Our 10 Best: Reasons to Hate 'Top Chef'

Our 10 Best: Reasons to Hate 'Top Chef'

Here's why we thought this was going to be the Season of the Beard, and that excessive tattoos would be banished forever. Were we ever wrong!

Yes, we watch Top Chef obsessively. We can't help it. But we hate ourselves the next morning, and here are the reasons why, in reverse order. Please tell us if there are reasons we've forgotten to mention.

Our 10 Best: Reasons to Hate 'Top Chef'

The condemned stand before the Death Panel in episode three. The slaughter of female chefs is about to recommence...

10. Tom Colicchio. This once-great chef has seemingly abandoned his toque entirely, spending his time searching for new and more humiliating ways to exploit his fame. He shilled for American Express, and now he demonstrates a profound lack of taste by flogging Diet Coke, in a context that seems to lampoon the sorts of weird-o recipes that constitute Top Chef's stock-in-trade.

9. Talking Haircuts. Early on, some crazy art director decided that the contestants were too dull-looking, and the freaky-deaky haircut as the show's guiding principal was born. No mohawk or mullet is too absurd, no quantity of mousse too great. Sometimes the 'do is just greased anarchy, but the hair does the talking before the contestants even open their mouths.

8. Cruel Treatment of the Contestants. As in all reality-TV shows, contestants are forced to live in total isolation in a dormitory setting like maximum security prisoners, so they can be monitored and recorded 24 hours a day, going slightly crazy in the process. Assembling the program is dependent on having the maximum amount of raw (and we do mean raw) footage. Human rights authorities should be notified.

7. Padma Lakshmi. Yes, she's beautiful. That, and the fact that she married Salman Rushdie and published a low-fat cookbook in the late 1990s (plus a couple of lackluster Food Network appearances) seem to be her only qualifications as a goddess in the foodist pantheon. Like Tom, she's willing to do anything to make a buck, including a ridiculous commercial in which she goes down on a something called a Western Bacon Thickburger that must have been basted in Enzite. Watch your back, Padma: Kelly Choi, whose head might fall off from the sheer weight of her makeup, is sharpening her knives.

6. Fakey Emotions. The coaxing of fake emotions out of the contestants is an awful thing to behold--tears rolling down the cheeks of the eliminated, the inane braggadocio of the winners, the nagging self-doubts you'd rather not hear annunciated, but they do so again and again. And again.

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