Top Chef Reunion: Watch What Happens
Jaimie: Season 5 of Top Chef has reached its inevitable, if disappointing conclusion, which naturally means…Reunion Special! J.B. and I sat down to discuss the Reunion, following our wrap up of the season in our most recent episode of Poptimal’s The J Factor. We couldn’t possibly let Andy Cohen, of all people, have the last say. J.B., are you ready to make the Reunion Special sound more entertaining than it really was?
J.B.: Wait, I don’t think I have enough vodka in the house to make it entertaining.
Jaimie: So, let me guess: You didn’t like it.
J.B.: I miss the days when they let them drink during the taping. Now it’s just a sappy infomercial and a way to hock lousy, trite t-shirts.
Jaimie: Agreed, but to be fair I’d consider buying the I heart Fabio t-shirt. Because I do.
J.B.: I’ll give you that. I was pleased that he won the Fan Favorite.
Jaimie: I thought Crazy Carla had a good chance of pulling out a win too, since she came so close to almost winning. Her messing up in the finale still drives me crazy. But I’m glad Fabio won.
How pissed did Dr. Chase, aka Jeff, look?
J.B.: I think that’s just how he looks, which is better than the deer-in-the-headlights expression he had when asked about his negative comments about Tom.
Jaimie: Hilarious. I’m so glad they did that.
J.B.: Which was almost as awkward as Leah telling them to shut the f-ing cameras off when they were showing her makeout scene with Hosea.
Jaimie: Also funny. What did she expect? That no one would bring it up?
J.B.: Come on. They should have practiced their answers a little more.
Jaimie: I think Hosea did. Leah must have thought that playing things off the cuff would be fine. Because that’s worked so well for her. Though I could care less about her and Hosea. I enjoyed the Euro-bromance montage of Fabio and Stefan.
J.B.: Yes, that was entertaining but only because Fabio and Stefan have good-correction: entertaining-personalities.
Now here’s a question: Of everyone in the back row, who didn’t you recognize?
Jaimie: It took me a little while to remember … crap, what was her name? Eliminated first, next to Daniel? Lauren, that was it. I don’t think we lost anything, personality-wise, with her early departure.
J.B.: I remembered the apple lady and the first victim of Team Rainbow. The one who was all the way to the left. Was that Jill? It could have been a member of the crew. I wouldn’t have known the difference.
Melissa was there but with better hair and fewer tacos.
Jaimie: I had forgotten about Jill, sitting next to Boring Melissa. Jill of the ostrich egg.
J.B.: Ohhhhhhh, forgot about the ostrich egg.
Jaimie: I did like one comment that Toby made about the finale-that Hosea won basically because he had a good day, and Carla and Stefan didn’t.
J.B.: First good thing he said all season.
Jaimie: Which would seem to imply that Hosea only won by accident.
J.B.: Didn’t he? I mean, he has talent, but as we said on the last episode of The J Factor, he was consistent and they weren’t.
Jaimie: Yes. I’m still disappointed with his win though.
One thing I liked about this reunion was that everyone seemed to genuinely like each other, based on the laughter and the teasing. People even seemed to like Stefan, which supports the idea that they edited him to be the villain, as opposed to his really being a complete jerk.
J.B.: I think his so-called villainy was over-hyped.
Jaimie: I’m sure he was still cocky and over the top, but he seems more likable than the producers would have had us believe.
J.B.: Exactly. I feel like that happened on Project Runway with Santino. Now I’m sad that I could make that connection. Sorry for that tangent.
Jaimie: Was there anything in the reunion that added to your overall enjoyment of the season?
J.B.: I realized how much I missed Gail, which is so weird to type.
Other than that, it just felt like those awful infomercials where they’re selling something you don’t need (and probably doesn’t work right), but it only costs four easy payments of $19.99.
Jaimie: I agree. They gave us a little more insight into the behind the scenes happenings, but if you’re not going to get to the heart of the rivalries and what people said and did, then who cares? We all know they’re bored to death in the Stew Room, I don’t need a montage.
J.B.: I think that Stew Room footage would have been better in an actual episode. I would have enjoyed that over some of the unnecessary “bonus footage” we were treated to this year.
Jaimie: I think there’s been no word yet on a new season?
J.B.: No, I haven’t heard anything about it. But I know for all my complaining, I’m sure I’ll keep on watching . . . and complaining.
Jaimie: So, the Reunion Special delivers only a couple of nice moments, falling as flat as the finale in terms of entertainment value. At least we watched Fabio win the $10,000 Fan Favorite prize.
J.B.: All right, then, this is The J Factor putting the final nail in this season of Top Chef.
Season 5, Episode 15: Reunion: Watch What Happens (originally aired March 4, 2009)
Listen to The J Factor with J.B. and Jaimie here or on iTunes.
For more on Top Chef, click here.
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Photographs courtesy of NBC Universal, Barbara Nitke