Hyphen TV: It's Gonna Be Difficult

August 6, 2012

Don't mess with Takashi and his sharp knife.

It was time for a wedding on Top Chef Masters, and the chefs were tasked with serving up appetizers, entrees, and dessert for 200 guests in just 24 hours. The couple getting married, Christine and Jay, have been through a lot on their road to their wedding: Christine's best friend, sister-in-law, and maid of honor passed away, then the venue the couple reserved disappeared -- along with their deposit. The chefs were determined to turn the poor couple's terrible luck around while also paying tribute to their shared Filipino heritage.

Adorable couple. Congratulations!

Takashi went with a braised pork belly, pickled daikon, and steamed bun entree that the judges called "fabulous," "a completely satisfying little mini sandwich," and "so many guests' favorite." Patricia also did some pickling with her appetizer, serving pickled mackerel with coconut and chilies in a spoon. The judges called the app "really a revelation" and "absolute magic," and like Takashi, the judges thought that Patricia nailed the Southeast Asian flavors that Jay and Christine were looking for. Is it any wonder that both chefs landed in the top three, with Patricia taking first place? Her charity, Heifer International, has now earned $16,000 in donations thanks to Patricia's efforts. Awesome!

On Project Runway, the designers worked in pairs to create a red carpet look for a former Runway contestant (one of whom was our beloved Anya!). Buffi was paired with Elena, and though the latter stressed herself to the point of near meltdown, their dress for Laura was deemed safe.

     Buffi prepares to show client Laura her animal print hair ideas.

Kooan also had a stressful pair experience, but then Kooan probably has trouble working with most people. His partner Gunnar was nervous from the moment he was matched with Kooan, and the elegance that their (fairly snippy and generally difficult) client Irina asked for made the pair of designers even more uneasy. In Kooan's words, "Elegant is part that makes me ... nnngh, it's gonna be difficult." Kooan's wacky taste is far from elegance, so he dutifully followed Gunnar's guidance. They ended up with a clean white sheath of a dress that Irina nitpicked angrily to Kooan just minutes before the runway show. He fixed the mistake she pointed out but then interviewed, "I feel sad, not happy. If I'm happy I can work faster." The whole thing pretty much spelled Kooan's doom.

Ven worked with Fabio to make a dress for another particular client, the infamous Kenley. Between her established retro style and Ven's established methods of structure and finishing, Fabio was the one in his duo to follow the lead of his partner. In the end they came up with a 60s silhouette that screamed Kenley with beautiful folded detailing that was like a neon sign reading "VEN."

I mean, you'd know who made that from a mile away, right?

No one was surprised when Ven landed in the top yet again, but everyone (including Kooan and his partner) was shocked when Kooan and Gunnar joined him. The judges found Kenley's dress expensive-looking, and Michael added that he could see Ven's polish and moderation all over it. Even Fabio admitted that the technique was all Ven. Irina's dress was the one that Jeidi said she would rather wear of the two, and Michael praised Gunnar and Kooan for understanding their client and creating a great silhouette for her. When asked who should take the win if their dress was chosen, Kooan didn't hesitate a moment to say that it should be Gunnar: "I couldn't make this without him at all."

However, it was Ven who took the win for the second time in a row, meaning he'll once again have immunity and he'll get to attend the Emmys with Kenley, who will wear his dress. I have to admit that I was disappointed with Ven's lackluster reaction to the news; I know that not everyone visibly freaks out when happy, but it's kind of a bummer to see all the designers so excited about the prospect of the Emmys, and then Ven reacts with such coolness. Still, I would never deny that his dress was gorgeous, and that he was its main creator. Maybe try shaking things up a bit next time, though? Also, is that Kooan leaving the competition in the preview for next week? Yikes!

    Don't leave, Kooan! I'm finally getting used to you.

We have another competitor on Craft Wars! Raymond Lin is an educator at the Brooklyn Children's Museum and he's also a sculptor. Remember those crazy cool busts of Futurama characters as "real" people that hit the internet last year? Those were Ray's! For the first challenge, Ray and his assistant/girlfriend Noelle had to create a lamp out of glasses, goggles, and magnifying glasses. Ray decided to go with an art nouveau look, creating a swirling base from which he hung a drum with a bulb inside. He heated up the lenses of glasses and sunglasses so that he could flatten them out and create a kind of mosaic tile look on the side of the drum. The judges liked his techniques, but they wished they could see more of the challenge materials. Still, it was enough to get him to the second round.

  Yeah, "mosaic" might be stretching it a bit.

Ray and Noelle then had to create an entire bedroom set while incorporating colorful zippers. Repeating the thought process he used for the lamp, Ray created an ambitious list of things to make: canopy, chair, headboard, curtains, and rug (the mattress and wall were already provided), but he didn't have as much of a plan for the zippers. Ray and his team were able to finish everything he wanted, but they ran out of time to paint the wall stripes straight and to properly paint a stencil decoration on the headboard. Although he was able to show the judges how he borrowed ideas from Greek, African, Indian, and other cultures, and they were impressed with his tufted headboard, the judges couldn't excuse his sloppiness or the fact that the challenge's zippers were a bit of an afterthought. Ray came in second, but he's still a pretty good candidate if you're ever looking to build a whole lot of furniture fast.

I do like a stripey room.

I have little to say about this week's Sullivan and Sons besides the fact that I believe it's the first time that the character Ahmed (played by comedian Ahmed Ahmed) was mentioned by name. He was in the father/son darts tournament with his father Amul (please forgive the possible misspelling; the character isn't listed in the credits). I have few positive things to say about this show, but I absolutely appreciate the casual incorporation of characters of different backgrounds. Even main character Steve's Korean heritage is treated as mere fact and not some strange or exotic thing to marvel at. You have to tip your hat to that. Of course, Steve's mom then saying something like, "That woman's had more d[u]ongs than a Vietnamese phone book" squanders most of that goodwill. Sigh.

Ahmed and dad and Hawaiian shirts.

Awkward. isn't too shabby with the understated diversity either, as we saw this week when an unnamed (and uncredited -- sorry, actor!) APA classmate accosted Jenna in the hall. He wasn't even tied to the Asian mafia or anything; just a dude commenting on a girl people think is slutty. Y'know. Like you see in any high school hallway.

  "You may be taller than me, but my hair is taller than yours."

We also found out that Ming considers herself experienced with love(!) now that she has Fred (who doesn't appear in the episode, unfortunately) in her life. She knew it was the real thing when he poured her a beer that was mostly foam, a move Ming interpreted as Fred instinctively knowing that she's a lightweight. Sure, he might just be bad at pouring beer, but let's call it love and bring Fred back!

Moon Bloodgood was on Conan to promote her show Falling Skies. She talked about her name, her pregnancy, and her Korean rage. There just isn't enough K-rage discussion in popular culture; I totally identify with you, Moon!

     Can you believe she's five and a half months pregnant?


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.