Thursday, August 20, 2009

A pig is a pig is a pig is a pig

Who knew Las Vegas was the tale of two cities? It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. But that’s what we got a big, heaping serving of during the debut of “Top Chef: Las Vegas.” Look – I know, I know – two Top Chef posts in a row. (And the last one was soooo popular.) But I cannot contain my deep, boiling rage at some of the developments this season and we’re only one damn episode in.

First, the good. I love that Jennifer Carroll kicked ass in the Quickfire and the Elimination Challenge. I also love that she drinks too much and likes to make the boys cry. I mean, she looked so sorority girl in her picture. Who knew? Well clearly not the boys. One of them asks her when they first meet if she is the “pastry chef”at her restaurant and she replies simply, “No, chef.”

I also loved Ashley and liked Preeti, our two chefbians. OK, Preeti seems a tad clueless. I mean, a lesbian who can’t get into a tight clam? (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) But Ashley, well if the welfare backstory didn’t move you, her Rachel Maddow glasses/flannel shirt combo certainly should.

But now, the bad. The oh-so bad. What was Bravo thinking casting a misogynistic, ageist, all-around unappealing asshole like Michael Isabella? First, when Jennifer is neck-and-neck with him shucking clams he says: “There’s no way, no offense, a girl shouldn’t be at the same level that I am.”

Oh, glad you threw in that “no offense” because now your male chauvinist pig attitude totally doesn’t bother me one bit.

And then when another female chef decides to keep her immunity instead of go for the loot, he says: “To me it’s just one less old lady I have to worry about.”

You know, this show has had asshats before and sexists before, but the level of idiotic vitriol coming from this guy is unacceptable. I cannot accept that he is on my television competing to win $100,000. I cannot accept that Bravo allows him to be on my television competing to win $100,000. I mean, did the producers need a season villain so badly that they had to offend and denigrate more than half of the world’s population? The misogyny, IT BURNS!

And I’m not even going to discuss the other Mike who basically made a dish about women’s boobs involving rack of lamb and a sauce made from “two juicy coconuts.” Also, Tom, how could you call that “clever.” Gail was clearly not amused. Nor was I.

Look, being a fierce competitor is one thing. Being a sexist asshole is entirely another. I welcome the first. The other has no place in the kitchen or on television, period. This little piggy certainly does not belong on Top Chef.

[Check out my full recaps of the episode at AfterEllen later today. I am also live tweeting (West Coast time) each episode at @dorothysnarker. And chefbian cutie Jamie Lauren is blogging over at Bravo. No scallop jokes, I promise.]


Big Shamu said...

Sad today. He reminds me of that commercial of two hogs sitting in a nice restaurant eating pork. Oh yeah, I don't think he'll turn out to be just the sexist asshole we gleaned from just one episode.

(Having been one of three comments yesterday, wondering if I'm going to be just as lonely today?)

PerpetualBistro said...

Great recap, I don't think you missed one mysogynistic thing that was said. I was appalled by his comments and annoyed when his dish was chosen as one of the best. Whatever, he is revealing himself to be a sexist asshole on national televison, I think most people won't respond well.

Anonymous said...

"I cannot contain my deep, boiling rage at some of the developments"

Why did you write this, like this?

What I mean is that you wrote it in a manner that leads the reader to believe that only YOU have this insider information.
NOT True!

Padma is leaving Top Chef to appear in a sitcom on NBC. Bad move in my opnion because sitcoms seem to have a short nhalf-life.

Leesh said...

Thank you for taking that asshole to task.

Also, the more Padma-related posts, the better. Less people commenting means less people to burst my own deluded imagination that she and I have a special connection.

Megan said...

Anonymous -- Way to take text out of context, as Ms. Snarker was clearly talking about the developments of only the first episode.

Also, Padma's not leaving Top Chef (thank goodness) as the potential NBC sitcom that's in the works has her in a supporting role, rather than the main start.

I'm also really saddened by asshat Mike's whole sexist/ageist attitude as he's from the DC-area and it's always fun to root for the home team.

And, I took no offense with the other Mike's interpretation of a rack and coconuts. Didn't really see it as sexist, or creative, but rather middle-school humor, and my inner 13-year-old had to laugh.

Big Shamu said...

Leesh, Padma can be yours for the mere price of a Hardees Extra Thick Burger with Extra Sauce...

Josephine said...

Yes, I noticed that the two annoying guys were both named Mike. I hope that Mike Isabella, particularly, will be gone soon. He was soooooo obnoxious. I actually found several of the contestants to be less than appealing so far, though. I didn't much like Eli, or Eve, or Hector (even though I love P.R. food and would like to see what he can do). I definitely haven't chosen a favorite yet.

By the way, you can blog about Top Chef every day, and I'll be very happy!

asdfjkl; said...

Actually, they're competing for $125,000 now. "The stakes are higher than ever..."

Eve should have packed her knives. I couldn't stand her accent.

BTW, did anyone else notice that sleeve tattoos are really popular this season?

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

I was so relieved that Toby Young wasn't at the judge's table that I almost glossed over the sexist banter coming from another direction.
Anyway, I'm loving Jennifer Carroll. She CLEARLY knows what she's doing, and she has no qualms about doing it. No demuring, all steely competence. She's glorious!

Anonymous said...

I advise you to contact the restaurant he works at, Zaytinya in DC which is a Jose Andres restaurant and let them know how you feel.

Anonymous said...

TOTALLY agree, THANK you.

Melissa said...

DC was SO PROUD of our beloved Carla last season... and now we have this douchenozzle representing us. Remind me never to eat at Zaytinya again.

JackyV said...

Ugh, I'm so glad you mentioned the rack of lamb thing. At least Jersey Mike seems set up to be the obvious villain so we're supposed to hate him for his comments... but the other guy? "Clever" is not the word. It wasn't even "his vice!" Except it is, if he's so obsessed with boobs (creepily detached boobs) that upon seeing some showgirls he'd immediately want to make a mammary-based meal.

I love Jennifer C. She's so cool and confident and steely: the perfect ice queen. All her dishes so far have been perfectly cool and clean (in terms of freshness and flavor) too, but considering she doesn't seem to think much of men underestimating her, I kind of want her to go head to head with Jersey Mike and do something with a spicy sausage that she slices up in front of him. Like say, for a pet peeve-themed competition.

Maybe she should choose a sausage that shrinks when it cooks, as further symbolism on him not being all that.

Anonymous said...


With it all.

Mike makes Spike look enjoyable. I can't wait for that asshat to go home.

Joseph A. said...

It is a great recap. It really is disgusting how some of the men behave on these shows. I unfortunately missed the episode but sister got pissed when she saw it. It will be great when the women beat this sexist pig and teach him lesson of humility.

Anonymous said...

I like Jennifer, but "sevich"? That just hurts.

Boltgirl said...

I was with Jennifer until the "sevich" thing, myself. Oh, the perils of spending so much time cooking in a French restaurant.

I cringed during the great clam debacle, but in Preeti's defense, when she the other three members of her team snapped up the non-clam-related tasks and she asked them if you open a clam like an oyster, one of them should have stepped up and switch with her. Just a tiny red flag there, but I was stunned that they didn't pick up on it.

And the sooner Misogynist Mike leaves, the better. Seriously, that's not a "villain edit" going on there. It's pure assholery on open display.

Fannie said...

Don't you know, Ms. Snarker, women don't belong in the kitchen!