Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Amazing Race plays Sushi Roulette,Heroes gets a musical moment and who will be The Next Iron Chef?

Since Top Chef took the week off,we get a chance to focus on another food competition show starting up this Sunday-The Next Iron Chef America. This is only the second season of this series(the first one added Michael Symon to the ICA ranks)and it looks the Food Network folks have whipped up a fancy new set for the chefs to compete(plus cook) in.

The only one of these chefs who is familiar to me is Amanda Freitag,due to her being on the rotating judge panel for Chopped. Both she and Alex Guarnascheli are pretty severe critics,so seeing her on the other side of the fence here should be interesting.

The panel she and the others will be facing is made of Donatella Arpaia,Anya Fernald and Jeffrey Steingarten,who is to Iron Chef America what Anthony Bourdain is to Top Chef( or was,rather-I miss him!)-a real tough customer to please. Amanda's a tough cookie herself,so I think she'll do just fine:

I know there are lots of people who bemoan the fact that there are so many cooking competition shows on the air and want more demo type of food TV. Guys,there is plenty of both out there and you need to keep in mind that food is the great equalizer. It's something that the vast majority of the world knows how to do,one way or another,so naturally the interest in them is in high demand. As the Chairman would say,"Let the battle begin!":

The Amazing Race started off season 15 with the usual set of teams and there's one I already don't like. Tiffany and Maria are professional poker players who decided to tell everyone that they work for an organization that helps the homeless,in order to win some sympathy and assistance from the others.

That house of cards fell in on them during the second leg of the race,when a poker fan spotted them at the airport and loudly recognized the gals in front of their competition. Not cool,ladies! That deception brought them a bunch of bad karma that made them the first team to earn a Speed Bump penalty this season.

TAR always likes to mix things up more for each new season and this time out,one team was eliminated at the starting line after a tricky license plate hunt. There's always a crazy food challenge during the race and that was dealt with right away at the first stop in Japan.

All of the teams won up as players on one of those notoriously subtle(not!) Japanese game shows which had one team member having to eat a "wasabi bomb" to move forward. I've never had wasabi,but know that it's a real hot mouthful to choke down there. Maria had to eat two of those in a row-bad karma leads to a bad taste in the mouth,no doubt about it:

Heroes introduced a new character this week;Emma(Deanna Bray)who is an office worker at the hospital where Peter spends most of his EMT time. She insists on concealing her deafness by wearing earphones to avoid pity from others but her powers seemed to be centered around sound.

Emma can "see" sound waves and command some kind of control over them as she discovers one night in the park and takes an impromptu chance at playing the cello. I don't know how her ability will fit into the ultimate scheme for the season but it'll be intriguing to find out:


MAD MEN: More wackiness this week,of a non bloody nature. Both Pete and Peggy are being enticed into leaving Sterling Cooper by former boss Duck but only Peggy seems to be nibbling at the bait. She went to return Duck's fancy gift of a Hermes scarf at his hotel room and wound up hitting the sheets with him. Some might think this is out of character for her,but after getting a harsh scolding from Don at work,I'm not too surprised that Peggy fell for Duck's amorous approval:

Don,meanwhile,dealt with his frustration at being pinned down to sign a contract by driving around aimless and picking up a couple of hitchhikers happy to share their drugs with him. Stupid,stupid,stupid! Oh,Don-you should know better to think that just because you're a player doesn't mean that you are above getting played:

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