Hyphen TV: Too Too Sweet

October 25, 2011

The Dartmouth Aires, reppin' the Big Green (what what)

(Some of) our shows are wrapping up their seasons, you guys! Sally made it to the finale of Top Chef: Just Desserts, to the surprise of no one. For their final elimination challenge, the chefs had to choose countries -- everyone went for European countries except Sally, who chose Cuba (no Asia love, dang) -- but instead of making a dessert that hails from the chosen nation, the chefs had to create a dessert that looks like a savory dish from the country instead. Now, honestly guys: did you really think that the challenge would be so straightforward, that you'd pick a country and just do one of their desserts? Since when has anything on this show been as it had appeared? And may I lament again that no one chose an Asian country? Imagine a dessert bibimbap! Or a new take on candy sushi? LOST OPPORTUNITIES.

Though she waffled for a worryingly long time about which dish to go with, Sally finally chose to make a dessert that looks like a Cuban sandwich with plantain chips and potato salad on the side. For my money, she fulfilled the challenge the best, as that looked 100% like real meat and potatoes. She even made a dessert "mustard"! The only real criticism the judges had was the somewhat messy mousse that Sally used for the "pork"; it oozed out the sides as they bit down on the sandwich. Whatever, dudes -- I'm with guest judge Iron Chef Cat Cora, who called it "close to perfect." Sally won the challenge and is off to the finale and she's got what looks like a terrific shot! Team Camacho!

   If I hadn't told you, you'd totally think that's a regular old sandwich, right?

Not such a strong dive into the finale for Anya on Project Runway: like Sally, Anya also had trouble starting her pieces for the finale, but unlike Sally, this delay proved to be a disaster. Anya seemed to have a great time showing Tim Gunn around her digs in Trinidad, bringing him onto a boat, introducing him to her brothers Yves and Will, and telling him about their brother Pilar, who died at the age of 18 (Pilar's name is tattooed on the siblings' hands). She showed Tim beautiful photos of Tobago that inspired the colors of her collection, which came out in the fabrics she shared with him, but ... no clothes. At all. Not even a single sketch. Anya was still struggling with the shapes of the garments, and Tim was so visibly distraught that he actually reminded her of the show's rule that every designer make all of his or her collection him or herself. Yikes! Girl, you do NOT get to the point where Tim Gunn has to remind you of basic things! Nor do you make Tim schlepp all the way to Trinidad for nothing! What a wasted opportunity to get input and direction from a master. This is when I started biting my nails.

Back in New York, the remaining four designers each had to show three pieces from their collections to determine the final three who would make it to fashion week. As Anya pulled out her pieces, my nails went down to nubs: the sewing looked amateur, the colors and patterns were a complete return to the initial collection that Anya brought to audition for the show ... she lost all the coolness she developed over the season and returned to square one. The pieces Anya chose included a very Anya-y patterned dress, a scandalously cut swimsuit with a gauzy coverup, and an evening gown that -- sorry, Anya -- looked like cheap satin that had been randomly stapled around the model's body. Not good.

Not the worst thing ever, but...yikes.

For nearly the first time ever, the judges tore Anya apart. Michael Kors called the gown "tortured" and added that the styling (an aspect Anya usually nails) wasn't helping. Heidi hated everything. My fingers were bloody stumps. In the end, the judges pulled one of those "everybody wins!" moves that allowed all four designers to show at fashion week. It was a relief, but it also seemed to be pretty clear evidence both that the judges have a deep well of good will toward their beloved Anya, and that she will not win this season (I am eager to be proven wrong on the latter). Anya! My decimated fingers are crossed that you will pull some magic out of your fashionable island hat before this season is through.

     Why is what you're wearing so much more interesting than what you made, Anya?

I was able to calm my nerves with a couple other shows, thankfully. InTENsity is through to the live X-Factor shows, which means that we'll be seeing more of Ellona. Nice! Also, how sad is it that of the four groups that made it, two were the ones that the judges cobbled together at the last minute (no offense, InTENsity)? That means that any group who auditioned was going for one of just TWO slots. Stinks for them, but hooray for Ellona!

Nice makeovers, guys.

Glenn is ... still alive on The Walking Dead, which is about as much as anyone could ask for. A kid got shot; there isn't exactly a whole lot of time to deal with the pizza delivery guy. I get it.

The Dartmouth Aires are safe on The Sing-Off, but The Collective and the YellowJackets landed in the bottom two. For the first time this season, there was an actual sing-off between the two bottom groups, and the boys from Rochester made it through, sending The Collective home. So long, Rachael! You and your fellow singers came together really quickly, considering that you formed your group seconds before the start of the show.

