Monday, February 27, 2017

So, Those Oscars

So let's talk about the rest of the Oscars first. Or part of them. I confess I DVR'd them because I had dinner plans and so had watched enough Twitter to suspect nothing on the host side was necessary to watch. I made liberal use of the fast forward button. I was one of the handful of people who thought David Letterman's Uma Oprah but was funny at the time. But this many years later, not only has name humor been done to death, but it has evolved into hahaha some people have names I'm not used to which is at its heart othering and tired and should be retired.
Hosting the Oscars is a thankless gig but there's something especially fascinating to me about the Oscars complete and utter inability to end on time. I understand you can't predict how many people the winner will hug, how long they will take to get to the stage, and it's a challenge if they try to cut anyone off. But other awards shows figure it out in various ways. And when you are so clearly over time, why not trim some of the joke bits, or the salute to movie bits. But, like I said, it's so consistent that clearly no one cares.
I had been mentioning to folks that while I adore Lin Manuel Miranda I wasn't clear why he needed to perform because the nominated song was one that he co-wrote but does not sing. So having him do an intro rap for Auli'i was great. In fact I think the spacing of the nominated songs throughout the program worked well, it allowed them to each be appreciated on their own. This may be me, but the song performances are a large portion of why I watch.
So now, let's talk about the part at the end. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were out there, he opened the envelope and there was an issue. It wasn't clear what the issue was, people seemed to assume he was doing a bit or maybe couldn't read. So Faye took it and read "La La Land". The cast and producers made their way to the stage. But apparently, as Warren later explained, he had read the card thoroughly and realized it said Emma Stone in "La La Land" so was the card for the wrong category. (They apparently keep duplicates on both sides of the stage so no matter how presenters go on stage there's an envelope on their side.)
So long time watchers may recall there was an issue once before. Sharon Stone was presenting two awards, they handed out the first, and then realized they had given the wrong envelope to the winner as a souvenir, so were holding the envelope announcing the winner they had just announced instead of the second. She said, I have the wrong envelope, sent her co-presenter backstage and then said to the audience, so let's all sit here and try to have a psychic moment together. Her co-presenter came back with the duplicate envelope and they read out the winner. (I wrote this up and then googled to check my memory.  I had forgotten Quincy Jones was the co-presenter.  Vanity Fair has been recapping old telecasts, so here's a link to their coverage of that Oscars.)
Prior to last night, that's the only issue I can think of. Now, we know how I love deconstructing these things. Warren opened the envelope. Realized it was wrong. Tried to send a telepathic message to the audience and his co-presenter that there was an issue. Faye I think did what most would have done, took the envelope and read it herself. She may or may not have realized that it said Emma Stone or may have just skimmed for a movie name and read that.
Now Warren Beatty is watching the cast and producers get onto the stage aware that he has no idea who won Best Picture.  I don't know if the accountants backstage were also already aware there was an issue (One imagines the accountant might have been thinking, finally I'm done, wait, what did they just say?)
So then they had to interrupt an acceptance speech to say, um, sorry guys, this isn't yours, in a moment, that because there's never been an error like this, seemed like it had to be a tacky prank, but how could it be because who would do this?
So, sadness for the producers and cast of "La La Land" because that's a terrible emotional roller coaster. And yay for the cast and producers of "Moonlight" - both of these movies are going to stick in people's minds for some time now.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Top Chef: And Then There Were Two

