Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 03 - My favorite TV show

This is a loaded question because I am of the opinion that there are few quicker ways to open yourself to judgment by others than to align yourself with or against a TV show. It would be really easy to pick a canceled-too-soon critical darling like "Arrested Development," "Firefly," or "Veronica Mars" to get some street cred. Conversely, almost everyone watches some sort of reality show, be it competition-based or the social-reality format of the "Real Housewives" or "The Hills," but no one really admits to loving those shows or calling them their favorite shows unless they're doing so with an apologetic disclaimer ("I know I have terrible taste but I can't help loving...") or a hint of irony.

Up until high school, I never watched much TV. That basically changed when my mom got tivo, but that wasn't even until mid-way through my junior year. After that, there were several shows that I tried to keep up with. Some were addictive even though I wanted to punch the participants (and host!) in the face - "America's Next Top Model" - some appealed to my high school sarcasm and cooler-than-thou affect - "House" - but, few were considered by those with taste to be quality TV.

I have some of those "good shows" in my must-watch list now. But I honestly don't know if they're my favorites, in the way that something that's your favorite is the thing you first thing that comes to your mind, the one that you know the most and can talk for hours about, the one that you're like "I have to watch it RIGHT NOW."

So what's my favorite? Honestly?

Yeah, that.

I love this show firstly because I love food. I also love competition. I love picking teams. Now, that competitive spirit allows me to enjoy a pretty solid heap of other competition shows (see the aforementioned ANTM, also "So You Think You Can Dance") but what sets Top Chef apart for me is the fantasy element. It is sometimes tough for me to watch SYTYCD and not get mad at it because as someone who danced for several years and has (admittedly) a bias toward technically-trained dancers, it frustrates me when trained dancers who excel in every style get voted out (or lose to) someone with a precious backstory or someone who basically floats through on charisma alone. Sure, sometimes the dancers at the end are pretty much all at a certain level and choosing between their proficiency is like splitting hairs, but sometimes there are obvious differences in ability and I just want to bang my head against the TV because America made the "wrong choice."

With Top Chef, the truth is, almost everything looks good, but I don't really know how it tastes. I have to trust the judges and diners, and therefore, even though I am emotionally invested in my favorites, I can't flip my lid and have a heart attack if they do poorly or are eliminated because I honestly have no evidence to suggest that they should have stayed or should have ranked higher. I like that there is that suspense, that I can't just look at what is there and know automatically that someone did better than someone else. I love the moment of anticipation before Tom Colicchio puts something in his mouth and makes ass face, because I don't know what the reaction is going to be. Even more, I love that the cheftestants don't know either, because they can't realistically taste every plate or take the time to make sure every piece of meat is cooked the right way. I love when one of them says something like "I know the judges will appreciate that my meat was cooked properly," but then they get to judges' table and it turns out Padma's was almost completely raw.

So yeah. It's reality! Out the window goes my street cred. But I'd like to think that because everyone loves and appreciates good food, almost everyone could enjoy a show like "Top Chef." Even the food-porn close-up shots of the dishes alone are enough to make me fall in love.


  1. I'm protesting this season since they kicked off my favorite Gaysian!!!

  2. Yeah, that was kind of wrong :( That challenge was tough because some people who I'd have liked to see go home before him squeaked by in the other rounds!