[There was a video here]
What kind of beast is he who slinks cowed at first touch of defeat? What sort of beast is he that retires, like Bert Lahr, to golden road of packed knives with sad mewl? What beast unleashed retreats? Defeat, thy name is Kenny Gilbert. At 9:45pm, I promised myself if Kenny goes home—actually, if either Amanda or Alex do not go home—I wouldn't watch another moment of this corrupt and foul-smelling competition. Of course, Amanda and Alex remained and here I am writing about it. Everything touched by Bravo crumbles. That channel is like the Inception for personal integrity. It just crumbles and fades, crumbles and fucking fades and then you hear Edith Piaf and then you're stabbed by Edith Piaf. Where's the kick? I want to wake up.
Last night should have been the apex of the show. Traditionally restaurant wars, the challenge where the eight remaining contestants split into two teams and each have to create the simulacrum of a restaurant, have been. The finale may be the end but restaurant wars is the apex. In some ways, it was thus last night too except in this season where it's opposite day all the time, the apex is the nadir and the nadir is the nadir and fuck it all. Refreshingly, last night's contestants didn't have to decorate their fake 24-Hour Restaurant. It came ready-made. Thus the two teams could focus on cooking, much to the benefit of the overall experience. Angelo, Eddie Eyebrows, Tiffany and Fucking Alex formed EVOO, which sounds bad but actually is a somewhat accepted acronym for Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The other team, the blue team, were 2121. This was Kelly, Kenny, Kevin and Fucking Amanda, may she rot in Hell and may her soul be driven by devils for all time. And after they drive her, may they move onto Alex, who can not complete even the most basic tasks of kitchen work. No chef he, nor garde manger, just a lanky waste. Fish he cannot debone. Lamb he cannot butcher. Man he cannot process. Man! He cannot do shit! Angelo, Eddie and Tiffany, however, are actually three of my favorite contestants and by far the most talented. I've really come around to Eddie Eyebrows who always seems like the producers just shook him awake from a pot-induced nap for a chat. "Wha'? Dude, I'm sleeping! Where's the kick? I want to wake up."
Then there's Amanda. Amanda has never cooked grass-fed beef. Amanda has never cooked with a wood grill. Amanda, three syllables that make me want to slay myself. The tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. A. Man. Duh! That the Everlasting had not fix'd His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter! O God! O God! Amanda, vacate this world! Normally it would take days to write down everything one has done and years to record everything one has not done. It would take Amanda thirty six seconds to record with pen and paper, all that she has done in her globular vacant life and the rest of it—though may it be short and filled with suffering—to record what she has not done, what she does not know, what she will never know. For behind that cold sore is nothing and behind those eyes just air and she called Stephen some pet name that made me want to punch the T.V. hard in the part of the screen where her face was. But I was at a friend's house and didn't.
The blue team seemed to be sailing steady and true under Kenny's leadership. Kevin was smug and it was cute. They tasted each other's food which was gross due to the number of times they licked their fingers. On the red side, Angelo, Eddie, and Tiffany had to redo all of the work Alex—may his penis be cut with a million sheets of paper, but tiny cuts not big ones—scotched. Angelo lost his shit. Eddie turned red. Unsurprisingly. Tiffany also turned red. Surprisingly. Alex works the front of the house and he took the opportunity to be a total fucking cock to the poor waitstaff. "I'm the chef tonight," he told them. "Put your elbow into it," he said, apropos cleaning a table. "You have ten minutes. What's funny? You want five?" A server looked-to-camera with a look so full of aghast wonder and crushed awe. "Where's the kick? I want to wake up?"
But as they say, it's always the punch you don't see that gets you. Angelo et al were head-on watching the train approach. Kenny et al were facing away. It was a slow train coming but it crushed nonetheless. The red team won; the blue team lost. There was no joy there, for it meant Alex would not be sent home but solace could be found because Amanda would go home.
Frank Bruni was there, the former New York Times critic, and she's kind of cunty. She's like Toby Young but more handsome and slightly more clever. Lady did not like Kenny's Goat Cheese. He had some zings sure including, describing a dish as "a mediocre shoes with a nice suit," which was nicely put. He's pimping his memoir, Born Round. We're all pimping something, either ourselves or others. (Speaking of which: Did you catch Eli's soul-crushing commercial for a refrigerator with a wine-and-dinner-plate drawer?)
Surely Amanda's offing was in the offing. Was it the editing that led us to believe Amanda would go home? Perhaps. But more likely it was a notion of justice which dictated she, an idiot of a fool, should no longer be allowed to compete. Amanda made one dish and ruined it. Kenny made two dishes, ruined one and slightly ruined the other, but he led his team. Also, clearly, he's better. Amanda is the worst. Well, she and Alex are both The Worst. She wins for worst woman. He wins for worst man. See, categories are great because they allow two horrible people to be called the worst!
No. Kenny went home last night. He didn't roar. He didn't shout. He packed his knives and left. What kind of beast is he who leaves quietly, steals away silently past glass doors and the cords of a camera crew? It's a beast who just woke up from a very bad dream. It's a beast who is finally free.
[Video by Matt Toder]