Thursday, September 29, 2011

Project Runway 9/29/11--"Sew 70's" summary

Previously on Project Runway: everyone must make clothes for a rock band. Horrors! They’re men--so most of the designers freak out. Olivier continues his freak-out from last week, that people who don’t fit the dress form are terrible and he wants nothing to do with them. The band is pretty good, and they have a classic rock sort of feel, so for some reason all the designers decide on super retro 60’s fringe and bell bottoms. Viktor won, because his clothes fit well and the fringe was at least tolerable. Olivier put the lead singer in toile with swans on it and khaki pants. Ewan, who is 6’3” and not a stick, also had to deal with Olivier calling him “big” during Tim Time, and I only mention that because Ewan is hot, I think. Anyway, Olivier lost and went home, I guess to find some models that look like mannequins. (click for more)

Anya is disturbed to be in the bottom. Josh fake-congratulates Viktor on his win and then tells the rest of his apartment that “clothing is clothing” so he doesn’t understand how people could freak out at menswear. Shut up, Josh. He might be sincere to Viktor, I just don’t trust anything that he says. Viktor is worried about people being nasty.

Heidi asks everyone if they’re surprised to still be in the competition. Everyone says no, but eventually Bert admits that he’s a little surprised. See, that’s the Bert that we all loved that first episode. Heidi says they must “look to the past to find inspiration”.

Tim is waiting in the workroom with Heather Archibald, who is a buyer for Piperlime. Winning design will be sold online. Woo. I mean, it’s cool and everything, but they already had a challenge where the winning design was sold to the public, and they changed it a lot and then overcharged for it. The girl says Piperlime customers are obsessed with trends, which they probably are, and then she says they are obsessed with the “sophisticated 70’s”. God. I just saw this last week. She actually brings up flared pants. We saw that too. Everyone gets a dossier to study. Tim says they are required to make “sophisticated 70’s inspired looks, not vintage, not retro.” Then he says the last challenge was too literal so don’t do that again. Bert asks a specific question about prints and the size of prints. Larger is better. 30 minutes to sketch. Bert is all over it. Josh knows nothing about the 70s because of course he’s only 25 years old. Kimberly is doing “sexy secretary”. Laura claims to be a 70s glam kind of girl. Anya is thinking resort. Tim walks in and no one raises their heads or acknowledges him. I think he’s hurt.

30 minutes and $100 at Mood. That’s all? I guess polyester is cheap. Everyone is buying prints. Josh claims plaids are not really prints. Anya has shoved her envelope of money in her bra, basically. She’s got a sleeveless maxi dress on, and it’s under one of the straps in the front. Somewhere in Mood, it falls out. She can’t find it anywhere. I kept expecting a cut to a commercial right here, as everyone is looking for the money, and then when we got back someone would have found it. I watch too much “Amazing Race”. Tim finally calls her over and says that she can ask others for money, or use only muslin, but those are her only options. They actually put a commercial here, but on the “Coming Up” section they showed her begging for money and crying. She manages to get $11, so she gets a zebra-like print, a zipper, and buttons. Tim twists the knife and brings up how generous she was last challenge, when she gave away fabric. You only gave them $100. They don’t have change.

When they get back to Parsons, people start offering her random pieces of fabric. It seems too early to know for certain you’re not using everything. Viktor says it’s a competition and he can’t help her. Exactly. Tim comes to praise everyone for being nice, and to remind them not to make anything vintage but “inspired by”. At the same time it has to be something people can mass produce.

Anya doesn’t know what she’s going to do with muslin, which is a crappy fabric. Viktor asks Bert if something is “70s inspired” and he jokes that he must be the History Channel. He knows his experience, in addition to his age, are giving him a leg up on everyone else. He has also chosen rose gold sequins. It’s eye catching, anyway. Anthony wants something easy but modern. Josh of course is only familiar with “glam disco 70s” which I’m sure surprises no one. He is trying to keep it in check. Laura starts talking about how she loves vintage and she’s wearing vintage right now. Except for the part where they were told not to make a vintage outfit. Josh seems to be bored and comes over to rummage through Viktor’s fabric. I’m not sure why he’s doing that. Viktor assumes he’s copying again like he did last week. Look, Viktor, I don’t like him either, but pretty much every single person put fringe on their outfit last week so I don’t think accusing Josh of copying you is really going to fly here. Anya is dyeing things with random techniques. Lots of working and trash talking other people. Seriously, everyone just talks shit about how everyone else’s fabric is ugly. For some reason, Laura declares Kimberly’s print is “JCPenny” and she and Anya claim they made a pact that the three girls would tell each other if they were making poor choices. Anya talks her out of it. Seriously, you’re going to tell Kimberly now, when she can’t do anything, that her print sucks. That’s not useful. Bert is making hot pants. He and Laura talk about Studio 54, and Laura asks if that’s where he got his Halston job. “No. *long pause* I got it on a balcony. Third row.” Is…that dirty? “Could be.” Kick ass. Laura is disturbed, but honey you asked for it. There are some weird shots of Josh feeling up the jacket Viktor is making, and creepy music, and then Kimberly tells Viktor that the inverted pleat on the back of his jacket “has become popular”. Kimberly and Anya agree that Viktor draped first. The more he thinks about it, the more he thinks his stuff looks better than Josh’s anyway.

Tim shows up and says that there is a twist: one additional look that is one piece. Apparently the original looks were supposed to be separates. I missed that. $50 and 15 minutes at Mood. Thanks, Lifetime, for making me briefly excited that I could handle seven looks no problem. Everyone seems to have a problem with this budget. Lots of mental math and careful planning.

Tim time! Anthony Ryan concerns Tim. He thinks it’s too old. Anthony Ryan also says he’s planning a maxi dress, and Tim doesn’t think anyone else is making one, so he tells him it’s a good idea. Oh, don’t cut in a shot of Josh looking up at that, producers, I know full well that’s probably random B-footage. Anya’s waistline looks terrible. She’s also got a jumpsuit which gets more praise. Bert has a very disco dress, and Laura says she doesn’t understand him, AGAIN, like he does it on purpose just to screw with her. I think Tim’s just kind of leaving him alone. Kimberly has a jumper too, maybe, and the other look has a bare midriff. Tim cautions against a bare midriff plus a miniskirt on the same model. Viktor needs more safari elements for his jacket. Josh’s top…ugh. It’s a weird raspberry and black. Mostly red with black piping down the sleeves and a black bib piece. It makes me think of Star Trek. Laura has a jumpsuit with some fabric that Tim thinks needs a different design. Then he tells Laura that Nina hates her taste level. Oh, he’s nicer about it, because he’s Tim Gunn, but that’s essentially the message.

Laura immediately assumes that Nina kept her from winning the last challenge. Uh huh. She’s in the sewing room telling everyone that her style is too refined, so there should be no taste problems because obviously she has the opposite problem. The models come in, but there’s not a lot that happens there. Lots of frantic working after that, though. Bert shows Josh how to do…something…thread a drawstring, I think. He basically says “Do it like you’re putting on a you-know-what.” Oh, say “condom” Bert. Josh laughs, and Bert is like “A sock! Pantyhose!” That was funny. Anthony Ryan asks Anya’s opinion because she is his target client. Anya’s wide-legged pants are way too wide. Josh is now making a maxi dress because he knows he can make it with the time he has left.

Day of the show. Tim gives them 2 hours, and reminds them this is the Piperlime challenge so use the stupid wall. Anya starts cursing up a storm because she’s sewing the pants to themselves, I guess, instead of finishing them. Hot makeup guy wears glasses to actually apply the makeup. Somehow this makes him hotter. Kimberly has to recut a waistband. In the end she has to sew the girl into the outfit. Anya runs to the sewing room with one minute left. Really?

Guest judge is Olivia Palermo, Piperlime guest editor. Kimberly: a circle top, which is too short so you can see the model’s stomach. It’s just a big top with a turquoise and black print. This is paired with a black pencil skirt and red shoes. I don’t know that it’s 70s either. The other look is a wide legged gray jumpsuit. I think it’s just a vest and pants sewn together. The vest is just OK, the pants are pretty good. Anthony Ryan: dress in a red and gray and brown print, which looks vaguely Native American. There is a tan belt, and a sleeveless long vest over it in a black and white zig zag. He starts talking about the pieces, and apparently it’s a red miniskirt with a print sleeveless top. The second look is a maxi dress in a stripy print with the same color scheme. There are wide sleeves and a bare back. Bert: black hot pants with a sheer skirt and blousy top. Both the skirt and top are in gold tones. It’s very retro and not so much modern. The other dress is a short shift dress with an A-line skirt. Seriously, it is a very simple dress that is gray in the front and beige in the back and probably took him an hour to make. There is no sign of the gold sequined top he had been making, unless it‘s under that chiffon.

Laura: black and white chevron top and a maxi skirt in a weird yellow and blue mottled print. Also a jumpsuit with black chiffon pants and a gray silk spaghetti strap top. Josh: Jesus Christ. High waisted tight pants in a black and white plaid, and that pink and black top with the black bib that looks like a Star Trek uniform. It’s ridiculous. The top is weirdly loose, and the pants make her ass look huge, and it has leopard print booties. Also a maxi dress with a black bodice and a sweetheart neckline, and the print is yellow and purple mostly. Anya: high waisted wide pants and a simple tank top out of muslin. The pants are kind of short. It’s not the greatest. The other look seems to be a maxi dress, but it’s pants. The print is brown and white and it looks like Anya fished it out of her closet. Viktor: light pants with a flare, and an awesome jacket with a belt and pockets. There is a black and white top too. I don’t know how safari the jacket is, but it looks good. Also a black dress with an asymmetric hem and a v-neck top in a snakeskin print.

Kimberly gets called forward as being exactly in the middle and safe. Laura wanted an easy knit and something that would read well online. They like the jumpsuit but the chevron top and maxi skirt don’t go together. However, the jumpsuit won’t be interesting online. Kors says they aren’t fashion. Laura totally would wear these outfits, she says. Viktor had a safari jacket when he was younger. Both Kors and Heidi wish the T-shirt was not there, apparently because they need more sex. It’s fine. They do love the jacket, but when she takes off the jacket, the top and pants are fine on their own. Viktor just happened to have snakeskin shorts to match. Hee. It all is great and looks expensive. Josh thinks his first look is masculine and something about masculine and feminine and freedom. Kors hates the pants. Hates. Them. It’s not easy and also is “1870’s in France.” Oh, he had to work for that one. Josh is like, oh, ha ha, I got the wrong 70s! Heidi declares this one of the worst outfits she’s seen in a while. How do you put so many things together? Josh says that’s who he is, and that scares Heidi. He gets defensive and basically says they don’t give them enough time to make quality clothing, but even so he puts “heart and soul” into all his pieces. Heidi tells him he can’t live in a bubble, his clothes have to appeal to other people. Olivia tells him how he could fix his outfits, and Nina just comes out and says his fabric is terrible, but at least he takes risks.

