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May 25, 2006

Top Chef Finale

Well, I think everybody got what they wanted, right?

Amazing, really. Of course, a lot can be done in post to maximize drama, but could the producers have possibly asked for more to work with? In the end, the most illuminating comments came from the usual spot, Tom and Gail's blogs on the Bravo website. They say they left the drama off the table when making a decision, and call me naive, but I believe them. Unsurprisingly, to hear Tom describe the decision process, they were essentially in a dead heat, and it was Harold's consistent and often exceptional performance over the course of the entire competition that put him over the top. I'm unfamiliar with reality TV prognostication etiquette, but I understand now is the time when those who predicted correctly are supposed to crow about it, so here goes. From my post, going into the finals:

"Though it's a conventional pick, unless he stumbles it's got to be all about Harold. He isn't always the flashiest, but he has that classy restraint and crisp, clean execution that will only become more valuable as the pressure is turned up. Tiffani can't match him and isn't creative enough to sneak around him. And while Dave is, indeed, the wildcard, there's no way he takes the pressure of the finals without tanking something in spectacular fashion. By the end of the finals, I predict that he's sloppy drunk at a skeezy off-strip blackjack table at 6:30 in the morning, still in his whites, yelling at a blue-haired septuagenarian dealer to hit his hard 17 and then bawling when he busts."

Yeah, I know, it didn't take a clairvoyant to make those calls. But given the exact nature of Dave's demise, combined with Tom's blog revelation that Dave and Stephen arrived for sous duties drunk (not hungover, not tipsy, but drunk), and Jill's blog praise that Harold "knows when to use restraint", I'm primed for season two prognostication duties. None of this is to say that the final was without surprises. Harold did, in fact, stumble a little more than I would have anticipated. And while I figured Tiffani was smart enough to know that she'd have to run a creative end around to have a shot, I didn't expect her to come as close to pulling it off as she did. But in the end, the right guy won, and did so in exciting and immensely satisfying fashion. No more qualifications. This is a great show.

So when does season two start, again?


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