I had somehow convinced myself that this was the final episode so was - not sad to discover we had one more elimination - but sad because I was pretty sure this would be the most heartbreaking elimination.  
The loud birds in the quickfire sounded awesome but meant everyone spoke loud (or so it seemed from my TV screen) giving the whole thing the air of being in a loud bar.  I confess I've been playing with the Duolingo to refresh my Spanish, so I was a little surprised that Sheldon somehow thought tamal colado was going to be cheese, but I wasn't in a rush.  (I am also aware that Spanish is not prevalent in Maui the way that it is in California, where both Brooke and Shirley live. I don't think it was unfair but it is a thing.) 
But all of that wasn't in play in the elimination challenge, where they had to use a set pantry.  I do feel bad for Sheldon.  I think that noting both contestants were wrapping their fish does suggest that maybe using a different preparation works better, unless of course it turns out this particular grill is not going to allow for you to stick the fish directly on it.  
In the end - can you tell I am super sad about the result - but in the end it was very true to what we know of each chef.  A challenge where you had to work just with the ingredients and tools on hand worked great for Shirley who often makes a choice quickly and gets straight to work.  It caused challenges for Brooke who wanted to use too many things.  And Sheldon tried to go a little more rustic than his competitors with his grilling technique and ended up failing to see they had both used leaves because the more rustic grill was going to ruin the fish.  
I did feel for the judges who had a conundrum similar to "Project Runway" one person who had made something that was well done but meh, compared to a more flavorful idea that was executed less well. I am so sorry to see Sheldon go, but Brooke and Shirley are both great chefs and the finale will again make me jealous I can't steal some of the food from the judges plates.  

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Three Interesting Things

1. Teen Vogue did this piece about being bisexual at the doctor and how that can change the tone of the vists.  
2. Often I will follow a headline that promises me an untold story that, I had in fact heard.  I know, everyone's base of information is different.  But I had not heard about the internment of Aleuts during World War II. 
3. There is a Golden Girls themed cafe in New York. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

7 Posts: Planning For Just You is Hard - Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

It's not super hidden that "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" is looking at the long term effects of trying to live your life like you're in a rom-com.  Rom-coms operate on the assumption that no matter what the character says at the start, things are always better as a couple.  So provide no guidance on planning a life for yourself.  (And in fact often suggest that plans you make for yourself will be upset by your impending coupledom.) 
Heather, who seems super together, was still living with her parents.  Hector is living with his mom and seems exceedingly happy with this arrangement.  Valencia no longer enjoyed being a yoga instructor, but didn't know what else she should be.  Paula had always wanted to be a lawyer, and then, when that got in the way of supporting her husband' Scott, her worst fear came true.  He cheated on her and validated all her worries that going after things for yourself make you unlovable.  
So if rom coms have taught us bad behavior in the name of love gets rewarded, we have also been trained by media that coupling up is the desired way to approach life. Even TV shows that tend to shy away from permanently coupling anyone at the center of a show usually break that rule for the series finale, because we view weddings as closure. 
[PS.  If you're still reading and haven't watched the season finale yet - spoilers ahead.]
The first season ended with a wedding, and Rebecca finally getting the dream of getting together with Josh.  (Never mind that at the beginning of the day her dream was getting together with Greg.) The second season ended with her wedding day to Josh, with Josh, being the one to realize that this wasn't right.  Possibly because having the lighter load on planning, gave him more time for introspection.  
It is both silly and true to look to hard at the metaphor the show presented of Rebecca's wedding planning.  Rebecca decided to plan this wedding on a certain date because it being available was a sign even though she had no idea how to plan a wedding.  She found a picture of a pretty wedding and tried to recreate that exactly regardless of if it had any meaning for her or Josh. But, when she let her friends help, Valencia showed up with a perfect plan.  Nathaniel got Rebecca's dad there.  And Paula yelled at Rebecca's mom until she fell in line.  And Father Brah told Josh he dealt with uncertainty by attaching himself to the first pretty girl he could find.  
So yes, Rebecca's dad turned out to be a jerk.  Rebecca's mom showed that underneath it all she cared for Rebecca when she tried to steer Josh away from talking about Robert. Trent tried to spoil Rebecca's wedding but ultimately it wasn't Rebecca's past, but Josh's own uncertainty with his life's direction that had him choosing priesthood.  So Rebecca tried to create a perfect picture of a wedding, but what she got was a group of friends who stood on a cliff with her ready to give her whatever she needed. 
I can't wait to see what happens next. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

