Top Chef
Guilty Pleasures

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Keckler: B | Grade It Now!
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Cold Stone Chillin'

In the back, Sara N.'s face is screwed up unhappily, and O'Brian looks at her with great concern. Dale reaches over and pats Sara N's leg, as he looks around for some explanation from the rest of the team. "Apparently, I'm the 'baby' of the house!" Sara N. blurts out, shuddering. "If that's how it came across, that's not what I'm saying," Howie says. But that IS what you said, jackass. "That's just an asshole thing to say," CJ informs Howie. "That's just a really asshole thing to say, and I feel like an asshole!" Sara N. says, sniffing into some paper towels. Howie, not meeting anyone's eyes, says he felt like he, Casey, and CJ were all on the same page and Sara N. wasn't and that's the point he was trying to make. "You can't say that just after you say something that's not fair," Casey insists. " CJ mutters something about Howie trying to play it like it's some integrity role, and Howie insists he's not trying to play any role: "I'm just here to be me and to compete." So, the role of Passive-Aggressive Asshole will go to Howie, as himself. Howie announces that he doesn't need anyone to sign off on what he says.

Judges' Table. Colicchio notes that it's all fine and dandy for Howie to be assertive at Judges' Table, but what about during the actual competition? What about thinking about the good of the team and trying to give constructive criticism mid-stream? Ted restates that Sara N. was never told there was a problem with her performance. They all agree it's a problem that Casey wasn't aware that there was a problem, and then Padma randomly brings up Casey's chocolate banana, "Which I thought was just...not successful." Okay, and that's the first mention we've even had of that particular item since we saw it on the team's original menu. Turning to CJ, Colicchio thinks that he really failed in his leadership role since, out of all of them, he has the potential to be a real leader. I don't disagree, but I'm trying to figure out what makes CJ such obvious leadership material. Is it because he's not hot-headed? That he's overcome cancer? Looked death in the face and laughed? Overcome great odds and testicles? Is so freakin' tall? Colicchio repeats his criticism of Sara N.'s pathetic milkshake, and Ted Allen says, "Sara did herself a huge disservice the moment she stepped into this room and said, 'Oh, I was demoralized.' Because of her outfit? You can't cook because you don't like your outfit?" Yeah, that's it, Ted. She didn't like her outfit. How about the fact that a low-cut shirt exposes your skin to spattering grease? Or that marching around a tiny mobile kitchen in party heels for five hours is both painful and friggin' dangerous? Or the fact that Padma's wardrobe choices on this show have been constantly defended because -- and I quote -- "She doesn't have to cook!" Or that the way the women were dressed for a night out is far different from the way the men were? Okay, I had that rant all written out, but I also want to note that he recanted that ill-advised position on his blog. And that's great. I just hope that his original voicing of it didn't reinforce Colicchio's decision to send Sara N. home. They turn to Howie's bad Cubanos, and Colicchio says that Howie will say what needs to be said to save his own ass.

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