Anya explains how she lost her money, and how she loves jumpers. Of course everyone loves her outfit. Don’t act surprised, you knew she was going to do well. I’m not that surprised. It’s 70s looking without being a costume, and she did a good job picking out prints. Anthony Ryan likes the weed smoking of the 70s. No, really. His separates needed sleeves, and the two prints don’t go together. His maxi dress doesn’t work either. Kors says he likes that it’s an early 70s look, and then he asks to see the back of the skirt, and the hem is crooked and did he tie-dye the skirt? The girls look boring and like they’re in a cult. They might look boring but “cult” I think is a little too far. Bert talks about his inspirations, and Heidi of course has no problem with the hot pants. Nina says she would buy the metallic top. They do like the simple dress too, but I would bet partially because they know they can sell it easily.

Josh complains that he needed more time to do research, and why didn’t you do research before you came here? I would be reading up on all kinds of things. No one else lived through the 70s either except for Bert, I don’t think. Viktor basically tells him that. Josh of course gets defensive, accuses Viktor of being aggressive, and says that he didn’t grow up like Viktor so he can’t make assumptions. Kimberly says he’s not the only one who didn’t live through the 70s, and it’s part of being a fashion designer to know these things. Josh actually gets up and walks away.

Josh wasn’t thinking, and can’t edit. And those pants! Plus leopard! Olivia says he has to learn to take criticism. Anthony Ryan just didn’t make anything interesting, and it wouldn’t photograph well at all. Heidi brings up Laura, and both Kors and Nina make faces and gagging noises. The prints were terrible together, and the jumpsuit was very boring. True, I could go out right now and get pants like that. Anya has beautiful prints and her jumpsuit was so wonderful that both Nina and Heidi would wear it. Kors didn’t like the color of the top, but they seem to be grading on a curve, knowing it’s muslin. The metallic top of Bert’s outfit is great, even though the bottom maybe not so much. Both his looks would photograph very well. Viktor has been sneaking into the top. Kors loves that every one of his pieces was great.

Heidi claims the decision today was hard. Anya is the winner. OK, I know she did well and everything, but the winner? Really? It makes no sense at all. It’s very suspicious, how well she does. She only learned to sew 4 months ago but you never find any issues with her execution? She does things she’s never done before but every single time it turns into gold? Whatever. I like her but seriously, people. They then tell Bert his simple dress is going to be produced on Piperlime too, along with Anya’s jumpsuit. Viktor is in. Laura is in. Josh is in, of course. Can’t get rid of stupid drama boy. He hugs Viktor and says he’s sorry. You aren’t sorry. Heidi tells Kors and the camera that Anthony Ryan was cute. He’s glad to have been here, and he knows his voice was heard. Tim comes in and says he’s proud and you can hear him getting choked up. Compare that with the half-assed hug and goodbye Olivier got last week.

Next week: birds. And Collier Strong, who we have not seen one single time all season, so why can’t hot makeup guy get some screen time, and possibly a NAME, and do the consultations? Competing head-to-head. So that will be drama-filled.
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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Top Chef: Just Desserts 9/28/11--"Sabotage" summary

Previously on “Top Chef: Just Desserts”: everyone made their own candy bar, which was vaguely interesting, and then ANOTHER team challenge, which was to make “refreshing” desserts for a water park. Sally had immunity, so she just kind of went along with her team. Katzie made baked Alaska on a stick, which was cool, and she won. Amanda tried to make funnel cakes, and then let them sit for too long bcaause she was trying to be polite. So of course they failed, and she was sent home. (click for more)

Everyone hangs out in the loft and eats, while they discuss what the next challenge will be. The consensus seems to be ice sculpting. Katzie seems to get snotty for no reason. It sounded like she bragged that she could do anything, and then they laughed at her, I guess, because they were talking about ice sculptures and chainsaws, and then she got offended and left. So weird.

The guest judge today is Jordan Kahn. He uses “unlikely” ingredients. Today they will have root vegetables for dessert. Eh. Rebecca says she only learned pastry in culinary school. To up the difficulty, the vegetables are buried in window boxes for the chefs to dig up, so unless you know what things look like above ground, it’s a crap shoot. Carlos gets celery root, Chris takes jicama, Orlando gets radishes (ha), Matthew digs up a parsnip, Rebecca has potatoes, Katzie gets turnips. Megan digs up a burdock root and has to be told what it is, because she doesn’t recognize it. I wouldn’t either. Sally ends up with turmeric, which I didn’t think qualified as a vegetable, but OK. Winner gets immunity and $5,000.

1 hour to cook. Megan still has no idea what she has, but she’s making fritters in desperation. Rebecca says mostly you would roast root vegetables, but they don’t have time to do that. Carlos thinks celery root will go well with peanut butter. Matthew used to be a savory cook, so he knows how to cook root vegetables. Carlos can’t get the celery root to fry up properly.

Rebecca: French fries, chocolate sauce and malted milk ice cream. Rebecca for some reason tells them she can’t cook to save her life. Gail points out that she probably shouldn’t say that on national television, on a cooking show. For real. Megan: five spice burdock root fritter and candied burdock root compote. Katzie: soy milk panna cotta with mascarpone cream, caramel, and turnip chips. Chris: well, for some reason when the judges get there, Chris finishes plating in front of them, putting fried jicama on top of the plates. First of all, that jicama looks burnt, and secondly, Gail stops him and tells him that he can’t win the challenge because you have to be finished plating when time is called. He tries to explain that he didn’t want the jicama to get soggy, but Gail is unmoved. So apparently you can classify things as “temperature sensitive”, like a sorbet, and then you can plate them last minute. Matthew fills us in on this fact. They never show us what Chris actually made. Carlos: celery root in three textures with peanut butter pudding. There is a granita, chips, and pickles? Maybe? And carbonated cucumbers. Matthew: caramelized parsnip cake with banana puree and caramelized hazelnuts. Sally: mango pudding with turmeric and curried popcorn. Orlando: peach and radish crumble with kataifi crunch and vanilla bean sherbet. Kataifi is shredded phyllo.

Rebecca’s fries were overcooked, and Carlos’s food didn’t translate. Sally had a colorful dish, and Matthew had a gorgeous smart dessert. The winner is Sally. So she gets immunity again. Katzie sort of looks happy, but when I watch Sally celebrate it’s annoying and fake to me for some reason.

Gail says something about street, and then Adam Horovitz from the Beastie Boys comes out. Kick ass. As far as I can tell, Rebecca is the only one to react at all before Gail tells them who it is, which makes me like her more. Of course after Gail says who it is, then they’re all excited. Rebecca has had a crush on him since she was 15. Hee. Today they are going to be “sampling”. Out comes a big cart of random crap. Apparently someone listened to all their songs and pulled out every food that is mentioned. This is hysterical. Everyone has to pick out two things and make a dessert. Megan has to go first, and she picks out Brass Monkey (which is a beverage? Oh, rum, vodka, and orange juice, that sounds good) and Chivas whisky. Matthew takes Jack Daniels and cornbread. Carlos picks out popcorn and bacon. Chris, for some unknown reason, takes pesto pizza and pork and beans. Sally has no idea what Chris is doing, but takes cheddar cheese and proscuitto. Katzie gets fries and hot butter. Orlando takes white rum and sugar, coffee, and cream. How were those things still up there? I would have taken sugar, coffee, and cream right away. Rebecca takes “a 40” and some ham. Just to be more obnoxious, everyone will now pick one more item to screw someone else with.

Sally takes cucumber and gives it to Carlos. In retaliation he gives her chicken. She pretends to be confident. Matthew gives peas to Orlando. Orlando gives Katzie gorgonzola and provolone, while claiming in confessional that he’s not going after Katzie. You should own it, Orlando. Seriously. Katzie gives Megan onions. Ew. Chris ends up with canned ravioli, and he gives mashed potatoes and gravy to Matthew. Chris says in confessional that they’re friends, and mashed potatoes and gravy “seemed funny at the time”, but once it was done he realized he just totally screwed his friend. Not like that. Sally gets to go twice for some reason, so she gives Rebecca falafel.

4 hours to cook. As the chefs run off, Gail and Adam high five, which is really cute for some reason. Matthew is making cheesecake? With cornbread crumble? Everyone talks about how they were Beastie Boys fans, and I guess they’re all the right age, but it seems odd that so many people just happen to love the guest judge. Chris may be going crazy. He says that the creative part of him is jazzed, but the rational part of him is tied up in the back. Orlando points out that this is the first challenge where they are solo, but it’s so wacky. Orlando tastes far too much of the rum, and is now dropping things and being clumsy. Sally is not playing it safe today. Katzie is going to make “sweet pomme frites” with sauces. She used to work at Spago so she’s taking risks. She says to Sally her pot contains pear, walnut, and gorgonzola, but Sally is skeptical. That sounds pretty good. Rebecca calls Adam her boyfriend, and then says she is failing at making falafel. Now she is making falafel-flavored panna cotta. Orlando is using pre-made cookies in his dessert. Sad. Carlos starts talking street art, and Cracker Jack. He also notices Chris is worrying for the first time ever.

Katzie feels bad for giving Megan onions and possibly sending her home. Chris talks about how he left his daughter at home, one month old and with a heart defect. Matthew talks about his daughter too. He gets a phone call which is super cute.

One hour to set up. There’s a bunch of graffiti-style artwork around. Matthew puts the gravy in a whipped cream thing and makes gravy foam. Katzie is making paper cones for her fries, but she hasn’t made enough of them yet. All of a sudden Marcel is here. Why is Marcel here? I’m done with his stupid ass. Of COURSE he is super BFFs with Sally. Figures. Shut up Marcel.

Carlos: popcorn panna cotta, spicy cucumber air, bacon caramel and “popcorn glass” which is like brittle studded with popcorn. It goes over very well. Orlando: coffee, strawberry, and rum parfait, with green peas. Johnny immediately spies the store-bought cookies, and when he asks Orlando about them, Orlando has the balls to tell Johnny it’s a “secret” and he can’t say if he made them or not. Adam is like, I could buy a cookie, dude. Megan: Chivas whiskey pudding cake, Brass Monkey sorbet and caramelized onions. The cake is falling apart. Sally: sweet potato proscuitto cake, toffee sauce, cheddar ice cream and fried chicken skin. They like it. Huh. Katzie: sweet pomme frites with “sweet and savory sauces”. Hot honey butter; gorgonzola, pear, and walnut; and provolone, chocolate, and maple. Ew. As she’s talking and fixing the fries up, they’re watching her and looking irritated. Gail wants more cheese and Johnny wants less salt. Rebecca: falafel panna cotta with ham pecan brittle and “40 oz. ice cream”. She asks Adam to sign her cast, which is so cute. Then she says she’s never going to throw it away: “That was scary, I’m sorry”. There is a ton of garlic, but it tastes like falafel. Chris: pork and bean brownie, pine nut cream, naked ravioli and tomato stick. OK, pine nuts are not the same as pesto. Somehow the texture of pork and beans comes through, which is disgusting. Marcel (shut up Marcel) says “Don’t be offended if I don’t finish it”. Matthew: cornbread and mashed potato cheesecake, whiskey caramel and gravy foam. Gail demands gravy. The foam tastes like gravy which blows everyone’s minds.

