There Is No Pause Button on the VCR of Reality — Justin’s Rebel Recap

by in Recap, July 1, 2013

Damaris, Nikki and Stacey - Food Network Star, Season 9Food Network Star isn't just a job interview, it's a learning process. It's akin to studying for a Ph.D. in public speaking or training for the culinary version of Battle Royale. With every learning process there are markers for self-evaluation. In Food Network Star U, they are called "midterms" and they're designed to thin the pack once the stragglers have been picked off. Simultaneously, the midterms provide a glimpse into the very harsh reality that none of the competitors "have it in the bag," regardless of what is said in the comments below.

Test #1: Giada in Prank-a-dise

Remember last year when I had to do a "live" demo with a "charismatic co-host"? The fish bones? The awkward start? It was easily one of the most harrowing experiences of my life. How could it be worse? Well, Giada summons one Terrence Jenkins — co-anchor of E! News — aka the smoothest dude in the game — this time around.

  • Chef Clark Kent (Viet) could have used his x-ray vision (or just turned around) to see that there were more bell peppers behind him. Isn't it amazing what powerful blinders our nerves are?
  • Having experience in cooking for subterraneans apparently gives Russell the ability to cook without light.

Terrence and Chad

  • There is no pause button on the VCR of reality, Chad, but man, your shirt was so cool I can forgive you.
  • Apparently things flying off of shelves is rather common in the wacky world of Damaris, so she blames it on a poltergeist. I was laughing out loud on a plane when I watched this and everyone looked at me. Thanks, Damaris.
  • There are two options when dealing with fake fire alarms, Nikki: Keep cooking or grab Giada and Terrence, one over each shoulder, and run to the nearest exit. Maybe Nikki didn't have enough protein for breakfast.

Winner: Rodney, you have a knack for winning when it really counts. Perhaps this is the true definition of pie-style.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Food Network Stardom

Almost nine and a half score years ago, our forefathers got together and signed a piece of paper on which was written, "Leave us alone, bro; we got this from here." This is the midterm and playing the role of Thomas Jefferson is Bob Tuschman.

Alton and Rodney

  • Rodney must have been denied trips to the bank as a kid because during his presentation, he keeps mentioning “suckers.”
  • Seemingly sending her to a cold winter at Valley Forge, Rodney assigns Nikki fried chicken. Smartly, Nikki says that her POV is incorporated into her fried chicken because it's so good, you only need one piece, but then she starts acting like Rainbow Brite.
  • The mentors want Russell to "let the dogs out," but his presentation has the oomph of a gerbil reciting beat poetry. Possibly displeased, Alton electroshocks Russell in to giving a "throw" to commercial and Russell sticks it like Kerri Strug did in 1996.
  • When Rodney sends Damaris to the cocktail station, I am immediately taken with visions of Damaris interpretive-karaoke-ing Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart." The shimmy returned.
  • Like being sent to Bunker Hill, poor Chad — the BBQ guy — gets to cook veggies with Farmer Lee.
  • Stacey made like the battle of Yorktown, brought out all the ammo and crushed the opposition. That was in 1781, as we all know, but please allow me some historic license just to get my point across.

Cue the Scary Music

Rodney was unintelligible, Damaris was silly, Viet was not confident, Nikki was giggly, Chris's food was meh, Russell was counter-innovative, Chad couldn't share the stage and Stacey was too polished. This kind of criticism is why you call in Bob, and these are the challenges that only one person will be able to truly overcome.

We are left with what I prophesied a few blogs ago, a showdown between the two Iron Chef contenders: Superman (Viet) and Doomsday (Russell).

Russell and VietBoth had weak food and meek performances, but it was Russell's uppercut to the commercial break that was the mortal blow.

The Moral of the Story: Finding a humble chef is like finding a piece of basil in Giada's teeth: It's rarely ever gonna happen, and if it does, you don't see it. That's the problem with humility — it's often an invisible virtue. But Viet was probably the best and most gifted student of the whole bunch, and when it came time to own up to being freaking awesome, he pulled a Shaggy and said, "It wasn't me." Never be afraid of being awesome.

Threat of the Week: Bob Tuschman because he wrecked everyone this week. The next time you see him, I'll wager we'll know who's coming to claim my sash.

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Comments (285)

  1. lizzy says:

    @ Rachel

    I'm betting Damaris is a flashing fool after 2 drinks.

