Category Archives: Television

We Watch The Taste: Episode 3

I may have an unhealthy addiction to cooking competition shows, but now I’m being enabled as Autumn, Alex, and myself all watch this new show. The Taste is like The Voice meets Masterchef, where the judges each have a team and the judging is done blind. Since lack of blind judging has been a major complaint on shows like Top Chef, I’m excited to see a show were personal bias is as close to eliminated as humanly possible.

We’re starting with the third episode, which is the first official episode. The first two were the frustrating and annoying audition rounds. Our four judges seemed determined to hold out for some culinary genius that never came, saying repeatedly that food was good but they passed. But! That part is over and now we’re on to the good stuff.

Favorite Team/Mentor:

Autumn: Nigella; Bourdain a close second. They both are very much anti-pretentious–the arrogant professional chefs who did not make it onto the teams get quite a public shaming on this show. Nigella is a home cook and is patron saint of home cooks so it feels like rooting for the underdog.

Alex: For me it would be Malarkey. But to be honest some of that is because of the name. I wasn’t familiar with the other chefs aside from Bourdain before this show, and I’m not a fan of Bourdain. I do like Malarkey’s style though and the kind of food he is looking for from his team.

Tori: I’m totally Team Ludo. He seems to think this some incarnation of Hell’s Kitchen where he needs to berate his team into not failing. It’s a terrible strategy but I have an affinity for people on reality shows who try to play the game, even when it’s the wrong game. Hell, especially when it’s the wrong game. I also adore Bourdain and he’s always a favorite guest judge on Top Chef but I unfairly blame him for the level of snark in TC judging now: like they saw how popular he was and decided that was the way to go.

We're all rooting for you, Lauren. Don't screw this up.

Favorite Individual Cheftestants:

Autumn: Lauren (Team Nigella), Uno (Team Bourdain). Lauren is a home cook and I personally worry about the range of her repetoire–this is something I identify with while watching her compete. Uno’s use of organ meats in her dish made her an obvious choice for Bourdain. I like cooks that can use “icky” ingredients successfully.

Alex: Khristianne Uy from Team Malarkey. Duck Fat seared Scallops? I don’t even like scallops and I want those in my mouth. Also she had to put up with Charlie Sheen, so obviously she can handle any of the crap these guys put her through. I also like Lauren Scott from Team Nigella, because she is young and yet is so passionate about food. I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with!

Tori: I love Khristianne (Team Malarkey). She seems to have a unique culinary point of view which is the judge way of saying I want to eat her food. I have an irrational love for Jeff because he reminds me of Ben Wyatt from Parks and Rec. I share the Lauren love, but I also love of the nerdier guys like Paul. I was totally ready rake Paul over the coals for calling Sarah a damsel in distress but then they cut to her holding a towel that was on fire, and then another towel catches fire on her station, and I was like, “Okay, Paul. You win this round.” Diane drives me nuts. I appreciate her desire to be a personality but she grates, which is too bad because her food might be awesome. It’s too early for me to pick an outright favorite though.

Overall Initial Thoughts and Impressions:

Autumn: I absolutely adore the attempt at blinding in this show. Having studied neuroscience I know how crucial this is to judging something fairly. I do have to say that the professional guest chef judging the teams’ dishes while standing in front of the contestants is not blinded. I understand why this was done for the sake of drama, but why sacrifice the show’s major strength–its testament to objectivity?

Alex: I didn’t dig the first two episodes, but after seeing the first episode of the teams working together I think my opinion of the show will be changed. I love cooking shows, and contest cooking shows, so I don’t see what I wouldn’t like. I also like the idea of the judges not knowing who prepared the dishes – it means less bias and more concentration on the food. I do feel that should continue to be the main focus of the show as it progresses.

Tori: I love the idea of blind tasting to foster fair judging based solely on the food. I also like the challenge of the cheftestants having to fit their flavor profile into “one bite” on a spoon. It means they really have to think about each element. I’m hoping that as the show goes on, teams band together and learn from mistakes, rather than it turning into senseless shouty drama.

Are you watching The Taste? What do you think so far? Who are your favorite mentors/cheftestants?

First Impressions: Magi – The Labyrinth of Magic Anime

Image from project-maji.com

At Yaoi Con last year, I saw lots of cosplay from this manga. After looking into it I had seen that it had just started as an anime in October! So of course I added it to my Cruncyroll queue, because the character design looked right up my alley. So far, I’ve been right!

From what I have gathered, it includes a mixture of different characters from One Thousand and One Arabian Nights. Two of the main characters are Aladdin and Alibaba. But the main plot seems to be something completely different, despite the familiar characters.

