Anyone who watched Top Chef: Just Desserts and Survivor last night found themselves knee-deep in perhaps two of the most entertaining hours of reality TV in months and months. Both shows were absolutely hilarious and amazing on Wednesday, with Just Desserts delivering perhaps the strangest mental breakdown in Bravo history. Now listen — I adored Top Chef: DC, and I felt extremely guilty about not having phtoocapped the last third of the season — but that being said, as much as I enjoyed that installment of the franchise, Just Desserts is kind of kicking its ass in the entertainment department. Why? Well, as Gail Simmons noted, this cast is just full-on kooky. And I love them. This, my friends, is what happens when you take a handful of tightly-wound women, a smattering of catty gays, one or two mentally unstable alpha males, and throw them together in a kitchen.
Last night’s episode came down to one person: Seth. The guy who seemed so intense and prickly in the first episode full on cracked in week two. His mother had apparently been suffering from various health ailments, and so in tribute to her, Seth devised a Red Hot sorbet as part of a candy-themed Quickfire. The only problem was that he ran out of time, thus preventing him from plating his sugary maternal ode. This was the most important part of his dish, and in Seth’s eyes, his icy failure became one of enormous, filial proportions. The guy full on broke down in sobs, lamenting his inability to honor Mother. That’s right: sobs.
At first it was just weird — I mean, it’s only a Quickfire. Then it became funny as all the gayz stood around with arms crossed, one eyebrow up and complained about how Seth was really “disturbing the kitchen.” And then it just became surreal as Seth crumpled on the floor as Gail and guest judge Elizabeth Faulkner stood over him awkwardly. Gail eventually meandered off to the side, clearly wishing the whole debacle would just right itself (I can’t even imagine what Padma would have done). Elizabeth, meanwhile, stepped up to give Seth a pep talk, and that’s when things went to the strangest place of all. Amidst the tears, Seth uttered the line that will make him famous and perhaps might adorn t-shirts all across the land: “The red hots are for my mommy!”
It was such a bizarre regression that my friend jash and I couldn’t help cover our faces with our hands, howl with laughter (we’re not kind people), and then rewind to watch three more times. Astounding. I know it’s cruel, but… sorry. It was funny.
And that was only the tip of the show’s iceberg of crazy.
Later, when the gang appeared before venerable Los Angeles chef Mark Peel at his bar/restaurant Tar Pit, Seth had another breakdown, but of the pissy variety. The contestants all had to select pantry items from what was behind Tar Pit’s bar, and by sheer luck, Seth was one of the last to go. He couldn’t find the essential grapefruit he was looking for (the chefs were to make cocktail-themed desserts, and Seth’s plan was a play on the Greyhound), and when his time was up, Seth lashed out at the other chefs, accusing them of being against him. This kicked off a round of hostile bickering — all in front of Mark Peel and Gail, no less.
Seth did apologize to the others later, but the damage was done. This is not a forgiving crew. This is a catty bunch, and from what we can tell, Seth has definitely made two enemies in Yigit and Heather, who essentially browbeat the guy over and over again about his behavior. From the rest of the episode on, the two made their annoyance with Seth unmistakably clear, no matter what the circumstance. I’m not sure I blamed them. Seth is a disaster, and no one knows that more than Zac, the hilarious yet vicious pastry chef with the penchant for calling men “guuurl.” The guy helped Seth out when he was “in the weeds” during the elimination challenge, and how did Seth repay him? By (allegedly) knocking half of Zac’s dessert components on the ground. Total mess.
In the end, I thought sweet but quiet Malika would be getting the axe, but it was actually den mother Tim who went home. This was too bad because Tim’s dry, sardonic wit was much loved. Granted, he mentioned that damn Plantation drink so many times I wanted to muzzle him by the end of the show, but still, he was fun, and I felt he had much potential. Oh well.
Here’s the photocap:
Gail: “I’d like you to all welcome our guest judge, Elizabeth Faulker — a former Top Chef judge, a Top Chef Master, and, of course, the most prominent lesbian to hail from Middle Earth.”
“MOMMY, I KNOW YOU’RE NOT DEAD, BUT IF YOU’RE UP THERE FOR SOME REASON, THESE RED HOTS ARE FOR YOU!”
Elizabeth: “Just so you know, Frodo’s my bitch.”
Yigit: “Oh my God. How much do we hate Seth?”
“I’ll high five to that, girlfriend!”
“Hello. I’m esteemed and celebrated chef Mark Peel. Who wants to make an ass of themselves in front of me first?”
Seth: “OOOH!!! Me me me me me!!!”
“I’m doing a play on this drink I really like called ‘The Plantation.’ It has basil in it and lots of interesting flavors. Have you heard of it? Because I’ll mention it about ten more times in the next two minutes.”
“GUUUURL, if Tim mentions the Plantation one more time, she gonna get a slap in the face from me!”
“Guuurl, if Seth knocks over any more of dessert, I’m gonna have to give her a piece of my mind. She need to get out of the kitchen!”
“Hi there. I’m Gail. Is this your first time speed dating also?”
“Samwise Gamgee is a pussy. Don’t get it twisted.”
Hubert: “Well, to be fair, zee red hots were for hiz mommy.”
“I just wanted to make a dessert from this drink. It’s called a Plantation. You ever hear of it? I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet.”
“You can laugh all you want, but my mother LOVED red hots. LOVED. They were a vibrant, vital part of her life. And now she can’t eat them. And that’s a big deal. You know why? BECAUSE SHE WAS THE GODDAMN PRESIDENT OF THE WE-LOVE-RED-HOTS FAN CLUB. THAT’S WHY.”
What did you think about the show? And how do you like the series so far?