topchefmasters1TCM starts tonight, but I can’t tell you who’s going to be on because Bravo has unhelpfully declined to let us know in advance.

All we know: there will be four chefs, Kelly Choi’s planetoid of a head and, god willing, the wonderful tag team that is Gael Greene’s hat and James Oseland, AKA not-Bob Balaban.

See you at 11!

NOTE: My proofreader is going to bed – stupid 11pm start time – so this post might be error-ridden until he gets to it tomorrow.

11:00: I’m pleased/scared to see that Kelly’s head and neck retain their orange-on-a-toothpick quality

I was wrong before: there won’t be four chefs, there will be six.

11:03: Tonight (all spellings provisional) Govind Armstrong, Susan Feneger, Ana Sortun, Jerry Trunfeld,  Jimmy Bradley, and Tony Mantuano.

QUICKFIRE: Everyone picks a pot and gets an apron in one of three colors, it’s a team challenge! I love a team challenge, by which I mean this is dumb and they should let these master chefs cook for themselves.

11:05: Off to Chinatown in the Lexus, the Official Car of Masters. You get better SUVs when you’re a James Beard award winner.

And…they’re at a gas station. One tip: ground up candy bar on a cheez doodle. It’s a sure winner.

11:07: Guest judges are band The Bravery.

Yes, Govind! Go for the cheez doodles! Another team grabs Clamato, which does not dispose me to them.

11:09: The Red Team is making bread pudding, which seems like it will actually come out somewhat normal. The Blue Team is making Rachael Ray-favorite “Clamesco” sauce. And the Green Team accidentally bought “firey hot Cheetos.” But they’re going with Slim Jims, which we all know is a classic French pairing, so they should be fine.

Note that I’m not telling you who’s on each team; it’s because I don’t know. I have no idea what I’m going to do when they split up. I guess I’ll have to look up at some point, or else give everyone nicknames based on voices. It could go either way.

11:13: COMMERCIALS: The Deadliest Catch commercial makes me sad because I know Captain Phil is dead. You couldn’t do something about that, editors? I want to see repetitive episodes about crab fishing and deck fights, not have my heart strings tugged.

11:15: The Bravery really like them some hair product.

11:16: First up, Susan and Tony’s maple bread pudding with caramelized bananas.

The Cheetos macaroni is a horrifying shade of red, which The Bravery find “curious.” Well put.

I’m loving how indignant the chefs are at having a lowly band critique their food. Maybe these chefs will be a little feistier than the love-fest that was Season One?

11:19: The bread pudding takes it with four stars, and I have a minute to look up and learn who Susan and Tony are. I’m still fucked for everyone else.

11:20: They stay in teams for the elimination challenge. Suck it, Bravo.

The challenge: cook a duo dish for 30 couples on their first date. Kelly basically tells them to cook something that will help the couples get laid.

11:22: Okay, I think I have Govind and Jimmy down. Jerry and Ana are the default. But I still wish they were wearing their colored aprons.

11:23: Coming up: unBalaban and The Hat. unBalaban appears to be wearing a sweater the same color as the flaming Cheetos macaroni, which is strangely fitting. Or perhaps not so strange.

I’ve already forgotten who they all are except for Govind. So the others will be:

  • White Guy #1 (the fatter one)
  • White Guy #2 (the thinner one)
  • Woman in Green with Glasses
  • Other Woman
  • Unidentifiable Guy

11:26: Jerry recalls his first job out of culinary school, where he had to do well or be fired. Unlike EVERY OTHER JOB IN THE WORLD.

Damn it, Woman in Green has become Woman in Black.

11:29: Unidentifiable White Guy is cooking the lamb for the carpaccio, which, what? Govind is a little catty that UWG is doing less work than him. Govind brings the drama, such that it is. Which is not much.

Ooh, Other Woman can be Blondish Woman.

11:30: Susan is concerned about getting everything cooked properly and plated and out on time. Unlike EVERY OTHER CHEF IN THE WORLD.

11:31: The 30 first date couples are delightfully and I’m sure not-at-all-planned diverse – mixed-race couples, same-sex couples. Well orchestrated, Bravo.

11:32: Jay Rayner wrote a book called “The Man Who Ate the World”? Will there be a throwdown with Jeffrey Steingarten? Jeffrey would totally win by cutting him down with superior artful verbal barbs.

11:33: Team Govind has a lamb duo that’s well received. The dishes played off each other like unBalaban’s skinny black tie plays off The Hat’s splendid feathered headwear.

11:35: UWG has some duck, which would win me over on a date, while Blondish woman has a good-tasting yet “ugly” dish.

The forced banter of the daters pains me and makes me very happy not to be on the dating market.

11:37:  Susan gives some lengthy schpiel about her and White Guy #1’s dish and how it envelopes you, and I’m lost. Kelly claims to be turned on by the description, but that may just be her giant hair accessory throwing her off as the left side of her brain is pressed against the interior of her skull. unBalaban is not totally buying it.

I see that the wine is flowing freely. The ultimate social lubricant seems to be guaranteeing a lot of second dates.

11:40: NOTE: WordPress has its panties in a bunch and is not updating this post properly, so things might get a little weird. My apologies.

As expected, it’s much harder to pry humor out of the Masters. Also not helpful: taking a nap right before the show. My brain’s gone a little Kelly Choi.

11:42: Wacky interlude: Govind worked for Susan in high school. He had a crush on her. It didn’t work out, possibly because she plays field hockey, if you catch my drift. The official “hijinx” music plays in the background.

11:45: COMMERCIALS: The 1-800-Contacts commercial with the jackass and his “special eyes” is officially my new most hated commercial. How special are they? Would they repel the grapefruit spoon I want to jab them with?

11:47: JUDGE’S TABLE. Govind mentions that his lamb was kinda sexy and unBalaban laughs uncomfortably, which amuses me because I have a black, black heart.

Blondish Woman gets pinged for her soup, while White Guy #2 is praised for his duck. There’s no talkback and everyone is very polite, and then there’s wine! So the love-fest continues.

11:50: unBalaban is losing his shit over the lamb carpaccio. Back in the stew room, they’ve moved on to the hard liquor. If they’re stewing at all, it’s in booze. Everyone looks a little bored… kind of like I feel.

11:54: Is it just me, or do you always expect this show to be more interesting than it actually ends up being?

11:56:The Awarding of the Stars. Gael praises the audacity of the lamb carpaccio but awards them a lowly 3.5 stars. Team Govind is the first to get the boot.

11:57: WINNERS: Susan and Tony, the first duo to move on to the champions round.

Govind praises the experience. Also, he is incredibly hot.

11:59: Everyone talks about how much fun everything was and how much they loved cooking next to one another. Sigh.

THIS SEASON ON TCM, Rick Moonen bitches about something, I still dislike Wylie Dufresne, and there are a whole bunch of people I can’t identify. And Hank Azaria! Score. “I cannot wear shoes because, they make me fall down.”