Marc’s GChat Status Expanded

I’m Surprised It Took So Long…

I’m about an hour and 45 minutes away from a dentist telling me I need to have a root canal to fix a hole in one of my molars, but before that happens I wanted to comment on a story that hit late last week that is shocking but not altogether that surprising.

If you’re an aficionado of all things VH1 reality tv shows like I am, then you reluctantly got drawn into the network’s most recent attempt to capitalize on the success of reality dating shows; Megan Wants a Millionaire.  The star of this debacle is Megan (I don’t know her last name and don’t care), who was one of the biddies from season 2 (I think) of Rock of Love.  She is your atypical VH1 reality show girl; gorgeous, obnoxious, conceded, completely self-absorbed, and a  glutton for controversy. 

In the show, VH1 sends a bunch of millionaires to the standard VH1 mansion where they try to woo Megan by showering her with expensive gifts.  I am sure Vh1 would tell you the show is much deeper than that, but I assure you this is an accurate synopsis of the show. 

All well and good right?  Yea, unless of of the contestants on the show is later charged with murdering his ex-wife, which happens to be what happened this season.  Ryan Alexander Jenkins was charged last week with murdering his ex-wife and fleeing the country. Over the weekend, Ryan Alexander Jenkins was found dead in a Canadian hotel room, apparently having committed suicide.

As I mentioned before, this entire ordeal is sad and shocking and gruesome, but the last thing I would call it is surprising.

People love watching these reality tv shows because of the contestants who find themselves on it. They are literally characters, brought in to play the roles that the producers find essential to ridiculous reality television. The VAST majority of the contestants (and the featured “stars” of the reality shows themselves) are completely unstable. Given the things that these people do while they are on TV, it is not a stretch to imagine that one of them would be arrested for trafficking drugs, fraud, or tragically, for murdering someone.

But I don’t blame VH1 or any other network for that matter when these things happen. I don’t think you can tie the actions of contestants past or present to their publicity from being on the show. Unstable is unstable is unstable, no matter how famous you are.

I’m just wondering if it would be completely impossible to find guys and girls who are not completely insane to populate these shows. Are you trying to tell me there are not somewhat sane strippers and former dancers to populate the male-dating reality shows? Or that it is impossible to find millionaires who are not busy thinking about murdering their ex-wives to do stupid things to impress a dumb blond reality show star? It would be nice to start watching the next season of I Love New York (or whatever), and not have an open bet on which of the contestants will be the first to commit a violent crime upon the show’s completion.

Not that anything is going to change. Sure, VH1 had to cancel Megan Wants a Millionaire and I Love Money 3, which Jenkins was a contestant on and supposedly the ultimate winner of, but in the grand scheme of things people are going to keep watching the shows. As sad as it is, the publicity of the fall of Ryan Alexander Jenkins may actually draw more people to the shows. Because people love watching to see what is going to happen next.

Shocking, sad, but hardly surprising.

August 25, 2009 Posted by | Nonsense, Television | , | Leave a comment

Top Chef is Back and Requires a Post

This blog is kind of like the Scrubs or Family Guy of the blogosphere; you’re never quite sure if new episodes are being made, and just when you think its gone for good, another network picks it up and orders another season.

Anyway, I had to write because a couple of days ago the new season of Top Chef debuted, and it was pretty freaking fantastic.

The cast seems to have rebounded from last season’s mind-numbingly terrible group of chefs. I was actually quite surprised with the caliber of the chefs, with multiple James Beard award nominees and multiple “top rising chef” nominees. I don’t know if this has always been the case and this is just the first season that they actually publicized it or if this is a new trend, but I like it. I tend to think this has not always been the case because the quality of the food in the first challenge seemed to be a step above the last few seasons too. Nonetheless it’s nice to know that the chefs in the running are actually good at what they do.

On a person to person basis, I like the cast a lot too. I legitimately love Ron (I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know what “vice” means, but he is fantastic), Kevin (who won the first challenge), and the two brothers. I’ll probably be rooting for them the whole season. Mattin seems to be playing the role of “foreign born chef who no one can understand to the degree that subtitles are required whenever he speaks” that Fabio played perfectly last year. The only chef I really dislike is Eve (this season’s Jill from Season 5).