7 Posts: Searching as a Dude - "Crazy Ex Girlfriend"

I think media, or maybe just TV, since there are childish men in many a movie, doesn't explore as much the idea that this issue of reaching the stage where you expected your life to be done or formed or to make sense, as a male.  There are childish men on TV.  But that's often viewed as a character component and not something like Greg worrying about who would look after his dad is he left his hometown to go off to the college of his dreams, or of there was any point in doing so at his age.  Trent was played for laughs, but also made a subtle point that some of the very things that Rebecca did last year (and okay this year too), come off with an added layer of creepy when done by a man.  
And Josh.  Josh, much like Rebecca, doesn't really know that he's searching.  He had a plan. He was happy with his life and because for so much of his adult life he had been with Valencia, he hadn't really noticed that he'd spent the year finding women who he felt like gave him purpose.  
And yeah, to finish this out, we've got to get into the season finale. So, do I think Josh will be a great priest?  No.  (Teacher, quite possibly as his camp and coaching experience have shown.) But for all the differences between Josh and Rebecca, they both had been using each other for validation.  That Josh realized that enough to not go through with the marriage is great.  (It would have been nice if he had realized it enough to tell Rebecca to her face, but baby steps.) 
I hope Josh, and even Trent, find a focus or path that makes them happy.  And again, the lesson that dream ghost therapist imparted in season one is still true, falling in love is not the only way to find a lifelong goal or even a lifelong love.  Josh becoming a priest to get out of the bad habit of turning to the nearest pretty girl for validation is still looking for an external person (be it more godly) to provide him a goal. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Top Chef - The Final Final Four

So, huh.  Brooke won Last Chance Kitchen and its possible that maybe the fact that they keep reminding us that Brooke and Kristen faced off in the finals after Kristen made it back from Last Chance Kitchen and won is a thing.  We had the quickfire which Brooke won.  And we had the elimination challenge where they had to make a margarita and Brooke won.  So obviously being eliminated got her back in the right mental space and ready for finals.  I appreciate what John was trying to do, honor the fact that they were in Mexico and include that.  As with everything, it's easy for me to nitpick from my couch, and if it had been more successful, this is the exact thing he would have been applauded for.  But.  Sometimes, when you are working too far outside your comfort zone and competing against those who are adding local twists to their own stuff, instead of trying to go all in on a cuisine that isn't their strength, well, it doesn't work quite as well.  We are down to the nitpickiest part of the competition.  
I also want to talk a little about the eliminated chef pairing.  This is one of those things that they do on these shows that is frustrating.  I understand it's a game show, and if you just wanted to cook food, you should go on "Iron Chef" or something.  But.  No one thinks that offering chefs the chance to have Katsuji, Sylva, Emily, or Casey help them is the same thing.  And I'm not suggesting that Katsuji did anything to harm John's chances.  
I think Katsuji was aware that he had nothing to gain in this challenge, and that looking like a team player on TV was to his advantage.  But let me go deeper in on the armchair psychology and suggest, based solely on highly edited TV footage that John fell into a trap.  He assumed Katsuji's lack of overt adversity meant Katsuji was cool.  Even going so far as to say, I'm sure you have no hard feelings.  Which in his head was probably clearing the air.  Instead it was him saying let's pretend we're all good, because I prefer that.  And yes, the small amount of time they had to gather up a shopping list was not really best spent trying to create a new working relationship but I can totally say I have been in this moment where someone who recognizes that there is a thing between us that they should address, but mostly thinks it's just a thing that happened that I should be fine with. But I'm standing there thinking in two days I get to hang out on the beach without this guy, I can make it two days, I can do anything for two days.  But then they want to talk about it, only not really.  So John says, in a tone that says of course you do, well that's how the game works and I'm sure you understand I have no hard feelings.  And Katsuji is then forced into a position of either outright lying - oh, it's all cool, wouldn't have it any other way - or doing what he did which was say, well, yes, I'm sure you have no hard feelings because you are still here.  
And then, John, still not fully processing the words that had been said to him, kept saying, see, Katsuji has been a great help.  Katsuji wants me to win. Now, I'm sure some of this was directed at Brooke, who had the unenviable task of assigned assistant chefs, knowing that Katsuji is a strong personality who doesn't always play with others, and that she could either assign him to someone who might then spend the whole challenge trying to tone Katsuji's ideas down or give him to John who may butt heads with him despite his assurances to the camera that he is a kinder, gentler John now.  I would have paired Katsuji with John too.  Because Katsuji and John were going to snipe at each other no matter what, at least this way everyone else could ignore them.  
And look, I think Katsuji was just as much in the wrong in the restaurant wars challenge, and think it's entirely fair that he went home, and obviously he could have come back via Last Chance Kitchen.  But, that doesn't mean that Katsuiji had to both help the chef he most butted heads with maybe make it to the finals.  And if he does, he doesn't have to pretend he doesn't resent their respective positions.  
So, I remain firmly team chef with an S name for the finals.  I am not sad to see John go.  I'm sure in his head he still thinks that saying Katsuji wants him to win was him being a bigger person and not him actually rubbing it in.  I like Brooke too and in the end Brooke, Sheldon, and Shirley have gotten the chance to get back to the finals (or in in Shirley's case) so the finals should make us all jealous that we can't share the food through the screen. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Three Interesting Things

