Saturday, December 12, 2009

Top Chef: Excellent, but entirely scripted

Regardless of the b.s. I view on "Top Chef" and "Project Runway," I will enjoy those shows. The truth is that I like sophisticated food and high fashion, and so I watch those shows, even though I have to put up with the genre of reality TV.

But let's get serious. Although I cook daily and subscribe to "Vogue," sophisticated food and high fashion can be boring if not packaged with reality TV.

Earlier this week, Michael Voltaggio was crowned the sixth Top Chef. I predicted he would be the winner, and I pretty much predicted every elimination this entire season because of this reason: THE SHOW KEEPS THE CHEFS WHO ARE THE MOST INTERESTING.

Hands down, Michael Voltaggio, the younger of the two Voltaggio brothers on the show, was the most intriguing personality on the show. He's got a sleeve of tattoos, hardly has a formal education and tries a lot of wacky stuff with food. Plus, the other two in the final, Bryan Voltaggio and Kevin Gillespie, were flawed.

Bryan Voltaggio is a solid chef, but he's married with a kid and does not nearly have the rock star potential as his younger brother. Kevin Gillespie is a fatty.

During one night of many drinks, I met a producer for "Gene Simmons Family Jewels." The following conversation occurred:

Snooze Button Generation: What do you mean the entire show is scripted?
Producer: It's all scripted. Every single scene.
SBG: You mean even the ones that look like candid interaction.
Producer: Yes, even those. Every scene in reality TV is scripted. You didn't know that?

I guess I was naive to think it was "real" with ad-lib moments. Still, I like "Top Chef" and "Project Runway," but there will never be a time when an endearing contestant is kicked off prematurely. Hence, the lengthy stay of Fabio Viviani in the previous Top Chef contest. He lost right before the final three, and I believe Top Chef producers wanted him to be the winner. But his skill level wasn't close enough to the others to justify him winning.

My theory about Fabio might be spot-on as evidenced by this scathing restaurant review in the L.A. Times that came out a week after this post: http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo-review16-2009dec16,0,5582075.story

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