Friday, August 21, 2009

Recap 6/14 - 6/18 2009

Next Food Network Star:

I stand by my prediction that Jeffrey will win this season. He'll have to massive collapse to lose. Every time he walks into the room with the judges, their faces light up like they've seen the messiah.

Both challenges this week were for Food magazines. The first challenge they had to prepare a dish with a set of ingredients that were given to them under a cover so they didn't know what they had until they took the cover off. They then had to present it on camera as if it was a segment on a talk show where they only had 30 seconds to present.

Most of the contestants did acceptable when they presented, although Michael finished early and was stuck trying to stretch which is nearly impossible. I read on the FN website that Michael didn't originally make the cut, but when a contestant who had been cast dropped out, he was picked as the replacement. That says to me that he'll have to really step up his game. Melissa the "home cook" screwed up her dish. She was supposed to have a cherry sauce but ran out of time, so she put cherries on a sundae. Eddie won the challenge and seemed to not only make a good dish, but did a nice job presenting.

For the second challenge, they had to make a dish to go along with a holiday. Since Eddie had won the first challenge, he was able to assign which holiday went to which contestant. I think that he also sees Jeffrey as the toughest competitor as he gave him Groundhog Day. WTF dish goes along with Groundhog day? Jeffrey made a nice Mexican style dish that he claimed he made because that kind of food reminds him of Spring which is what we get if the Groundhog doesn't see its shadow. Yep, a reeeeeeal streeeeetch. The committee called him on it that he just made whatever he wanted, but really, I didn't hear any suggestions from them as to what would be better. I mean, someone suggested Ground Pork in place of Groundhog...but come on, how stupid. Ultimately, they loved him and his dish so it didn't matter that they didn't feel like his dish had anything to do with GHD. Eddie crashed and burned by saying some really dumb things about women having different diets and then started telling how he had made the dish for his GF on their first date and that it was intimate because they had the place to Bobby told him to stop talking. But THAT wasn't the biggest issue in this challenge.

Melissa was making a dish for Mother's Day, so she made a "breakfast in bed" meal. At some point, Brett asked her if she wanted some help to finish since he was already done. Then, Teddy also came over and helped her out. When they went to the judges after the challenge, the judges told her how much they liked her dish. The whole time, Teddy and especially Brett were making all these dramatic faces and movements, and when the judges were done with their comments, Brett "congratulated" Teddy. The judges asked what was going on, and Brett said that if it hadn't been for them that Melissa wouldn't have finished. The judges asked Teddy if he felt that way too, and he said that he wasn't going to throw anyone under the bus. Melissa was stunned. The judges asked her if she couldn't finish her dishes without help from others. If it had been me, I would have pointed out that they volunteered to help, and that I hadn't asked them for help. She didn't say that, but she did say that putting some food into ramekins does not constitute a significant contribution to her dish.

During the questioning of the contestants after the challenge, Brett had stated that he hadn't signed up for the job on his own, that people had suggested that he give it a go. So when it came time to boot someone the choices were Brett, Eddie and Katie the nutritionist. I felt that Katie would go because her food has been terrible and she can't seem to make or present food without talking about antioxidants and stuff like that. But I'm guessing that because Brett didn't seem to have his heart in it, while at least Katie did, Brett got the boot.

Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List:

This episode was filmed in January. Kathy went to a party where the Grammy nominees are announced...via a list...and she got to schmooze with Taylor Swift, LL Cool J, Christina Aguilera, and others. She then found out that she was nominated when a Grammy staffer gave her a copy of the list. How odd.

Then she went to Richmond which is a stone's throw from Vancouver, and performed at a casino the night after Lily Tomlin. So of course she went to Lily's show and yelled from the seats asking Lily to be on her D-List program. Then she and Lily hung out together that night in Lily's room, and then seemed to have a brunch together the next day where they called Jane Fonda and Liza Minnelli. Jane didn't seem to especially like Kathy, but Liza claimed that she loved Kathy.

