March 14, 2012

Top Chef: Texas Season 9 Reunion --- The Mean Girls Try To Save Face

Part 1: More Drama, Laughs and Tears
I’m not sure when Bravo became the “gay network,” or when I even noticed, but I watch the Bravo stable of shows more than any other channel on the dial. Some of the reality shows that Bravo produces could be called trash TV to some extent (I’m thinking of the Housewives franchise primarily), and I think Top Chef is one of the best reality competition shows, along with Project Runway (formerly a Bravo property), and Amazing Race.
Last week the Season 9 cast of Top Chef: Texas gathered for their reunion show. The inimitable Andy Cohen hosted the lively gathering, and he asked the tough questions of all the contestants. I think that Andy Cohen is terrific - he's cute and always me laugh.

You have to applaud Paul Qui. He won $185,000, a Toyota Prius, and then some. What’s also amazing is the fact that Paul said that he went from being a weed dealer, to culinary school, worked his way up and learned the trade, and won Top Chef. I think that’s awesome and respect Paul even more.

Runner-up Sarah Grueneberg was asked if she told a judge to “F-off” after Paul was declared the winner - which she denied - and then tearfully apologized for if she did say that. It wasn’t clear whether or not she did tell a judge to “F-off,” and inquiring minds would like to know.

My favorite Season 9 contestant, the beautiful Grayson Schmitz , is not only a good chef, but she’s hysterically funny. She speaks her mind, and as Grayson herself said during the show and the reunion,  “she’s ballsy.” Thats’ what I like so much about her - and I’ll bet she’s a hoot to work with in a kitchen.

Nyesha Arrington, who totally amazed me in the Last Chance Kitchen competition, seemed much more relaxed in the off-camera moments. My favorite quote of hers was when she said she wanted to beat Heather in Last Chance Kitchen because she wanted to “shut Heather up.”

Ty-lor Boring, who was the only openly gay chef this season, was put on the spot when the producers found some “revealing” photos of him online. Ty-lor said that he had the “tasteful” pics taken as part of his coming out process. When Andy asked him if he’s a Bear - Ty-lor said that he’s a furry guy. I myself don’t know exactly what constitutes a bear, but know that there's a culture and lifestyle unique to bears.

The pretty “Malibu Chris” Crary - who was the fan favorite and won the $10K prize - made an interesting comment during the Texas Barbecue challenge. Lindsay Autry asked him if he was wearing a wife beater, and he said it “doesn’t match my shoes.” I thought to myself - what straight guy makes a comment like that? I’m not trying to infer that he isn’t straight - but that’s a gay comment if I’ve ever heard one in my life.

When Andy addressed the bullying of Beverly - Lindsay said she apologized, while Sarah said that she apologized for the things “I said that hurt her.” As her eyes filled with tears again, she said she didn’t want to be seen as being “mean” on the show. What I found interesting was that she didn’t apologize for the content or delivery of what she said, just for what she said that hurt Beverly. 

Heather refused to apologize and said “that’s how I felt. I’m bossy-pants but I’m not obnoxious.” She was mean, rude and haughty if you ask me.

Sarah said that Heather received nasty phone calls at her restaurant, and that she also received a death threat. I know what that feels like and I do empathize with her. In spite of her being a bully, and acting like she’s superior to the other contestants, we should also remember that Bravo loves that kind of drama. I don’t know if the Bravo haters are as obstinate and threatening as the right-wing extremists who targeted me, but either way it’s not fun. And I think Heather still owes Beverly an apology!

Gail Simmons put it best when she said that she felt that Beverly is the only contestant who would handle the comments and bullying “with as much grace” as she did. You have to love Gail Simmons!

It was a great season that was full of surprises - and I can’t wait for the next season. 

It was Bravolicious!

straight talk in a queer world.