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Top Chef: Natalie Portman Won't Eat Your Meat

What the butter is going on on Top Chef this season? I mean just what the asparagus are Tommy Bear and that zombie lady thinking with the kind of bizarro elimination stuff they've been pulling recently? Oh hey, in case you were just on a long sea voyage or trapped in an old abandoned copper mine and haven't caught up on your DVR queue yet (too busy with therapy, I'd imagine--being trapped in an abandoned copper mine for a month will do things to a person), guess who's still on Top Chef? Robin. Mhmm. Decidedly-Not-Rockin' Robin. And her continued presence comes at great cost, as better chefs keep being pushed onto their swords so that she may live. Ugh.

Also, Toppy? What was this episode even about. It's like the producers were down to seven people and just didn't have any more ideas so they went and sifted through the Top Chef junk drawer and were like "OK, let's see... Um... We got this big fat Italian guy, he'll work... and... hm... Oh, here's some TV dinners... Oh! And! Look! Did you know we had a Natalie Portman in here? That's awesome. OK, let's use her too, definitely. She's an actress so, like, TV. That works right? Big fat Italian guy we'll just put in the beginning and during one of those little scenelet segments that don't make any sense. Phew. OK guys, that's an episode. Not really much of one, but an episode nonetheless. Let's go get drunk." It was just such a weird jumble of stuff. I can't wait for next week when the challenge is "rubber band corkscrew Chinese food menu."

So yeah, the Quick Fire was all about TV dinners. The big fat Italian guy muttered something about old TV shows like M*A*S*H and Gilligan's Island and Padma's Solid Gold Zombie Get-Down that were supposed to inspire the chefs to make their own innovative, gourmet TV dinners. Of course Robin had to go burgering on about how she never watched TV as a kid and isn't that weird and fabulous and hominy hominy hominy, nobody cares R-dog. She's just such a little ostrich sometimes, all squawking and tufted. Grr. Over at another stove was The Lady Who Will Kill You, though, hold on... The Lady Who Will Kill You Herself. There, fixed it. She's completely imploding isn't she? And it's so sad. Because I simply j'adore her (two years of French in grammar school paid off, Ma!) . It has something to do with her nerves and her confidence or something. She just keeps burning stuff and spilling stuff and accidentally murdering Lurleen and then staging an elaborate fake competition in which Lurleen gets eliminated to cover it up. It's a disaster. She's becoming a disaster. I worry for her chances. If the final two ends up being both frigging Voltaggio brothers, Ima be pizza'd.

Speaking of the Voltaggio brothers, let's talk about Eli, who is not a Voltaggio but probably wants to hug and kiss and marry a Voltaggio. He's such a grubby little turd, isn't he? Just a real wadded ball of turd, that Eli. I have nothing in particular from this episode to call him out on, but it's just worth saying that Eli is a big ol' stinkball and let's flush him down Padma's enormous novelty-sized toilet next week, shall we? Good. I'm glad we can come to an understanding on that.

So evs, eybody was cooking TV dinners and then Padma and the big fat Italian guy came around to taste the food. The big fat Italian guy just like ate everything there was and was like "Gobble gobble gobble." He actually said "gobble gobble gobble" and then ate the plate and Padma, grooving on the ravenous mood in the air, just leaned over and bit off a huge chunk of Uncle Applewood's arm. He shrieked like a little girl pig being poked with an enormous novelty-sized pitchfork (Padma has one) and to make him stop his high-pitched caterwauling, they awarded him the best TV dinner prize. I think. I don't remember who won the QuiF. Who QuiF'd guys? Who QuiF'd. (Was it Michael? Michael, did you QuiF? I think Michael QuiF'd. Oh wait, no sorry Michael, Kevin really is the QuiFer.)