The funniest part was that the guy who ran the casino's entertainment program was all over Kathy. When Kathy arrived, he had the staff greet her in a line like they were waiting for royalty. He even had a cake for her, and whatever Kathy asked of him, he'd do. But then, he kept showing up at her room, and then in her private box while watching Lily's show. He even showed up when Kathy and Lily were having brunch. WTF dude, she isn't into you.

I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here:

This week so far we learned that Janice was backed up and she ended up being taken to the hospital due to various stomach issues. She ended up returning and seemed to be in very good spirits. John Salley was upset that he was in the "Bottom 2," and was saying that he was going to leave because he didn't want people to decide if he's worthy of winning. He then decided to stay which was good because they later had a challenge where the "celebs" were asked which person the public thought was the smartest, hardest working, laziest, etc...and John won most of the "good" awards.

John ended up winning the "camp leader" position as they wouldn't allow Lou Diamond Phillips to compete for a "third term." Janice said that she didn't want it, so she was taken out first. Heck, even Torrie tried to take herself out. It ended up between John and Patti and neither had any strikes against them, but John continued to get answers correct so he won.

They had a segment where people questioned Sanjaya's sexuality because he allowed Janice to have him act effeminate. He also told Holly that many gals consider him like their "gay best friend," even though he isn't gay. Holly told him that he should use a different term then. Sanjaya said that it was unfortunate, but that was the term that people tend to use. He then told Janice and Torrie that it was how he was seen, but he wasn't gay and would go for Torrie. Torrie told him, "Nice try."

The "celebs" were given a camcorder, and decided to make a slasher movie. So the producers gave them some props, and LDP directed the movie. They ended up showing some of it, and I'm sure that they all enjoyed it, but it seemed pretty lame.

John laid down some new rules as camp leader. He told them that nobody could touch the food without first cleaning their hands. He also said that they had to be sure to cover the rice as soon as they dished up their helping so that bugs wouldn't get into the pot. He also assigned tasks that each "celeb" had to perform (he was required to do so,) and he told them that they needed to clean up their "area" and try to keep the camp clean. The importance of that was shown when a snake slithered into camp one night. These 2 wranglers, who Patti called "ninjas" came in and got the snake.

LDP and Torrie competed in a food challenge where they had to retrieve stars from a habitat full of snakes. It was funny in that snakes kept getting out and had to be wrangled back in while they were still competing. LDP ended up beating Torrie by a second. The guys won Italian food.

LDP won the immunity challenge for the second time, and John was given the ability to grant immunity to one other person, including himself. Soo of course, he chose himself. Now, nobody can call him Marcellas.

Top Chef Masters:

As I predicted, Chef Falkner was STOMPED. She finished third in the Quickfire, and then fell all the way to last place with DISMAL scores in the Elimination Challenge. She really should just stick with baking.

The Quickfire Challenge was to make an "Amuse Bouche" out of things from a vending machine, along with stuff in the TC pantry (like aromatics.) An Amuse Bouche is 2 bites or less, although usually on TC they try to say it's a 1 bite dish. To me, most of the stuff the chefs presented looked like they'd take more than 2 bites to eat. TC had the same challenge back in Season 2, so the 3 judges for this round were contestants from that year, including the eventual winner.

Chef Wylie was concerned because he had been a judge in Season 2, but it appeared to me that the judges were judging the dishes "blind," in that it didn't seem that they were told who made each dish, nor who the chefs even were who were competing. Wylie usually makes food working with the chemical reactions, also known as "Molecular Gastronomy." As such, his stuff usually either blows one away, or leaves people scratching their heads. I didn't see him use any of those techniques, and he was unhappy with his dish. He was right, it finished last.

The guy who finished second apparently uses things like Pop Rocks in his menu food in his Chicago restaurant. Also, he and Wylie seem to be friends and this made for a bit of wanting to outdo each other pop up. The woman who won seemed to make a yummy dish, but she came across as very cold as a person.

