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NFNS 7/3/11 - spoilers

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so i guess i'm the only one who watched this. i caught the late version after i got home from fireworks and barely made it up till the end. the fourth of july food demos were so horribly painful. at this point i can't imagine watching any of these people.

susie is definitely getting better. and she at least has a point of view. whitney was less dead, but the image she's going for is annoying college sorority girl. i guess that sells - girls and guys like it. the bobby flay pants joke was actually pretty funny. jyll crashed and burned. and penny i find even more annoying by the episode - i do love middle eastern food though so it's too bad, because i bet her food is great.

if he gets more comfortable and relaxed, i think it's vic vegas' to lose.

other justin down.

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  1. I agree that Penny gets worse every episode. If you want to attack everyone, OK, but then acting like you're the victim?
    I'm glad they gave Justin-with-the-glasses the ax. I liked him at first. But in retrospect I guess I just liked the glasses. He was too bizarre last night. As an introvert myself, I found it painful to watch an introvert trying to turn himself into another Guy Fieri. As if we even needed the first one!

    4 Replies
    1. re: NYCkaren

      Which begs the question, can an introvert be an effective tv host? If not, why did he even audition?

      1. re: pdxgastro

        I think an introvert can be an effective tv host. I'm an introvert and a teacher. When I teach, I'm never at a loss for words and am animated. I look at it as acting. Meanwhile if I have to make small talk with a student for more than a couple of minutes I get totally tongue tied. If it ever comes up in conversation that I am very shy, the kids don't believe me.

        1. re: dmjordan

          Of course and Introvert can be effective. Two words: Johnny Carson. Apparently a very shy, introverted person from everything you read.

        2. re: pdxgastro

          Martin Yan is just about as shy a person as I've ever met, but you'd never guess it from seeing him on television.

      2. The first bit at Mel's was actually pretty telling as to how these people can handle interviewing. I thought Vic, Mary Beth and Jeff handled themselves best, whereas a few of the others just didn't get it. Penny in particular. Even when directed by Guy to let the waitress talk and not interrupt her, Penny still broke in, and then asked a table of patrons why they didn't order the wet fries! I loved it that Guy called her out on it. As someone said, with this woman, it's only all about her...
        Then there's Jyll, who's turning out pretty harsh. Flay nailed it when he said she'd probably be good on a newscast, but not on food tv.
        Looks like Penny continues to be a royal (in her own mind) pain next week. Same old, same old...

        1 Reply
        1. re: cmvan

          NFNS is a difficult show to watch under any circumstance, but when it's basically a commercial fest with a few snippets of content it becomes unwatchable. During last night's airing there were times when 3-4 minute breaks were sandwiched around 2 minutes of content. The Mel's Drive-In segment had no link to the rest of the show (except to determine which food each contestant was assigned), and the "Food Network fans" who attended the "celebration" seemed lacking in any kind of food knowledge. Free "beer" anyone? (MGD 64 does not count as beer in my world; nor does Coors Light).

          Of course the drama with Penny continues; it's about all the show has going for it.

          Prediction is that the winner will follow in the footsteps of the previous victors in coming up with a seriously boring FN show with a Sunday AM timeslot.

        2. Was it just me, or did it seem like the last half hour of the show was about a minute and a half of the show and then break to 10 minutes of commercials? They had so many ads during the last half hour it got hard to keep the show straight.

          That said, it was actually a pretty boring show in spite of the fireworks between Penny and Jyll. I've got to give Jyll credit for calling out Penny on her attitude tho'.

          This show was definitely *not* about the food

          4 Replies
          1. re: DiningDiva

            This show was definitely *not* about the food


            When *was* the show about the food?

            But, yes, I agree with you. They seem to be s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g it to make it a 90 minute show.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Okay, point taken. It's probably never really been about the food. It just seems like there's less and less emphasis on it every season and more and more emphasis on "personality"

              1. re: DiningDiva

                Right on target for a FN show then. Of course, many of the personalities there are grating as well.

            2. re: DiningDiva

              I don't notice the commercials, I just FF past them.

            3. Jyll from Wisconsin is turning into the ultimate boring white bread girl, both in her presentation and her cooking.

              Penny has a really tough edge that goes after nearly anyone or any thing that she sees as a threat. Altho she obviously can cook, the biggest threat is from herself. I doubt if she can manage that successfully.

              Nice to see Vic and Whitney coming into their own. I'm interested in seeing how they evolve from here.

              Orchid is a victim of her own mind, as was Justin D. We humans do have a way of talking ourselves out of stuff. They're examples of it.

              I would say that unless they transform something really quickly, it's not long for Chris, Jyll or possibly Orchid.

              Right now I say it's between Suzy, Vic and Whitney.

              1. Sadly, I watched this last night. The only thing I wanted to add here is that all the negative comments about Penny are about her personality, and that is certainly deserved. But of all the people, I would have loved to try her food. She sticks with her strengths, and that's good. There are plenty of sausage and peppers and mac salad recipes on FN and elsewhere - her choice to serve kebab and taboule was the right one.

