Pop Culture

Top Chef Needs to Spice It Up

There are a few competition reality shows that I watch every season, and each time a new batch of contestants start, I never like anyone. I don’t hate them or anything, but I don’t have anyone to root for until their stories have been told over the course of a few episodes, and I get to see how they interact with each other. 

When a new season begins, I automatically think, “Well, this won’t be as good as last season.” Sometimes, it’s not; other times, it’s better. I usually come around by the third episode, and start actually caring about these people and what happens.

So far, that’s not the case with this year’s Top Chef. I don’t like anyone, with the exception of the first chef who got kicked off the show (of course, he had to go first!). I don’t like the challenges, which are tied in with the location (Texas). I don’t like the guest judges. I just don’t like anything.

Although I don’t like the boring challenges or the smarmy guest judges, the contestants themselves are the worst part for me. If I were head of Bravo, I would fire the casting director. By this point, at least one person always stands out from the crowd: think bubbly Carla, the intense Voltaggio brothers, spiky-haired Marcel and Richard. This time around? No one. NO ONE. There isn’t that one chef dazzling everyone with their creative Quick Fire skills, or wowing with a main course.

There aren’t even any good villains, the ones you love to hate, who may or may not be edited to appear awful. This year, the villains are just meh; like smack-talking Sarah, who safely talks her smack behind people’s backs. These villains aren’t like Mike and Eli from Season Six, who were cocky for no reason and made horrible remarks about their fellow contestants right to their faces. I waited patiently for them to implode and finally leave, and I was not disappointed. (Side note: for awhile, I lived in a building in NYC where I ran into Eli several times in the elevator. The villain edit wasn’t an edit; I found out over the course of 15 seconds that he really is a tool. I wanted to tell him how vile he is, but I held back and just gave him withering glares.)

So now I am faced with a dilemma: do I give up on Top Chef? I’ve watched every other season, and it would feel odd to stop now. But why should I waste my time on a show that has a serious case of sucking? I honestly don’t know if it will improve, and I have enough television to watch. I just don’t like stopping things before they’re finished, even if it is just a show.

Am I alone in thinking this season isn’t that great? Top Chef fans, what was your favorite season?

By Catherine

Catherine is a Southern California based freelance writer, whose work has appeared in everything from the New York Times to Entertainment Weekly. The highlight of her life (so far) was being featured on MSNBC for a story she wrote on Hello Kitty wines...she knew one day her love of all things HK would come in handy.

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