Hyphen TV: Big Big Jealous

August 13, 2012

   Ven completes a garment that looks like every other (very pretty!) Ven garment.

This week's Top Chef Masters Quickfire challenge was right up Takashi's alley: create a seafood dish without using heat. If that advantage weren't enough good news for him, we learn that his former ice skater daughter is going to be "big big jealous" that he gets to meet guest judge Brian Boitano. Although Brian thought that the sauce made his dish look a bit messy (cut to Takashi's funny look of shock back in the viewing room), Takashi got the win with his aji sashimi with sea urchin, heirloom tomatoes, and daikon apple salad. If you're feeling ambitious and want to recreate the flavors that the judges called "profound," the recipe's right here. Well done Takashi, who won $5K for the American Red Cross disaster relief program for earthquake victims in Japan and immunity in the elimination challenge.

The chefs split into groups of three to cook on a teppanyaki (think Benihana flat grill, not the hibachi-style barbeque grill) for the judges. Takashi, Particia, and Clark formed what seemed to be a real dream team for the challenge, since all three chefs use Asian flavors and techniques in their food. Unfortunately, things started off on a bad foot when Takashi got back to the kitchen after shopping and realized that he got the wrong kind of flour for his okonomiyaki (a delicious, savory, Japanese pancake that is one of my absolute faves). He knew he was in trouble while he prepped his dish, and then he went out and saw the judges, including several former Top Chef masters and the intimidating food critic Francis Lam, he almost turned around and went back to the kitchen. Takashi was the first of his group to cook for the judges, and Particia helped him out with his sauteed calamari and okonomiyaki. The judges immediately noticed the grittiness of the improperly floured pancakes.

Takashi smiles adorably in an attempt to hide The Wrong Flour.

Patricia was up next with a kalbi beef lettuce wrap with homemade gochujang (YUM, another one of my top eats), and she interviewed, "The important thing is to not come across like you're such a blithering fool." Though she's articulate, clearly the showmanship of the teppanyaki was not second nature to her. She did end their session with an adorable little dance, however. Although Takashi's spirits were so low that he apologized to his teammates ("I'm sorry that I couldn't help you more"), they were deemed safe in the end.

   Francis and the other judges smile, but secretly they have some mean food thoughts.

On Project Runway, the designers had to create a look for a woman "on the go." Don't you hate when they get really vague, general directions like that? At Mood, Buffi tried to avoid her signature pink fabric, but she kept going back and found herself buying some, as usual, in the end. Kooan, meanwhile, was markedly distant and drained of energy, and the other designers were worried. Back in the workroom, he made the announcement, "I know I'm like funky and little bit weird person, but I thought about it for three days and I think I should go." Everyone was shocked, especially since this came on the heels of Andrea leaving the competition, but their encouragement and reminder that so many would kill to be in his place fell on deaf ears. He thanked everyone, said he "had so great time with everybody," and explained that he needs to work alone and have the freedom to "do his own way." "Make it woooork!" he cheerfully shouted to everyone as he left with Tim, and that was the end of Kooan. I'm disappointed; while his style (not to mention personality) were clearly kooky, I don't feel like we ever got to see the answer to Michael Kors's question in the first episode of whether there might be real fashion genius lurking underneath the wackiness. Hope we hear from you again soon, Kooan!

Back in the workroom, Chris commented that Buffi's sheer pink fabric layered over a zebra print looked like a swimsuit coverup. He then made what I found to be an oddly aggressive and patronizing decision to offer her some of his black fabric because he felt that Buffi's pink fabric was so awful. Unsurprisingly, she was offended by his remark, and so there was a bit of needless resentment. Why do people do such things in the name of "helping?"

On the runway, Ven was deemed safe for the first time, and you should see a flicker of shock on his face when he wasn't in his usual place at the top. Buffi was in the bottom, and the judges, including guest judge Rachel Roy, agreed that her outfit looked inexpensive and unflattering, and they all noticed the uneven, badly sewn hem on the zebra print dress. Nina had a problem with the pink overlay: “You rely on this shape to cover up the fact that your technical skills are not there,” she said, but Buffi responded that she chose the shape and hadn't intended it as a cover-up. Nina responded, “Well, then, that’s even more tragic.” During the judges' deliberation, Rachel said that she has "no faith in Buffi," and Michael theorizes that Buffi uses her kooky personality and aesthetic to hide the fact that she doesn't have a strong skill set. In the end she was sent home, and though she tried to hide behind a couch, Tim found her for his final good-bye. "I'm proud of you for being true to yourself," he said after commenting that the workroom will be quiet without her. Down two people in one episode; hold it down for us, Ven!

  Yeah, that outfit's looking a little rough. And so does the one Buffi made! BaDUM chhh.

On Push Girls, the ladies go skiing. You read that right. It's Angela's first time ever, and she's pretty freaked out, even though Auti's been to the slopes they're going to before and has experience with their monoski for those with limited mobility. Cody (who is now labeled as Angela's boyfriend, so it's official) came along with the five women on their ski trip, and though he was in the slightly awkward position of being the only able-bodied member of their group, he did an admirable job of helping the women enough to keep their individual independence while offering Angela the comfort and reassurance she needed. On the slope, each of the women had her own instructor to work with, and Angela learned how to steer her monoski by turning her neck (her instructor also skied behind her, holding onto tethers connected to Angela's monoski). Once Angela got over her anxiety and starting skiing, she was clearly exhilarated at the speed she felt for the first time since her accident -- she even went over a few jumps. Auti observed that "Angela's face could have lit up the whole sky" with joy, and it was a pretty amazing experience to watch from home, too.

    Truly inspiring, ladies!

Sullivan and Son had a plotline where bar regular Owen got a "job" donating to a local sperm bank, but then Ahmed tried to do the same, he received much less money. Resident elderly racist (this is actually how the character describes himself) Hank explained, "Here [indicating Owen] you have a tall, blond, Christian American and here [indicating Ahmed] you have a camel-riding, turban-wearing terrorist." Ahmed responded, "I was born here; I'm as American as you are," to which Hank wittily replied, "Tell it to the TSA!" But it wasn't just about grabbing the low-hanging fruit of jokes, since later Ahmed found a buyer for his sperm in Yemen who was willing to pay top dollar. I just don't know what to say about this show, you guys.

The men discuss some ... not-so-family friendly topics.

Saima Wahab was on the The Daily Show to discuss her memoir In My Father's Country. The book tells the story of her birth in Afghanistan, the disappearance of her father, and her arrival in America as a child refugee.

And on Conan, Norah Jones performed "Miriam" off her new album Little Broken Hearts. Two very different late night appearances, two worthy projects. Check 'em out!

Love you, Nor!


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.