                Interesting what the lady exec judge said to the catty criticisms - calm down and live with it, getting along is part of life here. Maybe that's a hint to the future - as bad as Penny's personality is, her cooking may be a better fit to the FN line-up.

                7 Replies
                1. re: applehome

                  well said applehome

                  the commercial breaks were longer than the program! I do believe that if they do it again next year they could shorten the whole thing by eliminating 2 per week but I suppose that would make it a shorter show.

                  1. re: smartie

                    It's not that eliminating two commercials per week would make it a shorter show. It's that it would make it a less profitable show. Television programming exists not to entertain, but to make money. Sorry.

                    1. re: chicgail

                      I didn't mean commercials, I meant contestants.

                      1. re: smartie

                        Oh, gotcha. Sorry I misunderstood.

                  2. re: applehome

                    Thats the dilemma though isnt it regarding Penny - The prize in winning is to get your own show, but if you win by being a villain - do you risk alienating an audience before your first episode? She is on the wrong show - she should be a villain on Hells Kitchen or something, cause as much as I love ME food and want to try hers - ill probably never give her show a fair shot if she wins cause i cant stand her.

                    1. re: applehome

                      Disagree. She didn't do a "take" on sausage and peppers. She made kebab and tabbouleh and kept saying "Do you want to try my middle eastern food?" She's a one trick pony, and unfortunately the trick is she's kind of a b1tch.

                      1. re: jmckee

                        Did anyone else go 'huh'? when Penny called her sauce (insert name I can't pronounce) and insisted it wasn't tzatziki?
                        I thought she was just trying to call a hot dog charcuterie!

                    2. I'll just reiterate what I said last week. Jyll, you go girl! I love that she called Penny out. And Penny, talk about passive aggressive. Um, I'm starting to wonder if she narcissistic personality disorder. She talks crap about everyone and then tries to play the victim. At least the judges finally called her out on it too. Although they are way too nice about it to just say she is "inauthentic" because she doesn't own who she is and how she treats people.

                      No question that Justin was going home, he has been circling the drain since the first week.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: rasputina

                        Penny certainly does seem to think that the world revolves around her. I think she must-have gotten lost on the way to real housewives. Just being certain that "everyone is talking about her" when likely they were doing nothing of the sort tells you...

                        1. re: DGresh

                          I remember reading an article about her. Basically, she just wanted to be on TV. She's got an agent. She almost got on The Apprentice. Never saw that show, but I have a feeling that you can be ruthless and still win. She really didn't do her homework for NFNS.

                          1. re: Miss Needle

                            You bring up an interesting point, Miss N. A lot of the contestants (very definitely Penny) make very competitive statements about how much they want to win or they're going to win. And I am sure that that is actively encouraged by the producers.

                            But no one talks about how much they want to contribute to viewers; how they want to make a difference; how they have someone to offer a TV audience or home cooks. And isn't that ultimately what they're there for? And isn't that ultimately who the judges give the "prize" to and what they say they are looking for? Just saying.

                            1. re: chicgail

                              omg thanks for that post. i love watching top chef etc. as much as the next obsessed chowhound, but i agree, it's seriously lame how these competitive cooking shows have become just like "america's got talent" for cooking, and eveybody just wants to get on tv/be a big star. the diva complexes are a bit much.

                      2. What amuses me most is how this show, much less this particular episode, has evolved, (as many have noted) from a multi-episode audition and cooking contest into a "Survivor", "Big Brother" or "Top Chef" type of competition. The only tactical flaw though , is the winner of teh survivor type show takes home a cash prize but has probably little or no fall-out professionally if deemed guilty of "gamesmanship" or devious activity,

                        Correct me if I'm wrong, but the whole point of the NFNS is to FIND a face , personality and cooking style that has "staying power" where viewers either tune in to watch what they cook, how they cook or the personality them self (and really the amount of star income or leveraged income FN can reap from each) over the long haul.

                        The off-putting part though is that as each week unfolds, the unsavory side tends to rear it's ugly head from most if not all of the contestants. Of the current group, I see two I would actually follow, but should each or any pull a "Penny", then they're done to me.

                        While I see competition a healthy route for finding the right person for the right job, the camera one-on-one's and petty antics/back-stabbing and downright lying and pre-pubescent teen behavior and comments just lead me to believe that none of these folks are cut out to be in the media professionally.

                        I;m sure each and every FN personality has had their "tantrum" or "bitchfest" moment, and is almost always kept off camera, as opposed to been viewed "in front of the viewing audience".
                        The more you watch, the less likeable many become as the personality onion is peeled.
                        Trainwreck indeed.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jjjrfoodie

                          "Correct me if I'm wrong, but the whole point of the NFNS is to FIND a face ..."
                          That is the stated goal, but at this point NFNS is its own reason. This thread demonstrates the drawing power of the competition - competition for its own sake.

