Strange ingredients

Our TV show of the moment is Top Chef, which has turned out to be pretty weird, and pretty entertaining. This Las Vegas Weekly article on recent events that have made the show resemble a psychology experiment gone awry, with some contestents ganging up on strange-haired Marcel, sums up the dynamic: “The consensus on many message boards is that the show is playing out as an allegory for high school: there’s the hotheaded bully, the sly instigator, the sexually frustrated, angry kid, the strident cheerleader with the dubious smile, the shy girl who is always studying in the library, the stoner. Marcel’s role seems to be the socially awkward geek who doesn’t know how to relate to people.”We’ve been puzzling over why every other contestent seems to hate Marcel so much. He seems vaguely annoying, but we never really see him doing anything particularly awful. New York recently interviewed some of the other contestents, and Sam (who is supposed to be sexy hunk-boy, but is actually kind of gross) says: “The past couple of episodes they’ve made him seem like some sort of a sweetheart. Everyone was asking me why I had this outburst with him, but they didn’t show him accusing me of cheating for fifteen minutes.”

Hmm. Anyway, both those links via this post on The Grinder, which earlier had this other post passing along a theory that the most recent episode’s quasi-beat-down of Marcel was even more Lord of the Fliesy than the show suggested, and was toned down through editing.

All those links are full of “spoilers,” as they say, if you haven’t been watching. (If you have been watching, please note that we watch the show Thursdays, not when it airs on Wednesdays, so don’t tell me what happens in that 24-hour gap, okay?) Top Chef is a good candidate for a TV binge next time a “marathon” of episodes is on, so keep that in mind.

Speaking of which: Binge marathon-watching has become an under-examined form of TV watching. I’ve been meaning to write about that forever. I think it’s an antidote to the millions of entertainment choices: You just veg out and let the show wash over you, hour upon hour, as passively as possible….