  2. JerseyGirl567 says:

    Sorry, accidentally clicked on reply. So I will say this....sorry Bored, I loved Viet and real hopes for him, but you can't just stand there and repeat "where's the peppers" over and over. He has really never done well on camera, and let's face it, you need to be good on camera to have your own TV show.

  3. Lola says:

    Weakest season so far...agree with other posts about nobody standing out. Is it me or do the hosts seem like they are phoning it in this season? Everything seems stale, sometimes fake. I cannot believe with the thousands of applicants these were the "best".

  4. Emily says:

    I was sad to see Viet go. :( In the beginning, I didn't really like him, but he won me over because of his good attitude and humbleness, (character traits that most contestants don't show). He is a good cook, but sadly, he has no talent for on-screen/camera presentation. I am cheering for Stacey! She has fun personality. And she seems to have it all pulled together! She's a good cook, and she is very entertaining to watch!! She seems to be very genuine and real. She's not a "put-on" or fake. I would watch her show any day. :)

    • Raylene says:

      She makes some of the strangest facial expressions and her knowledge base is too limited.

  5. lvbinx says:

    They sent the wrong person home last night. Viet can be taught to handle his nerves and be in front of the camera, but Damaris is basically rude and vulgar and I wish they'd her back to where she came from. Let's get real, nobody is going to want to watch a show where she does the shoulder rolls and the bump & grind and expect anything but a XXX rated show. This is a cooking show they're competing for not adult entertainment.

    • Chef Michelle says:

      This is dishonest. I don't know what your motivation is but you are accusing and magnifying beyond anything she actually did. Bumping & grinding is a lie. XXX is a definite lie. You can tune in to Giada's shows and see more half-bare cleavage 3 out of 5 days a week. Damaris is more covered. You make it sound like she's smoking a cigar and cursing. Maybe you just think she might be doing too good. Who do you like better?

      What exactly has she said that was rude? Have you ever heard her ridicule or bash anyone else like Danushka? What did she say?
      Adult entertainment? Obviously false.

      The judges were positive about her after the team romance presentation. You are making accusations with nothing to back them up. She is 150 miles apart from Penny in season 8 and her come-on's. More tasteful. You are magnifying far beyond anything true.

      • kit says:

        I'm neutral on Demaris, don't really care one way or the other, but my jaw dropped when I realized they sent Viet packing. Someone with those credentials should be nurtured, not told to hit the road. Not to mention, the guy is charismatic and extremely photogenic. Not sure how the folks on that judging panel managed to miss that.

        • Adam says:

          Alton nailed it when he said Viet is fine until the cameras roll and he has to perform. The charisma disappears and he fades into the background. You can't base it on what he's like when he's hanging out or just delivering lines to camera in private. When it was time to act like a Food Network Star, Clark Kent Viet couldn't get out of the phone booth. I agree about nurturing... they could REALLY use a communication consultant to work with these people... but they aren't doing it, so this is what's going on.

        • Guest says:

          Totally agree - Viet is charismatic and photogenic, but I like Demaris.

  6. viewer21 says:

    This show has officially jumped the shark. No one stands out t/b the next star.
    Since no culinary background is needed, the show s/b named the Next Food Network Personality.

    What a better person to play tricks on ppl than bubblehead with that creepy smile. She seemed to enjoy that April-fools-challenge way too much.

  7. Jules in WA State says:

    *hangs head in shame* I guess comments from just two weeks ago and last season have all been forgotten. I put forth a challenge to all Food Network execs and cheflebrities. Come out and say that you have NEVER uttered a racial word and take a polygraph. If you can't do that then come out in support of Paula Deen. Spineless and you know it. Do you go to bed at night just praying that you aren't next? You should. And for those viewers who "WILL NEVER COME BACK UNTIL PAULA DEEN IS BACK ON" shame, shame, shame on you. I don't this post will stay up long....I am a person of my word. If it would make any difference at all, I would stand up under oath for Paula Deen. She has more class that all of the Food Network put together.

    • connie t says:

      No one of us is without sin. Paula should not have been let go. I believe the real reason is that her show(s) were losing viewers - the most popular shows now are Pioneer Woman, Trisha's Southern Cooking, The Sandwich King (that one was a surprise - but I like him okay) and the Barefoot Contessa.