I did my thing again where I just jumped into this show, without looking into it. I do enjoy that because it leaves a lot up in the air for me – I don’t know what’s coming next. Of course sometimes this has a downside, because of the potential confusion.

But anyways, I jumped. I’m four episodes in, and I am enjoying it! I still feel like the overall goal of the show is a bit uncertain, but I think in the next episode we will get there. And they have already revealed some of the characters we will meet in the future, and let me tell you.

I think I can stick around for awhile at least.

Why hello.

Hello to you, too.

 

Recap: Top Chef Seattle 10:5: Pike Place Problems

I meant to start recapping this season from the get-go because I am a huge Top Chef fan and I live in Seattle, but the first episode took place in Vegas and then they brought in the TWIST and I got depressed. The Twist was that after determining which cheftestants would make it to Seattle, and the show brought back three cheftestants from some of the earlier seasons (CJ, Season 3; Josie, Season 2; and Stefan, Season 5.)

I hate this. I was so irrationally angry when it happened that I actually paused the episode and ranted to my poor roommate. Here’s why: It’s not fair to anyone. It’s not fair to the returning cheftestants, who have a history with the judges and will be judged based on previous performance. It’s not fair to the judges to ask them to try and forget those preconceived notions. And it’s not fair to the new cheftestants who are finally getting their chance. Want to bring back people from previous seasons? Do another round of All-Stars or a Top Chef: SECOND CHANCE. Anhow. I got over it. So I’m here. FOR THE FOOD, Bravo, not the drama. Let’s begin.

Episode 5: Pike Place Market

We open with the cheftestans discussing their previous challenge. Tyler observes that being on top on day means nothing, since you can still get eliminated the next day. Glad we’ve cleared that up.

It’s Stefan’s 40th birthday, and apparently during his season, every chef who had a birthday during filming got eliminated on that day. He calls it the Birthday Curse and he’s worried.

The chefs arrive at Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market. You know, the fishing throwing place that you always see clips of on Food Network. It’s actually a lot more than a few fish stands, including lots of produce stands, flower stands, crafts, restaurants, and a whole bunch of local stores (including an awesome comic book store that is not shown). Today’s guest judge is local chef Daisley Gordon, who owns two restaurants in Pike Place, Marché and Café Champagne.

Quickfire Challenge! The cheftestants pair off and will compete in teams of two. Chef Gordon has provided them with a pantry and they have to set up kitchenettes using equipment from Sur La Table, which is up the hill in the Market. Josh and his mustache gets stuck with Tesar, whom he’s had some drama with already. This will end well. Each team has to make breakfast on a stick for the Market workers. The winning team gets immunity.

By the time Danyele and Liz get to the pantry, the eggs and dairy are gone, so they decide to do a European breakfast. Bart wants to do a twist on spinach and eggs. There’s total chaos at Sur La Table, where CJ steals a griddle from someone. Ruthless. Brooke has known Stefan for years so she knows how to get along with him. Actually getting along with your fellow chefs is a depressingly huge plus on this show. Seriously, guys, it’s easier if you work together. Bart drops his sandwich press and thinks it might be broken, but it’s okay.

  • Josh & Tesar – Mini breakfast taco with quail eggs and chorizo and an avocado relish. It looks really good. Chef Gordon likes the seasoning. 
  • Eliza & Josie – Ricotta, raspberry, and sausage pancake with a jalapeno syrup. They had me til jalapeno syrup. It doesn’t stay on the stick and Padma points out it looks like a layer cake. Gordon seems underwhelmed. 
  • Micah & Kristen – Bacon and cinnamon waffle with berry jam. 
  • CJ & Tyler – Salmon cream cheese crepe that miraculously stays on the stick. CJ says he really wants the win. Padma is like “DUH.”
  • Bart & Sheldon – Green forest sandwich with eggs, cheese, bacon, pancetta, and spinach. It looks really good. I want one in my face. Gordon calls it clever.
  • Danyele & Lizzie – Summer berries with crispy pancetta. This is easily the least ambitious dish of the day. I get that they missed out on eggs and such but it’s kind of a sad offering. Gordon likes it anyhow.
  • Brooke & Stefan – Pressed Croque Monsieur with fig on challah bread.

Disappointing teams: Danyele & Lizzie, for their scarce berries (no surprise), and Josie & Eliza for their ricotta pancake. Favorites: Sheldon & Bart’s green forest sandwich and Josh & Tesar, for their taco. Winners: Sheldon & Bart. CJ is visibly pissed off. Sorry, dude, your salmon wasn’t as good as the sandwich or mini tacos.

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So You Think You Can Dance – My Favorites

I know I know. This show was over months ago. However, whatever deal Fox struck with Hulu was redonk and resulted in Hulu users getting a new episode A MONTH after its air date.

So I was a bit behind. But no more! Hulu finally aired the season finale. o/

But I am here to talk about the dances, and the ones that I felt were the most emotional, the most entertaining, etc.

An interesting thing about this season was that the judges selected their personal favorite numbers from the previous seasons for the dancers to perform. This was definitely both a good and bad thing. On one hand, some of these numbers were amazing. ON the other, it was a lot to live up to.

Alex and Eliana working it

First up of my favorites is a number with All Star Alex. I love Alex. I think he is amazing. And I am glad that he is one of the All Stars they brought back for routines. He had entered the competition a few years ago, but a torn Achilles heel knocked him out. I was so sad when that happened, but am happy to see him on the stage again.

Bang Bang [My Baby Shot Me Down] with Alex and Eliana

Eliana is a classically trained ballerina, and has amazing skills. This number though shows her really broken down, not dancing pretty, but rough and emotional. I loved it.

My biggest jaw dropping moment was when the two female finalists were dancing a classic broadway number from Chicago, but with a pole. Also, I love Chicago.

When You’re Good To Mama with Tiffany and Eliana

But it wasn’t a strip tease; they used the pole in a way that made sense for the number [I felt]. And it definitely looked like it took a LOT of strength and working together to make sure they were in sync.

So sexy

My favorite routine that was a previous season number was by Lindsay and Cooper. They had the Mia Michaels number that was originally done by Kayla And Kupono in season 5. This still gives me chills; it’s so raw and emotional. And I really liked Cole’s interpretation of addiction. In the end, I do think that the original was the most intense, but I do think they did a great job.

Gravity with Lindsay and Cole

Gravity with Kayla and Kupono

As far as group numbers, I really like the NappyTabs routine. I have seen this song used 398749876 times at dance competitions, but I liked the version used here and the choreography in that it felt like something I hadn’t seen before.

The Beautiful People [District 78 Remix] with the Top 20

I also have to give a shout out to the show for the fact that they took advantage of having TWO ballet dancers in the top 20 and had them do a duet. I was ridiculously giddy when they said it would be from The Nutcracker. I have seen that ballet so many times I can’t even count anymore.

The Nutcracker Suite Pas de Deux with Eliana and Cheyon

Overall, the reason I love this show continues to hold strong – you have to be talented to make it. This talent can’t be faked. I wish that the deal with Hulu was different so that I didn’t have to wait so long to see the whole season!

I won’t spoil who won just in case, but you should definitely check out the show!

Anime Review: Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi [World’s Greatest First Love]

In my quest to try to branch out and watch new anime, I decided to suck it up and try watching one based on a boys-love manga. Now, I know that I read a lot of LGBT books, but I have a serious problem with most Japanese boys-love anime/manga. This problem mainly comes from the fact that one person is almost always fighting back. If there is one thing that I can’t handle, it’s anything even remotely close to forced intimacy. Can’t do it. Nope.

Aww look he's so embarrassed!

I decided to give this one a try, and knew that when it got too bad, it would be done for me. However, I ended up finishing both seasons [24 episodes total]. That alone should say something.

Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi was originally a manga and made into an anime last year. The storyline follows three main “couples” that all happen to be involved somehow with Marukawa Publishing. If that name sounds familiar to you, it’s because it was the same company in Junjou Romantica – this anime is actually a spin off of it. Junjou Romantica is actually one of the animes that I couldn’t finish, so this wasn’t something that stood out to me right away.

I will admit that I was a little confused by the different storylines at first, and had to actually make a chart to keep track. This way I could make notes about the specific story line, instead of each episode. I have never watched soap operas, but I imagine that people who do might experience the same problem. So I am going to go about this couple by couple after the jump. It’s easy to talk about these couples separately because only once do stories actually overlap.

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What I Managed To See At Comic-Con [Part 2] – Supernatural Panel

It’s possible that you’ve heard the rumors of how crazy busy San Diego Comic-Con, or you’ve experienced it firsthand. This year was my first full year at the con, but I had tried to get into panels the last time I went to no avail.

This time, I was determined. I would get into the Supernatural panel in Hall H. The biggest hall there is.

Some of the obstacles in my plan were the panels that Supernatural was sandwiched between: Fringe [which is having its final season this Fall] and Dr. Who.

I felt defeated almost immediately when I read the panel schedule. But I vowed I would make it work still. I thought, 4am on Sunday. That time should be fine to get into an 11am panel.

Saturday night rolls around, and I see on Facebook that a friend is already in line for Hall H. I message her asking how the line is, informing her of my plans.

“I would be there around 12:30 if I were you.”

At this point it is 9:15ish. I sit on my bed in my hotel room a moment, and decide if this is what I want to do.