1. Sometimes I think spoiling the messaging of something turns it from fun into vegetables.  I mean I would rather eat delicious cake with carrots, than be offered a batch of carrots for dessert.  But I suppose now that "Dirty Dancing" is thirty we can talk about how the privilege and access to abortion aspects were central parts of the plot
2. This piece about how the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise has accidentally demonstrated structural racism is fascinating.  
3. And if you wanted to watch Oscar nominated "13th", but didn't have a Netflix subscription, they are making it available to non-subscribers. (Warning: Link eventually plays sound.) 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

7 Posts: Rewards and Signs in "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Another aspect of the new and old friendships explored this season in "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" is that it allowed the characters to grow in new ways. Darryl figured out how to bond with Nathaniel.  In Sunil, Paula found someone who saw how much of a helper she was in some of her other relationships. Heather, Valencia, and Rebecca bonded as single women.  But one thing that happens often in media, is that our character shows some growth and then the universe immediately rewards them.  Now in fiction this is kind of a shortcut, the uncaring hero rescues a cat and we all know that he isn't as uncaring as we thought.  The selfish heroine does something selfless, and we all see that she is grown.  Most audience members know that this is a storytelling shortcut, helping one person across the street does not earn you a job promotion.  
But, of course, Rebecca is not your average audience member.  So, she saw that when Paula's trip was in jeopardy now that she had kicked Scott out, Rebecca, swept in and decided to babysit for a weekend, despite her lack of experience. And she was doing pretty well, until she had to stalk Josh.  But even though Tommy was okay and home, Rebecca owned up to misplacing him and turned Josh away in favor of staying to help Paula when Josh realized that Rebecca was the soup fairy who had always cared about him. 
Now, Paula has always been biased about Josh, so she encouraged Rebecca to go after him.  
Love isn't a prize you get for being unselfish.  One of the things that Rebecca and Josh have struggled with is that they are looking for signs instead of looking within themselves.  Josh decided Rebecca being his soup fairy was a sign that she was his one true love and not a sign that she wanted him to get better.  Rebecca decided that Josh proposing was the universe telling her that she didn't have to work on herself but should go get married.  I'm a big believer in signs in fiction and in life.  But it's really easy to interpret the signs in the easy way, in the way that requires the least amount of introspection and work.  Being unselfish, much like relationships in general, is, more than a moment. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

7 Posts: The Nature of Friendship in Crazy Ex-Girfriend

This season "Crazy Ex Girlfriend" went deeper in on the nature of friendship. Part of that is Rebecca has now been there long enough that she has real friends in West Covina.  But we also got to spend more time with Heather, see more of White Josh and Hector, Father Brah, Darryl, and watch Valencia and Rebecca bond over the mutual ex-Josh-ness. We watched Paula bond with new law school friends, especially Sunil, and look at how that changed her relationship with Rebecca, and her husband.  

Some of this is of course because shaking up relationships makes for good TV, but ssh, no one wants to talk about that. (Well, except for the song they sing about the new guy.)  But also, this is very true, friendships go through phases where you spend so much more time with one person, and invariably that has to come at the expense of something or someone else.  Paula going to law school meant she needed friends who were going to law school.  Rebecca needed people who had time to sympathize about her being dumped.  Or just hang out and do single person things with.  