Um, bizarre bodily function jokes out of the way, let's get on to the real meat and potatoes of the episode. Well, in this case, just the potatoes. The potatoes of this episode: Natalie Portman! Natalie Portman was the potatoes. A dazzingly brown-haired, vegetarian potato. Yes, I said vegetarian. Once, in the days when eaters were eaters, vegetarians were relegated to their own little ghettos--shadowy beet bars in the West Village, seitan bathhouses, the theatre. Often times you would see two secret vegetarians just going at it on some carrots together in the men's room at Grand Central Station on their way home to their wives and kids. Being a vegetarian was very hard and secretive back then, as it should have been. Because it's a shameful and disgusting lifestyle. But now with all this namby-pamby political correctness we got in this so-called modern age, all these unnatural vegetarians are just walking around shoving it down our throats. Vegetarian parades and vegetarian characters on TV and vegetarians wanting to marry each other. It's just filthy. And of course, because Hollywood is a tool of the widespreading vegetarian agenda, Natalie Portman is one of those degenerates.

So that was the big surprise. Natalie Portman will not eat your meat (especially not yours, Mike Isabella) so you must make her something made from vegetables and sawdust or whatever it is that those freaks eat. This greatly surprised and displeased our cucumbered cheftestants, who had rushed into Tommy Bear's big meat locker and started picking out meats when they heard that the challenge was to take place at Tom Colicchio's Meat Shack Meat Restaurant, located in the small town of Meat, Nevada. Like real Americans, these kids enjoy eating meat, not flittering around Massachusetts chewing on celery and voting for Dennis Kucinich like Natalie and her wackadoo friends. A shame, a real shame what this country's become. It would make your grandfather cry to see it, God rest him.

Yes, your grandfather may be resting, but no other meat will be resting in this episode and you chefs--Frowny and Sweaty and Wheezy and Stabby and Sexy and Squawky and Turdball Eli--better get veggie cooking. The preview clips kind of made it seem like Mike Isabella the Toothy Bastid was gonna go coconuts over Natalie Portman's ravishing, unwholesome beauty, but he didn't really. He just looks leering and shark-like all the time. That's just what he looks like. Can you imagine him sleeping like that? Terrifying. Mike Isabella looks like this, even when he sleeps. Shiver. So yeah, no one was really crushing on NPorts, except for maybe Tommy Bear, but he can't do much of anything about it because if he even smiles at her in the wrong way, Gail Simmons will hurl a wine glass at him and run away weeping. (Wouldn't it be funny if there was this whole fraught almost-affair with them, where Gail would always get drunk and sloppy and upset and Tom would just sort of sigh and look frustrated, even though he was secretly enjoying it because he's lonely and it's nice to feel loved, sometimes even if you don't love back? I think that would be almost as good as Mattin. Almost.) Mostly people were just really concerned about somehow manipulating these horrible, hideous vegetable things into palatable food dishes without the aid of precious, precious meat. It was a lofty challenge.

Robin was doing yoga in the morning and a handful of fresh garbanzo beans fell out of... somewhere... during a headstand and she decided those were fun so she'd use 'em. She also found some beets that were pretty and some radishes maybe, oh and those are cute, those little tomatoes, so she'll just grab all these things, oh and that pickle claw or whatever that is there, and basically Robin was doing some Top Chef Junk Drawer rummaging herself, and came up with her instant-classic dish, Robin's Veggie Combo Heap for Meatless Weirdos. Soon to be the main item on TGIFriday's new, 2009-friendly "Vegetarians Are Real People With Valid Emotions" limited-time-only meat-free menu. Congrats, Robz.

The Brothers Grim were making their usual flare-filled dishes while old Uncle Applewood was just baconing around in his beard, slapping stuff on a plate and singing "Pile'a food, pile'a food, doggone Kevin's makin' a pile'a food." And he really was. It was just some old backwoods barbecued hoedown kale that he smoked and drizzled some beard-hair on and it was apparently delicious in the way that things that are actually made by animate, walking and talking slabs of bacon tend to be delicious. It's just science. Um, who else is still on this godforsaken show? Oh yes! Eli. Turd Ferguson. Eli, though bothersome, did make one good point. He said that vegetarians are kind of second-class citizens and should always be treated as such. And I couldn't agree with him more. It was just so spot on. Good for you, Turdblossom. Is all this talk of turds making you hungry? Good, because we're moving on to the Lady Who Will Someday Julienne Herself, who just totally rutabaga'd her way to the bottom again. Why, Lady, why? The problem was that her dish was too small and just basically was a side, not an entree. It just didn't work.

