Thursday, January 18, 2007

Padma Lakshmi, Fire Hazard

Apparently the contestants on Top Chef are not impressed with the food criticizing abilities of literary trophy wife hostess Padma Lakshmi. We already heard Michael Midgley say that she was a "wannabe judge" and that head judge Tom Colicchio frequently gave her the "just shut up" look (I know that look. I get it about twice a day). New York Magazine reports that Padma is none too popular with any of the contestants. I only have one question for these people: Did they watch Season 1? Do they not recall the shrill, whiny tones of hostess Katie Lee Joel? (OK, that's two questions). Seriously, Katie Lee Joel's voice is on Satan's answering machine. She has all the charm of a telemarketer. Yes, Padma seems a little know-it-all-ish, but at least she speaks like a human (and a good looking one, at that). And she's married to a one-time fatwa target, which is so cool.

Anyway, this week they gave Cliff the boot. In a scene that could've been taken from the "Deleted Scenes" portion of the Full Metal Jacket DVD, Cliff held down official show whipping boy Marcel in an attempt to forcibly remove his bizarre trademark hair. This has become a reality show commonplace in recent years: a contestant gets a little liquored up, crosses some sort of line, and has to have a sober conference with the head judge (or in the case of "Project Runway," the head judge's bag man, Tim Gunn). I find these episodes a bit tiring. Bravo's reality shows have been a cut above the rest for one simple reason: the contestants actually have a skill or some talent. When they air an episode like this, it threatens to drag the entire episode down to the level of "Real World vs. Road Rules." What makes it doubly annoying is that after the incident, the rest of the episode is full of righteous indignation from everyone else on the show. The judging scene turns into Judgement at Nuremberg. Even Padma's blog seems over the top this week. I'm secretly hoping that all of this is an elaborate attempt to make Marcel more likable so that he can actually win.

(Thanks to Apronite Doug for the tip!)