As a young man, I learned this truism from an SAT essay question: "In literature, as in life, people experience conflicts." And what is true of life and literature is true of this live blog. To wit: I'm conflicted.

The object of my conflict is Toby Young, who (judging from Bravo's preview teasing) is set to return as a judge tonight. As veterans of this live blog know, Toby was the object of a fair amount of commenter heckling last season, since many of us found him to be annoying and his jokes to be lame and pre-scripted-sounding. So I was ready write something catty about him this week. But then Gawker surprised me by posting this "Report from inside the Emmys" yesterday, penned by none other than Toby Young (who is introduced in the post as a "friend of Gawker"!). And the piece is actually (I think) rather charming and funny.

So now I don't know what to think: Is Toby on the road to redemption? Should we actually start to—gulp—like him, especially if he's less grating this season and drops the dumb jokes? This "Toby question" is something I suggest we discuss tonight during tonight's Top Chef live blog.

"What's a Top Chef live blog" I hear some of you ask? Why, it's a place were Gawker readers convene and comment on the broadcast as it happens (starting at 10 Eastern on Bravo). Why not join us? It's always fun! Take last week's edition (from which I've posted a few of my favorite comments here). A few highlights from that one follow:

  • We learned that Ash was once animal psychologist. I wonder how many bears have been on his couch?
  • After Jersey Douche de-slimed a succulent and scored 15 grand, Brian Moylan observed: "If only he could take the slime out of himself like he took the slime out of that cactus."
  • Commenters got sick of ceviche, and so did the judges after tasting Tintin's putrid cod concoction. Ron "put de lime in de coconut" (as Mo MoDo put it) but it didn't make the judges feel better.
  • Many of us were startled by the appearance of a cheftestant named Laurine, whom we didn't remember ever seeing before. Was she just a desert mirage, or will she appear again tonight?

That's something to watch for … and here are a few other things we can watch for tonight while we're at it:

  • Penn and Teller will try to trick us into thinking they have small balls, but will then reveal that their balls are actually quite large. Sadly, this trick isn't as interesting as it sounds.
  • The chefs well be given a "deconstruction" challenge—during which, Eli will cleverly deconstruct a pressure cooker using the "explosion" technique.
  • Many cheftestants will wear red neckerchiefs in a tribute to Mattin, who was booted last week. When Ashley gets kicked off, I wonder if the other chefs will honor her memory by not washing their hair for a few days?

Also, as noted above, we'll see the return of Toby Young, which I've already suggested we discuss when the show starts. Or better yet, why not start discussing it right away? The Internet pipes are open, and Gawker is accepting your comments now!

[Image via Tony's Blog]