Reality Bites: The Taste
Throughout the first two episodes, it was nigh impossible to keep track of the losers -- except for "Sieger," a loudmouth sous chef from Chicago ("SIEGER IS GERMAN FOR CONQUEROR"). In that respect, the early eps were a lot more reminiscent of AI than The Voice. I assume there was some sort of vetting process to keep wiseasses like myself from sneaking in and presenting their patented peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich recipe.
Don't laugh, it's awesome.
Speaking of mayonnaise, Malarkey continues to boost his cred by hosting the "sponsored by Hellman's" segment showing how some contestants made their dishes. Seriously, how did this Peter MacNicol from Ghostbusters 2-looking motherfucker get on here?
Back to the contestants, where "failure is not an option" is uttered a lot. Diane from Astoria, for example, is a terrible pain in the ass, which means of course shes in. She'll be set against Lauren, sure to be a crowd favorite from Mississippi. It's a bit on the nose; Diane wants Bourdain and gets him, Lauren wants Lawson, and gets her.
Huda is a professional chef who ... I'm sorry, I can't. Her name's Huda and she's practically spilling out of her blue top. Sorry, I was supposed to pay attention to her story about growing up in a single family home. My bad. She ends up with Lawson. That's going to be one top heavy kitchen.
But let's not forget the outsiders, like Robert the New York investment banker. His seafood sausage seems to be a hit, but nobody picks him (maybe Bourdain was too busy maintaining his punk cred by snickering at his suspenders). Brian is a "recording artist" from San Fran who makes lasagna and eggplant parmigiana, which seems excessive. The judges agree.
Where have I see this before?
One of the more entertaining elements of part 2 was the Parade of Vegetarian Casualties, in which three separate contestants try to sneak non-animal product dishes by the judges. They fail miserably, of course, and are subjected to predictable snark. That said, Bourdain's endlessly repeated rants on the subject are getting old (OH DO YOU LIKE PORK PRODUCTS?).
And I thought it would be funny if Tutu Vegan Lady made it.
I'm not sure I understand why Nigella get to stay up there and judge after she's already got her team (not that I'm complaining). Wouldn't it be more amusing to have the contestants come out to a dwindling number of possibilities? The teams do finally flesh out at the end. And not to pile on, but Malarkey never wins when going head to head with one of the other judges for a contestant (especially Lefebvre). But before I can pat myself on the back for such insight, Bourdain makes the same observation.
In the end, Bourdain finally gets his woman: Uno from Dallas ("like the card game," she doesn't actually say). And that's that. In the coming weeks, the kitchens compete with each other, with attendant shit talking, and will eliminate contestants in blind taste tests which could result in them accidentally voting off their own chefs. I'm sure part of the appeal going forward will be the interplay between the judges, less so the inevitable and exaggerated "personality conflicts" among the contestants. But that's "reality" TV for you.