Hyphen TV: Don't Single Me Out

December 5, 2011

Paul hopes he grilled his prosciutto just right. Or he's admiring a chandelier.

It was all about cars (or at least their parts) on Work of Art this week, as the artists had to create pieces that incorporated ... well, parts of a car. Young saw veins in the wires he found, and so he created a human figure with a huge headlight for its noggin. As he worked, he revealed that Sara J has become "like a sister" to him, which is sweet but also makes me wonder, why haven't we seen THAT relationship at all over the course of the season?

You might say that this guy's ... bright? Or you might kill yourself for making a terrible pun.

Sara, meanwhile, reveals that she was a wild child in high school, but now she's looking to continue her art education in grad school. Way to buckle down, you free spirit you. Sara grabbed a tailpipe in the room full of car parts and added a spongey foam to the end, making it look like fat puffs of cartoonish smoke were being belched out of the shiny silver. She was a bit nervous about veering completely away from her usual drawings for this piece, but she said that it's her favorite piece she's done for the show -- and she was rewarded for leaving her personal safety zone, landing in the top two while Young's light head man was safe in the middle. The judges loved what Sara did with her sculpture, saying it was "a good example of someone letting the material tell them what to do," and she took the top prize, which included $25K (handy for those grad school costs). I'm really happy that these struggling artists are getting some cash, but I'm still not really feeling the point of adding that element to these competitions, Bravo. Still, good for you, Sara J! Don't blow it all on charcoal and kneaded erasers.

Sara has no idea here that pointy foam = $25,000

This week's Top Chef Quickfire had the contestants cooking ... in the middle of a plot of dirt. They had to use so-called survival kits which were really just any gross random food items the producers felt like throwing together. Vienna sausages, okay. Nori and artichokes, which Ed used? That's some weird survival you got there, guys. The scrappy chefs pulled some impressive things together, as they do; Ed managed a Thai peanut soup with salmon, tofu, and fried hominy and a side of crab and the aforementioned artichoke wrapped in nori. Hominy in a survival kit?? Paul made a more straightforward pork and beans served with coffee(?) and basmati rice. Ed landed in the top for his attention to detail (and apparent ability to bring about three times more ingredients together than anyone else), but he didn't take the win. Blame it on the fact that he pulled his back during the challenge? Ouch.

Don't hunch that back, Ed!

The elimination had the chefs split by courses -- appetizer, entree, and dessert -- to serve a progressive dinner to the judges and some Dallas hosts. Each group of chefs went to a different impressive mansion, but each chef only had to worry about his or her own dish, so there was no team-related sabotage here (mostly). Let's take this dinner backwards, shall we? Ed was on desserts, which is often the kiss of death on this show. Not helping matters is the fact that their hosts emphasized a fondness for gummi bears. He made a cardamom-scented panna cotta, which he tied to the gummi wishes by making it "a bit jiggly." Actually, I'm not sure if he did that on purpose, but he was safe.

Uh oh, Beverly and Nyesha were together again on the entree. All seemed fine until Beverly started taking over the kitchen, leaving her equipment strewn everywhere and getting Nyesha and the rest of the chefs pretty ticked off. "Come on, we're all leaving stuff everywhere. Don't single me out," Beverly said, kind of jokingly, but the appeal fell flat. Her seared scallop and creamy polenta seemed pretty straightforward, but got good comments. Nyesha's roasted filet of beef and vegetable mélange (oooh, a mélange) was less impressive, prompting the diners not to want to dig in and to question whether that red wine reduction was actually blood on the plate. (That was ... not one of the judges who said that.)

Beverly turns, possibly to check on some empty pans she left on the counter.

Paul shone on appetizers, making fried Brussles sprouts (I LOVE BRUSSELS SPROUTS) with grilled prosciutto (just guess how I feel about prosciutto ... hint: great). The judges loved the dish, particularly praising its combination of textures. Paul landed in the top because everything on his plate "really made sense," and then it turned out that he was the winner! Can part of the prize be cooking that dish for me? Thanks.

Poor Edna on Survivor. The writing's been on the wall for her for just about the whole season, but she's managed to eke by every time because there have always been more pressing votes to be made for other people. Now that just Upolu members are left, it's clear that the cannibalization will soon take Edna. She was in tears during tribal, clearly humiliated that she was number six out of the remaining seven members and upset that she'd been lied to. Honey, lies are the name of this game. I honestly don't understand why people are shocked about all the lying that goes on every season. You HAVE to lie to do well in this game, people! No one's getting far by admitting, "Yeah, I'm voting you out." I do feel bad for Edna, though, especially since we've barely gotten her perspective at all this season. The previews promise a surprise for next week, however, so maybe she'll be saved from another tribal elimination.

Yeah, Edna's body language is NOT happy here.

Some late night guests of note this week as well: Das Racist made their television debut on Conan, performing their odd song "Michael Jackson" with an even odder special guest ... can you guess who it was? See the performance here.

Himanshu Suri seems utterly unaware of the creepiness going on behind him.

On the Colbert Report, Siddhartha Mukherjee was on to discuss his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Emperor of All Maladies, a sort of "biography" of cancer that takes a look at the disease and its treatment over the years. The book sounds fascinating; see his interview discussing it with Colbert here. Suggest it for your next book club title and make it your most depressing meeting ever! I just might!


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.