Tuesday, July 8, 2008

TNFNS - PART TWO What’s So Great About Las Vegas?

Shane is next. His girl Brownie is beautiful. He’s talking a little too fast. He rolls up the chicken breast FAST. He flours, eggs and crumbs it and puts it in the pan to fry. RR helps the kid to mix a sauce. When she sees that Shane is not talking to the kid, whose name he forgot, she takes over and narrates everything he’s doing to Francesca. He plates up the food with RR doing at least half of everything. He almost hits Rachael in the face with a hot pan. The Brownie did nothing. The judges like the food, not the demo.

Lisa has the chutzpah to say being on Rachael’s set makes her realize how close she is to having this. I’m not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, I hate RR’s cooking, on the other, next to them she’s looking pretty good.

Lisa gives Haley a hug before they begin. Lisa tells the audience that you don’t have to dumb your cooking down for a kid. She’s talking way too fast. Rachael puts her two cents in. Lisa keeps talking too fast, and not in a particularly instructive way. Then she just STOPS talking. She looks up and smiles and smiles some more. Rachael fills in all the gaps. “Rachael swooped in and she didn’t know how to get the segment back,” Bob says from their viewing room.

Oh, a commercial for a new Ted Allen show. I guess his guest judging stint showed that he could handle his own show. I wonder if Alton feels eclipsed. This show is called Food Detectives and it “separates fact from fiction” in important culinary matters, such as how much bacteria is really dispersed when you double dip and what happens to swallowed chewing gum. Hmmm, might be fun to watch with a kid.

Adam has a funny moment with Shanasia before they go out. He asks her why she isn’t nervous. She takes her hands and brings them down in front of her as if to say CALM Down. They go out.

Adam starts his shtick by saying that he and Shanasia, his sous chef, were going to put together all the things they liked best - chocolate, ice cream etc. – in a sandwich, but, unfortunately, it melted on the way over. He says they’re going with their backup plan of a barbecued chicken sandwich. Funny.

Rachael giggles.

The judges like that. Shanasia is making fruit kebabs. Adam is comfortable, Bob says. He assembles the pita. Shanasia takes a huge bite. Rachael asks for the recipe on her Yum-O website. Susie and Bob really liked his performance.

He seemed as if he were a guest on her show. They weren’t as uneasy watching him as they were with Lisa and Kelsey. AND they like his food.

Bobby is strangely silent as if he’s thinking, OMG, I’m going to have this goober on the Food Network with me. He’s going to show up at the same events as I am and I’ll have to pretend to treat him like a cohort and not a bad rash creeping up my leg…or words to that effect.

Bobby’s only actual words, as Susie and Bob are raving about Adam’s food, are “It’s pretty good” (with a shrug), and as the other two continue being enthralled “Yeah, it’s nice”.

The finalists come out on stage with Rachael. Rachael lies and says they all did a great job. Then she says the four of you remaining, not including the loser that gets sacked tonight (I’m paraphrasing), are going to Las Vegas.

Kelsey claps her hands to her head in a total state of disbelief! “I can’t believe it,” she says. KELSEY!!! RR said Las Vegas, not MARS, although, there may be a place for you on the red planet.

Adam says all of a sudden it matters so much more. Huh, am I missing something?!! She DID say Las Vegas, didn’t she? Expedia has a flight this week for around $400. Okay, it’s not chump change, but it’s not a trip around the world. Can you imagine Top Chef Stephanie clapping her hands to her head and saying OH MY GOD, ITALY! I can’t believe it!...Seriously, what’s not to believe? They need a new backdrop and the fountains and neon lights will look cool.

Kelsey should go home. I WANT her to go home and that’s my hope/prediction. Oh wait, it could be Shane too. No, I think it will be Kelsey. She offended the mighty Rach AND she called her Rach, which is a total no-go, apparently.

Bobby, keeping his eye on the ball and the ultimate goal of this whole thing – a show on the FOOD network, says but how much does Adam really know about food?

Adam says he might have done too little too late.

They’re in the in the evaluation room. Bobby says with little regret, in other words, as gleefully as he can politely get away with, one of you will not be going to Las Vegas.

Bob tells Aaron his start was poor, while turning his back on the audience. But he recovered with his excellent presentation. They all liked his pizza, including Bobby. Bob says he was a joy to watch and that he masterfully played between Michaela (the kid), Rachael and the audience.

I don’t think it’s really fair to expect a complete novice to have to deal with RR butting into everything and having to wrestle back control of the segment, while you’re on HER set, with HER audience. She wasn’t going to let anyone else be the Queen Bee; and the contestants that understood that did the best.

Does all this come down to a Mean Girls mentality, where no matter what Kelsey did, RR was going to make her look bad? Of course, Kelsey did so badly that RR really didn’t have to do anything but glare at her.

