November 24, 2006

Doesn't Althouse watch any reality shows anymore?

Now that TV seems to be the subject of the day -- TV and leftover squirrelage (≈ squism) -- you may be thinking: Doesn't Althouse watch any reality shows anymore? The fact is I do. Even though I haven't been blogging the weekly episodes, I have two shows that I'm following. (That seems to be my pattern: I like to have two reality shows to watch.)

1. "Top Chef." Great characters this season. The Thanksgiving episode was sublime, with Anthony Bourdain's exquisite insults ("Flintstonian"), Sam pushing Frank's buttons -- toothbrush on the floor! -- to make him terrorize little Marcel, Betty finally revealing the horror behind her ever-present toothy smile. Yummy!

2. "Survivor." I'd avoided watching this show since the first season, but the controversy about dividing the teams up by race made me tune in, and the characters kept me hooked. It's been interesting to see how members of the original (race-based) teams have behaved when the teams have realigned. Obviously, the editors have crafted what we get to hear about racial alliances, so we haven't heard the contestants say much about it (though they did let us hear white people talk about reforming their original team). But we are in a position to observe and talk about it on our own, which I think the producers intended. Ostensibly, however, they want us to see -- and they've edited it to highlight -- that everyone is an individual.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

ITA, the Thanksgiving episode of "Top Chef" was fantastic. I was surprised at how vicious Betty was to Marcel -- I was really hoping she'd be knife'd after her tirade. It's not cute in the least that the best term I can think of to describe her is "petty" -- she doesn't like Marcel and refuses to give him credit for being one of the most innovative and attentive to the task they were given. And she tried to blame others for the carmelization problems with her dessert! She has completely squandered the good will she may have generated before.

I loved how Elya turned her attitude around after talking to Chef Paul about his opinion of Cliff's quickfire dish: she hated it, but she could see that he really did like it. But even when she had a bad attitude, she paid attention to the cooking! The food needs to come first.

Joe Baby said...

How's the hostess on Top Chef? Ingratiating, or grating?

I'm just amazed that this woman led Salman Rushdie to threaten a writer with violence for something he published.

Bruce Hayden said...

Ann, I find it interesting how you now talk about yourself in the 3rd person as "Althouse". I presume it is because of the increasing prominence of this blog, with that name. At first, I thought that it was that you were commenting about what your blog by that name said, but realistically, here you are talking about yourself in the 3rd person.

Not a complaint, mind you, but rather an observation, esp. since a lot of people thought that Bob Dole was a bit odd when he did it.

Cedarford said...

Top Chef is a pretty enjoyable show, though this year it seems more contrived dramatic situations and shit food served than an actual competition designed to find a real Top Chef standing out from other top cookers in an entertaining show..

1st season, there were seriously good dishes competing against other real culinary works. Even the "villains" aside from psycho Ken seemed to have potential or were good in their niche area of expertise - quirky elsewhere.

This season, there have been seriously few dishes that make me go "Wow!".

It was if Harold could outdo an excellent offering from Leanne Wong or the bitch Tiffani with occasional dark horses rising with a special dish and beating out the Top talented 3. (Miguel, Stephen, and Dave were occasional winners)

I did like the guest Chef and his elevation of Michael (Flounder at TWOP) to avante-guarde status based on his sheer contrarian retro, "Flintstonian" methodology. Guy had some zingers. The love child of Betty Crocker and Charlie Manson...

Jim Hu said...

Er... I thought she was quoting what she imagines is going through our minds.

Top Chef really needs someone in the Tim Gunn role. Tom can't do it since he can't give guidance and also be a judge.

Bruce Hayden said...

Jim Hu,

Most probably, it is just the way that "Doesn't Althouse watch any reality shows anymore?" seemed to come out to me. It probably wouldn't have jumped out to me if she had used "Prof. Althouse" or "Ann", instead of "Althouse".

As I noted, this is not a criticism, just an observation. Actually, I think it charming more than anything.

Ann Althouse said...

Bruce, Jim is right. Isn't it obvious that I'm playing a hypothetical person asking a question about me? It can't be just me talking about myself in the 3d person, because I would not have had that question about myself.