Perhaps one of the highlights of the first episode though was Jennifer, who pretty much destroyed the entire cast at everything she did. I thought Wolfgang Puck was going to hire her on the spot to work at one of his restaurants. I can really appreciate what she does because it is so clear that she has the cooking chops to back up the attitude that Bravo is almost certainly going to play up through editing this year. I know there is the whole “3 of the last 5 Top Chefs won the first challenge” thing, but I am picking Jennifer now and riding her to the end (that sounded inappropriate).

I’m a little worried that the whole “we’re in Las Vegas, SO MANY SURPRISES AND TWISTS” theme is going to make some of the challenges absolutely ridiculous. The fact that Robin probably could have gone home and chilled until the second set of challenges because she pulled a chip out of a hat was kind of absurd. Did anyone else realize she had to do nothing of substance in the entire first episode? Please, producers, don’t vomit all over yourselves just because you can. The quality of the challenges after one episode is hard to gauge. I wasn’t a fan of 3/4s of the cast not having to cook in the Quick Fire, but the elimination challenge was very entertaining.

I didn’t watch the “this season on the top chef” preview after the episode ended, but I’m pretty psyched to see what’s in store. Hopefully all the Top Chefs coming back for the finale of Top Chef Masters means I won’t have to see Hosea at all this season, which would be a plus. If the rest of the episodes play as well as Wednesday’s, it is going to be a great season.

August 21, 2009 Posted by | Nonsense, Television | Leave a comment

The rules of discussing television

Ok folks, it’s time for a frank discussion.

Yesterday morning I was shocked by something. Absolutely shocked. The number of people who absolutely ruined the Top Chef finale for anyone who didn’t catch it live the previous night was astounding.

Top Chef Spoiler Alert

Top Chef Spoiler Alert

Top Chef Spoiler Alert

I was one of the fortunate ones, I was able to watch it live, but at least three times this season I was forced to watch the show during one of Bravo’s 1.6 million weekly reruns. If this past Wednesday had been one of those unfortunate weeks, and I had decided to go on Facebook and check out the statuses of the people I know, then a) I would have known that Carla didn’t perform well due to all of the “poor Carla” statuses, and b) I would have known that Hosea won because of the “fuck Hosea” and “I can’t believe Hosea won” status messages.

This, is just absolutely nonsense.

Now I bet the people who were so quick to announce to the world the results of Wednesday night would argue that one is supposed to watch it live, and if they don’t its up to them to make sure they don’t have it ruined by others.*

B…S…

This does not apply when the only reasons one would add the results of Top Chef (or any other show for that matter) to their statuses is because they want to appear to be more in the know than others, and because they assume that others care even the slightest bit that they are more in the know than others.

No, like so many other things in life, there should be, and is, a common courtesy to this. First off, find a way to express your happiness or displeasure with the results of a television show in a way that doesn’t give away the results (if its a competition-based show) or the major plot lines (if its a series). ESPECIALLY if it’s within 24 hours of the shows original airing.

Write things like, “ugh, I hate Top Chef” or “wow, what a great episode of Bromance that was.” If you can’t find a way to adequately express yourself on the show of choice, don’t say anything at all.

Second, if you’re wondering when it is OK to actually discuss openly or in a public forum the results or plot lines of a show, I would argue that it’s a three day rule. Given the fact that nearly every show is put online in full for free the day after it airs and the advent of Tivo and DVR, 72 hours from the original air date is more than enough time for people to catch the missed show. If they can’t do it in 72 hours, they deserve to have it ruined.

Finally, you are going to write something about the show, like I did with the blog yesterday, two very simple and small words can prevent a lot of grief and anger. Just write “spoiler alert” it lets people know what you’re about to talk about, and instantly makes people avert their eyes if they see it. Crisis averted.

If you are really resisting following these guidelines, put yourself in their shoes. Would you want to accidentally stumble upon something that ruins your favorite TV show? Is it really work putting something in your Facebook feed that will almost certainly ruin more peoples days than it will benefit? Can we all just work together? I promise people will have just as much fun discussing how much Hosea sucks on Sunday as they would on Thursday.

* This does not apply to sporting events. Sorry. Watch the game live. There is no rational basis for assuming you should be able to be insulated from the results of the World Series, or the score of the Super Bowl for more than 15 minutes following the end of the game.

