Top Chef Season Finale

In case you were unaware, my sister Cayber has joined us for a long visit. She has taken up residence in the spare room, and is quickly learning the subtle nuances of living with us (that is: how to play RockBand, and how to stay neutral during recreational bickering).

Hubs is on a new shift this week, so I had to give Cay a crash-course in Top-Chef Season 4 yesterday, before the finale. We watch NO SHOW as religiously as this one. While the TV is generally in the “on” position, we very rarely maintain a preference as to what is actually playing. It’s sort of the background music slash video for our generation. Which is not to say that we don’t have ample music to play (CDs and vinyl. We’re so hip.), we just like the combination of audio and video that our cable TV connection provides for a low monthly fee.

Anyways, Top Chef. It was a nail-biter.

As I mentioned just a moment ago, Hubs and I have watched this show religiously since the very first episode of Season 2 (we are, since then, intimately familiar with S1, having watched it in its entirety via Top Chef Marathon Weekend on more than one occasion). I’m not sure what the draw is. My best guess is the combination of Reality TV and Food TV is nearly irresistible. The appeal has only increased since our move (so far from Philly, we rarely see the kind of behaviors exhibited on Reality TV in real life, and we miss all non-Mexican foods like a fat kid misses eating). I was sure to explain all this to Cay, and she responded with an appropriate amount of emotion while the Season 4 Finale episode played. (She’s also taken to cleaning the kitchen. Which means we’re going to let her stay.)

Because we’ve invested so much time in this show, we expected our wants and desires to pan out exactly according to plan. Thus, when the editorially-created “villain” of the show (LISA!!!) made it to the final episode, we freaked out. This is the kind of character that pretty much the entire international viewing audience agrees upon. (Don’t believe me? Ninety-seven percent of viewers who weighed in via text during the finale chose Lisa as the one who should NOT win. Do you have any idea how rare that kind of split is?!) To add insult to injury, every one-on-one Lisa-interview during the show featured a happy, smiling, cocky villain.

Since all those interviews are conducted post-competition and then edited into the chronological storytelling, we thought for sure that we were sunk. And that our two favorites (Hubs was a staunch supporter for the guy with the faux-hawk, Richard. I was torn between Richard and the never-wavering, very solid, always-friendly Stephanie, with a strong Stephanie-inclination.) were going to get the shaft. And that the impostor was going to not only win Top Chef S4, but win the coveted “First Lady of TC” (all previous winners have been male) title, thus rendering the show totally un-watchable (on principle) for all future seasons.

(L to R: Lisa, Richard, Stephanie)

Hubs made it home from work with a few minutes to spare, and we all sat in trepidation as the contestants made a final plea before the judges. When Hubs’ favorite faux-hawkster admitted “I choked,” our hearts bled, and we knew it was between the two girls.

Now, as never before, did Old Faithful (ie: Stephanie) need to pull through. To add insult to injury, Lisa’s comment (while all three waited in a side room during deliberation) about how she and Stephanie were split down the middle was portrayed as the all-time super-snarkiest bit of TV conversation ever, as Richard’s sad puppy-dog face came into focus in the background.

Who won? How did it end?

Stephanie won.

We’re so happy.

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