Speaking of dishes that didn't work, ooftie the Toothy Bastid's did not go over well. See he thought he was being all toothy and clever when he took some gigantic novelty-sized leeks from Padma's apartment and cut them up to look like scallops and served them as the protein. Because they were pretend leek scallops. Get it? How badly boiled leeks constitutes a "protein" when leeks are something like 83% water is beyond me, but all of Mike's brain power is concentrated on growing his teeth and his teeth-like hair, so he just can't put much thought into anything else. Too bad too, because it ended up costing him big time.

Natalie and her filthy cadre of fellow vegetarians, all Volvo-driving coastal liberal members of the vegetarian mafia I'm sure, all sat in a giant room with Tommy Bear and groaning, drooling, pustulating Padma (and that big fat Italian guy) and tried the various godless dishes as they came out. At one point Padma said that a garlic blossom was like "a little prick on the tip of my tongue" and Natalie said "ohhh don't say that," because everything just has to be sexual with vegetarians because they're not comfortable unless you're uncomfortable. Padma and everyone laughed and clapped and said "Very good, ohh very good." Then Padma said that something turned "big in my mouth" and everyone laughed RE: Natalie's previous joke, and then some honking idiot weirdo lady down at the end of the table said "little prick on the tip of your tongue gets big in your mouth, that's how it usually goes!!!" and everyone fell silent and one woman shrieked and there was a clattering and scraping of silverware and everyone turned to stare at this woman. She looked mortified and scared. Timidly she said "Um... blowjob jokes?" And Natalie banged her fist on the table, pointed hard toward the door, and yelled "Get out!!!" So the woman slunk away and once she was gone the old British fop in the corner did a golf clap in Natalie's direction and said "Very good, ohhh very good." Later on one of Natalie's friends joked that the Lady's side dish would go really nice with a steak and Natalie promptly shot him dead right there. The British fop simply tipped his hat lettucely and said "Quite..."

So, fellatio jokes aside, everything else was pretty regular at the dinner except no one really did all that well. In the end, Uncle Applewood's Pile 'o Food won the day, which pissed off Michael, because he'd been all modern and technical and used a laptop to make banana polenta (ew) and all Applewood had done was reach into his pockets (which work like smokehouses), pull out some greenery, and put it on a damn plate. For his successes, Applewood was awarded a "suite" of GE appliances just like the ones he uses in the Top Chef kitchen and his reaction was priceless. He just sorta chortled and said "Hahh... Okay..." because GE is an American appliance company and Americans can't really make anything well, so winning a "suite" of GE kitchen appliances is not unlike having someone drive a Ford Taurus up onto your lawn and then running away. It's your problem now, your big stupid cheaply-made American problem, and you gotta take care of it. Sorry Kevin. Them's the Bundt cakes. Used to be that things were made well in this country, but that was before people like the vegetarians came prancing along and ruined it for everyone. Destroyed the sacred institution of food-eating. Terrible.