Adam is next. Susie sounds surprised as she says his food was good and that he was very comfortable out there. He says he really likes being in front of an audience. Bobby says, “I think you are a skilled entertainer, but this IS the Food Network.” THANK YOU, Bobby. Of course, he might have said THAT 6 weeks ago and suggested that they look in restaurants and cooking classes for the next FN Star, rather than select from the dunces who sent in tapes. He says the question remains how much does Adam really know about food?’ YES! QED…case closed on Adam.

Adam explains lamely, “Not being in the kitchen for a year and a half, I feel like I’m playing catch up.” Bob asks if that means he hasn’t COOKED for a year in a half. No, but it isn’t the same. Yeah, yeah, yeah…well, great, you don’t deserve a show on the Food Network, not that that ever stopped them before. Let’s move on….

Oh, he goes on……after you’ve put your heart and soul in a restaurant and your family has too blabbidy, blah, blah…Adam, don’t you know that 20% to 30% of restaurants fail in the first year? And if I would have to guess I would say that he probably should have closed his after year one, but just couldn’t bear to, so he dragged out the drama for another year. Susie says yeah, we understand, but basically tough noogies…

Bobby moves on to Kelsey and asks her why she immediately gave Rachael one of the most important things to do. OH, this is her explanation – Bob told her he needed to hear more authority in her voice, so she obviously thought ordering RR around would give her that. She’s a nitwit. Bob says he sees her as way too young.

I don’t think her problem is that she’s young. It’s that she’s Kelsey. It’s her personality that’s objectionable, not her age. When she’s older, she’ll be just as annoying, because she’ll be all perky and also think that she knows it all.

Bob tells Shane the food was delicious, but you just know something bad is coming…like the food didn’t matter. Yup, Bob says he ignored the kid and he was too technical. He said there was a joylessness about him.

I agree except it’s hard to remember to smile when you’re thinking of a million different things. Have you ever seen Giada’s first season? I thought when I saw an episode repeated much later, that Giada seemed to be in a really bad mood. It was just that someone forgot to tell her smile. It was almost as simple as that. But for Shane it probably wouldn’t have been.

Then the judges query him about how he got the way he is. He says he loves French food and he loves the way the French live their lives. Bob asks if he’s ever been there. Uh, no, he says, but he’s studied and read and learned. Bob says that’s the difference. You haven’t LIVED…Well then, why did he pick a 19 year old just out of culinary school?!! REALLY.

This could all go in Aaron’s favor. They know he can cook, they just have to get him to warm up on camera, which now they’ve seen he can do.

Bobby tells Lisa she steamrolled her Brownie a little bit into making what SHE (Lisa) wanted. We saw that on camera, no matter how she denies it. And he said that’s what I saw on the plate. There was not a lot of whimsy. (Oh, this is so making Aaron look good.)

Susie asks Lisa how she thought it went and she said Rachael was a controlling bitch and wouldn’t let her get a word in edgewise. Attila the Hun couldn’t have shut her up. Oh wait, that’s not exactly how she put it. “Rachael has a really strong personality.” She adds that she was more intimidated by her than by Martha Stewart. Lisa said she was trying to be less dominating for the judges and she just let it get away from her.

Lisa and Kelsey’s performances show that they’ve gotten no useful guidance from the judges and actually, the two of them made poor choices based on what they thought the judges wanted to see. Susie told Lisa she has to perform no matter what the situation is.

Aaron is safe, so is Adam. They’re ordered upstairs. Bob wants to hear the others speak from their heart. Kelsey is prepared with her Pollyanna speech about wanting to motivate a person who hasn’t stepped into the kitchen to find the passion that she found at such a young age. Ok, that was effective, I must say, but watching Kelsey would only motivate me to throw a rock through the television. 3 minutes before the end, my prediction is...

Shane will go home and we’ll be stuck with Kelsey.

Lisa says she has the skill and the talent and just needs some GUIDANCE (which has been sorely lacking) as to how get her personality on camera (or, even better, how to make sure it never comes out).

Shane says he’s learned a lot of techniques and that creating good food is all about inspiration. Yeah, kid, but the only thing you inspire me to do is go get a martini when you’re on the screen. In other words, you’re boring. He is so going home. He should have gone with his fat-boy-becomes-inspired-healthy-cook spiel than his vague blabby nonsense.

They get dismissed and the judges discuss. The best point they make is their not knowing whether Lisa can tame her demons (being a bitch and all) and put forth her personality in an appealing way.

I still think it’ll be Shane that leaves. Bob tries to cushion the blow by saying they all deserved to get this far. Lisa is the first to go up and it’s…it’s…Kelsey is safe and going to Las Vegas. Shane gets ditched. I knew it! Of course it took until 10:58, but I finally got it.


Adam said...

