Once again proving that I truly have my finger on the pulse of all things pop culture, I was fully prepared to recap Top Chef last night, settling in with my laptop at 10 minutes til 10 pm. I’d already finished typing a furious anti-Jamie treatise as my introductory paragraph by the time I realized that…oh. Rerun night. No new episode.
In the seven days since my initial viewing of the Advantage Chef episode, my irritation at Jamie has morphed into full-on foot-stomping anger. How DARE she get a pass, week after week after week, narrowly escaping elimination despite NOT COOKING A DAMN THING besides a sad bowl of tomato soup?
So I’m afraid that if I had to refrain from unleashing my run-on sentence rage on the Internet for another full week, well. I’d be full-on apoplectic by then.
Jen’s elimination — soggy bacon and judges’ table temper tantrum aside — now seems just plain unfair and premature. She’s clearly more talented (and not to mention BALLSY) than Jamie. And it’s a damn shame that Spike had to be felled essentially by bad team-challenge-related strategy (and Evil Angelo, whom I believe I shall call Demono from now on) instead of straight-up cooking chops. Last week’s elimination challenge played out more like something from Survivor instead of Top Chef.
Let’s go to the Bravo blogs and see what our esteemed judges had to say about Jamie, the Two-Stitch Dishless Wonder…
As for our “match”: Once again, I have to address Jamie and her lack of contribution to the challenge. Having seen the whole episode, I recognize that she agreed the night before to the team’s decision to put the weakest dish out first … and then balked and simply refused to put her food out. But the rest of the team should have said to her, “Jamie, that was the decision. You’re going out.” And when we called for them to say whose dish was up first, they should simply have called back, “Jamie’s.” End of story. She would have had to abide by the group’s decision … and perhaps the results would have been different. But the team didn’t do that, and they have to reconcile themselves to their role in that.
I’m trying to think, for the future, about how better to structure the challenge to avoid another situation in which a competitor might elude possible elimination as Jamie did. Perhaps the judges should have to taste all the dishes, regardless of how the challenge goes. I’m not sure, though. I also kind of like the strategizing that comes of knowing that the game could actually go as it did and that the chef of a poorer dish that never gets served might be spared elimination. It raises the stakes for everyone, and I’m all for a challenge that asks the absolute best of the chefs.
Spike suddenly reverted to Sneaky Spike of years past, enlisting his team on a High Security Secret Mission to outwit, outflank and out-strategize the opposing team. Of tantamount importance to his Master Plan, however, was that Jamie — who it was assumed would make a crappy dish — would go first, putting her presumably lame-o offering up against one of the opposing team’s stronger efforts, thereby causing them to “waste” it. One would think that Jamie would feel slighted by the near instananeous assumption by her teammates that she was incapable of coming up with anything worthwhile. But no.
“Whatever,” says our hero. “If I can avoid fighting, I’m going to avoid fighting.”
Jamie might actually be the most brilliant of all the contestants. At the end of this episode she will have survived THREE weeks without cooking anything other than a quick tomato soup. Her strategy seems to actually be: “If I can avoid cooking, I’m going to avoid cooking.” And it appears to be working.
So Jamie, for some reason, doesn’t cook for two times in a row and is still in the competition. I think a lot of the viewers are frustrated with that. I myself am very surprised that she’s still in the game. I think she should go home, but not necessarily by being sent home, I think she should just go home on her own, because she seems to be absolutely miserable. She doesn’t like anything, she’s not a good teammate, she doesn’t show any good cooking skills. I think she is very overwhelmed by the season, and I must say I really feel bad for her. And when we look at her on our TV screens, it’s really painful to see someone so miserable like that. The team started to be after her obviously because they are frustrated to see someone who doesn’t cook go to the next step and someone who cooks go home. It’s not fair for everyone, I think she feels it also. I don’t know what to say, I don’t picture her going to far in the competition. Although we’ll see what happens, she may just wake up or have a different state of mind, but as of now it’s very, very painful to watch her showing no skills of leadership. So therefore, if you cannot be a leader, you cannot be a chef. She has no good technique or skills, so she cannot be a cook. So what are you doing on Top Chef?
I’m sure, after going through the reality show ringer once before already, that Jamie does not give a flying fuck what most TV viewers and snipe-y bloggers think of her, but dammmmmn. Reading that Eric Goddamn Ripert thinks you have “no good technique or skills” and that you are neither a chef nor a cook? That’s gotta sting, even for someone as glazed over and over-it-all as Jamie appears to be this season. (Though I suppose Jamie and Ripert officially have a “history” now, what with the infamous black-cod-and-braised-celery dish that caused Jamie two seasons’ worth of angst.)
Jamie? I really liked you. I was happy to see you on the All-Stars line-up. You had potential to be our quietly snarky lesbian underdog, and who doesn’t love rooting for a quietly snarky lesbian underdog? But I’m sorry, you’ve lost me now. I am now rooting for your elimination. Cook or be cooked. The tribe has spoken.
TEAM HOOTIE HOO!