Rebecca and Paula had bonded hard and fast over Rebecca's pursuit of Josh and once that was on hold, it was natural that they would have to reconfigure.   

But the other thing that was apparent this season is that your friends are the ones that get you with all your flaws.  Not exactly a revelation, but they demonstrated it over and over as they tried to step up and step in and help their friends.  When Josh W. stepped in and tried to get Anna to look away from the amateur modeling at the club he was trying to help. Ultimately Anna and Josh were doomed as she began to realize that the refreshingly charming viewpoint Josh often brings to things, is also a lack of depth. Josh is a great guy, don't get me wrong.  Josh W. knew it was doomed, but figured he could maybe save Josh for one more night.  

So friends are the ones who even when they don't think you are making the best choices, try to save you from some of the fallout. 

Monday, February 13, 2017


[Quick programming note:I will get back to the 7 Posts about "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" tomorrow.]
I saw "Roe" at Arena Stage this weekend.  While I am familiar with the outcome of Roe v. Wade, and knew a little about the woman, who for the purposes of the case, was referred to as Jane Roe, but that was kind of it.  The play looks at Sarah Weddington, the lawyer who argued the case, and Norma McCorvey, who was Roe. The pay used a very interactive form of telling these two stories, often directly addressing the audience, working to put the events in context of the era, and often addressing shifts in the information available about certain characters, and also trying to tell each person's story in a way that honored the ways they have chosen to share.  So, we mostly got information about Sarah's professional life, some personal details being revealed later, while Norma we got a lot of information about because she has shared a lot about herself, while Sarah's tried to focus more on the case. 
Norma's longtime partner Connie is also prominent in the play, as are some of the Operation Rescue folks who ended up converting Norma.  (Speaking to the interactivity, there was a moment when Flip comes onstage and thanks the audience for coming out today and asks if the folks in the back can here. Some of the folks in back said yes.  He thanked them.  And then one felt compelled to add, "I don't like what you're saying though." He smiled and thanked her for listening.)
It's a tough thing to try to create a play that accurately reflects the stories of two folks whose lives touched for a huge moment, but otherwise have been very different, and while Sarah remained steadfast on her view of the case and the law, Norma's ideas have changed.  The show is interesting, thought provoking, and the kind of thing folks were talking about in the bathroom line afterwords.  

Friday, February 10, 2017

Top Chef: Secret Family Members

I always take with a grain of salt that the chefs are employing some hindsight in their talking head interviews, given they are filmed after the challenge.  But I choose to believe that Brooke and Sheldon recognized the challenge from it's use in "Top Chef: Masters" and realized that they were dealing with likely cooking newbies who may turn out to be related to them.  Clearly having that many people yelling instructions over walls barely farther away than your average cube space means that noise confusion is a factor along with the shortened time of a quickfire, so few people recognized the voice of their loved one. Also as someone who is really distracted by noises in my workspace, I have some sympathy for Brooke finding Shirley's yelling distracting, although I completely understand why Shirley ignored that.  
But these chefs were all very nice to their mystery person.  (And Shirley's husband saying this is just like our marriage, I do what Shirley tells me, was the cutest.) So Sheldon likely did suspect that was his wife, and seeing the other loved ones revealed to his fellow chef helped.  
I also was fascinated with Sheldon's finding connection between Hawaii and the South as areas with obvious regional influences on their food.  (I say this not just because he referenced Hawaii, but that helps.) And yes, having Shirley and Sheldon in the top two is really the best I could expect. 
Speaking of hindsight, I think Brooke is right that she does better with concrete challenges.  Creating her own challenge by using a combo of things from successful challenges, meant she ran into the editing issue again.  And John looks better now that teamwork isn't really required in the challenges.  I recognize that, this is the difference between being a chef in the real world and being a chef in a competition.  This is the time in the season where Last Chance Kitchen starts to bug me a little. I weirdly, for someone who won't watch it, just want someone who had a weird day early on, or a bad team challenge to fight their way back, rather than the most recent eliminated chef.  It's very backwards logic on my part.  It isn't that I don't want Brooke in the finals, I do.  Of course no matter where they put the cutoff it often is painful, so I will stop worrying over this, and go back to wishing I could eat some of the food. 

