Colicchio thinks this season boasted the best chefs yet (of course), an announcement he makes in the final minutes, at which point he's said more all night than any of the other judges. Except perhaps for Gail, who talks sense by defending naps during boring meetings and going giggly over her secret crush on a softer, shorts-wearing Andrew. Speaking of, and backing up, tonight it's all about the cheftestants -- food be damned, it's finally time for personality.
Well, sort of -- Richard's personality doesn't show up, since his wife is about to give birth, and since he came in third. Otherwise, it's old home week, with everyone nattily attired in matching separates, as Stephanie relives her win and a few bromances get the montage treatment. Despite his douchery and overt game-playing, folks liked Spike. Jen and Zoi are pissed they lost, pissed they suffered a disadvantage as a dyke couple, pissed they were on the show together. They are not currently discussing their relationship, and may or may not have gotten married this week.
Antonia, complete with a creepy Robert Blake from Lost Highway dance, earned the nickname "Black Hammer" for her uncanny ability to eliminate the competition. Lisa's not reallya bitch -- she just played one on TV, and if you ask her about it at a lesbian party, she'll be really nice. Dale plays second fiddle to a lot of purple. Andrew's exuberance helps him win the beloved T-shirt contest -- be sure to get your "I Have a Culinary Boner" shirt while supplies last.
Apparently the stew room was filled with mirth and silliness -- too bad there wasn't more of that before tonight. In addition to knocking up his wife and opening a restaurant, Richard apparently found a good agent. His intrusive satellite appearance pretty much hijacks the end of the show. And while Stephanie may be the first competition winner to also take the extra ten grand as fan favorite, it's just not as exciting when good girls finish first.
The beloved Andy Cohen and his wonky eyes welcome us to the brilliantly-titled "Watch What Happen Reunion" episode, with a montage that hints at all the scandalous, scintillating, edge-of-your seat moments that will never come, capped off with the revelation of this season's fan favorite. Oh, goody. It's the usual reunion show set up, with two tiers of seating for the cheftestants (bright orange sofas offer a burst of color) four chairs opposite for the judges (big chairs that make the judges look like four Edith Anns) and everyone's favorite interlocutor, also perched on a large chair, between the groups.
In case amnesia's struck in the past few days, Andy introduces the judges -- Gail Simmons (in a pleated cobalt blouse), Colicchio ("in a vest!" chirps Andy), Padma (in white, ruffle-y dress), and Ted (t-shirt and blazer). Everyone else is wearing subdued shades of blue, purple, and black -- the better to make those couches pop -- except for Nikki, who either didn't get the memo or received a special dispensation for her yellow shift. Spike stuck to the wardrobe cues, but finished his outfit with a maroon fedora. Dale looks a bit ridiculous with his purple shirt, purple shoelaces, and purple-accented baseball cap, which he wears on his knee instead of his head. It's like Donny Osmond mated with Pharrell Williams, and no, it doesn't work.
So many pressing questions, says Andy, and first among them -- where in the world is Richard Blais? Andy calls him "Mister Willie Wonka," as Roald Dahl spins in his grave. Mrs. Wonka is about to drop that new baby, so Richard's staying home so he won't miss the birth of his child. He'll be joining by satellite later. That is so not Top Chef material -- a Top Chef prioritizes cheffing and all its corollary self-promotional activities above all else, and a mere baby shouldn't get in the way. Oh, right, he came in third. And probably realized that an impending birth offered a great excuse to stay home, since he's already milked the Top Chef machine for all it's worth.
In the meantime, let's watch Stephanie ("our first female Top Chef") win. Again. The most interesting moment for me is noticing that Mark has cut his hair and his pale shirt makes him seem even more washed out. Stephanie offers insight into the mind of a winner when she reveals that the moment Padma called her name was "unbelievable," and the she "was, like, fuck," although to her credit, she is answering Andy's moronic "What was it like?" question. Ted tells Stephanie that she was always fun to watch, since she generally looked fearful that she might get killed, that "Padma's going to shoot you with a laser beam or something." (Please, Padma is not energetic enough for that.) And then she'd break out in that high-wattage grin. Pure magic.