Michael stormed back into the Pantry of Anxiety and Applewood lifted his arm and some bacon fell out and then he sent Robin, Toothy, and the Lady Who Will Turn Herself Into a Blood 'n Guts Emulsion to be dragged in front of Padma and Natalie and horribly tortured and berated. The Lady Who Will Fricassee Her Heart was mostly just in trouble because her nerves were jangled and she made the dish too small. The Toothy Bastid was there because nothing he made was good, but especially not his Bleak Leeks. (When he was in the Pantry, he said "I didn't have my yogurts," which made me think that he normally travels around with a coterie of various yogurts, which is both chilling and delightful.) Robin was there because she's Robin and she's always there. They've actually set up an armchair and a TV for her to relax in, because she might as well just stay there and get comfortable. After Natalie was done shrieking at them and shooting bullets at their feet and cackling "Dance! Dance!", it was time for someone to be fed to Padma. Shock of shocks, they decided to send the Toothy Bastid home. I actually was sort of shocked. I mean he totally deserved to go, because he's the most annoying contestant this season and he was acting all nonchalant like ain't no thang about being in the bottom. Gail was spot on in saying that it seemed like he was saying "No big deal, I mean it's not like I'll actually get eliminated." But he did! Oh he did! Calloo callay, happy day. Now he can go back to the miserable cabbage of his life and no longer scare us or my kitten (11 weeks old and growing like a weed) with his enormous, jangly, icicle teeth. Phew.

So that's that, chicken fat. Robin will never ever be voted off this show. She will probably win it somehow by losing the most. "Robin, you lost so much that you actually circled past Cape Horn and have come up on the other side and have won the whole damn thing. Here are your GE appliances. Oh, don't open the fridge. Kevin's been living in there. Yep, these appliances ruined his life and now he's homeless. So, Congrats." Oddly, I can't wait to see it.

Fun Highlights magazine game! How many misplaced food words can you find in this excruciating recap??

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I have been reading Richard's recaps for a while now (Rags McTattershanty?) and have never felt the urge to comment until bellagirl_008 said: "i'm i almost didn't understand this the way you write is so weird"



This abomination of a sentence and feeble thought actually filled me with despair. I needed to share. For my own sake.
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lare84: It took you ten whole minutes to read the article???? Why that long???
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They got me at HELLLLOOOOO! Thought they couldn't get much worse with the wossey restaurant wars--no design no pier one imports and the dreaded scented candles--this was a ho hum team challenge. Now Natalie Portman (Project Runway fans remember her from her animal free clothing challenge--hint hint vegan). I remain a loyal fan of prior seasons.
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well, all i can say is... was this supposed to be funny?
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nothing to say about gail's awful lettuce like dress?
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and speaking of Highlights, the Voltaggio Bros. defintely have a little 'Goofus & Gallant' thing going on, like their whole lives.
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i just adore the juicy succulence of Richard's meaty prose when he whips up such tasty delights as "What the butter", "just what the asparagus", "tipped his hat lettucely", "rutabaga'd her way", "had to go burgering on", "cucumbered cheftestants", "Them's the Bundt cakes". And my favorite of Eli's nicknames: "Turdblossom". I'm definitely borrowing that one someday.
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I've lost all faith in this show. It's over. As of today, my TC experience will only be thru your recaps.
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@la_baccala- so what you're saying is: that wasn't salt on those garbanzos..
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I'm surprised you didn't mention the special cameo made by Ol' Garbanzo herself. Robin couldn't stop talking about those Garbanzooos
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Just read through some of the more recent comments - have people lost their minds? They are portraying vegetarians as those who have NO sense of humor. Richard's Recaps should be available only to those who enjoy good satire - what did they expect when they opened the post? Just hope that you're not planning on eating your new kitteh cuz Miley won't tweet!
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By the way, just to clarify: my comment below was not intended as a slur against black people. Instead, it's a slur against vegetarians who think that their food choices make them some kind of oppressed minority.
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Oh, after reading this I still think you are my huuuusband, so keep it up, you!
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Loved her on Arrested Development
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The comments sections on your recaps are really not funny at all. Can you do something about this? I mean. Seriously. This recap is now labeled a "Richard Recap" and this whole website is eventually going to be called "RichardLawsonWatchesTV.com". You obviously have the power.
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We vegetarians like to eat yoghurts with our sawdust.
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Oh, man, Richard, you've done it again. This one was hilarious! Although I do miss the various ways that Jennifer will kill you because you switched to her killing herself...makes me want her to bounce back so you can continue making those jokes! :)
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I don't care for this show at all. I just started reading because the picture was funny. After the first joke, I couldn't stop. The whole paragraph about vegetarians was hilarious.