Commercial interlude: Carlos and Rebecca are bored/sleep-deprived enough to make up “the banana game”, which involves putting a banana on someone’s shoulder without them noticing. They do it to Marcel, who is entertained by the whole idea and tries to do it to Johnny. He fails though, because Johnny turns at the last minute and Marcel has to sneak away.

Gail collects Katie, Megan, and Rebecca. This is the bottom. Rebecca knows the falafel was her downfall. The garlic was too strong, and the ice cream didn’t taste like beer. Rebecca hates that she’s being judged on crazy things, and she pleads for her life as she cries. Megan doesn’t think she brought her ingredients together properly, and her cake was dry for sitting out. Dannielle reveals that it was called a “pudding cake” which makes it even worse. Adam thought she should have put the onions in the cake. Katzie knows she took another risk and this time it didn’t work. There were too many flavors and once they ate one sauce, they couldn’t taste the other sauces.

Matthew, Chris, and Sally were the top. They freak out, even though didn’t we just see Megan tell them they weren’t the bottom? Do they tape that later? Sally’s fried chicken skin was so good it distracted Adam all day. Chris’s brownies were good, and the “tomato” pizza stick was good too. Johnny is entertained that he sabotaged himself: “You, like, intentionally sabotaged yourself! Like, before anyone else could sabotage you, you like, Boom! ‘I’m going to sabotage myself, bitches!’” Hee. Matthew controlled the gravy flavor, which was weird and I think impressed everyone. The winner is Matthew.

Gail doesn’t think Katzie took a risk at all, because French fries with dipping sauces is not a risk. Back in the Stew Room Katzie is declaring she took a risk. Rebecca’s dessert was nasty. Adam keeps saying “My culinary standpoint is,” and then something crazy. Megan picked out two bottles of alcohol, but it didn’t taste like anything, and the caramelized onions weren’t incorporated.

Katzie complains that she put a ton of work into this, and Sally rolls her eyes. Rebecca tells her to quit stressing, and Katzie is like “Thanks for pointing it out RIGHT NOW”. Huh? You were already stressing. It’s not like she reminded you that you made fries and sauce which is not creative. Just quit complaining. Rebecca is sent home. Aww. She goes back and says she and Adam are going to elope and go on their honeymoon. I love her. She’s very proud of herself for getting this far with a bum wrist.

Next week: chocolate any way you want. More teams, I think. Chocolate showpieces. Wylie Dufresne. They get to judge each other’s food, so that will be obnoxious.
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Monday, September 26, 2011

TAR19, Recap Leg 1, 9/25/11

Welcome to Leg 1! We’re back to TAR after a hiatus, and it couldn’t come soon enough. This time, we get sun, surf, California, Phil and TAR busses?! (Toyouke: “Oh, they have to take a BUS? Weak.”) Getting off the bus at Hsi Lai Temple, the eleven teams are: (click for more)

Andy and Tommy, AKA The Snowboarders, are snowboarders from California. Andy: “We both competed in Olympic games, and people think we look like slackers.

Ethan and Jenna, AKA Team Famewhore, are from Survivor. (Toyouke: “BOO Survivors. But, dating for 7 years? And still "dating"? Sad.”) Ethan is also a cancer survivor. Jenna: “If we can beat cancer, we can beat anything!”

Laurence and Zac, AKA The Adventurers, are father and son adventurers from California. Zac is the youngest person to sail around the world solo. Laurence tells us in his Australian accent that they will rise to the occasion. (Toyouke: “Don’t you dare. . .”)

Ernie and Cindy, AKA Team Chinatown, are engaged from Chicago. Cindy is a control freak. And she’s Asian.

Justin and Jennifer, AKA Team Patience, are brother and sister from Georgia. Justin: “We talk out our issues, but Jennifer is a hothead.”

Bill and Cathi, AKA The Grandparents, are farmers and former educators from Oregon. They love an extreme challenge.

Liz and Marie, AKA Twinderellas, are twin sisters from Deerfield, Illinois. Marie: “Our communication is awesome! (Toyouke: “15 seconds and I already dislike the blonde twins.”)

Jeremy and Sandy, AKA Team Tryout, are dating from San Francisco. They have been in three marriages, and they are testing their relationship on the Race. (Kmanpat: “I can tell you how this ends!”)

Ron and Bill, AKA Rainbow Air, are domestic partners and flight attendants. They can work together. (Auburnium0513: “Hmm..another team of flight attendants, I wonder if they will fare better...”)

Amani and Marcus, AKA Team Football, are in a ten year marriage and are from Georgia. Marcus used to play for the Colts and misses competition.

Kaylani and Lisa, AKA Team Showgirl, are former showgirls and current cocktail waitresses in Las Vegas, Nevada. Kaylani: “We’re intelligent.” Mmm-hmm. (Toyouke: "You'd be surprised at how smart a cocktail waitress is! See how hot I look in this bikini? Smart!")

The camera careens to the Hsi Lai Temple where the teams are standing where Phil gives his standard speech. There will be twelve legs where each team will get a “small amount of cash”. Phil tells them that their first clue is NOT on their bags. Instead, teams must go to a wall of umbrellas with six letters above them: WAN PEI. They must then find the umbrella with the correct three letter combination (TAI) to complete both words and find out their next destination. (Toyouke: “Wow. This is an intensive first challenge.“) Phil will them give them their keys to the Ford Explorers and they can drive to LAX. The first EIGHT (8) teams to arrive at the airport will get tickets on the first flight out on China Air. The last three teams to the airport will get tickets on the second flight on Eva Air, twenty minutes later. AND the first team to check in on Leg 1 will get a special prize: an Express Pass, which will allow them to skip any one task on a leg that they choose, either before they start it or during. AND the last team to get their keys will receive a Hazard, a new challenge similar to a Speed Bump that they must complete before the end of the leg. Oh, and the first team to finish will win ONE MILLION DOLLARS (US$1000000)! Then oh so sexy Phil does his standard patter: “Ready? The world is waiting for you. Good luck, travel safe. (Toyouke: “WOOO I FINALLY GOT MY EYEBROW POP!!”) GO!” Who will be eliminated . . . tonight?

Hsi Lai Temple, Hacienda Heights, California, USA

Clue: Travel to Taipei, Taiwan! Once in Taipei, travel by bus to Ximending Commercial District and find a billboard with the information for your next clue.

Since teams have to find their clues in order to leave, the departure order follows naturally. If the teams solve the clue, they know they want to find an umbrella that says TAI. (Toyouke: “I wondered if they were going to have to remember where they were going, but I guess we had to use the video system.”) Thus, the order of departure for the airport is:

1- Andy/Tommy
2- Amani/Marcus
3- Liz/Marie
4- Ethan/Jenna
5- Jeremy/Sandy
6- Ernie/Cindy
7- Ron/Bill
8- Bill/Cathi
9- Laurence/Zac
10- Justin/Jennifer
11- Kaylani/Lisa – who get the Hazard penalty. (Toyouke: “Can't say I care that the showgirls are last.”)

Teams drive themselves to the airport and find the marked parking lot. Well, everyone except Kaylani and Lisa who get a little sidetracked. They stop at a gas station for directions, where Kaylani proceeds to drop her passport. Oops. (Toyouke: “Why was your passport anywhere it could fall out of the car?!?!”) They realize the error, go back, and it is not at the gas station. (Toyouke: “'s not there? Did the production team pick it up? I mean, I can understand they don't want to interfere and be like "Hey you dropped something" but you can't leave someone's passport laying around where some random person can steal it.” Auburnium0513: “Really? A lost passport already? AND a team breakdown? These girls are rushing the season!”) Hoping someone picked it up, they go to the airport, where they eventually find that someone did, and using Twitter, figured out that they should go to the airport and hope the team member was still there. (Auburnium0513: “Saved by Twitter? Wow, and yet I still don't want to do Twitter.”) And so Kaylani got her passport back so she could race. Intelligence Count: 1. (Toyouke: “That's going to be one for a top ten list. Losing your passport before you leave the starting city.”)

Once everyone arrives, there’s no jockeying for position, and the flights shake down like this:

Flight 1, China Air:
1) Ron/Bill
2) Ethan/Jenna –who discuss not telling teams about being on Survivor. But they totally already know. (Toyouke: “Are you stupid? Everyone knows who you are already.”) Two words: Peanut Butter.
3) Ernie/Cindy
4) Amani/Marcus
5) Laurence/Zac
6) Justin/Jennifer
7) Andy/Tommy
8) Jeremy/Sandy

Flight 2, Eva Air:
1) Liz/Marie
2) Bill/Cathi
3) Kaylani/Lisa

So, teams board their respective flights. We follow the Amazing Blue and Green Lines across the Pacific to Taipei.

Teams leave Sydney Airport for Ximending in the following order:

1- Laurence/Zac
2- Andy/Tommy
3- Ethan/Jenna
4- Amani/Marcus – who work on keeping the info about Marcus playing football from the teams. Why hide, folks? We all know famous people race. This is why Jenn and I have never made it on.
5- Ernie/Cindy
6- Jeremy/Sandy
7- Justin/Jennifer
8- Ron/Bill
9- Kaylani/Lisa – who make the second bus with . . .
10- Liz/Marie
11- Bill/Cathi – who are on the third bus from the airport. Uh Oh.

Teams arrive at Ximendeng in the following order:

1- Laurence/Zac
2- Ethan/Jenna
3- Andy/Tommy
4- Amani/Marcus
5- Ernie/Cindy
6- Jeremy/Sandy
7- Ron/Bill
8- Justin/Jennifer
9- Kaylani/Lisa
10- Liz/Marie
11- Bill/Cathi

Once at Ximendeng, teams have to “look up” to find an electronic billboard with the following characters: 台北孔廟, which means Taipei Confucius Temple (Toyouke: “None of them can read characters. This is mean.”), which is the location of their next clue. (Toyouke: “Look for a billboard? How do you know what billboard to look for?”)

Teams read the billboard and find the clue in the following order:

1- Jeremy/Sandy
2- Ernie/Cindy
3- Amani/Marcus
4- Justin/Jennifer
5- Ron/Bill
6- Ethan/Jenna
7- Andy/Tommy
8- Laurence/Zac
9- Kaylani/Lisa
10- Liz/Marie
11- Bill/Cathi – who get woefully confused. Sad times. (Toyouke: “No! I want to root for the old people and they aren't doing well.”) They finally decide to look for the clue in the district that they are supposed to look in. (Toyouke: “Why did it take you FOUR HOURS to think to look for the district they told you about in the clue?”)

Once they arrive, teams get the first roadblock clue.


Confucius says: “Who’s ready to play telephone?”

