Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Next Food Network Star takes on Iron Chef America,Design Star's dream kitchen nightmares and a True Blood vamp gets sunburned

For their next to last challenge,the final four contenders on The Next Food Network Star went to a mini version of Kitchen Stadium to have an Iron Chef America face-off. Jeff went up against Susie while Vic and Mary Beth had to battle each other.

Each team took turns cooking and doing on camera commentary with Alton Brown. The real fly in the ointment here was the return of four former competitors to act as sous chefs and one of them was,of course,the dreadful Penny.

And yes,it was Mary Beth who wound up with her-frenemies united! Poor Mary Beth,talk about having no luck at all with this pot luck pick.

To be fair,you can't blame all of Mary Beth's food flaws during Battle Rack of Lamb on Penny but it certainly didn't help that Penny chose to work at two speeds;slow and stop.

Even the judges were getting uncomfortable about this and despite Alton himself calling her out on those shenanigans,Penny persisted in the slow down.

She only hurt herself in the end,since a good number of popular contenders from TNFNS have gone on to get their own shows on the network(Kid in a Candy Store and Outrageous Food,for example). With such poor sportsmanship,I think Penny killed her chances on that channel quicker than a belch ruining a formal dinner party.

Meanwhile,Jeff charmed everyone with his verbals skills but his cooking came under fire as he overly relied on mayonnaise for all three of his Battle Lobster dishes. Susie,on the other hand,had a nice set of perfect dishes which made up for some of her cutesy replies during her commentary time.

So, Mary Beth was at long last eliminated,for her lackluster lamb chops and bone dry commentary. That leaves us with Vic,Jeff and Susie for the finale.

As much as I like Vic and his tender hearted tough guy shtick, he still has trouble on the verbal front and his food can be hit or miss at times. Vic claims that he's on a learning curve but as one of the judges said,they're looking for a star,not a student.

Jeff has been on a roll with his Sandwich King persona lately but he has to be careful not to get overly confident with Susie hot on his heels.

She can be a little too sweetness and light yet when she wants to,Susie can kick ass in the kitchen with charm to spare. The finale will be on this Sunday,after the reunion special(why they're showing the reunion first is beyond me,folks)and may the best chef win:

It was time for the dreaded kitchen challenge on Design Star and the show's producers wisely chose to provide white box spaces for the contenders to create a dream version in rather than make over one in someone's house(which has not boded well in the past).

The special guest judge for this round was Paula Deen,who did actually check for butter under one of the dishes-good call,Paula! Everyone worked in teams of two and had their choice of styles to emulate in their area.

Karl and Cathy were paired up again and while their kitchen space looked decent,it didn't appear to be contemporary style at all. The only element that looked like their chosen design was the metal chandelier that Karl had picked out.

Part of the problem was the abundance of food props that Cathy insisted on having. Karl tried to change things around but she just shooed him away with "I've got it!" and then later denied that he objected to that in front of the judging panel. Not cool,Cathy-not cool at all! Your on camera segment may have been the best but your personality is far from best in show.

On the brighter side,Mark and Kellie did very well in putting together a farm fresh country style. Despite a debate over what to use for the backsplash(both choices wound up being put up),they managed to have a solid cohesive look that was also warm and inviting.

The cabbage candle holders that Kellie made were a nice touch. It was a last minute idea that turned out better than expected and Paula Deen really loved them. I was rooting for Meg to win this time for her pegboard kitchen ware wall but Kellie earned this victory fair and square.

On the chopping block was Kevin,for carrying his "family of three' storyline for the room too far by cluttering up the desk area with a bunch of toys and trinkets that looked messy. Also, the stool that he selected for the desk didn't allow for a lot of leg room there.

Tyler went home instead,due to his notion of putting a small purple bench in front of a giant wooden slab of a table as proper seating. He also didn't finish the backsplash,leaving the sink area bare(which is where he should have started!). Creativity is fine but kitchens need to be practical above all else.

Next week,the designers have to set up a wedding and guess who is making her presence known? I do agree with Karl about the groom's section not clashing with the bride's-the day does belong to both of them,despite whatever they screech on Bridezillas:

Most of the subplots merged together on True Blood this week,with the few exceptions being that Tommy's new skinwalker powers got him kicked out of Sam's home and Lafayette's medium abilities coming to light(I knew he was the one with the real power,I knew it!). As Tara barely survived an assault from Pam and had to send away her new found love in order to protect her,she ran into the newly escaped Marnie out in the woods.

Marnie is no longer in the driver's seat,however-Antonia has fully taken over and is in recruitment mode for a round of magical revenge on the vampire nation. Tara is not so sure about this at first but their mutual connection of war wounds at the hands and fangs of vamps is too strong to resist and she is soon on board:

Marnie/Antonia and Tara gather up the remaining witches and enough new comers to form a tight power circle that makes the spell for calling vampires to the sun much more effective than when it was first cast centuries ago.

King Bill(after getting a brutal wake-up call from one of his enchanted sheriffs)orders his people to leave the area and for those who remain to chain themselves down with silver.

Bill includes Jessica in his emergency plans but he doesn't have the heart to bind her well enough with the burning silver,causing her to answer the summons to the sun on her own. Even with Jason hurrying to save her,this may be the last that we see of Jessica-she's not in the books,after all and is therefore expendable.

On the other hand, some of the characters meant to die in the novels have survived so it's a fifty-fifty draw. Well,if she has to go,at least she went out in a blaze of glory:


THE RACHEL ZOE PROJECT: A new season is set to start in September without beloved assistant Brad(what is it with her and staff members leaving fast and furious there?)but with Rachel ready to have a baby. Guess motherhood gives her more of a opportunity to indulge in her favorite pastime,shopping sprees(does a four month old really need a walk in closet?):

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