Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, October 04, 2007

First impressions of Moonlight,Heroes gets toe-riffic and our new Top Chef

The second half of the Top Chef finale took the Final Three up to a mountain top resort,where they were given their last challenge: cook a three course meal with the ingredients provided as well as the special ones each chef brought with them. However,a couple of loop-de-loops were tossed in. Instead of each person serving their dishes separately,all of the courses would be going head-to-head at the judging table.

There was a knife drawing to see in what order each finalist would get a pre-selected sous chef for three hours of prep work. Usually,this is the time when the former contestants show up but no,another surprise! The sous chefs were celebrity cooks-Hung got Rocco DiSpirito,Casey had Michelle Bernstein(who I remember from last season's Final Two showdown) and Dale was placed with Todd English.

The prep seemed to go well(the celebrity sous chefs had one day only to work with everyone)and during the next day's cooking,Judge Tom took everyone outside to spring yet another little surprise on them(it's like Batman villians were planning this season,with all of these traps set for the chefs to stumble and fall into,I swear!). With only an hour to go,they had to add a fourth course and now,they could get help from former contestants Sarah M,Howie and CJ. Their choice was determined by knife pull and Hung got Sarah,Casey wound up with Howie and CJ went with Dale.

So,how was the food? Let's start with the weakest link,which was Casey. She was pretty flustered in the kitchen(the high altitude was playing havoc with her breathing and with temperature control for cooking). She had Howie cook the last minute fourth course(a steak strip) and focused on her other plates,like a foie gras and scallop with apple number but the biggest stumbling block for her was the pork belly with roasted peach. Pork belly? Even Michelle Bernstein had her doubts about that during prep(the celeb sous were not allowed to make any major cooking suggestions). The pork belly was dried out,along with Casey's chances of winning.

Dale did much better-his fourth course was a scallop seared with sweet corn and grapes,that everyone at tableside flipped over. Dale's best dish of the day was a Colarado lamb with a ratatouille blend that he had never before made. It went over like gangbusters and the judges gave atleast two of the four courses to Dale while going over their decision. The only bad plate of Dale's was a lobster with gnocchi that didn't pan out due to the potatoes not boiling(damn high altitude!), Judge Tom really got nit picky on that one.

Hung's fourth course was a chocolate cake with raspberies,which made me pause since desserts have been the downfall for many of the contestants this season. He managed to turn it out bigtime,which made Judge Tom grumble about how it didn't "go with the theme" of Hung's meal. Uh,hello,it was a last minute addition to the challenge there,buddy! You announced it,remember? Geez,Judge Tom would fault with a banquet prepared by God his/herself-"I found this dish to be too salty and this one,not enough seasoning,Creator!". Hung's best dish was his duck,which Todd English declared was "four star Michelin" and even special guest(and Final Four contender)Brian had to admit that it was flawless.

The winner was Hung,which is fine. I was really pulling for Dale there but my hunch is that Judge Tom just couldn't get over that failed lobster dish of his. Sigh! Never mind that Dale pulled off an excellant scallop plate at the last minute and how phenomenal everyone(including Tom)thought that lamb was,it was just not enough to please Judge Tom for the win. Hung did do a good job there,so atleast it was a win that was well earned there. Congrats,Hung!

I may tune into the TC reunion next week(mainly to see who won the Fan Favorite-hope it's Tre)but I'll probaly wait for Project Runway to start up again(November 14)before keeping Bravo on my speed dial when I channel surf.

Heroes got into gear,as Peter started to realize that while he has no memory,he does have super powers,Hiro starts to rebuild the Kensai legend and Claire starts to experiment with the limits of her Wolverine abilities:

Still no sign of Sylar or Nikki yet(those promos are very misleading,in my opinion)but we did see more of the Wonder Twins in action. Poor Maya,no wonder that she wants to keep her brother around her at all times. He seems to be her off switch for her black ooze that apparently is strong enough "to kill the Devil". Glad to see the Haitian back in the game(thanks to Mohinder's magic blood)and hope that Claire's potential new love interest is truly out to help,not hinder,her.

Moonlight debuted last Friday and while I found it amusing to see Rudolf Martin(who is no stranger to the vampire genre)as a college professor/self proclaimed "vampire" running a little Goth Girl circle of student body groupies and Jason Dohring as Josef,a 400 year old vamp who comes across as Logan Echolls in Nosferatu mode,the show just seemed a tad lightweight to me.

Maybe it's the leading man or maybe it's the loosey-goosey story structure but Moonlight didn't grab my very easy-to-reach vampire lover lapels,not in the way that Blood Ties did(which is returning to Lifetime on October 12,yah!). I'm not giving up on the show,however. Pilot episodes are not always good indicators of how a show will ultimately turn out and to be fair,I should watch a couple of more episodes. I gave Dirt more of a shot after all,and Friday nights are rather thin on shows I like.

I do think that adding Dohring might help keep the show alive for awhile. He's got a strong fan base and is entertaining as hell:

Random Notes:

ANTM: Heather's been doing well so far but Tyra's heavy handed handling of Asberger's syndrome is a tad annoying. Last week,when she told Nigel that austistic kids are going "wow" over Heather being on the show was ten shades of stupid and her quizzing Heather about how people with her condition usually have lack of eye contact didn't sound friendly-she sounded more like Benson and Stabler on SVU. Atleast some of the other girls are trying to be nicer to Heather for the moment:

Not Bianca,of course,who is quickly becoming this season's bitch-in-residence. Ebony was a front runner for that position at first but quickly dropped out of the running there. Speaking of dropping out,Kimberly went home after a face hugging the rock wall photo which means she'll miss the big makeover show next week. That should be fun,always lots of hair drama on those episodes.

Ugly Betty: I watched the season two premiere online and loved many of the new plot points set in motion(especially Justin getting to junior intern at Mode,yes!) but what is up with that half assed fat suit of Amanda's? Come on,guys,if Tyra Banks can get a believable big girl makeover on her daytime talk show,you should certainly be able to do better than making Amanda look like she's hiding Miss Piggy under her dress there! Hope that Betty's dad gets to come home soon,especially for poor Hilda's sake:

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