In this roadblock, one team member must find the payphone and dial 1-800-CONFUCIUS to listen to a proverb: “In all things success depends on previous preparation, and without such previous preparation there is sure to be failure.” Roadblockers must memorize the proverb and recite it perfectly for a monk who will give them their next clue.

The following teammates take the Roadblock:

1- Sandy
2- Cindy
3- Amani
4- Jennifer
5- Ron – (Auburnium0513: “Aw, little gay flight attendant is sweating really bad under the pressure...”)
6- Ethan
7- Andy – (Auburnium0513: “Ha! That monk is totally trying not to laugh at the snowboarder!”)
8- Zac
9- Lisa
10- Liz – who gets ridiculously tongue tied and stuck. (Toyouke: “Jeez, I had this memorized 5 minutes ago.”)
11- Cathy

After much phone calling and proverb reciting, teams complete the Roadblock in the following order:

1- Ernie/Cindy
2- Justin/Jennifer
3- Jeremy/Sandy
4- Ethan/Jenna
5- Amani/Marcus
6- Laurence/Zac
7- Ron/Bill
8- Andy/Tommy
9- Kaylani/Lisa
10- Liz/Marie
11- Bill/Cathi

Teams are now instructed to travel by taxi to Dajia Riverside Park to get their next clue. Well, everyone except Kaylani and Lisa, who are sent to Core City Pacific Mall instead. (Toyouke: “That mall looks terribly familiar.” Kmanpat: “It looks like the mall TAR Asia went to in their first episode, but that was Malaysia.”)


A hazard is a task that must be performed by the last place team on any specific task. Once they complete this task, they may return to the place where the hazard occurred and continue the leg. In this Hazard, one team member must bungee jump in the mall. Once completed, they will receive their next clue.

Teams complete the Hazard in the following order:

1- Kaylani/Lisa

After Kaylani jumps, they catch up with the teams heading to Dajia Riverside Park.

Teams get their next clue in the following order:

1- Ernie/Cindy
2- Justin/Jennifer
3- Jeremy/Sandy
4- Ethan/Jenna
5- Andy/Tommy
6- Laurence/Zac
7- Amani/Marcus
8- Ron/Bill
9- Kaylani/Lisa
10- Liz/Marie
11- Bill/Cathi

Teams are now instructed to join a dragon boat racing team and complete a course with them. One team member must keep rhythm on the drum, while the other joins the team and rows. Once complete, they will get their next clue.

Teams get their next clue in the following order:

1- Ernie/Cindy
2- Jeremy/Sandy
3- Justin/Jennifer
4- Ethan/Jenna
5- Andy/Tommy
6- Laurence/Zac
7- Amani/Marcus
8- Ron/Bill
9- Kaylani/Lisa
10- Liz/Marie
11- Bill/Cathi

Teams must now get themselves by taxi to the PIT STOP, Martyr’s Shrine. This is the first pit stop in a racearoundtheworld. The last team to arrive MAY be eliminated!

1- Ernie/Cindy – who win the Express Pass.
2- Jeremy/Sandy
3- Justin/Jennifer
4- Ethan/Jenna
5- Amani/Marcus
6- Laurence/Zac
7- Andy/Tommy
8- Ron/Bill
9- Kaylani/Lisa
10- Liz/Marie
11- Bill/Cathi

And Bill and Cathi are the last team to arrive, and have already gotten the elimination edit. Bill and Cathi, this is the first non-elimination leg! You will have a speed bump on the next leg, and there will be a double elimination at the end of Leg 2! Oh dear.

1st – Ernie/Cindy
2nd – Jeremy/Sandy
3rd – Justin/Jennifer
4th – Ethan/Jenna
5th – Amani/Marcus
6th – Laurence/Zac
7th – Andy/Tommy
8th – Ron/Bill
9th – Kaylani/Lisa
10th – Liz/Marie
11th – Bill/Cathi

Next week: Justin goes up against Jennifer in the first sibling take down, and teams worry about the double elimination. Until next time!
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TAR19, Recap Leg 0, 9/18/11

Welcome back to the Amazing Race! Miss me? I thought so. First off, we have some excellent new countries to visit this year, and we get a nice stop over in Africa! We’re at eleven teams, so no monkey business from the producers, although I hear there are some new tasks and things in store for us. And Toyouke is nearby to throw in her two cents as always. The eleven teams are: (click for more)

Amani and Marcus, are a married couple from Pine Mountain, Georgia. Marcus use to play in the NFL. Like we need more former football players. And why are there always so many of them lining up to be on reality TV? (Toyouke: “Yeah, he played in the NFL but I've never heard of him, but I don't follow football so that's not out of the ordinary.”) Sports people tend to do rather well though. Prediction: Fifth Place.

Andy and Tommy, are professional snowboarders from California. They both competed in the Olympics and still list their profession as “snowboarder.” (Toyouke: “They are not former snowboarders, they do not own a snowboard shop, they live off the money they make snowboarding.”) So, yeah. They’re a young male team, so unless they are useless like the Footnotes, I predict good things. Prediction: Third Place.

Bill and Cathi, are married grandparents from Oregon. We have not had good track records with married grandparents from Oregon, but darn it all, I just like these two. (Toyouke: “Plus they're retired teachers and he's a farmer now. And they compete in triathalons. Old physically fit farmers who used to be teachers! FTW!”) Eh, I don’t think we’ll see them long, but we should be able to get a few episodes out of them. Prediction: Eighth Place.

Ernie and Cindy, are an engaged YDC from Chicago, IL. Yay hometown team! (Toyouke: “Do I need to remind you that you’re not from Chicago?”) They look like a strong couple, and Asians tend to be driven, while the while boy is probably laid back. (Toyouke: “Oh look, a YDC where the Asian is driven and organized and the Caucasian is free spirited!”) I’m not sure where to put them, but I’m guessing an argument and they’ll be gone, unless they go all Tammy and Victor on us. Prediction: Sixth Place.

Ethan and Jenna, are Ethan and Jenna from Survivor. I don’t really need to say more than that. But I’m guessing they aren’t being asked back for Survivor all star casts and needed money for the engagement ring that Ethan still hasn’t given her after dating for seven years, not that I can relate or anything. (Toyouke: “I am putting them in a new category. They are not a YDC. They are Famewhores. I am putting them with the Big Brother teams and people who already were on TV but still insist on bothering me. Because there is no reason for you to be on TV, AGAIN, I do not want to listen to how awesome you are omg raaaaawr *angry fistshaking*”) Um, OK, but they’ll still do sickeningly well. Prediction: Second Place.

Jeremy and Sandy, are a dating YDC from California. They are just pretty, and that’s about it. (Toyouke: “Wait, they've only been together for 5 months? Ooohhhh, I smell a giant fight and a breakup.”) Prediction: Tenth Place.

Justin and Jennifer, are a brother-sister team from Stone Mountain, Georgia. They look healthy and strong, and to be a doctor and a special ed teacher, you have to have patience and kindness. This combo could work really well together. (Toyouke: “Eh. Although I do notice that Justin says his sister shuts down and gets mean when she's hungry or tired. Which is basically the entire Race. So that should be good for some fighting and drama.”) Which would be fun to watch for an entire race. Prediction: Winners, TAR19.

Kaylani and Lisa, are cocktail waitresses and friends from Las Vegas, Nevada. They look like the all girl airhead team. At least they aren’t beauty queens. (Toyouke: “They bug me. They bug me more than cheerleaders do because they're my age and they should know better.”) Prediction: Eleventh Place.

Laurence and Zac, are father-son from California. Zac has already made a name for himself as he is the youngest person to sail solo around the world, or something like that. I like his pizzazz. And his father seems to be a good guy as well. (Toyouke: “Kmanpat, I know you are already drooling over him. Dad has an Aussie accent, but son does not, so you'll just have to mentally merge the two.”) Prediction: Fourth Place.

Liz and Marie, are twin sisters from Illinois. The last set of twins we had were Kami and Karli, and these ladies look easy enough to tell apart, but I can’t imagine that they are much smarter. (Toyouke: “They think "younger viewers" will identify with them because they're young and they don't know what they're doing with themselves yet. All I have to say is: SHUT. UP. Shut up right now.”) I do hope they go early. Prediction: Ninth Place.

Ron and Bill, are flight attendants and partners from California. The flight attendants always seem to have a good track record, and at least they aren’t female and think they can bring rollabords everywhere. Their age might catch up with them, though. (Toyouke: “But two flight attendants who have been fans of the show since it started could do very well if they don't have a giant drama meltdown. That's a serious mental advantage.”) Prediction: Seventh Place.

And there it is. Don’t forget to tune in Sunday, September 25 at 7:00 pm CDT for the hour premiere. See you with the first recap soon!
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Project Runway 9/22/11--"Image Is Everything" summary

Previously on Project Runway: for once we didn’t have a team challenge. The contestants were tasked with making an outfit for a “real woman” based only on the input of boyfriends or husbands. Olivier freaks out at the thought of having to dress an old fat man, and then freaks out at having to dress a woman with boobs. All of that, though, is for naught because he ends up in the middle. Josh wins, because he made a nice dress that was boring. The client wanted boring. It’s not exactly great because it felt like they gave him extra points because he usually is very tacky. Bryce made a pretty OK dress, but he is boring and I guess the judges aren’t interested in his finale collection, so even though I think his dress is perfectly fine he is eliminated. Eh. (click for more)

It seems that Josh is now alone in his apartment. He talks about surviving. Josh does not look good with stubble. Anya says everyone left is one of her friends. Olivier started well, but has gotten lost. He says he needs to find his confidence again.

Heidi says “image is everything”. Field trip! They end up at a concert venue, with Tim and a Garnier person. Tim talks about music and fashion, and Rolling Stone magazine. They’re going to put an unsigned band, The Sheepdogs, on the cover of the magazine. Cool. Their challenge is to make an iconic style and image for this band. The winner gets an “advertorial” in Marie Claire, probably an ad for Garnier, and also in Rolling Stone, plus the band will wear the clothes to a Rolling Stone event. Teams. TEAMS. AGAIN. I am so sick of team challenges. Team One is Olivier, Viktor, Kimberly, and Josh. Team Two is Laura, Anthony Ryan, Bert, and Anya. Laura whines that she’s always paired up with Bert and she never gets a break. Whatever. Now we have to rehash the last fight Anthony Ryan and Bert had. Also whatever. Now the band comes out, and of course, it’s all boys so everyone freaks out. They seem to be a classic rock type of band, and they sound pretty good. Olivier winces when they start playing, and puts his hands over his ears like they’re too loud for him. They aren’t very fashion forward, particularly, but I think everyone has ideas of funky rock and roll stuff. Since there are four people on each team, and four people in the band, each designer has to pick out one musician. They all have to go together, of course. Viktor doesn’t want to match everyone.

Anya wants to name her team “Team Harmony”. Josh insists they be called “Team Untitled”. Harmony all agrees on who gets which band member. Untitled also appears to agree, but Olivier starts talking about how menswear is about fit and he got the biggest guy. None of them are that big. Well, at least he’s consistent. Anya is making a caftan? Anthony Ryan says that Bert lived through the Haight-Ashbury era and has experienced the aesthetic they’re looking for, but he might not remember it.

