Hyphen TV: Powerful, Dramatic, Quirky, Scary

September 3, 2012

Cole is fierce, even on tippy-toe.

We're coming close to the finale on So You Think You Can Dance! This week Cole and Allison performed a contemporary hip-hop choreographed by Sonya. There's something about Sonya's dark, angular movements that fits so well with Cole's style, don't you think? Cole was playing a "soulless, sadistic man," a part we've seen him in before, and the judges were all over the performance. Guest judge Jesse Tyler Ferguson (my favorite guest judge!) called Cole "insane, demonic, intense" and added, "I'm shaking and I need a cocktail." Mary thinks Cole could make it to the finale, calling his performance "a little creepy, a little scary" and "memorable." Nigel was on board with his fellow judges on the "powerful, dramatic, quirky, scary" performance, and he complimented on the uniqueness that Cole has bought throughout the competition, saying "there is no reason why you will not make the finale." Not bad, Cole!

Cole has his own gravitational pull.

After another performance by Alex with Lindsay (LOVE YOU, ALEX), we got a solo from Cole, as well as a little background info. We knew that he grew up in Honolulu, but Cole was a shy, awkward kid who was bullied and was a "social outcast" (also adorable, per his photos). Eventually, Cole's parents decided to put him in martial arts classes, and they were the "one saving grace" that finally gave him confidence. We saw a news clip of young Cole being interviewed about his martial arts training: "When I go to high school or something, it'll be easier to defend myself." Honestly, that broke my heart a little bit. We saw his mom Wanda, who was in the audience proudly holding up her Cole sign after her son's martial arts-y solo (I saw her in the audience in past weeks as well, but hadn't confirmed who she was until now). Cole landed in the bottom two, but was saved by the judges. On to the top six!

The odd guest judge parade continued on Top Chef Masters when Dita Von Teese showed up for a Quickfire in which the chefs had to create a dish using known aphrodisiac ingredients (chocolate, oysters, strawberries, etc.). Dita enjoyed Patricia's warm chawanmushi custard with caviar served with tempura asparagus and a "love apple salad," describing it as “a gentle caress followed by a sharp slap.” Takashi, on the other hand, explained that "sweet and slimy texture is very sexy for me." Not sure I agree, Takashi, but Dita gave the top prize to his chilled oyster and sea urchin with yuzu-truffle vinaigrette (the guy loves his yuzu, doesn't he?). She said "it felt really good sliding down my throat." Cut to Takashi: "My wife is not gonna be happy." He's now won a total of $20K for the Red Cross. Awesome!

For their elimination challenge, the chefs had to open a restaurant -- including handling the expediting and serving -- in the northern Thai style of Lotus of Siam, a landmark restaurant in Vegas. Patricia lived in Thailand for two years, so she's an early favorite for the win. She and Takashi call line cook jobs early on, leading to a bit of friction with the other contestants. Everything flavor-wise with Takashi's yellow curry with shrimp and crispy noodles was on the spot, but Patricia didn't fare so well. Since she had to wait for Kerry to be ready before sending out her own dish, Patricia had to scrap her seared duck breast with pineapple and massaman curry and start over in order to ensure that her plate didn't go cold. In the process, she lost a little too much time: judge Josh's duck was "frighteningly rare," and he had to send it back and request another. Patricia knew what bad news this was and wished that Kerry had communicated better.

The remaining masters hear how their Thai restaurant was (hint: not the very greatest).

Of course she ended up in the bottom, and the judges criticized her for not having the intense spices of a massaman and, of course, for overlooking her duck. She explained what happened with Kerry looking very sorry next to her, and the judges added that she was "an inch off cooking the best dish of the night." Surprisingly, she joined Takashi and the rest of the safe chefs in the end. Close one (again!), Patricia.

Ven has kept at a low profile on Project Runway after he dominated last week with his insensitivity. However, he did manage to get one good gender jab in during this week's challenge, which had the designers making pieces to be mass-produced and sold by Lord & Taylor: "I think men are usually stronger designers, while women are a little more practical." I honestly don't know what this even means. So men are creative free spirits, and women are just interesting in keeping the correct body parts covered up? Women lack imagination and men have no care for function? I know the quote was taken out of conext, but I can't imagine what possible context he had. His dress, which ONCE AGAIN featured his signature (or repetitive, however you want to spin it) rose motif, was deemed safe.

     That dress is looking a BIT familiar, Ven.

Guess what guys, the ballbreaking, everyone-else-is-just-lazy characterization of Korean women continues on Sullivan and Son. Ok-Cha on the topic of menopause:"After Susan was born, I willed it on myself ... my ovaries are dust thanks to this [points to head]."

Why Ok-Cha, or any woman, would look forward to menopause so much that she's actually induce it is still beyond me. Meanwhile, when Susan was asked why she has such low self-esteem, Ok-Cha walked in: "Everything you're wearing is unattractive. I just want you to know that." Here I can understand, on some level, the dynamic where a Korean mother might prefer/baby her son and neglect her daughter, but I just don't get why they've chosen to show this with Ok-Cha's relentless criticism of how her daughter looks. It's not even in relation to her attempts to marry Susan off, which would at least fit in with pre-existing stereotypes (not to mention last week's plotline with Steve); it's always as a standalone critique. Am I just totally missing something here?

On Push Girls, Angela got a shoot with Nordstrom that required her to fly to New York. Though her aunt wanted to accompany her, Angela decided to bring Cody along as her caretaker, both as a way to deepen their relationship (this would be their first time traveling solo) and because he was better equipped to help her by carrying her around as needed. We saw the small but persistent ways that having a wheelchair added extra steps for Angela: the long process for boarding the plane, their discovery that her wheelchair wouldn't fit through the hotel bathroom door, the difficulty they had in getting a cab. Angela kept it all in perspective, however, saying, "Being in New York with Cody, it's amazing because I feel normal." At the shoot it took a while for Angela and Cody to get her clothes arranged perfectly, and she had a brief bump when her eyes went glassy, a sign that her catheter was out of place. She was able to pull through and complete the shoot nevertheless, and Angela showed the importance of companies seeing value in models of all kinds.

Angela gets all done up for Nordstrom.

After what seemed like a big lead-up to an explosion between Ming and Becca on Awkward., this week everything was explained in just one line. Apparently Jenna's reckless decision to release her journal to the public made the entire Asian mafia freak out and treat Ming nicely (so nicely that they convinced her dad to get her a car??) because of her proximity. Seriously disappointing; the show seemed better than to just drop an entire plot line like that. Maybe we'll get further information in coming episodes?

America's Next Top Model is back with a College Edition, and though we don't have any representatives among the contestants, one of the two new judges is Bryanboy, a fashion blogger who serves as the social media correspondent. You see, this cycle the viewers have a say in who goes home. Bleh. One of the things I like about Top Model is that it isn't American Idol; it's its own completely whacked-out, self-contained thing. Hearing Bryanboy read Facebook users' comments doesn't really add much for me, but good for him for getting that position, I guess?


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.