The only people who could find that offensive are those who are prone to have that kind of opinions about other people--black or gay people for example. Only someone that considers that those are valid thoughts can believe that they were being used as anything different than a joke. I pity them. They're missing on a big chunk of what makes life fun.
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I hate this article. You owe me ten whole minutes of my life back.
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i'm i almost didn't understand this the way you write is so weird
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I have an idea for a Challenge. Instead of shopping at Whole Lotta Foods, drop each chef off at the dumpster behind a different iconic Las Vegas Hotel with a Glad jumbo trash bag & create a dish inspired by the theme of the hotel using only ingredients selected from the aforementioned dumpster.
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Why do you hate the vegetarians Mr Richard Lawson?
Sure they can be troublesome when they sneak into your garden in the middle of the night and chew up your barberry bush, that I will admit. But really the question you should ask yourself is this: will they ever eat another man? Yes they do eat dirt but they will never eat you and in the end that's what really matters.
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I think one of the waiters taking out Jen’s “entrees” looked an awful lot like Crackerjacks/LuAnn, trying to keep a real low profile as she ate food from the plates Jen was setting up when nobody was looking . I think Jen saw her & told her to knock it off & LuAnn lifted up her waiter shirt to reveal the 9mm Glock she had tucked in her waistband & said in a real low voice “Just keep it moving down the midway Blondie and no one gets hurt”. No wonder Jen was all shaky & sweaty & spilling butter on everyone.
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Thank you Richard "I-cannot-watch-this-terrible-season-without-your-recaps" Lawson! My reaction to seeing so many awful looking veggie dishes in such a short time last night was to make up two new words. First one was: 'Vedgie - A Vegetarian with a wedgie'. Second one was: 'Antidisestablishmentvegetarianism - the concerted effort to separate oneself from Vegans'. Then i busied myself by watching the strange way Tom C. holds & uses his utensils (that's one of my favorite things about Top Chef - watching Tom with his knife & fork). It looks like people in a Japanese restaurant trying to use chopsticks for the first time, getting frustrated & eventually just using one stick in each hand to rip apart their teriyaki.
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@Thursdays_girl: And you wonder where the humorless vegetarian stereotype comes from. You're vegetarian, not black.
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Natalie's expression in the picture above is hilarious.
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I don't care if thursdays_girl is a humorless pill but as a vegetarian I found this article very delightful, next time go suck lentils at the Moosewood, OKAAAAY?
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I have to agree with Thusdays girl. that was taking the mikey slightly too far IMO. Don't hate on the Vegies =, look at it this way..there's more meat for u to eat!!
damn man take it easy!!
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i dont care if you were trying to be funny but as a vegetarian i found this article very offensive, next time dont take it so far ok?
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The second Jersey Douche tried to explain away his abject failure with a "whatevuh, whatevuh," I knew he was a goner.
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Wonderful, Richard. I laughed so hard and so often that I've pissed off the people around me almost as much as Natalie Portman pissed off, well, everyone on that episode. By the way, did you happen to read this on HuffPo? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/natalie-portman/jonathan-safran-foers-iea_b_334407.html I think it was her Senior thesis from the "Pretentious Drivel" seminar at Harvard. Bravo needs to have a "Very Special Top Chef" episode where they just burn Robin's digits on a GE Monogram stove until she runs off into the hills, since they can't seem to get rid of her any other way.
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Thanks, Richard, you've done it again! As I sit at my merlot stained keyboard, I believe someone has just left a Ford Taurus in my yard and run off. We need to face facts, Robin ain't going anywhere; I was beginning to think this was the Halloween episode; she just keeps bobbing back up to the surface like some swamp monster. The Brothers Grim are beginning to look over their shoulders with a rising fear that SHE JUST WON'T DIE!!!!
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