$300 and 30 minutes. One of the guys asked for red denim, and there isn’t any, so Viktor is just going with regular denim. Laura is going to dye it. Anya is running around. Olivier is really flailing. Tim is irritated and says he has to have his stuff cut in less than a minute. Laura finds that she has $450 worth of stuff. She lucks out because Bert has lots of money left over. Rather than be grateful, she claims she never bashes him, and then in interview rolls her eyes at how he didn’t buy enough fabric.

Olivier is still complaining about how his musician is bigger than his mannequin, and none of those guys were oversized. They weren’t skinny twigs, but they’re not heavy, I don’t think. Listen to me, arguing like he can hear me. Sigh. Anya says it’s just a reality that you will have to make clothes for people who aren’t the same size as the mannequin. I love that she’s chastising him, but in such a nice way.

Eeeeee! Project Runway All Stars commercial! Austin! Mondo! Sweet Pea! Michael…Costello? Rami! Austin has a little skinny mustache like an 1880’s villain. Hee! Can you tell I’m excited?

Josh thinks this will end up being an individual competition. He fits pants to himself in the mirror, but only one leg, so everyone rolls their eyes at his black briefs and hairy legs. When your legs are that hairy, and your chest is silky smooth, it confuses people. I’m just saying. Anya tests red dye for the denim, by putting a little piece in a red Solo cup, and then in the next scene she drinks out of a red Solo cup. I mean, I assume it’s not the same one, but that was poor editing. She and Viktor talk smack about Olivier and how he has the same color palette of gray that he always does, and about how he has trouble working with clients.

Tim time! He brings the Garnier guy to talk to them about the band guys. All of them seemed to have long hair and beards, but it works with their sound. The singer refuses to cut his beard at all. This whole thing is a long commercial for Garnier products. Viktor makes men’s shirts all the time for himself and his friends. Day one is over.

Kimberly has no experience with menswear. Bert didn’t buy enough fabric, sounds like. Lots of work to do. Bert dyed something blue, but it turned out kind of purple. He likes it, though. Laura says that it’s not a collection, so if Bert’s look sucks, she’s not going to tell him to fix it.

Tim time! For real this time. The band is here too. Laura’s red dye actually worked, but the band guy and Tim both think it’s kind of light. There’s a tank top too, but the guy says he has a hairy chest so it can’t be too low cut. Anya is on the right track. Anthony Ryan has two prints for his band member to pick from, which is nice. Bert has the lead singer, and is showing him striped jeans and a floral? Huh? Lots of purple. It’s girly. Tim points out he’s not saying “shirt” but “blouse”. He doesn’t seem to be doing well.

Team Untitled’s turn. Viktor is adding crispiness. Actually he’s distressing the denim. Tim says not to make it look cheap. And a leather jacket with fringe. Kimberly has a plaid for a tunic, but her guy wants a different fabric. Turns out Anya lent Kimberly that fabric. Weird. Josh has an exposed zipper on the pants. Tim points out it will draw attention to his crotch, and Josh is like “Uh…yes? And?” Josh pretends to be freaking out about it, but his band member likes it. Olivier has picked out a print with swans on it. Swans. Really? He says from far away you can’t tell. And now that I’m looking, I don’t think his guy is fat. Is it just me? Is it just because I’m bigger than he is and so he doesn’t look big to me? I think he looks hot. I mean, he seems tall, but proportional. Olivier thinks he can’t give the guy everything he wants because then why did you have someone else design things for you? He tells the poor guy he doesn’t want to make him look any bigger, because “you are big.” Tim looks concerned and puts hand to forehead. Olivier doesn’t know if he can finish the pieces before the fitting, and he says it’s because the guy is bigger than the mannequin, and Tim is not having any of it. Ewan, I think you are hot. Don’t listen to Olivier.

Two hours until the band comes back for fitting. Bert redyes everything because Ewan doesn’t like purple. Poor Ewan. Bert made a pile of girly purple and Olivier said he was big. Olivier tells us he doesn’t want to dress plus sized people and maybe he is ignorant but he doesn’t know how to do it. Josh is concerned because it’s a mess, but Anthony Ryan reminds him that they’re going to be judged individually.

Fitting. Bert’s tie-dye is weird. Not necessarily girly, but it doesn’t fit this style. Kimberly has to change up her skill set for menswear. And none of them seem to be able to fit pants. Olivier has failed, pretty much. The pants don’t fit properly and are pretty tight, but bunch strangely at the knees.

Josh is trying to talk smack about Olivier to Anya when Olivier walks in. Josh grins like an idiot and asks how he’s doing. Olivier thinks everyone should leave him alone. Viktor has fringe. Everyone needs more time.

Back at home Kimberly and Anya both don’t understand how they’re so far behind. Bert says that since these guys are from Canada they probably don’t wear dashikis or whatever. Olivier is very worried.

Day of the show. Tim tells them that the band will be here soon. Instead of walking the runway, the band will perform two songs in front of the judges, I guess with a costume change in between. Team Harmony will go first. Viktor is pissed that he started making fringe first, and now Josh is making fringe too. Laura has fringe too? What is with the fringe? It’s very 60’s up in here. Ewan is sitting on a stool in his boxers and T-shirt waiting on Olivier. He jokes that he’s going to go out naked, with just his guitar to cover him. He may need a sock. Hee! When he finally gets his shirt, it doesn’t fit right. Olivier claims he doesn’t have time issues, he just keeps working and using all his time. Kimberly’s caftan was too close-fitting, and now it looks like a soccer jersey. Hot makeup guy doesn’t seem very keen on putting makeup on these guys. Bert makes Ewan braid his hair in two braids. Sigh. Anya thinks she’s clearly in the bottom with Kimberly.

Heidi tries to throw the devil horns but she is clearly a poser. Guest judge today is Adam Lambert, possibly one of the most perfect guest judge/challenge matchups ever. Sounds like there will be one winner, so only one outfit will have to be work to this live Rolling Stone event or whatever. Team Harmony is up. Anthony Ryan: white pants, a brown mottled print sleeveless top with long fringe down the back. The pants are flared. Anya: jeans, I think, and a sort of caftan top with a V neck. Anya hates it. The guy has a very thin headband, too. Laura: red pants, a purple jacket with fringe on the elbows, and a white tank top with red splotches. She mentions he looks “thin”. Huh? Anyway, more fringe. Bert: purple pants with a vertical stripe, and a purple vest and a top. It’s certainly a specific look, I just don’t think it’s the right look for this guy.

Team Untitled. Josh: white pants with an exposed zipper and big brown pockets on the back. A vest with fringe, and a top with a print. It’s super 60’s. Kimberly: brown flared corduroys, and that shirt that looks like a soccer jersey. Viktor: leather jacket with fringe, jeans that are torn up at the knees, and a black and white print shirt. And a thick headband. Olivier: white pants, but they fit horribly in the back, and the shirt with the swan print. To his credit, from far away it looks like paisley. There are big pockets on the front in a plain light blue color.

Team Harmony gets grilled first. Anya says they were going for “modern Jimi Hendrix”. Yeah…that didn’t happen. She responds that it wasn’t a “typical” team challenge where they needed to have a cohesive team feel so they didn’t collaborate. Nina says it’s expected and literal. Be creative. Like Adam! Laura dyed everything. Her guy says he likes the retro outfit, and so do the judges. It’s not so literal, which works. Kors doesn’t like the tie-dye because it’s bloody looking, but he thinks she could have pushed it further. Nina hates the jacket and thinks it looks like a woman’s jacket. Ewan says Bert’s tunic thing isn’t his style, but Kors and Adam both like that it’s not a costume. Nina loves the braids and says he looks like a Viking. It’s a look. Eh. Anya’s look is deemed “Pocahontas”. It’s the headband. He liked the idea of the look. Oohhhhh…the pants are splitting down the back. Bad. Adam is giggling at all of Kors’s quips. “Reggae Jesus! Suede lobster bib! Brady Bunch dashiki!” Adam joins in with “8th grade production of Hair”. Anthony Ryan wanted fringe and a sleeveless shirt. But the shirt is so polished it looks like a woman’s blouse. Anya has started freaking out.

Team Untitled. Olivier has to go first. Ewan likes that he went simple but he doesn’t like the pants. Heidi digs further and it turns out Ewan told Olivier he likes dark colors, and the pants are light. Heidi is bored. Adam and Nina hate the shirt; Adam would like a more flattering cut, and Nina says it’s too feminine. Kors points out that Olivier has menswear experience and should have done better. Heidi starts asking about why the sleeves are pushed up and could he roll them down? No, there’s no cuff on them. They are too short and they just kind of end. Olivier tries to argue about how Ewan is too big for the mannequin, but there weren’t arms on any of the mannequins, so that excuse doesn’t work for the sleeve. Kimberly…I didn’t notice, but she put buttons down the front of the shirt. Sigh. He likes the pants, but the shirt is not so good. The color combo is terrible, and Kimberly says she’s happy he’s in a shirt and pants at all. Adam has the best comment, which is that this guy looks like Shaggy from Scooby Doo. YES. Yes he does. Viktor made a sort of Western shirt, and he knows the jacket is kind of cliché but he tried to put some armor on it by braiding the fringe, I think. Everyone loves the jacket. It looks expensive and has movement. And the jeans fit very well. Josh put his band member in stretch denim with an exposed zipper. Yeah. He knows that Tim didn’t like the zipper, but it’s rock and roll and he would be “attracted to that kind of thing, as a viewer”. Adam laughs at him because, seriously, “as a viewer”? The print on the shirt is like an old Indian blanket. Heidi also likes an exposed crotch zipper. But there are too many things going on. On the side of the pants, down by his foot, there is a weird suede inset with buttons. And the huge back pockets ruin his ass. Kors likes the fact that the vest has fringe sleeves, where the fringe is attached at the shoulder and then again at the wrist. They like the top too.

Olivier, Anya, and Kimberly were in the bottom. Adam hated Anya’s outfit. They know she usually has great taste. Olivier, however, designs menswear and should have done much better. Kimberly’s outfit belongs in the dollar bin. But her pants are great. Josh’s design had some great elements, and the outfit was the sexiest. Viktor also had a sexy design with a fantastic jacket, according to Kors, but Heidi didn’t think he looked hot. Bert made something more modern, and he had a distinctive look.

Bert is in. Viktor is the winner! He’s so pleased. Laura is in. Josh is in. Anthony Ryan is in. Anya is in. She tells everyone in the Scrap Bin she’s freaking out, and Josh uses that as an excuse to feel her up. In the interest of seeing how fast her heart is beating, of course. Down to Kimberly and Olivier. Kimberly is in. Olivier doesn’t think he deserves to go right now. He wants to just do high fashion now. Yeah, that’s probably best.