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Three Interesting Things

1. I enjoyed this story about a rock opera that covered much of the same territory that "Hidden Figures" does. 
2. I'm thrilled to hear that so many recent visitors to DC donated their Smartrip cards to local charites.  It's a trend I hope continues, and certainly something I'll think of when I make use of public transit cards in other cities. 
3. This quick interview about the woman featured in one of the We The People posters was interesting.  (Warning, after some time the link plays sound.)

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

7 Posts: When You Bring a Friend/Love Home on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

We looked at this a little last season too, when Heather went to visit Greg's mom's family and discovered they were super nice.  This season Rebecca brought Josh home for a family bar mitvah, and hoped that having Josh there would help her stay on a cool California wavelength.  One of my friends said that when she brought her now spouse home to meet her family for the first time, afterwords, her spouse said, wow, you had warned me, but they are quite something.  And I think we all kind of want that.  We all feel misunderstood by our family. (Okay fine, you raising your hand there, have no troubles, so fine, almost all).  Having someone come home and take our side is an amazing thing.  
Yes, Heather set Greg straight.  And Josh was right, that Rebecca wanted to see the worst and the unhappiness, but in his delightful and charming ability to see the best in just about everything, he also couldn't see how her mother's behavior affected Rebecca.  He couldn't see that Rebecca wasn't wrong that her cousin was digging at her unmarried status, and that underneath at least some of the questions about her move to California, were concerns that what she had done was so ridiculous that it must be a sign of mental illness that she should get over. 
Now of course, Rebecca does have some issues that need to be addressed.  And certainly, from her family's perspective, where they have likely only gotten her mother's side of this decision to go to California it doesn't make sense.  Much of the world does not really value, my job was making me unhappy even though I was succeeding and making lots of money, so I quit, and moved across the country to live in a lower stress environment, and because Rebecca doesn't fully understand that that's really what she did, she likely hasn't explained it well. 
But, family also does cause you to regress.  And so Josh in trying to smooth things over for her, smoothed so well, and had so much fun, that Rebecca didn't get to live out her dream of sitting in a corner and bitching about everyone, which likely also isn't a healthy choice.  But it is understandable. 

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

7 Posts: When Your normal Coping Mechanisms Fail You - "Crazy Ex Girlfriend"

We all develop coping mechanisms.  Reading, yoga, blogging, drinking. But eventually, your coping mechanism fails you in some way.  Either there's an event so big, it overwhelms what little comfort you can get, or you just reach a point where you can no longer get yourself to that happy place.  There's not enough yoga, not enough alcohol and so then what.  On After Rebecca's move she had bounced around friends, houses, boyfriends, but the part of her job that had worked was her job. And okay we could argue that it worked because there's a limited number of law firms where spending the day stalking someone would barely be commented on.  But the big fish, little pond metaphor often gets used to look at how going from a small town or school to a large school can cause challenges.  It's very rarely used to look at how maybe some people just do better in smaller or medium sized ponds.  
But then Darryl sold part of the firm, and it ended up in the hands of a more traditional group of hourly and wage driven lawyers.  Or, well, one lawyer who was working to impress his dad.  And in a rare moment of self-reflection Rebecca said, this was everything she moved away from New York to avoid.  But in order to save the folks at the firm, she dug down for her old lawyer ways*, and landed a new client. 
But when the happiness of being with Josh turned out to not be enough, she went back to her therapist.  Finally ready to admit, or think about admitting, that maybe her problems and issues weren't lack of a love interest, but things she needed to look at inside herself.  And then Josh, having had his own revelation, burst in on her therapy and proposed.  But just like last season, I have faith that this is a continuing theme.  

*While Rebecca's money situation came up before, in the way of TV we are just putting that back under the rug and not worrying how Rebecca's salary is supporting pretty much anything this season. I'm sure a roommate helped. 

