culinary terms but also runs completely counter to Carla's strong suit, cooking with soul and passion. Casey advises Carla to make blue cheese souffle rather than a cheese tart which Carla has made successfully before and is wonderful. Viewers were reminded how Casey fared in her own finale [hint: she bombed harder than NATO in Kosovo in 1999, as Toby Young might put it.] Stefan helps Carla with her crabs. Stefan freezes his fish for the first course and decides to do dessert for the third. Commercial break, viewers left feeling worried for Carla, angry at Hosea and unsure of how Stefan will do.
Judges' table: The pulchritude of Padma's face competes with the volume of Gail's breasts for viewers attention. Branford Marsalis could eat "fras gras" all day. Carla is out of the running, almost immediately. No one likes her suck vide steak. Hey, Fabio, looking good! Everyone is starting to get worried. Why did Stefan freeze his fish for his first course? (Oh, it's standard practice) But why didn't Marcel warn him? Eh, whatever, Stefan's squab was great, he'll win. Oh no, no one likes his lollipop desserts. Gail harshes it. "Straight out of 1992," she says. But, you know what, so was Wrecks-N-Effect so—zoom, zoom, zoom— maybe Stefan will win after all.
Tragically, Carla knows she lost but keeps her composure. Stefan suspects the same. Saddled with the sinking realization Hosea will win, the contestants head back into the kitchen. Hosea sucks Stefan's lollipop. Stefan serves Hosea wine. Casey seems oblivious to the fact that it was she who fucked Carla—audience favorite, talented chef, general good person—out of $100,000. Back at the judges' table, Toby Young is making the argument that Stefan should win because he made a dessert and that meals should have beginnings, middles and ends. Chef Tom finally loses it with his smaller poutier more anus-faced twin and tells him that is a moot point. The parameters of the competition made it clear dessert was optional. But Toby Young continues to whimper about how much he liked Stefan's dessert. Padma witheringly tells him it was "pedestrian." Honestly, I see Young's point. You abbreviate management to mgmt not, for instance, mngm. That same logic seems to work for meals too. But I'm not going to argue with Tom either. Hosea's progression wasn't incomplete as much as it was flared, opening up towards the end rather than tapering down. It might be cowardly but it was not incorrect to omit a dessert.
Young chastised, Stefan classy, Carla crying, Hosea tasting the win in his idiot wind, the three head back to judges' table. Sure enough, it's Hosea who wins. Blech meh. [If this recap seems cursory or emotionally removed, it's because I'm still blanched with rage and dead inside.] This is the worst possible outcome. It's unfair on universal grounds—twats shouldn't win—and fails on the show's own terms. To anyone watching the entire season, it is clear that Hosea wasn't the Top Chef. He was inferior to both Stefan in terms of technical skill and Carla iin terms of imagination and passion. He earned his victory by cynical machinations like stealing all the foie gras and caviar and giving Stefan alligator meat; by exercising cowardly caution, notice how he avoided dessert and served the clichéd combination of scallops and foie gras; and by default, reaping the benefits of Nazi chipmunk Casey's sabotage.
Ultimately, it doesn't matter that much who won Top Chef. A victory on the show is no guarantee of success. Hung, last season's winner, is working at a kosher steakhouse not his. Past winner Ilan has fallen off the face of the planet (and that's a boon to the planet). Whereas loser Sam Talbot is quite successful. Hosea's $100,000 can't buy him imagination or intelligence or his hair back. He'll be hawking Diet Dr. Pepper with the rest of them soon enough. Though Stefan lost and Carla bit it hard, both of them leave Hosea in the dust, masturbating alone on his pile of cash and catching the seed of his climax in a Glad container. Towards the end of the episode Carla says, "I came here to show there is a different way to compete. I competed with love." At that she succeeded. Though by the cankerous logic of Top Chef Hosea may have been victorious, it's Carla and Stefan who emerge as sympathetic, talented and kind chefs. Hosea, you can take your money, you can be creepily kissed on the lips by Harpy Leah while the credits roll, but you will never truly be Top Chef.
[Thank you to the Sara to my Dylan, Mike Byhoff, for the great video.]