Aside from the first night at the house, this is the only time we've seen much relaxation -- the red wine comes out (and it looks like Stephanie might be double fisting). Ever-pensive Ryan scribbles something in a notebook, while Dale chooses to iron his apron instead of chilling with the gang. He calls it "more relaxed," but says it make him even more focused, which he hopes will give him an advantage.
While the lesbian couple has been separated, there's a new gay duo in town -- Spike and Mark share a bubble bath and a bottle of champagne, although, unfortunately, they don't doff their shorts. Mark's working the kind of large upper arm/shoulder tattoo that I would more expect to see on Spike, but he looks to be ink-free; he is wearing his dumb placemat hat again, though. Sadly, says Spike, "no one wanted to join" them, although I'm not sure I could stomach Lisa in a bathing suit, so I'm thankful that she passes. Spike thinks he and Mark, both New York City boys, will love each other longtime -- after all, says Spike, Mark's "got curly hair, he's a cool-looking dude." Just two guys, taking a bath together -- nothing wrong with that! Antonia, invoking the specter of West Hollywood, likens the soak to "a cheap porno -- bubbles, Korbel." If so, it's one of those terrible soft-core pornos that never show anything of actual interest. Spike blathers on about his comfort with his sexuality and how he'll take a bath with a guy if he wants to, dammit!
Elimination day looks gray, but that hasn't deterred a bevy of excited fans decked out in Bears finery. According to Richard, who's chosen the "high tech, Mercedes Benz of grills" (an effective-looking Weber), they have an hour to cook. Mark, making a cool-dude misstep, is the only one who's selected a primitive charcoal grill over the fancy gas Weber -- he chalks it up to "testicular fortitude." That might buy you balls on paper, but in real life it looks like a disaster waiting to happen.
The four judges show up, each rocking a number four Bears jersey with their chosen accessories. ["Punter Brad Maynard! Woo! Though, actually, it must suck for him to see all these jokers wearing his number." -- Joe R] Colicchio is -- for real -- working a scarf and a beret. Chatty Koren has gotten bigger and butcher -- oh wait, it's her boss, Paul Kahan, the chef/owner of Avec and a place called Blackbird, who will be the guest judge for the Elimination challenge. They're joined again this week by Gail Simmons.