Thursday, November 13, 2008

Top Chef and the Decline of Western Civilization

Tonight was the premiere episode of the new season of Top Chef, probably my favorite of the Bravo reality shows. This one started off pretty good, if only because the two most annoying contestants were promptly kicked off the show. This was somewhat predictable, given the ample screen time allotted them both, but the satisfaction at never having to watch either of them, ever, ever again made up for it.

The program is definitely trumping up one of the contestants as the "Foreigner You Love to Hate" but my early favorite is Eugene--the heavily tattooed Hawaiian who has worked his way up from dishwasher to chef and has never attended culinary school. That differentiated him from the two kicked off last night, who were friends that met at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America, though if they had met at the other CIA that would be much more interesting). But the reason I'm really rooting for him is the uncanny resemblance between Top Chef Eugene and Eugene from The Decline of Western Civilization, Part I--one of my favorite documentaries.

The documentary is currently unavailable unless pirated or in ancient VHS form. You can find most of it on YouTube. Here's part one of "Part I" with Eugene's brilliant first interview: