Given how fractious and tearful this season of “Top Chef” was, I had high hopes for the reunion show. Surely the big issue of how the mean girls behaved themselves would be covered in depth, right? And Bev would have her moment to call out all the haters and disbelievers, right? Um, well, sort of, but not really. Sadly, this reunion show was more about joking around, cute clip montages and some tears over things that viewers weren’t fully aware of, which left me with more questions than when I began. Not as bad as a dish made with frozen shrimp, but not great.
We kicked things off with Paul recounting his winnings ($185,000, a Prius and a trip to Costa Rica) and then moved right on to an accusation made by someone in production that Sarah had told a judge to F off after she came in second place. Wow, that’s news. Sarah at first denies that it happened, then denies that she meant it if she did, then starts crying that it’s a bleepy thing for Andy to even bring up, then says that she loves Emeril. Okay, simple math leads me to believe Sarah told Emeril to F off. But why? Just because she was eliminated? Because he made a bam joke?
Emeril isn’t saying, because he’s taking this opportunity to talk slowly and carefully to Sarah as if she’s a mental patient and let her know he thinks she makes great food. Somehow calling Sarah out for being a prissy little brat after Paul won has become all about reassuring her that she’s fabulous. Seriously? Hey, this seems like a good time to bring up the fact that Sarah (especially when combined with Heather and Lindsay) was consistently bitchy throughout the season. Where’s my montage of THAT?
Well, it’s not coming. Instead, we see a fake-funny promo for “Mediocre Chef,” Grayson being foul-mouthed, discover that Ty-lor posed for beefcake shots with his pants down, Malibu Chris lost 70 pounds to become a hotty and he’s still single, and Lindsay had to get drunk on Wednesday nights to get through the show. It’s all very cute and has very little to do with the core issues this season of “Top Chef” brought to the fore — bullying, why women can’t be supportive of one another, that sort of thing.
Oh, wait! Bev is finally the topic du jour. Do the women feel badly about being ruthlessly mean to her? Lindsay explains that she was TIRED. That’s all, just TIRED. Bev admits that watching her clip reel made her a little sad, because some people were mean, but she loved how others (read: Grayson) had her back. What really bothered her? Being criticized about her work ethic. And who did that? Bev won’t name names, but Andy will – Heather. In fact, we get to watch Heather criticizing Bev’s work ethic. Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. It’s Heather’s chance to admit that maybe she was too rough on Bev, or that being a woman in a male dominated field has forced her to be hard and critical, or really, anything other than what we get…
… which is that she stands by what she said. She’s just honest, and she thought Bev should have tried harder. Sure, attacking a fellow teammate for no reason in front of the judges (a decision that to this day still seems to offend Tom) was dumb, but she’s not apologizing. Heather just smiles and laughs, as if to convince us that she isn’t pretty much pure evil.
The judges look horrified, and Gail goes so far as to compliment Bev for being graceful under pressure, which is her way of saying, “So glad you didn’t bring a boning knife with you to the reunion show.” Briefly, Andy tosses out the fact that the mean girls got plenty of guff online (and Heather got a death threat), as if we’re all supposed to feel for Sarah, Lindsay and Heather. Their feelings were hurt, too! Boo hoo.
So, after a few short minutes, the issue of Bev and the Mean Girls is briefly examined, tossed aside, and we move on to reveal that Gail has written a book. There are a few other noteworthy moments, such as Padma seemingly hitting on Charlize Theron, but otherwise, that’s the end. I said it wasn’t a particularly satisfying reunion.
Do you think the Mean Girls should have had to answer for their answers? What do you really think happened between Sarah and Emeril? Was there anyone you really wanted to hear from who didn’t speak?