June 10, 2008
This week Artist “lost” the elimination challenge because his dog, Teddy, was the last dog out of four to be adopted. Once again, Reality TV has skewed my idea of a challenge and a challenge winner. The final four had to select a dog to groom at the Lange Foundation. Out of four dogs, one dog, Teddy, was an especially painful case. Teddy is a pure bread Shih tsu who had been rescued from a puppy mill along with his mate, Gertrude. Teddy had never been groomed and his coat was so matted, every time Teddy moved, he pulled fur off of his skin. Kathleen was the first one to choose since she she won the last challenge. Although her “heart went out to Teddy,” she picked Melody, a young sheepdog mix because “if you want to win, pass on that dog [Teddy].” It’s easy to pick on Kathleen–she is ambitious, abrasive, and self-serving; however, I can say with almost 100% certainty that Jonathan and Jorge would have passed on poor Teddy as well. Artist was the second in line and had no problems going straight over to Teddy because he felt it was the right thing to do. Artist set aside the whole competition, “to make a difference, to change his life.” Weather he won or not, what mattered to Artist was that “Teddy would be groomed for the first time in his life.” As expected, no one came in and picked Teddy. I want to believe that the producers realized that if they sent Artist home, fans would lose interest in this show. Presumably, most of us who watch Groomer Has It love dogs, and keeping Artist around for the right reasons showed that Groomer Has It can showcase more than dog grooming. Charity oriented programming on Realty TV give this genre credibility, and lessens its freak-show reputation. Teddy did get adopted four months after this episode was taped by Christopher and Jacklyn Brooks and their 12 year old autistic son, C.J. It’s nice when a show like Groomer Has It can be a means to a happy ending.
Lange Foundation documentary
June 6, 2008
Richard made it clear from the onset that he didn’t think Lisa had the talent to be in the final four, and later referred to her as “a gray cloud in the kitchen.” However, Lisa arrived in Puerto Rico with a new haircut and ready for the challenges. For the Quickfire Challenge, the chefs had to cook with plantains for celebrity guest judge, Wilo Benet. There were a couple of amusing moments: when the timer went off, the chefs raised their hands without Padma yelling, “Knifes down! Hands Up!” Richard managed to singe his eyebrows and sound like a woodpecker when chopping. Stephanie won the Quickfire, and as a reward she got to pair-up chefs with sous chefs (season cast-offs). Stephanie picked Dale because she “has known him for about 10 years.” Richard was paired with Spike (who sported a new hat), and Nicki was assigned to Antonia. The paring of Andrew and Lisa could have produced a lot of drama, but Andrew announced, “Never have I thrown somebody under the bus. I play with honor!” He kept his cool throughout the preparations, despite Lisa acting more than a little bossy. Richard brought along a roll of bright green painters tape to make labels and this “ingredient” helped to keep him organized the small kitchen. Dale had a brain fart and left the pork belly out on top of the stove overnight, but with Dale’s help, Stephanie managed to improvise and wind up in the top two with Richard. Her food sounded delicious (especially the Pork Satay on a Sugar Cane skewer with miso almond sauce and cilantro vinaigrette) and for a fraction of a second, I forgot that the chefs spent 7 hours dismembering pigs. I was surprised at the decline in Antonia’s performance during this this episode. She had said that on the hiatus, she had been “working 100 hours a week” at her restaurant, so that may explain why she was not in her usual top form. Lisa had practiced cooking Puerto Rican food at home, and came to Puerto Rico familiar with the local ingredients. Antonia ended up leaving for her “unsophisticated dishes” and “undercooked pigeon peas.” I made the mistake of wasting a few minutes trying to figure out the judges’ decision: didn’t Lisa have several less than successful dishes? Lisa did make great garnishes and dipping sauces, but personally I would have passed on her Roasted Pork-butt. Baring any more undercooked lentils, Stephanie is a the strongest contender for the final two. Lisa will be a big surprise if she lasts another week. Richard’s past performances have been uneven, but he won the elimination challenge this week—and a car!