For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs had to make a meal using ingredients that could be found on the LOST island, as the creators and writers of LOST would be the diners for the meal. This meant that they could use stuff found on a tropical island, such as Wild Boar, as well as canned food that the Dharma Initiative would have had lying around. This meant that they couldn't have access to the TC pantry, but what was stoopid was that they were allowed to use the stoves, ovens, and Chef Falkner actually used the immersion unit to make a dish "Sous Vide." I've watched every episode of LOST, and I'm pretty sure that I haven't seen working stove tops and ovens, let alone an immersion unit.

Falkner started in third but got terrible scores and finished 4th. Wylie started last and finished third. The guy from Chicago started in 2nd, got really good scores, but ended up in second as the other woman (I can't recall her name,) started in first and got amazing scores.

In the public phone poll asking who of the 4 chefs you'd want to be stranded on an island with, Wylie won. That made no sense to me. The guy from Chicago is a great chef and was pretty funny and easy going. He'd be my first pick. My second pick would have been the woman who won since obviously she's a great cook, and of the 2 women, she's the best well as the only one who is straight.

Gordon Ramsay's The F Word:

This is on BBC America Wednesdays at 9pm. For those unfamiliar with it, here's the description from Wikipedia;
Each episode is based around Ramsay preparing a three-course meal at the F Word restaurant for 50 guests. Diners in the restaurant include celebrities, who participate in conversations, challenges, and cook-offs with Ramsay. Other segments focus on food-related topics, such as alternative foods and healthy eating. Finally, there is a series-long feature on home-reared livestock or poultry that is ultimately served to F Word diners on the season finale.

This is the 5th season of the show, and the first episode was Wednesday. This season, he is having 4 members of a family as the guest cooks. They have an hour for each course, with the first course an appetizer, then a main course, then a dessert. He also had a celebrity from a popular UK show at the restaurant with his family, and also Spice Girl Geri Halliwell. The celebrity made the mistake of letting the show know that Chinese food is his favorite, so they had him blindfolded and try 2 Chinese delicacies. One was chicken feet, which he spit out, and the other was duck tongue which I think he ate. Then with the blindfold off, they had him try a third delicacy, fish eye. He barely got it into his mouth before spitting it out. That reminded me of the recent Man Vs. Wild special where the host went hiking in the Swedish Alps with actor Will Farrell and they had to eat Deer Eyeball for dinner. YUCK!

In a taped segment of the F Word, they showed Ramsay diving for Sea Urchin while riding a fast tide. He didn't find any then, but found some in calmer waters near some rocks. He then challenged a Japanese Brit to a duel with Sea Urchin. The Japanese guy made traditional Uni which is the Urchin done sushi style. I LOVE sushi, but can't stand Uni. My ex loved it though. It looks like baby poo, and that's what we called it. Gordo mixed his urchin into scrambled eggs, and then both fed some people on the streets of London. Most liked Ramsay's dish better.

One of the other unusual things about The F Word beside showing Ramsay getting fresh ingredients, is that he raises his own set of livestock, and then has them slaughtered and served in the season finale. One year, it was turkeys. Once it was pigs. Another it was sheep. This year it is 2 calves being raised for 12 weeks for veal. Usually, Ramsay raises them in 'his garden," but this year they are being raised on a farm by a famous UK journalist. Also, Ramsay usually names each animal after someone famous in the UK, usually that he doesn't like. I think the pigs were named after other UK chefs like Jamie Oliver and Nigella. Thus far, he hasn't named the 2 calves.

In another segment, Ramsay challenged Geri Halliwell to a cook off using her favorite dish, Swedish Meatballs. Each week, Gordo has a celeb make his or her "signature dish" and then Ramsay tries to top it. Each made their own version of Swedish Meatballs, and then fed them to a table of 5 diners. They didn't give the score but Ramsay won. There is a UK series called Top Gear (see review below) and they had a crossover special not too long ago. In the crossover, Ramsay took one of the hosts out to catch fresh lobster, and then showed him a recipe and cooked it for the guy's family. He then took on another of the hosts in a cook-off. The Top Gear guy was a mess, and Ramsay said that if he lost, he'd sell his restaurants and quit the business as he thought the guy's food looked terrible. The guy from Top Gear won 3-2, and Ramsay was incredulous.

