Hyphen TV: Some Good Reefer

February 18, 2013

Love Tu's face and shirt in this photo

It's been an embarrassment of riches with all the shows premiering/coming back these days! Survivor's 26th (!) season is another Fans vs. Favorites one, and one of the favorites this time around is Survivor: Nicaragua's Brenda Lowe, the former NFL cheerleader and current paddleboard company owner. We didn't get to see much of Brenda in the premiere, but she did get a chance to mention that she's going to be wiser with her strategy this time around, so let's hope she's learned from her mistakes and will hang in there for a while.

Don't worry, Brenda is still very pretty

On Monday Mornings, Dr. Park had trouble connecting with a patient once again when a 13-year-old with a brain tumor refused to have surgery. It took kind and impressed words from Park's colleague Dr. Hooten for the young girl to change her mind and wake up tumor-free after going under Dr. Park's knife. While the idea of an emotionless, endlessly driven surgeon is pretty fascinating, I'm afraid I'm still hung up on Park's weirdly terrible English. I do take back some of my previous criticism of Keong Sim, however -- I'm finding that the doctor's lines read as if they've been written by someone whose only experience with Asian immigrant English is through faux-Confucian fortune cookies. In both episodes that have aired, Park argued for surgery by saying, "Don't do, die," which just doesn't feel like something that anyone who has ostensibly passed American medical examinations would say. Even a "You don't do, you die" feels far less awkward and harsh to my ear. Am I alone here? I'm really finding it tough to feel out Park as a character when everything he says is like the verbal equivalent of nails on a chalkboard.

This girl is skeptical about Dr. Park, probably with good reason

It was the girls' turn at Hollywood Week on American Idol, and right off the bat we see Shuba Vedula (whose name Randy still hasn't cared enough to learn) sail through the initial solo round and then through the group round -- the only member of her group to do so with the song "If I Can't Have You." Later, she sang "When You Believe" by Mariah and Whitney Houston, and it was "a nice moment for me personally" per Mariah. Aww. Shubha is in our top twenty girls!

Shubha kicks butt and sparkles while doing it

Jett Hermano, who I don't believe we've seen before, but is 25 and from Seattle, made it to the group round and performed "American Boy" with the group Urban Hue. It was...a mess. Nicki called it "so painful," and I can't disagree. Forgotten lyrics, messy harmonies, off-key notes...and yet Jett made it through, and though we didn't see her solo, she is also through to the top twenty. I'm worried for her since she's gotten almost no screen time, but I'm excited to really hear what she's got. Unfortunately, at the end of the episode we got the news that Marvin Calderon is not in the top twenty boys, but we're still watching Gurpreet, Elijah, and Bryant in the top forty (so many still!). Get ready to vote you guys!

On Project Runway, Tu's Dream Team finally finally got a win! The challenge this week was to create an outfit using supplies from a hardware store and a flower shop; Tu created a skirt made of flowers and a vest made of rope with a rope-covered pipe for a necklace. The judges found his garments "modern, timely, and fresh," and Tu's teammates also showed their admiration for his work. Although he didn't land in the top two, it was nice to see Tu get a little screen time at last. May this be the beginning of a winning streak for the Dream Team!

I really love the rope/pipe necklace and I might want one for real

The finale of Top Chef is drawing ever nearer, but first the chefs had to take a helicopter ride over the Alaskan mountains, a trip that excited Sheldon to no end and prompted him to comment, "I would die for some good reefer." Oh, Sheldon. Never change. The guest judge for the elimination challenge was Roy Choi of LA's Kogi Truck and A-Frame. He shared the story of being a "scumbag" in his twenties and encountering the moment he knew he wanted to be a chef while watching Emeril at home one day. With tears in his eyes, Roy told the chefs that seeing Emeril was like a slap across the face; he got up and researched culinary schools and has been cooking ever since. This led to the challenge: the chefs had to create a dish that represented the moment they wanted to be chefs.

So glad you watched Emeril that day, Roy

Like Roy, Sheldon found inspiration on TV: he was a fan of Hawaiian chef Sam Choy, whose cooking show "validated what [Sheldon] wanted to do in life." Sheldon put together a meal that epitomized the Hawaiian cuisine that he loved and learned about from Sam, pairing pan-roasted rockfish with prawns, baby vegetables, and dashi. He knew it would be suicide to overcook the fish, so he left the roasting to the last minute -- the problem was that this gave his broth too much time to cook, making it too salty. The judges found the fish cooked perfectly, but everyone commented on the salty broth, which seemed to have been cooked by a different person and left a harshness behind. Luckily, he managed to make it through, so we'll see Sheldon face off against Brooke and the Last Chance Kitchen chef (gotta be Kristen, right?) in next week's finale.

Big smiles for these guys!

On RuPaul's Drag Race, the queens had to make a fake children's television show, and it was the first time we got to see Vivienne really perform. Unfortunately, it became clear why she hasn't gotten much camera time so far. She played Anita Bump, a country hick who was teaching viewers how to toss a salad with fellow drag racer Roxxxy Andrews. Roxxxy easily outshined Vivienne with her brightness and high energy level, and RuPaul told Vivienne that she was getting lost because of her bland persona and lack of spark. On the runway, the judges scolded her for falling flat; guest judge Paulina Porizkova told her, "You committed the number one crime in show business. You bored me." Ouch. Vivienne was safe this time, but RuPaul said, "Consider this a warning." Step it up, girl! You're pretty, but you need so much more than that to go far here.

On Face Off, the artists had to pair up and create giants with multiple heads. Alam worked with Eric Z, and they decided to buck the two-headed giant convention and put the extra heads in a different place: their model's feet. They came up with a story where their character slays other giants and then clutches their heads in its feet, torturing them with every step. It was an interesting idea on paper, and the two worked well together (Eric mentioned how relaxed and easy working with Alam is, and that's definitely the sense I've gotten from her so far), but the judges weren't happy with the final result. They called the idea a "dreadful decision," and while the costume was "fabulous from the ankles up," they had a hard time looking at anything beyond the cartoonish, overly playful, and just plain odd faces at the giant's feet. They were saved from elimination, but it was definitely a disappointment. Here's hoping that Alam gets another chance to show off her abilities in creating playful characters again soon.

Yeah, the foot head thing is a little weird



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.