    • Just The Food Please says:

      A lot of people don't say racist things. I don't think that is much of a challenge for most. In any event, if the allegations in the lawsuit are true, there is more, and much worse info coming, and I can't blame FN for cutting Paula loose. Her ratings have dropped and the southern food genre has a lot of coverage on FN, even without her..

      It is not my cuisine of choice, but Trisha Yearwood is much more watchable than Paula's southern caricature.

      Besides, this a FNS blog not a blog for complaining about other things. I am sure you can dredge up an email address to complain to about this, if you are so inclined.

    • Gordon Letty says:

      Stop writing about Paula Deen - like she said -things are in the past . . let's keep it that way and move on.

      Guess what Jules - you wrote on the blog so I guess you still do support FN since you see their ads and participate in the FN world.

      I would assume Paula really doesn't know who you are and could care less if you like or or not. She is NOT a friend of yours - unless you think people on TV really talk with you. But I know one thing - Paula loves your money which is green and also called moola by some.

      MOVE on - you sad, pathetic person

    • Alysoun says:

      Don't know where you're from, but I know hundreds of people who have never used racist language - and are disgusted by those who do. It is NOT universal.

  8. C-me(not impressed) says:

    I don't know why Rodney's the fan poll leader. It just doesn't make sense! I know I already said this, but if you think Rodney is #1........ please reply a.s.a.p! Or press like if you agree.

    • Smoker says:

      The dude is up there. It's his thing but it makes no sense for that sucker to be #1.

    • Shannon says:

      I can't believe he's leading either, I can barely tolerate him. Do you want a thumbs down if we don't like him? I would also like to see who really thinks he's the leader.

  9. Alyssa says:

    The poll is not asking who is the fan favorite, it is asking which contestant is the most likely to do whatever it takes to win, even if it means making enemies along the way. Based on the Fourth of July challenge and how Rodney paired up everyone to a station that was not their strong suit (and he knew that too), I think it is safe to say that Rodney belongs at the top. I just don't understand how Viet came up second for that question.

    • Timothy says:

      In other words cutthroat and devious no matter what. Better to focus on their own work.

    • jalp says:

      And don't forget that Rodney appears to be the one in the promos being accused of "throwing his teammates under the bus" . . . wonder when that scene's coming up?

      • Crouton40 says:

        There was also a scene on an earlier-aired commercial where some man's voice told Damaris: "Just stay outta my way!" and she looked at him like what brought THIS on?? Haven't seen that one yet either.

    • Alysoun says:

      The poll has has a different question each week, but the number of votes is not reset. It doesn't make any sense. There has been a huge block of votes for Rodney from the beginning.

      • Blah Blah says:

        Do u mean are not reset? Sorry. Don't mean to be to be a grammar teacher! But I felt I had 2 point that out.

        • Amy says:

          No i think that's correct..."number of votes is not reset"....leave out the prepositional phrase ("of votes") to figure out the subject verb agreement. So, "number is" not "number are" is the correct phrasing, even if it sounds awkward. I think...of course now I'm second guessing's late and my brain is tired!

          • MoHub says:

            Professional Grammar Hammer here, and Alysoun and Amy are absolutely correct. The subject of the sentence is number, not votes, which is singular, so a singular verb is in order. However, grammar check doesn't understand complex sentences and would probably tell you to use the plural verb—which is why we all need to learn grammar so we can override spell and grammar check when needed.

          • slacker says:


  10. A Person says:

    I think the judges are eliminating everyone who actually has a good POV! Andre's and Viet's POV's were actually good, yet they keep people like Lovely (GLAM up the kitchen, I mean, come on!) and Damaris (is she supposed to be some replacement for Paula Deen with her Southern cooking-I mean, Marty did the same bit last year, and they didn't keep her...) The judges need to rethink their elimination choices!!!

    • Linda says:

      No way. Martie was all about finger-food and parties. Damaris teaches at a culinary school. No comparison. Damaris was already doing what she does long before the Paula Deen thing erupted.

      • Shannon says:

        Linda, you're correct Paula Deen should have no bearing on Damaris success. I had a fear people would use "the Paula situation" against her. I believe if Paula were allowed to, she would ask people not to hold her ongoing situation against Damaris.

        • Marie says:

          It could be bad both ways. If Paula talks on her behalf it could be said to be favoring. People should not punish her for anything having to do with Paula. She is her own person. If anyone could replace Paula she would be a good one to do so. She has strong food knowledge.