Garnier photo shoot. The photoshoot involves the whole band, but only Viktor’s outfit shows up.
Next week: retro things, Anya loses her shopping money and will have to use only muslin, Laura bitches about Bert but Tim questions her taste level.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Top Chef: Just Desserts 9/21/11--"Make a Splash" summary

Previously on “Top Chef: Just Desserts”: one of the best challenges I think I’ve seen on this show. Recreate the “Land of Pure Imagination” from the movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. The first room with the chocolate waterfall. The results were very fun and colorful and impressive. Katzie won, for making super-cute carrots out of carrot cake, and then covering them in chocolate and burying them in the ground. Two people were eliminated: Craig, because he’s been flailing and he made sad, sad giant gummy bears; and Melissa, for bad donuts. In other news, I just read today that regular “Top Chef” will begin with 29 contestants. TWENTY. NINE. Unless they get rid of half of them in the first episode it’s going to be a very long season. (click for more)

Katzie sits on the counter and brags that she likes being clever. Sally (who is 31, let’s be clear) interviews that Katzie is young and inexperienced.

For today’s Quickfire, there is a small cute Asian man with Gail. Several people recognize him as Pichet Ong, a pastry chef. They must make an original candy bar. Of course, Orlando says he owns a chocolate company and has always dreamed of making his own candy bar one day. You OWN the company? Why haven’t you just DONE that yet? The winner gets immunity.

1 ¾ hours to cook. Why such a random time? I suppose we’ll never know. Carlos runs into Rebecca with a cart. Actually, it looks like he was putting something down and the cart got away from him. Maybe he shoved it away from him and it hit her. Of course, it hits her busted arm so she’s out of it for a minute. Orlando says she’s “sensitive” and he doesn’t like crying, but he’s good at making people cry. Ass. Matthew is making a mold to be original. Carlos has chocolate, peanut butter, and banana. Sally goes for Asian to kiss up to the judge. Katzie’s caramel won’t set. Chris is making two candy bars, to kiss up and be an overachiever. Poor Matthew can’t get it to set up and is kind of flailing. Rebecca tries to pour liquid nitrogen over her stuff, but she loses her grip on the canister and knocks all her stuff on the floor. Orlando offers to help her, which doesn’t match up with pretty much anything else he’s ever said. He says he felt bad and that he IS human. I don’t trust it. Rebecca promises him a keg. Seriously, he’s promising her he’s totally done with his stuff, she only has one more, just keep going…like he’s a nice person.

Katzie: “Caramel Cove“: brown butter and caramelized banana curd, ganache with dark chocolate. It didn’t set up right, but she pretends that’s on purpose. Carlos: “Choconana”: peanut butter crisp with fudge cake, banana pudding and chocolate pop rocks. Incidentally, they seem to have had time to print everyone wrappers with the names on them. Sally: “Who’s It?”: peanut butter, chocolate, black forbidden rice, cocoa nibs, and milk chocolate ganache. Matthew: “M Pastry Bar”: hazelnut feuillitine praline with orange vanilla chocolate crème anglaise. Crunchy, I guess. They notice it’s not finished properly. Orlando: “Berry Blast”: blackberry port jam, creamy chocolate ganache and chocolate. The jam is pretty liquid. Chris: “Lil’ Darling”: white chocolate with banana caramel, and milk chocolate with chocolate ganache. So there are two pieces. Amanda: “Royal Chocolate Bar”: Earl Gray tea ganache with bitter orange caramel. Interesting. Megan: “Ginger Buckeye Blast”: peanuts, peanut butter, butter caramel, ginger and feuillitine. Rebecca: “fruit on the bottom” granola, panna cotta, orange marmalade, vanilla, and white chocolate. Weird.

Matthew didn’t have time to finish, and Katzie’s bar melted in his hands. Sally had great ingredients and rice, and Rebecca’s bar had panna cotta and was very interesting. The winner is Sally. She’s glad to be safe.

For today’s Elimination challenge, everyone must draw popsicles. Yeah. Teams. Again. Every single Elimination challenge this season has been a team challenge. Anyway, today’s teams are Carlos, Sally, and Amanda; Orlando, Chris and Matthew; and Rebecca, Megan, and Katzie. Yeah, that’s not uneven or anything. Amanda doesn’t know what a water park is. They will be at Raging Waters, serving “frozen treats” to the people.

4 ½ hours to cook. Rebecca is excited about her team. They’re going to do straightforward stuff, not plated. Something is tart. Orlando’s team, is, of course, going to be refined and “different”. Sally is doing what the team wants, because she has the immunity and knows if she has a crazy idea that backfires, someone else will go home. Orlando says he learned to swim basically by being thrown in the deep end. That explains a lot. There are only two ice cream machines, so now they’re having a fight about it. Carlos and Sally got there first, so Katzie is pissed that one team is hogging the machines. Sally thinks this is not a problem, because it’s a competition. That’s pretty rude, though. Chris hears all the bitching and says he’s going with plan B, which is…a Pacojet? Apparently you put the mix into metal cans, then freeze it solid. Then you stir it in the machine later, to make the ice cream. This way Chris can avoid the ice cream machines today.

Johnny shows up as Carlos is hollering that Katzie can use the machine for 25 minutes, until he needs it again. Orlando is making a root beer float ice cream sandwich. That could be good. Katzie has some kind of spumoni on a stick. She mentions something about a restaurant called Spumoni Gardens, only to discover that Johnny knows everyone there. Oops. Amanda is making funnel cake. Huh. She’d better plan that well. Johnny asks about the ice cream machine drama, and as Sally is explaining that yeah, there’s only two machines and it’s a frozen treat challenge, she looks over and Katzie’s sorbet is leaking all over the floor. She left the hatch open at the bottom. Chris seems to be making an ice sculpture. Carlos didn’t have enough molds, so he has to quick freeze the ice cream with liquid nitrogen, then take it out of the molds. Chris takes the canister to use, and then Carlos and Chris have a fight about it because now it’s empty. But Chris’s idea is to freeze the Pacojet canisters so solid they can leave them on the floor overnight and nothing will melt.

The girls discuss bathing suits and shorts and what to wear. Everyone is wearing casual shorts and their chef’s jackets. Weird. 90 minutes to set up at the park. The ice cream Pacojets didn’t melt, which I thought they would, so good for them. Matthew has a water gun. Hee. Amanda knows she has a time-sensitive dish.

When service starts it is very busy. Dannielle is here today, and Pichet is back. Chris: passion mixer with ginger fizz and cilantro infusion. There’s also sorbet, and it’s poured through the ice block. Sticky. Orlando: chocolate vanilla root beer surprise. I think it’s root beer foam, ice cream, brownie…a cookie…nutmeg. It’s not summery. Orlando tries to argue that he was being creative, so it’s not a real float (which would be refreshing). Johnny says maybe then he shouldn’t call it a “root beer float”. Matthew: strawberry shortcake with sautéed strawberries and ice cream. But when they ask for his dish, he leaves to plate it, so the judges get bored. The ice cream is gummy, and the strawberries are too warm.

Katzie sprays people with lavender body spray. Rebecca: lemon snicker doodle ice cream sandwich. Lemon ice cream, yum. Dannielle likes the old-school wax paper wrapper. Megan: strawberry soda float with white peach and basil sorbet. Katzie: baked Alaska with a spumoni twist. It’s cherry ice cream with pistachios, on a stick. Thankfully Johnny likes it.

Carlos: Cap’n Crunch ice cream bar with white chocolate and Fruity Pebbles. And pop rocks in the bottom of the dish. Not refreshing. Sally: berry smoothie with white chocolate rice crispies. Amanda: funnel cake with coconut sorbet and pineapple jam. She’s worried because of course she’s going last, and so it’s been sitting. Why didn’t they have her go first? She admits she should have insisted on going first.

Commercial interlude: after judging, everyone strips down to their bathing suits and goes down the water slides. Most of them, some of them just sit in the pool. Katzie loses her shorts, but has a suit on underneath.

Judges’ table. Katzie, Megan, and Rebecca get called. They are the winning team. Everything was nostalgic, but upgraded to modern tastes. The winner is Katzie. Gail makes them call back the other two teams. Ouch. But good for Katzie!

First off, they ask Sally if she played it safe since she had immunity. She says no way, except that she’s told us and everyone else that she did what the team wanted. The team wanted to concentrate on other things. Carlos’s popsicle was too sweet. Gail calls it “the dessert equivalent of a lobe of fois gras”. It needed something sour to cut the sugar. The funnel cake failed, and was too hard and cold. They ask why she didn’t make it fresh, and she says she had made it, and then they asked for Carlos and Sally so she just stood there. Johnny thinks she should have spoken up. Orlando, why do you think your team is here? “I’m uncertain why my team’s here.” Of course you are. None of them thought about how their desserts would be consumed. Everyone had a plate and a fork and it was too annoying. Chris’s drink was not refreshing, but sticky. Orlando really shouldn’t have called his dish a “root beer float”. But he says he loved his dish. He made root beer ice cream, from scratch, so Johnny thinks he should have just made his own root beer. That probably would have been pretty good. Matthew stands behind his teammates and himself also. Pichet would like it in a restaurant, but not at a water park. Strawberry shortcake with ice cream is a good summer dessert though.

Some of the chefs didn’t think about the environment they were in. Carlos’s popsicle was too sugary and heavy. Amanda had a good idea, but the execution failed. Orlando didn’t understand why he was in the bottom. Apparently if you say “root beer float” you need bubbles and liquid. Chris’s drink wasn’t cold enough.

Matthew, Sally, and Chris are all deemed safe and sent back to the Stew Room. Amanda is sent home. She’s humbled, but still goes and shakes everyone’s hand. She seems to be at peace, because she knows she took a risk. She’s a little choked up, because she had fun and I think she‘s going to miss everyone.

Next week: BEASTIE BOYS! Crazy savory ingredients. Beer ice cream. I think I see Marcel. Someone isn’t creative.
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Project Runway 9/15/11--"What Women Want" summary

Previously on Project Runway: the producers decided they were more interested in drama then actual design and made a good challenge, the “create your own textile” challenge, into yet another team challenge. It just allows loud drama queens to take over and irritate everyone. Even when they apologize. I’m sorry Josh couldn’t visit his mother when she was sick, and I’m sorry he is still affected by that, but he is being an ass and that is not an excuse. Also you can’t put in every interview, sound bite, and clip of his being an ass and then throw in “I couldn’t say goodbye to my mom when she died” and expect everyone to suddenly like the guy. Anyway, in the end, Anya won, even though all the textiles were black and white and her dress was cute but not earth-shattering. Becky went home, and seemed to be OK with it. Because when it comes down to the loud drama queen who insisted on designing horrid prints that ruined most of the looks on his team, versus the woman who designs boring clothes but sews them very well, then obviously you get rid of the boring person. (click for more)

Bryce says he’s the only one left who hasn’t won. He wants to prove everyone wrong. Josh has exhausted himself emotionally, but he says he’s in a better place today. I’m sure Bert will be glad to hear it. Anya thinks they’re all friends now. Bert writes on their chalkboard that it’s raining men. I wish.