Okay, plan made. I set my alarm for midnight. I pack up everything. I throw my make up into my purse. I managed to sleep for almost 2 hours.

Then I got up and sat there once again on my bed, debating my situation. You see, I wasn’t prepared for camping out. I had no pillows, no sleeping bags, no blankets. Hell, I didn’t even have SOCKS. But that’s partly because I hate shoes and actually hardly own any socks, and what I do own is completely mismatched [oh the life of Orange County folk].

But I decide. Fuck it. I’m going. I get my stuff checked behind the counter [because check out is before I would get back from the panel if I went through with this], and get on the shuttle to the convention center, and make my way to the end of the line that is already across the street.

Part of my view for the next 7 hours.

At first I didn’t think it would be so bad. At 1am I wasn’t freezing cold, despite being outside near the ocean. I was wearing two jackets, so I thought I could hang around all those young whipper-snappers waiting around me.

I chatted with two young folk behind me, and then started reading some, listening to music, etc to wait until I was really exhausted before I attempted to get sleep. Around 2am I decided to try sleeping, only, I didn’t have any means to do that comfortably. I sucked it up and used my purse as a pillow, curling up on the cement. CEMENT. I swear to you I was taking some sort of crazy pills to think this was a great idea.

About an hour after torturing myself in this way, the temperature rapidly dropped and a wind kicked in. Eff you, Mother Nature. Eff. You. So now I was sleeping on cement, sore, and freezing.

But then the kindness of fellow geeks showed itself. The two people behind me had packed extra socks, and I was not ashamed by then to take their offer to help get me warm. They were clean, I swear.

Then, the group in front of me offered one of their chairs, as someone was going to sleep and didn’t need it. So now I was off the stupid cement, curled up in a chair, with socks on my feet. I am extremely grateful to these people, because my stupid old body probably wouldn’t have done well the next day without them. So I managed to get some sort of half sleep for the next few hours until the sun came up, and my friends were on their way with an offering of Starbucks.

It makes a sharp left turn at the corner and continues down along the marina.

I was glad that I gotten in line though when I looked up and saw how the line had progressed in my sleep.

I couldn’t even believe the size of it.

Around 8am the con workers compressed the line, since it was partly spread out due to people laying out tents, sleeping bags, tables, etc. By the time we stopped walking, we were very close to the front of the line, and I was ecstatic in my sleep deprivation and caffeine high that my crazy was seeming to pay off.

But that doesn’t mean it still wasn’t crazy. I just want to point out that I don’t in any way agree with the way that Comic-Con runs their large panels. I think it’s questionable that they are okay with people needing to camp out for 12+hours [as some did] to get into panels. I don’t necessarily have a solution for them, but I really wish that they would start to think of something so that people could get into the panels they wanted without having to camp out and squat in panels they may not want to even see. I had to get spoiled for Fringe because I had to sit through the panel, and that was a bummer.

/end rant

In the end, I got a great seat for the Supernatural panel. I’ve been watching since season 2, if I remember correctly, and the fandom is full of amazing people. And also these boys are just so damn pretty.

Misha Collins, who plays Castiel

The panel itself didn’t bear a lot of news though. This was mostly due to the fact that season 7 is over, and season 8 hasn’t started filming yet, so no one could talk about anything really without giving away major spoilers. They gave some vague insight into what season 8 could hold, and did mention they would be stepping back from the heavy mythology of the past few seasons, which is something I am actually looking forward to – as long as I get to keep Castiel and Dean.

Despite their limitations, the cast was quirky and adorable, Misha is just a giant troll and Jared is a big ol’ moose ham. But Jensen is still a surreal level of gorgeous.

Mark Sheppard, Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins

This is taken without zoom. WITHOUT. ZOOM. Crazy!

So in the end, I have decided that this bout of craziness was, in fact worth it, to have the experience and to say I have done it. But would I do it again?

No.

I will probably not go to another big panel at Comic-Con until there is a way of getting in that doesn’t include me needing to sleep outside on the sidewalk. I’m just too old for that shit.

Pretty much.

My Thoughts On Breaking Pointe

 

So Breaking Pointe is over, and I’m actually a bit bummed. It felt so short! Which I think is the first sign that I enjoyed this show.

There were only six episodes as the cameras were only allowed in for 6 weeks. If you think about it, that’s a really crazy schedule, considering that we got to see the dancers from auditions to learning the dances, to closing night.

The show was an amazing look into the world of a working ballet company. I feel like it’s something that every girl who is currently in ballet should watch, because it gives that look behind the curtain that could be a good push to either wanting to go into ballet professionally or not. It revealed how the ballet company works [at least this one in particular] as far as being employed with one, and really shows the stress dancers can go through.

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