                      Y'all are very pretty.

Our guys Leon and Young Sun made it on Work of Art, but not without plenty of trials along the way. This week the artists were divided into two teams and instructed to make pieces inspired by parkour, a style of movement that involves speed, climbing, jumping ... just watch one of these videos if you're curious. Young Sun and Leon were on the same team, and somehow the idea came up to do works based on migration. Young Sun developed an idea based on the migration from North to South Korea. Call me an uninformed Korean (because I totally am), but was there ever a "migration" from the north to the south? I mean after the dawn of man and the initial human migration to all parts of the world. There wasn't enough to know for sure, but it seemed like Young Sun was making a statement about the Korean War, and I wouldn't call the north to south movement during and after that event a "migration" so much as an "escape?" I could be completely wrong on my history/terminology here, though, so please do chime in if you have any answers.

"...And then they were like, 'Whoa, North Korea kind of sucks...'"

Simon came by and, exasperated, chided both teams for choosing themes that had nothing to do with the speed and movement of parkour (the other team chose "digestion," perhaps the only movement I can think of that is as slow as migration). Why are all our reality show mentors getting so frustrated this week? Work with them, guys! Later, Leon came up with the idea of using rolling balls as a link between their pieces, which transformed into the rather vague theme of "circles." Young Sun used the circle of the Japanese flag, sewn in red thread on a metallic rectangle, to represent the chaos and turmoil of the earthquakes there. He connected the flag to a pole that moved slightly, causing the reflections in the flag to undulate and break up.

There's a circle on there, I promise.

Leon went in a direction even further from the one that he himself suggested, creating a scene that represented the aftermath of domestic violence with a light swinging in circles above. The judges liked the movement of the shadows in his piece, and so even though they were on the losing team, he and Young Sun were safe.

That light was moving in a circle, I promise.

And here is the part where we get to the bad news. On Survivor, Elyse failed to win the challenge that would keep her on Redemption Island and in the game. She made a valiant effort and I'm sure she's full of regrets for allying herself so closely with Ozzy, so I'll leave it at that. We'll miss your Native American ancestral calls, Elyse.

Elyse's Survivor shuffleboard skills failed her. Practice on a cruise ship?

Much more insidious was what happened to Edna over on the Upolu tribe. For whatever reason, Edna seemingly hasn't connected with her tribemates from day one. Maybe it was her initial kindness to Coach when everyone else snubbed him, maybe it was her overly chatty methods of communication, maybe it was something else we haven't seen. Even Coach himself has kept her at arm's length, telling her that they're allies but never allowing her into the inner circle of five he cultivated with four others. This week, Upolu lost the immunity challenge, and the vote came down to Edna, who sat out that day and has sat out other challenges willingly because she's not a physically strong player, and Mikayla, who participated in the challenge and didn't hit any of her targets.

I can absolutely understand the argument to vote off Edna because of her lack of physical ability; again, she sits out challenges, she's smaller than the other two remaining women on her tribe, and she's admitted herself that she doesn't add anything to the team physically. Where I start to bristle is Albert's assertion that Edna is "a sharp, smart player who's going to be tactical ... she will be desperate." While it's true that that pretty much HAS to be her game if she's not bringing it physically, we haven't seen any evidence of a "tactical" nature in Edna. If anything, she's been pretty clumsy in her attempts to be chummy with her tribemates, annoying them instead of winning them over.

I could have brushed this assumption aside if Rick didn't quickly agree with Albert that Edna would have something up her sleeve, then the ever-volatile Brandon added that he felt "uneasy" because "she has a look on her face like she's playing people ... she's too too sweet." Again, it's natural to assume that Edna has some sort of plan -- everyone on this show SHOULD, at all times -- but I myself feel uneasy with the conjecture that Edna is untrustworthy. If she's planning a retaliation, it's because the rest of you have been excluding her this entire time! If you really are asserting this with the amount of evidence we've seen on camera (none), then I am uncomfortable with the somewhat racial undertones going on here.

As if that weren't bad enough, Coach then fired back at those who wanted to vote Edna off, saying that "Edna will do as she is told" and that she's someone they can control once the tribes merge. Oh man. I can't really argue that this is wrong, per se, seeing as Edna has demonstrated herself eager to please the others and get in their good graces. But jeez, the fervor with which he insisted on her submissiveness is just ... ugh. I'm not trying to say that anyone on the Upolu tribe is racist or even aware of the connotations of what's being said, but it doesn't look very good, does it?


Dianne Choie


Dianne Choie's TV is in Brooklyn, NY. She has a cat, several reusable shopping bags, and other mildly annoying stereotypes of youngish people who live in Brooklyn.