Back to this episode, the family in this episode contained 2 sisters who are both actresses and were both in popular UK series, along with their mother and the husband of one of them. The guy was terrible. He apparently can't see things close,took forever to cook, kept messing up the dishes, and even set the stove top on fire! The way this works is prior to each course, there is a taped segment where Ramsay shows people how to make each dish, as the hallmark of The F Word Restaurant is that each dish can easily be made at home. The recipe is also posted on the show's website. Then the four people have an hour to make each course and serve it to the 50 diners. The diners are then asked if they would be willing to pay for each course. For the appetizers, 36 of the 50 said that they'd pay. 45 of the diners said that they'd pay for the Main Course, and 48 of the 50 said that they'd pay for the dessert. This gave the family 129 out of 150 "points."

This is a really odd series, with the family cooking 3 meals, the celeb in the restaurant, the celeb cook-off, showing Ramsay procuring fresh ingredients in odd ways, and the raising of livestock to be cooked in the finale. I'm not sure if I will watch every episode, but it is interesting in that Ramsay is always smiling and laughing throughout the show, and isn't yelling at anyone. I sometimes felt like he was forcing the laughter to prevent himself from yelling at someone, but it's fun to see Gordo in a different frame of mind.

Top Gear:

This is a really fun series that is all about cars. There are 3 hosts; a really big funny journalist, a very short but funny dude, and this old hippy who they call Captain Slow as he is ALWAYS slow in their various fun challenges. They also have a professional driver dressed in an all white racing jump suit, with white boots, white cloves, and a white helmet that he never takes off. They call him The Stig.

The main humor part of the episode was that they had to make their own limos, and then drive a celeb to The Brits, the UK version of the Grammys. The little guy took a MG convertible, and stretched it out, keep it a convertible. he also added an intercom to from the passenger seat to the front, and in between they actually had the other 2 guys bowl and shoot archery. The hippy dude took 2 cars, cut them in half, and then put both front ends together. This way, he said, you could drive off from either direction, or have the passenger help with the steering in tight turns. The Big guy took a tiny 2 liter car, the Fiat Panda, and stretched it to well past 50 feet long! Each car had to be inspected, and the little guy's car had to require that the full size phone be worn on his head with a headband, because they require hands free driving. Worse, the big guy had to make his car 36', so he shortened it and "taped" it together. Driving the celebs to The Brits, the little guy got there first, and in one piece. The hippy dude got lost, and his passenger left in a huff. The big guy's car broke in half, but he arrived at the show with his celeb...dragging the back end along the road. I love this show.

Also in this episode, they compared the 60s classic "Bullit" Mustang vs the 2008 Mustang Shelby GT 500. They determined that it only has 447 HP, not 500. But, to the little guy's chagrin, his own personal "Bullit" Mustang was supposed to have 330 HP, but only had 250. They noted that when Ford amp up the Mustang into the 500 GT, they didn't improve the suspension as it would have cost an additional $5,000. They thought that was really dumb, and when The Stig drove it on their course, it slid and slipped all over the place. They then had The Stig drive the Rousch racing team version of the Mustang GT which did have the suspension improved, so it actually cost $10,000 more than the Shelby version. It also only had 415 HP. But, when The Stig drove it on the course, despite being less powerful, the better handling made it finish the course 2 seconds faster.

Burn Notice:

This was the best episode of the new season so far. An arms dealer who had previously been on the show pretended to be an investor for Michael's brother, but actually was using him as leverage to get Michael to get a bunch of intel and components from various places to get him some valuable equipment. Eventually, they shot the brother in the arm to get Michael to stop trying to take charge. Meanwhile, Michael was able to get Sam, Fi and Barry the money launderer to make it look like Michael had emptied the guy's bank accounts, blow up his safe house, and make it appear that they had their sights on his daughter.