Today they have “not their usual models”. A bunch of men walk in, and everyone flips out because of course no one does menswear. Josh brags that he does menswear, but then CLAIMS that he is worried about the size of the men, because a larger person takes up more fabric, and that costs more money. PLEASE. You don’t want to design for fat people. Just say it, everyone else does. But don’t try out this BS about money. Anya has immunity, and she is so relieved. Everyone picks out the man they want. Anya of course picks the hottest one. The skinnier ones go first, as always happens. Olivier says that all that’s left is “old fat people. And that is fine, but not when I’m making clothes.” Sigh. You know what, though? I am willing to bet no one will care. If it had been women up there, everyone would jump all over it and how dare he say that and everyone is beautiful and what an ass and whatever. Say men are old and fat and your response is a shrug and a “Yeah…guess they are.” That’s BS too. Heidi sends them to Tim.

Tim tells them that “while it’s true they are your clients…(Bert: “Uh oh.”) you are not creating a menswear look for them.” They’re making a look for the significant others. Everyone cheers. The men will give directions to the designers. Laura prays for a golddigger. Tim promises them that they have asked the women themselves for sizes and measurements, since the boys can’t be expected to remember that kind of thing. True, it is confusing. The women will walk the runway. Also, a two day challenge!

30 minutes to consult. Lots of shots of men who have no idea about anything the designers ask them. Well, at least Bert’s guy knows he wants her boobs displayed. Oh, Josh’s guy wants simple and tasteful. Ha! Bryce is asked for “cutesy? But elegant? But girly? If you could like, mash all those together”. And that she wears pink. Anthony Ryan’s guy has a dress in mind, which was her favorite dress and he apparently lost the dress at some point. Aww. Olivier doesn’t like women having boobs. Because they get in the way. His model has curves and he is irritated.

Shopping. The guys come shopping too. Awesome. Some guys are helpful but not all. Olivier asks Tim what he knows about DD boobs. Hee. He doesn’t know what cup sizes mean. Tim says it’s a bra size but he doesn’t have any personal experience with boobs. Love it.

The women are coming in later for a fitting. The guys are staying? Are they going to help? Huh? Everyone puts tape on the dummies. Bert’s guy says the mannequin doesn’t a have a big enough chest. Then he demonstrates how he motorboats his wife sometimes. OK, that was funny. Olivier continues to freak out. Josh tells his guy to get his wife drunk before she shows up. Someone jokes about the fabric cutter. The women show up. Laura dresses Barbie-type women, are you surprised? But that consult goes well. Anya has given herself a challenge again. Viktor’s girl comes in wearing pretty much what he’s designing. Josh for some reason has metal squares, which no one likes, so he has to put them away. “When Josh said ‘simple’, I didn’t realize it was like, SIMPLE”. He doesn’t know how to design simple. The other consult that isn’t going that well is Olivier’s, because she doesn’t like the fabric he picked out. Also his girl is the one client with ideas who is telling her designer what to do. Olivier is sticking to his guns.

Bryce misses his boyfriend, and it’s hard for him to work with this couple that really loves each other. Anthony Ryan says everyone feels bad for Bryce, who feels down, but he can’t make mistakes anymore. Also they were much nicer about it than when they were saying stuff about Becky.

Day two. Are Anya and Laura sharing a bed? Bryce has hot pink, and wonders aloud if he should make the whole dress out of pink. Who knows? The couples show up again, for some reason. Bryce asks if he can maybe not use all hot pink in the dress. Permission granted! Olivier is still arguing with his client, who sort of is listening.

Tim time! Viktor is pretty much done, and it is very cute. Tim loves it. Anya has one shoulder and arm, and she cut something wrong, and Tim is slightly concerned but doesn’t say so. Tim asks Bert’s client if she’s OK with how deep the dress cuts in front. He turns to the husband and says, “I won’t ask you, you know.” and then he rolls his eyes. Hee! She says she’s OK though. Olivier’s colors are deemed “crayon-y”. Tim tells Laura’s client she’s gone Barbie with her shoe, but this makes her excited instead of concerned. He just stands there and stares at Kimberly’s outfit. Anthony Ryan is doing a good job. Josh has a simple dress for once, and Tim is so impressed, he tells the clients that Josh usually is just shy of a float in a parade. Hee. Josh shares how he talked her out of wearing a bra, and how she doesn‘t need one, and Tim agrees. Tim says “It, it would be different…if you weren’t…firm.” Ha! Bryce’s pink looks good on the girl but it’s very neon.

Bryce scraps his dress with the gray side panels and plans a completely pink dress. Olivier continues to freak out. Day of challenge, there is still a ton of flailing going on. Olivier’s client says the pants are riding up. You can’t see it, but she can feel it I guess. He doesn’t like all this talking back. He explains to his client that he would love to make something she’d love, but it’s a competition first. Hot makeup guy is all over the place. Not like, flailing, just that he gets to talk a lot today. Olivier forgets to take his client to hair and makeup and Tim has to come get him. Laura has been talking smack about pretty much everyone, but none of it is interesting or funny. Tim tells everyone that all the women are going to get free jewelry from Piperlime. Olivier has to find his client to put the outfit on her. OK, that is justified. You can’t go off to the lounge and hide this close to time. Tim collects everyone and says, “Today, I am playing the role of a large and stinging mallet.” I mean…that makes absolutely no sense but I’m pretty sure that’s what he said. Tim collects everyone, and puts them in the hallway. He has to tell Kimberly and Olivier they must stop sewing.

A commercial for “Project Accessory”. How are you going to compare, say, a necklace to a pair of shoes? Because you can’t really ask jewelry designers to make purses.

Guest judge is Malin Akerman, actress. Laura: long green dress with a sweetheart neckline and a swag of fabric across one arm. And a weird handkerchief hem. Anthony Ryan: red skirt with a white belt, and a black v-neck with red trim. It’s very simple and cute. Bert: simple dress with a deep V. it’s in a black and gray print, and the skirt fits weirdly. It’s short and too tight, I think. Josh: black dress with a full skirt and a high neckline. And a plunging back, and bright blue shoes. Bryce: hot pink sheath dress with low pockets. There is no back, just some straps. It looks really wrinkled, though. Kimberly: short black skirt, and a raspberry one-shouldered top with lots of ruffles. It’s not bad. Although, girl has a booty and the skirt is tight. Olivier: black pants and a one-shouldered top in beige. It is well tailored but the pants are pretty boring. Anya: long dress in a mottled black and white print. It’s supposed to be a “kimono wrap dress”, but really it’s one shoulder and sleeve, and the other arm bare, then a wide belt, then the opposite side of the skirt is long. The whole thing is trimmed in a sheer fabric. Viktor: full skirt in gray with a wide mustard stripe, and a navy blue short-sleeved top. The top has a sweetheart neckline and then is sheer.

Kimberly, Olivier, and Laura are safe. Anya, Josh, and Victor are the top. For some reason they’re doing this in two stages, so everyone else has to leave. Anya thinks this woman could wear this outfit to an opening or something. It’s memorable, and unique. Heidi likes the weird mullet hem. Nina hates the sleeve. And Malin says she would wear it, and keep the sleeve. Josh explains how he was so good at restraining himself. Heidi tells him to remember this. They love how simple it is, and elegant. Kors loves the bright shoes. Viktor’s outfit is fantastic. There’s a big colorful necklace, though, and I wish it wasn’t obscuring the top. This really is a cute outfit. Viktor also listened when his client suggested short sleeves. Kors makes noise about listening to your customer, and I call shenanigans, because every other time they say “don’t listen to your clients, you are the designer”.

Olivier claims to not have been freaking out. Bert says his client picked out her sketch out of his page of sketches. His client likes the dress. Heidi complements her boobs, and the dress is made wonderfully, but it’s too boring. Kors says it’s safe, but you could buy it anywhere. Nina says it’s tight, short, and shiny. “Just a couple inches longer!” “….no” Then Heidi pipes up “I have that problem too”. Oh honey, we know. Bryce wanted pink, or was told pink. Nina says there are too many details: pockets, open back with straps, belt, weird band at the hem of the skirt. The pockets are huge. Malin likes the pockets but it doesn’t fit perfectly. Kors says something about buffets? And the seams are all wonky. Anthony Ryan starts talking retro and vintage. They talk about how it’s her favorite dress. Heidi says it’s either very little girl, or very old lady. No it doesn’t. It’s retro, but it’s not that horrible. Nina doesn’t like the wide belt, and Anthony Ryan says it’s hiding a print he didn’t like. Kors says “ice skating superhero”. Whatever. He likes quirky, but he though Anthony Ryan should have gone for it then. Heidi accuses him of being safe and boring, although he argues that point briefly.

Bert’s client looked great, but they are bored with him. Really bored. Bryce sort of saved his dress with the color, but the dress didn’t fit properly and the pockets were huge. Many descriptions are thrown around for Anthony Ryan’s dress. None of them are pleasant. Josh did a good job editing himself. Yeah, but are we comparing him to himself? No, he must be compared to everyone else. In general they really love the dress. Anya’s dress didn’t need the sleeve, but it was the most Fashion. Viktor’s color combination was wonderful. But she was a little over accessorized.

Heidi says they had a hard time picking a winner. Anya is in. Josh wins. Eh. He makes everyone feel him up to see how hard his heart is pounding. Viktor is in. Bert is in, but not before he gets yelled at to step it up. Bryce is out. Huh. Well we should have seen it coming, with all the time they spent on how everyone was worried about him and so forth. Tim demands a hug before he leaves. He thought he was ready, and he still thinks he can do it. “I’m going to lock myself in my room, and listen to as much Lady Gaga as I can, and I’m going to just sketch and sketch and sketch until I have a genius collection.”

Next week: MORE TEAMS. Some random band. Menswear. And I think I just saw Adam Lambert. That might make up for having teams again.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Top Chef: Just Desserts 9/14/11--"Pure Imagination" summary

Previously on “Top Chef: Just Desserts”: everyone pretended there would be a new gum flavor based off their Quickfire dessert, but that was sadly a lie. Craig won, though, so he got a bunch of money and immunity. Then everyone had to work in teams, AGAIN, to make a presentation to one of the Real Housewives for their restaurant anniversary. Many pink tables and roses ensued. Amanda was supposed to be the team leader but she was slightly ill and asked Chris to do all the talking. Resulting in everyone referring to it as “Chris’s team”. But then they won, so no one cared a whole lot. Nelson was sent home for making a plain lollipop with cotton candy on it. Orlando refused to feel bad for Craig when he got nailed by the judges, so now probably everyone will be pissed at Orlando. (click for more)

On the kitchen table is a note and a pile of VIP tickets. Gail says they need to go to the movies. Field trip! Amanda is still sickly so she welcomes the day off.