As to why I don't call myself "Ann" -- "Ann" is not the persona I've adopted as a blogger. People keep calling me "Ann," but I have never encouraged it. I keep prompting people to call me "Althouse," so my question for you is why don't you pick up the prompt? I simply do not think of myself as "Ann," and I don't present myself as "Ann" here. I'm not trying to be unfriendly or standoffish in this. The blog is "Althouse" and I believe I've always referred to myself as "Althouse" (or occasionally "Professor Althouse).

Anonymous said...

Professor A: speaking only for myself, the reason I call you "Ann" is that your Blogger identity is "Ann Althouse." If you really want people to call you "Althouse," change your blogger id to read "Althouse" and you'll find that more people use that name only.

But of course now that I've been calling you "Ann" for what, two years? now, it would seem rude and awkward to start calling you "Althouse" sans title. But if that is what you prefer I will happily switch to "Professor Althouse" or variants thereof.

I confess to being quite dense because I have never once caught anything resembling a "prompt" to call you Althouse. When you have referred to "Althouse" in the past, I have always thought you were talking about the blog itself. Usually it is unambiguous: "Here at Althouse...", "Today on Althouse..." This particular post is different because "watch" obviously is not something a blog can do.

I think it's interesting that you don't think of yourself as "Ann".

Back to Top Chef -- I'm looking forward to catching Season 1 when Bravo inevitably re-runs it. I agree that the cooking has been really unimpressive this season. When even a rank amateur like me can look at something and say "That just doesn't work," you know there's a lot of room for improvement. I haven't been "wowed" yet.

rhodeymark1 said...

Cedarford - sounds like you are missing Anthony Bourdain's show on the Travel Channel. He used to do "A Cook's Tour" on Food Network, but his new one is edgier, with lots of his biting wit. Highly recommended.

Noted - aside from Marcel's failed "turstuffet" and Mike's non-phallic amuse bouche, the lack of imagination on display was astounding.

LoafingOaf said...

I'm rooting for Ozzy and Yul! Ozzy is good at everything and I love Yul for successfully throwing a monkey wrench into things this week, getting Jonathan to switch again. Sometimes Survivor seasons get lame because people are afraid to make bold moves after the tribes merge. I hope they separate the lovey-dovey couple next time.

---

My instincts were to call Althouse "Althouse" but I've always switched it to "Ann" because I saw others doing that and didn't wanna be rude. Glad it's cleared up. And glad Althouse is back to reality TV blogging. :)

I guess it would be tough to get her to watch Real World: Denver, but the first episode was funny. One guy got it on with two of his roomies on the first night, and the women are already gossiping about his penis. He's gonna be the boy toy of the house! Or the cause of much drama?

And um...wasn't there supposed to be a new Apprentice??

Ann Althouse said...

Loafing: Yeah, I love Yul and Ozzy. I even love Jonathan. Yul won me over when he figured out the clue to find the idol, and he's been brilliant ever since. (Why elephants don't climb trees... I love it!) And Ozzy is just so good with the swimming and the tree-climbing... and the pole clinging.

Jim Hu said...

Trees? Elephants don't even climb hills

[I don't watch Survivor so I'm guessing there is something I'm missing]

Simon said...

"But of course now that I've been calling you 'Ann' for what, two years? now, it would seem rude and awkward to start calling you 'Althouse' sans title. But if that is what you prefer I will happily switch to 'Professor Althouse' or variants thereof."

That was precisely my thought, too. So is the rule now first name out, surname in?

Ann Althouse said...

It's okay to call me Ann, just don't criticize me for calling myself Althouse!

JenL said...

Top Chef really needs someone in the Tim Gunn role. Tom can't do it since he can't give guidance and also be a judge.

I don't think that would work without significantly more time allowed for the challenges (which would probably be a good thing, actually). As things stand now, in the Quickfire challenges, there's barely enough time to cook and any time spent planning is using up cooking time.

Even in the elimination challenges, they are given a very limited amount of time. This time they had 1 hour the first day, overnight to think about it, and 4 hours the next day.

In order to allow for Tim-Gunn-style mentoring (the "you might want to rethink this"), there would have to be enough time to let the chefs think and make changes.

Mike said...

Ann said: "Obviously, the editors have crafted what we get to hear about racial alliances, so we haven't heard the contestants say much about it (though they did let us hear white people talk about reforming their original team)."

Ann, as a long time Survivor watcher (only reality show I watch) I would council you not to read too much into this. It's classic Survivor strategy to try and maintain or reform bonds formed with a group early in the game.