This was a great episode, with all sorts of spy tricks and showed Michael's team working very well together for family, not money. The only bad part was the new detective. I agree with the guy at that they keep having her confront Michael that she's his worst nightmare and will be all over him, yet she doesn't seem to ACTUALLY do anything other than bluster about. Michael was able to get her partner suspended by making it appear that Michael and an official aid had a joint bank account, and when the partner interrogated her, the Mayor found out it was all a scam and had the detective busted. Funny! I just wish that they give Moon Bloodgood who plays the lead detective more to do than just huff & puff.


The primary myth was to see if you were driving in a convertible and it started raining if it's better to stop and put the top up, or drive faster to out run the rain. They used a Porsche convertible as the test car. Using their Hollywood know-how they rigged a device to make it rain even when it wasn't. They had the car driven into the rain, stopped, and then the top raised. They then tested it by driving top down thru the rain at 25, 55 and 90 mph. When they stopped to raise the top, the inside got flooded. At 25 mph, they were much dryer, but still a lot of rain. At 55, only the "head" areas seemed to get wet. At 90 mph...not a drop was found inside. The speed shot the water over the windshield and over the car like a canopy or water. So, they called it "Plausible, but not recommended" as they didn't think it was "right" of them to say it had been "confirmed" as it could lead to people violating speed laws, and having accidents from hydroplaning.

The secondary myth was taken from the 80s movie, Real Genius, where a laser causes a massive amount of popcorn to pop inside a house, and then the popping corn expand so much that the windows blow out, and the house busts open. They found that a laser could pop a kernel of pop corn, but still to this day, no laser is has as many KWs as the one mentioned in the movie. They also found that popping corn didn't produce enough pressure to break windows or bust a house. Myth BUSTED.

I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!:

At this point, I'm a little fuzzy on what happened over Wednesday and Thursday. I know that the teams were eliminated, so it's everyone for themselves. They all had to dive into a mud pool full of plastic balls and toys...and baby crocodiles, to find 1 of 3 stars. People with stars would get pizza. Janice stayed in the mud pool for about 30 seconds and then ran all the way back to camp from fear of the baby crocs. It was funny that the hosts were calling after her to come back as she ran away. Someone must have brought her back as she was there at the end. LDP, Patti, and Sanjaya found the stars and had pizza that night. Torrie was bummed. She had been told it was gonna be "mud wrestling" and each "celeb" had to make their own "wrestling outfit" so when it ended up just hunting around in the mud...and she didn't win...she seemed bummed out.

John and Janice argued some more. She seemed to think that veggies were given to them to help her intestinal issues, but John told her that unless they put the food in a bagged marked "Janice" that everything in the food basket was for everyone.

The votes were revealed on Thursday, and Janice and Holly got the boot. They asked Holly about her and Sanjaya and she said that they were just friends. Janice said, "Ha!" Holly thinks Sanjaya will win, and I think Janice said Stephen. I just read today that apparently Stephen has left the jungle. I had read last week that a home of his had been foreclosed and was to be auctioned off. I don't know if that's why he left, but he seemed to be in it until the end if possible. I don't think he would have won, I still think it will be Sanjaya.

I had thought that John and LDP could make a run for it, but John was shown to be wanting to leave, and then kinda mean this past week so that may have hurt him. LDP who "loves his wife so much" actually had been arrested in 2006 on Domestic Violence against her, and sentenced to a TON of Community Service. I hope that it was a one of a time thing brought on by alcohol and that he's straightened out, but I wonder if the talk about it on the internet is hurting him. At this point, I don't know if it actually has had an impact, but it just makes me want Sajaya to win even more. Not that people can't make mistakes and change, but Sanjaya just seems to have shown me nothing but a great attitude throughout. Even when he "told Janice off," he did it in a very "mild" way.

Next week, I think 2 or 3 more "celebs" will get the boot and the Finals will be 3, maybe 4 on the last night. I'm not certain, but that's how it looks from here. Have a great weekend all, and be good to all the fathers in your family!

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