This season’s version of Last Restaurant Standing continues its downward spiral into banality and sadness as competitors continue to be eliminated for a variety of failures while team JJ and James, with a member who cannot and does not cook, has made it to the final stages of the competition.
Chalk it up to Blanc’s strange love for the concept of picnic-style dining and the ability of the two smooth-smoothies to shmooze even the chef himself. He chided the cook for his attempt to flirt during episode one, but the flattery was apparently not completely ill-received, as week after week we’ve watched these two fail to serve customers, fail to cook their own food and attempt to gloss over the facts by lying to the judges in every episode–including the current one, where the fellows bought in all of the cakes and pastries served at tea.
The gall of these boys, who laughed at the adjacent team who was having their feet held to the fire for the transgression of buying in, yet when the judges approached to question, the boys tried to talk their way around admitting they’d bought not one item, but almost everything they had to serve.
By the way, I still don’t believe that–is it JJ or James? I don’t bother to separate them in my mind–baked the cake for evening service on his own. We see him pull it out of the oven, but barring actual film of him measuring and mixing ingredients, I am not sold.
Also, it seems you can spend hours in the walk-in decorating one cake while your sous chef handles dinner service single-handedly and not receive any penalty for doing so. They should give that sous chef his own restaurant, not this pair.
All of these teams have serious faults and flaws except one, at this point. The real contenders were knocked out early–including Sarah and Joe in episode one for Joe’s failure to explain the concept well. And this when there are several competitors who showed immediately (then repeatedly) that they cannot cook.
The show has completely lost the quality and the respect it gained in earlier seasons. Repeat viewers will be able to see clearly that none of the current contestants could have stood next to previous competitors. I don’t know why the field was filled with such inept cooks and front of house pipe dreams when the creators made some basic changes for this set of shows, but they are making a mockery of the process.
In previous seasons, we saw the focus firmly placed on minutiae of food quality and service. This season, we barely get into the kitchens and rarely experience matters of service. The obvious reason being that these teams would fail to stand up to close scrutiny.
I’m guessing that Blanc got negative feedback from last season, when he was exceptionally hard on the people involved, regularly reducing couples to tears and producing an incredibly stressful atmosphere that was even difficult to watch at times, but this backlash goes too far.
As a viewer, I feel insulted that I am shown how each team produces, let into only a few lines of deliberation (if any) and then shown the dismissal of teams who are far and away superior to those kept on to continue. The picnic pair should never have received keys. Which reminds me, the show’s intro is misleading as well, insinuating that nine couples receive keys, when only seven make it to that next level.
This week saw the departure of Daisy and Nadine, who may not have produced food consistently true to their Nigerian fusion concept, but at least they produced food.
The show stopped interesting me at all once Barney and Badger departed. These two were the most deserving and invested in the process and I feel for each that Badger could not overcome the pressures and stress that stemmed from Army life and which made his functioning in the real world so difficult. My partner has experienced similar problems and unless you’ve been there, it can be hard to understand how devastating the effects can be. You boys are the real winners in my mind.