Monday, February 06, 2017

7 Posts: Addiction in "Crazy Ex-Girfriend"

It was a busy weekend, but the season end of "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" happened so I am going to dive in and do 7 posts again. 
We picked up pretty much where we left off with Rebecca and Josh post-coital in a car and then the realization that maybe sex didn't solve everything as Rebecca started to plan her whole life around Josh and Josh felt the weight of that and then Rebecca trying to dial back her declaration.  But the elephant in the room was that while Rebecca felt that her relationship with Greg was over when she tried to share feelings and he was too drunk to appreciate that, even she knew she had to officially talk to him.  Except he was gone.  Not answering texts or calls.  Not showing up to work. And not answering the door.  So, Rebecca employed her stalking skills and managed to discover he was in AA.  
It turned out to be court mandated, after he woke up just sober enough to realize Rebecca had been trying to share feeling, but apparently not sober enough to drive.  I had hoped that this season might focus really specifically on addiction.  I confess, I always think about one of the interventionists on "Intervention" talking about how love and addiction activate similar pleasure centers in the brain.  And well, Greg sobered up, sang a few songs about how drunk he'd been, and a lovely ditty about toxic relationships, and then went off to pursue his college dreams at Emory. 
This isn't to say they dropped addiction altogether this season, this is to say that the focus shifted back to other coping mechanisms. But I enjoyed it both as an opportunity to see how the viewpoint filter of the show, for all that it shows us, still sometimes only hints at deeper things some of the non-titular characters are experiencing.  After all, it was mildly surprising to discover that Greg had gone well beyond adorable, recreational drunk, but, except to Josh, the signs had all been there. 

Friday, February 03, 2017

Top Chef: Sudden Death Again

Normally, the excess of sudden death quickfires would be eerily reminiscent of the Vegas season where they kept trying to gin up (pun intended) excitement by constantly adding extra elements to the quickfires, which, in my opinion, generally serve two purposes, a chance to give the chefs a silly challenge that doesn't fit well into an elimination challenge (like be blindfolded and taste weird things from last week) and/or to give one chef an easy chance for an advantage.  Sure, there are chefs who are going to do better in fast swift challenges, but as it gets whittled down, that catches up to everyone.  And of course, these are specifically contrived circumstances that have no actual bearing on your ability to make great food. 
But in this case I did feel like there were some chefs I'd be happy to see go, so why not. Although, poor Shirley, I can only imagine that she knew there would be some sort of challenge when she took the motion sickness pills, and she had hoped that being loopy would make her be a better chef, than vomiting on TV would be.  But while she ended, up in the bottom three of the quickfire, she made it out of the cookoff, as did Sylva, leaving Casey to go home.  (Or to Last Chance Kitchen.  Which is starting to sound like a weird western themed bar.) 
And then Shirley and Sheldon made it to the top of the creative brunch elimination challenge, possibly helped by the pills wearing off.  Sylva, John, and Brooke had problems with execution, to varying degrees, although John's seemed to be more of promise, in that he used the word hash and created something not crispy but ultimately tasty.  Where Brooke and Sylva had both had execution problems, and in the end while Brooke's also seemed to be a doomed idea, it was more edible than Sylva's and so the last rookie went home.  I'm sorry to see Sylva go. I'm also sorry that John is getting so much talking head time, and I confess, hoping that ends soon.  Especially since I've been here before, thinking I like 75 percent of the chefs remaining, what could go wrong?  I realize despite his attitude issues in some of the challenges, John hasn't been terrible, but i stand by my right to decide this for myself based on a heavily edited TV show. 

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Three Interesting Things

1.This apology to Muslims for the current administration says many of the things I have been thinking, with the caveat that, as others have pointed out, our losses here are not just because some of these refugees and American residents are delightful folks, but because they are all human.  
2. Buried at the bottom of this article about the new Westminster breeds, is the note that they will include cats.  Wonder who will win?
3. The dictionary continues to be a treasure as they explain that the term snowflake as slang for people was originally used to describe slavery abolitionists.