February 27, 2009 Posted by | Television | , , | Leave a comment

My thoughts on the Top Chef Finale

It’s time to discuss Top Chef.

SPOILER ALERT

SPOILER ALERT

SPOILER ALERT

SPOILER ALERT

SPOILER ALERT

SPOILER ALERT

I’m gonna give a couple sentences on a couple of my few observations about last night before I lay the verbal smack down on the idiot judges of Top Chef.

I was very happy with the final challenge. Coming up with the best three course tasting menu, just cook whatever you cook. Exactly what the final challenge should be.

Seeing Richard, Casey, and Marcel return was fantastic. They are three of my favorite contestants in Top Chef history. Casey is so beautiful.

Stefan calling Marcel a “twat” was the funniest moment of the season, possibly of the Top Chef series. It was amazing.

Everyone knew that a twist was coming, I’m just glad they didn’t jack up the chef’s three offerings. Adding an appetizer is fine

As soon as Carly and Stefan decided to do a dessert I knew they would win or lose on the dish. As soon as the coward Hosea decided not to sack up and do one I knew he may have found a way to level the playing field against two clearly superior chefs.

The chefs were even after the appetizer. Carla surged ahead after dish one. Stefan and Hosea surpassed Carla in dish two. And it became a two man race between Stefan and Hosea after week dish three.

Carla messing up her dessert was really a shame. It sucks when a really good chef goes down like that.

As beautiful as Casey is, she probably cost Carla any chance at winning Top Chef.

Now, we come to the epic debacle that was judges table.

What sort of stupid, asinine, dumb sauce were the judges free-basing prior to discussing who should win Top Chef? Whatever it was, can we make sure that all rations of said sauce are destroyed immediately?

It is clear that Carla shot herself in the foot. She had a lot of momentum but screwed up her second and third dishes. It is inexcusable to win if you prepare a bad final meal, and her final meal was bad. I had no problem with them dismissing her at the beginning of the discussion because she just didn’t rise to the occasion.

I’m not entirely sure Hosea didn’t make a deal with Casey to split the winnings if she got Carla out of the way, but that’s a conspiracy theory for another day.

With Carla no longer in the running, we have Hosea and Stefan. Sure the judges were disappointed with Stefan’s dessert, but he made a dessert. Hosea was a punk. He was a wimp. He was, for lack of a better word, a little bitch. Three course meals end with a dessert. I don’t think Hosea should have been rewarded for playing it safe, especially given the number of contestants who were kicked off this season, and last season, and the season before that, for playing it safe. Maybe if Stefan had pooped on a plate and called it dessert the judges would have had a case, but that was absurd.

And when you have two chefs who perform close to equal on the finale, it makes sense to consider their entire body of work. Right? Am I really all that wrong about this? It is absolutely ridiculous not to consider what the chef did prior to the finale in making a final decision on who should be the Top Chef. You’re trying to tell me that if a contestant were to win every single challenge throughout the season, and then a chef who won no challenges throughout the season managed to cook AS WELL as him in the finale, that he should be crowned Top Chef? Are you stupid?

That is an exaggeration of what occurred this season, but not by much. Hosea had this personal vendetta against Stefan. He called him his nemesis. News flash Hosea, for him to be your nemesis, or rival, you would have to actually succeed in beating him once in awhile. Hosea is like the Boston Red Sox pre-winning the world series when they would call out the Yankees. Stefan was like the Yankees fan who would fire back with “well how many World Series have you won?” Hosea did not deserve this, in the slightest bit.

You can call Stefan arrogant and an ass all you want, but he deserved to win. His final dish was very good. Half of the table thought he made a great dessert. That, in conjunction with his performance during the season (one of the best of all time) means he should have won. Hosea showed us an exercise in mediocrity for an entire season, then managed to cook well in the last two episodes. It’s absurd. NO ONE thinks he is the top chef, because he’s not.

The judges epic failed all over the place. So much so that they will be nominated for Moron of the Week next week (after everyone has had a chance to see the finale). I am just flabbergasted by their choice. Hosea is the least deserving Top Chef in the history of the show.

February 26, 2009 Posted by | Television | , , , , | 2 Comments