Been catching up with The Onion's T.V. Club blog about Top Chef, by Scott Tobias, which I'm enjoying a lot, more so than Bravo's blogs, which all say essentially the same things and aren't especially insightful. (Actually, Ted Allen's is pretty good; his writing has the most personality, at least in this setting. I've never read Food and Wine and therefore have no idea how Gail Simmons is on the page, though since she's an editor I'd guess she doesn't do much writing, per se--that's how it seems to be at glossy mags.) I've been a big fan of the show for a year now; Angela comes over every Wednesday around 9 and we watch it at 10. Good season so far, and Tobias has things scaled about right contestants-wise. (I'm guessing the Chicago-specific stuff is dead on too, and I'm heartened that he says Chicagoans don't really eat deep-dish pizza, in part because I still cannot understand for the life of me how anyone could eat deep-dish pizza.) (Actually that's a fib: I've eaten deep-dish a couple times, didn't hate it outright, but even then it seemed more like a stunt than a meal.)
Angela took a pretty instant dislike to Zoi; because I have a soft spot for butchy girls in general I liked her right away, but at this point I don't have any patience with her--I could really stand never seeing her tear up again, and I can't see her making it to the season's halfway mark. I wish Manuel hadn't been kicked off instead of Spike, who is starting to work my nerves even more than spazz-case Andrew, but given Spike's verging-on-smug disinterest in, you know, following the actual challenges' instructions (see Tobias's list of show rules), not to mention his habit, whenever he makes it to the spank round at judges' table, of all but flipping his quasi-bosses off, I have a very hard time seeing him lasting long either, and he hasn't seemed to produce much of note--in other words, a taller, hairier, hat-wearing Howie, only Howie seemed open-minded enough not to snivel about another team's dish--the team that won, for Christ's sake--having, you know, obviously not tasted it. I liked Manuel as a personality--he's the definition of a team player, the kind of guy you want working broiler or the pizza oven during booked-solid weekend dinner rush, solid and steady and unlikely to crack under pressure, and his gracious goodbye really kind of said it all. But yeah, not much seemed to be happening food-wise there, either.
Stephanie is my pick to win--she's got pluck but without the cutesy-wootsiness that word normally connotes, she's won two of the four elimination challenges, and she's plainly one of the smartest people there, maybe the smartest. Richard is likely to go high--Tobias (and a lot of T.V. Club commentators) have him slotted to win it, and I'm sure that could happen; Dale is an easy No. 3 choice, though he seems more remarkable on-camera for his constant impatient glower than his food itself. (Again: on-camera.)