Thanks for the quick recap. You definately made me laugh a few times, especially when you showed what Bobby was probably thinking about Adam (the whole rash thing).

I don't know why I watch this show. The contestants are not that great, and the fact that they could possibly have a show is crazy. I bet big Bob is thinking the same thing. It must be like 'Well, we'll give them one season and like a 6am time slot on a Wednesday'

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

As always, a brilliant and hilarious recap.

I'm not a nightowl. I can't watch the new episodes without passing out cold 10 minutes into it, so I don't watch new episodes. It doesn't matter. I don't need them. This is all I need. I'm laughing my head off every time!

I predict another failed FN show from these losers.

AndiePandie said...

This show had so many good things, (an actual demo!) and so many bad things, (the brownies, because really, who cares about them?) that it made for a weird/interesting show to watch.

Aaron might just do better with an audience, sort of how Emeril is, as opposed to only speaking to a camera crew.

While Kelsey should have done more, I don't think it was totally out of line for her to enlist Rachael's help. She was just standing around and most TV shows that have a cooking segment, have the hosts helping.

It really seemed like Rachael wanted nothing to do with the ladies and had no issues with the guys, save for Shane. Who just needs to seriously grow up and gain more experience.

Everything being timed is getting really old. Any cook who has to serve people, takes the time to plan and coordinate the menu. Demanding that someone do it on the fly does not show how great of a cook they are. I wish FN would realize this.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I can't believe I am missing it this season! Way more entertaining than Top Chef for me!

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why they go on air so often ripping on how so and so cannot cook. I mean, if they'd said "Adam can't cook," and he was gone in episode 1 or 2, then okay. But you're talking final four now, and you're still questioning whether he can cook. That seems bad. Not that every recipe any of their real "stars" makes is always going to be good. But I don't think they should be saying "final four can't cook". Adam's the only who seems like he'd have a decent show, because he's at least entertaining, but why would I want to watch him if he can't cook?

KAMILLE said...

I like your Pollyanna comment--it's pretty true. However, I think Kelsey is truly genuine, it's just not someone I would watch either.

In watching Lisa--I don't know if there's much difference between her and some other female food network stars. In the first episode of this season, Giada definitely showed some bitchiness (lack of a better word) towards Kelsey. I do think Lisa needs to learn how to break down less familiar culinary terms, which isn't making her look good on TV.

Anonymous said...

I don't get Pollyanna from Kelsey, I get Tracy Flick from Election. I can't stop watching her, I am horrified but unable to look away...

Sue said...

Well, Adam, if we can’t laugh about this show, then there’s really no hope for us.

I’m with you in being mystified about why I watch. It isn’t exactly the most edifying of viewing choices. We shouldn’t fool ourselves about all the time we’re wasting watching (and writing about) this show.

It’s the lowest of low brow entertainment. The only positive thing I can say is that at least they’re not doing it in thongs.

Hi Shortie,
Okay, THIS is the reason I watch this show: to stop you from having to, and, of course, to amuse you.

I didn’t watch previous seasons as closely (or at all), so I don’t know if these folks are much worse or basically the same. There is certainly no STAR amongst them, although I personally like Aaron. But would I pick him from thousands (hundreds? tens?) of submitted videos? I don’t think so.

Hey Andie,
I hate to admit it, but they actually held my interest this week. The entire episode wasn’t completely stupid in every aspect. Although they did take a legitimate challenge – a cooking demo – and stupid-fied it up with the girl scout thing.

Good point about Aaron…and Kelsey. For such a calculating babe, she was way off base this week. Yeah, I also thought RR appeared to favor the guys, or at least was edited to look that way.

I have to look at their actual appearances on her show. (See Kamille’s comment in the previous post.)

Hi Jenn,
Don’t do it! Don’t waste your precious time watching. I’m warning you!

Well that’s the paradox of this entire show and really the entire direction of the Food Network. You would have thought it should be, at least in the main, about FOOD. But it’s about boobs, spiky hair and enormous tooth-filled grins.

It’s completely ludicrous that there should even be a question like “But can he cook?” This particular show has NOTHING to do with food. It’s just an umpteenth version of a 3rd rate reality show. I guess that’s why it’s so unsatisying, because it’s lost complete touch with its intended subject matter.

Project Runway, for all its nonsense and twists and turns, at least, at the end of the day (or hour) is always about the clothes. Even the Greatest American Dog was better done.

I think Kelsey is as genuine as a clueless twenty something with no real world experience can be. She’s experienced everything from inside a classroom or in her insular hometown. These are her stated interests on her bio on the FN website: "Learning and spending time with people I love." WTH!

Interesting Anon…
Yes, I can see Tracy Flick in her, which would make her even more unlikeable than she already is.

I know what you mean about HAVING to watch. WHY did I care? What does that say about me? DON’T ANSWER THAT!