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Top Chef: Seattle Recap

By David Mumpower

February 5, 2013

Can I bum a cigarette? How about some used panties?

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Previously on Top Chef, The Josie Show was cancelled. There was much rejoicing in households across North America. And the celebration continued when Kristen eviscerated Josie in Last Chance Kitchen, thereby ending Josie’s tenure on Top Chef, hopefully/presumably forever.

Josie’s continued presence on Top Chef had cast a blemish on our perception of the greatest reality show competition on television. What we have always celebrated about the program is that weak players are rarely strung along for the purpose of faux drama. Yes, there have been a few isolated instances such as Robin during season 6, but since the Lisa Fernandes fiasco in season 4, the producers of the program have taken firm control of the show’s results.

The problem we have faced this season is that Josie somehow managed to seem not quite as bad as the person eliminated instead of her. Relatively similar results occurred half a dozen times this season before Josie was ultimately voted out of the competition. The seventh time was the charm for the viewer but the matter should have come to a head long before then. Josie was arguably the worst player during the second, seventh and eighth elimination challenges. At some point, body of work simply has to become a factor.




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Because such meta contemplation was not performed, Kristen was inexplicably removed from Top Chef. Her crime was simply that she miscalculated in selecting Josie for her team. If Bart and Eliza had still been around, they would have warned Kristen about the choice. They were not, however, because they were each prior victims of The Josie Show. Josie is a reality show serial killer in this regard. She was only brought to justice after claiming her third victim.

Josie’s absence, while satisfying to me on a personal level, is also an early warning signal for Stefan. Josie had burned so many bridges by the point of her elimination that the judges were tingling with anticipation when they voted her out. Even so, Stefan was still in the conversation last week because he too has alienated the judges to the point that they are sick of his face.

If Padma Lakshmi were offered a choice of a billion dollars or Stefan’s removal from Top Chef, I’m not 100% confident she would take the money. Stefan is going through the motions as contestant this season, and his lying has become a problem. With only five players remaining, anything can happen. What I can say with confidence is that he seems like the one who doesn’t belong out of the current group. If he turns around and wins the season, you can hold this statement against me later.


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