Everyone gets food. Matthew gets a variety of things, because he feels a Quickfire coming and knows he can use those ingredients. Everyone else is eating but he is not. They get to the theater and file in behind a row of people. There are shots of the people, and that one guy looks familiar. Anyway, the movie starts, and it’s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. The proper one, with Gene Wilder, not that knock-off Johnny Depp nonsense. The chefs cheer. Katzie loves it. They keep showing that one guy with the glasses and the mutton chops and I am pretty sure I know who it is but just in case you don’t, I won’t spoil it for you. Amanda references the room with all the candy and the chocolate pool. Orlando mentions that the woman next to him is amazed he knows the words to the movie. When the movie ends, Gail shows up and everyone groans. They know something is coming. Gail says they’ve probably dreamt of living in that world, and that also she has four special guests to explain further. So four people get up, including the guy with the glasses and the woman that was next to Orlando. Finally they recognize the people: the original child actors from the movie. Veruca Salt, Mike Teevee, Violet Beauregarde, and Charlie Bucket. What’s really crazy is that all of them are recognizable; they still look like they did when they were kids. The only one that doesn’t is Charlie, and I think I’ve seen him before as an adult, which is why he looked familiar. They talk about seeing the garden for the first time. It was all really edible. And I know that they didn’t let the kids see the set before they were ready to shoot the scene. That way they could get a good realistic reaction shot of wonder. Charlie says the lickable wallpaper tasted like…wallpaper. Hee. Then Gail says the movie is 40 years old and I feel old for a minute. The contestants will be creating “Wonka’s World”. They have to make the dining room into the garden with the trees and mushrooms and chocolate pool. This is the best challenge. They’ll all work together. Veruca says something, and Rebecca is like “Please say it once!” so she says “I want it, and I want it now!” Hee.

One hour to plan. Chris wants them to split into a couple of teams: a “creative” team, and a construction team. I think. Somehow, the creative team will still make things? But the teams will work together to coordinate? I’m not sure how to interpret what he said other than “one team will have all the ideas and the other team will do what they’re told”. Katzie says you’re silly if you’ve never thought of doing this.

Back at the loft, the contestants are still planning. Rebecca says she makes a cupcake called “Veruca Salt”, and Chris is like, “I don’t want to stand in front of the judges and they say ‘I asked you for ‘pure imagination’ and you gave me a cupcake.’” That was rude. Chris seems to be bossing everyone around, and Katzie speaks up about it, because he’s dismissed her idea. They go to bed without us seeing what the final decision was.

13 hours to cook. The space is a good size, with a path and fake grass and fake trees. And some fake mushrooms. And a chocolate fountain. Amanda says she’s on the “creative team” with Chris, Orlando, and Matthew. She’s going to make her dessert, but also construct things. The production team is going to make their own desserts, and then help make things for the room. So what it sounds like, is that everyone has to make a plated dessert. Then they have to set up the room. The “creative team” has taken over the room, and the “production” team has been banned from having any input on what happens in the room. Production team members have to make their own stuff, and only then can they help with the room, and then only “help” and do what they’re told. It smells like Chris decided to be in charge, and didn’t trust some of the contestants to have good ideas. So he banished them to the other team. Craig is making giant gummy bears somehow. Chris is making a chocolate waterfall, even though I am pretty sure I already saw a fountain. It will be 6 feet tall and coated in chocolate. And functional. Sally is making orange dirt. She compares herself to Charlie. Katzie is grating carrots and says bringing thoughts to life is what she excels at. Orlando tells us he is responsible for tempering all the chocolate, and he explains how that works, but I’m guessing if you are interested you already know how that works. Rebecca notices that three people are working on the fountain, which Chris is going to claim as his own item. Carlos is making the wallpaper out of fruit leather. Nice. Craig’s gummy bear doesn’t set so it’s a giant blob. I don’t think he knows what he’s doing. Sally says he’s taking up all her time.

Johnny shows up to bother everyone. Orlando says he’s gone through 120 kilos. Johnny translates to pounds for everyone who doesn’t think in metric. That is 250 pounds. Johnny apparently is very jealous because he says nothing is holding them back except their creativity. Rebecca brings up her Veruca Salt cupcakes, because she’s apparently decided to do it anyway. She’s going to bake the cupcakes in chocolate eggs. Oo, that sounds good. Melissa is making whoopie pie flowers. Hee. And donut flowers. Johnny announces that two of them are going home tomorrow. Everyone freaks out.

Chris is worried about the waterfall. He says it’s because of time, but if I was Chris, I’d be worried that everyone was freaking out about the double elimination and no one would have time to do my work for me because they’re making sure their dishes are good. It seems that Katzie thought Amanda was making chocolate cups for her, but in fact Amanda is just making her own cups and Katzie will need to figure things out for herself. Amanda smiles and says it must have been a miscommunication. Katzie is pissed, but she just says that lots of things aren’t done, so if it’s something you need, best make it yourself. Running around and working.

Judgment day. Katzie is running around all crazy. Orlando is irritated at the crazy, but I get the feeling he’s always that way. Craig has one successful gummy bear. Something looks like poo. Matthew has to fill all his cream puffs and put them on sticks. Melissa had planned to put her donuts on pipes, but she finds that the creative team didn’t drill holes for the PVC pipes. Megan helps her drill. Matthew thinks they bit off more than they could chew with the waterfall. Rebecca says that Megan is struggling to get her own dish done, because she helped Chris so much.

OK, so now I have to try to describe this room. There are trees with things hanging off of them. The mushroom with the cream spots is somewhere. Bushes with cake pops sticking out. Gail almost bites it on the little bridge. Orlando notices everyone is agape. They really are. Johnny seems the most excited, pointing out things to Gail. But the cast members are thrilled too, which is very cool. Actually it’s very impressive. Ron Ben-Israel is the guest judge. He’s a fancy wedding cake designer. Then Gail says she has some “special guests” and a whole gang of kids shows up. Aww! Megan quietly freaks out because there is bourbon in her dessert. I think it’s Megan. I’m really sorry, but I have a hard time telling Megan and Amanda apart.

Chris: chocolate fountain with chocolate milk. There are also chocolate cups, but the stream from the fountain is so strong that everyone is having a hard time getting chocolate milk without splashing it everywhere. It’s delicious though. Amanda: raspberry fizzy chocolates, which are discs glued to one of the trees. Also she made chocolate tulip cups with blueberry sauce. Craig: giant gummy bears. Sadly it’s fallen in a pile in the grass. Johnny takes a bite out of the side, and says that the flavor kind of sucks. Some small child finds a bright blue thing, but whispers to Mommy that it doesn’t taste that good. Rebecca: vanilla and coffee bean moon pies, with strings so they can hang off a branch. The marshmallow is tough. She also has “golden egg cakes” which are chocolate cakes inside a gold egg shell, that you can dip in salted caramel buttercream. Veruca says she wishes the cake was golden. Matthew: strawberry, lemon, and vanilla profiteroles, stuck on sticks and then stuck into one of the topiary bushes. Lovely. Orlando: raspberry chocolate crunchies. Giant ball things on a bush. There’s no more explanation than that but they are tasty apparently. Sally: orange dirt, pistachio financier, milk chocolate mousse. So you have to pick up a cake, and then dip it into the mousse and the dirt. Melissa: green donuts. They are stacked on a pipe and are not the most appetizing color. Ohh, Veruca wants to spit it out. Bad. Melissa also made whoopie pie daisies, and those are much better. To her credit, Melissa knows the donuts suck. Katzie: carrot patch. So it’s like a garden, and you pull on what looks like grass, and you get a Twinkie-sized piece of carrot cake. Awesome! That is a very good idea. And the cake is good. Katzie also made the beehive. It’s a beehive with spun sugar on it, and a plastic tube at the bottom so you can squeeze honey on some cake. The marzipan bees, or whatever they were made out of, did not survive. They’re melting. Carlos: peanut butter and jelly macaron. Hubert thinks this is the best macaron they’ve had. Carlos’s edible wallpaper is discs of different fruit leathers stuck to a wall. Megan: bourbon caramel candy bar pops. They’re little purple pops with popsicle sticks. Gail notes the booze. There are a lot of layers, and they are very sweet. Gail says she can’t taste the bourbon. Some kid puts it back. Megan also made orange cream curd and lavender shortbread. No one can taste lavender. Just orange.

Commercial interlude: Craig thinks Katzie would make a good Willy Wonka. Orlando tells us that “Rebecca looks like a damn Oompa Loompa”. Rebecca says Oompa Loompas have the right complexion to be from Jersey. “Oh my God, Oompa Loompas are the original Snookie!” Ha!

In the Stew Room, Katzie talks about how Johnny still intimidates her, and Orlando sits in the corner and says “I wish she’d shut the fuck up.” Gail collects Sally, Katzie, Melissa, Carlos, Craig, Matthew, and Megan. Weird. They’ve left the garden set up for Judges’ Table. These are the best and worst chefs today. Just like Project Runway! Matthew is in the top. They loved his cream puffs, which had strong clean flavors and were pretty to boot. Katzie had a great concept with her beehive, and the fact that her carrot cake didn’t fall apart was amazing. Carlos’s macarons were fantastic, but the wallpaper really impressed Johnny. Craig…oh Craig. He says he’s not surprised. The gummy bears in the movie were not completely edible, just the ears, so he wanted to make them “completely edible. Ish.” Everyone giggles but Hubert says it’s not funny. Melissa throws the “creative” team under the bus, as she felt her donut “cactus” would be “dressed” by the creative team, but since it wasn’t she had to scramble. But in the end the donuts sucked. She never tasted them. The whoopie pies were good though, so that seems to have helped her. Sally’s cake and orange dirt didn’t have a ton of flavor and just kind of failed. Johnny wants to know what she spent her time on, and she says she made the candy canes and helped Craig. Megan kept simplifying her own items to help the team. Gail brings up the booze, in a room full of children, but I would like to point out they didn’t know children were coming. But in the end both of her desserts didn’t taste right. Carlos and Katzie pipe up and say that Megan did so much work for them and for everyone else, that neither of them would be in the top if not for her. Johnny says she should have planned better. Megan starts to cry and says that she was so excited to make the garden, and so much of what she does is to make people happy, and so that’s why she made her choices.

Back in the Stew Room, Chris is super confused that no one else is being called to the Judges’ Table. He can’t seem to wrap his head around the fact that the seven people called included the top. The judges decide on their favorite without letting us know, so they can concentrate on the bottom. Sally’s presentation was poor, Craig didn’t take responsibility for his failure and Johnny thinks he’s outclassed, Megan didn’t balance her flavors properly and Johnny thinks she forgot it was a competition, Melissa’s donuts sucked and she should have tasted them. Sally thinks she’s going home. Orlando encourages her, which pisses me off because he’s been such an ass to other people who are complaining. Either be nice to everyone or be a jerk to everyone.

Katzie is the winner! Then we quickly get down to business and send Craig packing. And then Melissa is sent home right after. She’s really upset about it, and ashamed of her donut thing. Craig seems glad to have made it four episodes in.

Next week: someone drops things on the ground, Rebecca gives up, one team hogs the ice cream machines, water park, funnel cakes.
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