                        2. Did anyone else feel very uncomfortable by Guy's treatment of Justin at the 4th picnic? Justin was obviously struggling to invent an alias that would be someone he is not-- an extrovert and entertainer who engages with aplomb. It failed, but Justin knew it and seemed resigned to his unavoidable dismissal, which I give him credit for.
                          But when Guy called him out in front of Tusch, Suzy and Bobby, it was just mean. What purpose did this exercise in humiliation serve?
                          I really felt bad for the guy. Not "Guy" ;-)
                          What I get when I watch these type of competitions that are lorded over by the FN chefs/personalities and prior TNFNS winners is a sense of increasing dislike and disillusionment that they are just mean kids in the school yard looking for a twinkie to steal.

                          18 Replies
                          1. re: monavano

                            I didn't really think he "called him out", since he leaned over and whispered so that I assumed no other judges would hear. But his advice was kind of bad as it turns out, turning Justin into this fake version of himself.

                            I actually thought whoever's in charge of filming had to have told the audience not to cheer for Penny. There was no reason for anyone to sit there in total silence for her and cheer for everyone else. She hadn't said anything strange or acted weird on stage had she? I think the producers put the audience up to that.

                            1. re: Joanie

                              Re: Penny, I think that was editing. And as for Guy, whispering to Justin in front of the other judges was inappropriate. What was the purpose? Did Guy think he was going to redirect Justin right then and there, again, in plain view of the judges?
                              The other judges certainly could not have thought that Guy was telling him what a bang up job he was doing. It was more like an obvious, WTF dude?
                              It was just a turn off for me as I saw Guy's actions as condescending. It was not all that long ago that Guy was in Justin's shoes. Guy had some really bad moments on the show and how quickly he forgets with his meteoric shot to stardom.
                              It's gone to his bleach-soaked head ;-)

                              1. re: monavano

                                Either way (re: Penny), i think what they showed was fake and kinda crappy to make it seem like she totally bombed like that if it wasn't really the case.

                                1. re: Joanie

                                  I doubt she bombed because she's such an extrovert. She has been cast as the villain. All these shows cast characters to fit their story arcs and create buzz. It's all fake, every last one of these "reality" shows.
                                  I think we start to see the real person when they win and have their own gig, separate from the pressure cooker situations that they are put in when they are isolated day after day after day. Most shows cut off tv, internet, most any outside influence and communication.
                                  When you become a show contestant, you sign away a LOT. They can take your image and do whatever they want with it. You lose control and will get used for whatever purpose is needed for ratings. Are you the All American Girl? The Girl Next Door? The Soccer Mom? The Bitch? The Bad Boy?
                                  See a theme? Take any "reality" show and insert the individuals into these "characters". It's formulaic and predictable.
                                  You'll never know until you watch the show.
                                  Filming is brutal. It would suck the joy right out of cooking for me.

                                  1. re: monavano

                                    Well said.

                                    The only thing to add is that, having built Penny up as "the villain, FN has no choice but to cut her without a show because a large contingent of their viewers have already decided they wouldn't watch her. She may be good for viewership on this show, but, unless they do something dramatic in the producing and editing (a meltdown, a heartfelt apology, some sympathetic background info for why she's been this way) she's DOA for her own.

                                    1. re: monavano

                                      You're right and i know it's all just a big false reality. But somehow making it out as tho it was quiet as a church whenever she spoke during her presentation crosses a line for me.

                                      1. re: Joanie

                                        Often times (especially for teasers), what you see in the final edited version of the show is anachronistic- in other words - out of the normal order of time.
                                        That audience may have been patiently waiting for the show to start some time before Penny was even on stage, and if that's the crowd reaction and faces that "fit" with their story, well, that's what they use.
                                        Duplicitous, isn't it?
                                        I'm not saying that's what happened, but that's how they roll.
                                        Situations are contrived.
                                        Confessional material is provoked.
                                        Booze, ah booze is always good for the makings of a great sh*t storm. I'm sure most have noted that during Top Chef, the stew room is stocked with beer and wine where chefs can get lubricated.

                                      2. re: monavano

                                        I don't think Penny is as nasty as people seem to think...
                                        She is competitive.
                                        I think her big problem is actually her face! (which she of course can't help!) It's very hard, and appears really harsh when she is not happy.
                                        I gained respect for her a few episodes back, when she was put on a certain team in an effort to make her do poorly. When asked about how she felt about it - she said " It feels crappy, but I think it was a smart move"
                                        I liked her honesty.

                                        I kind of like Rosemary, but I'm not sold on her cooking yet.
                                        I also like the guy from Chicago.

                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                          Yes, she has strong features and her makeup exaggerates her facial expressions. I'm sure that if she wins, they'll work on that!

                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                            Rosemary? You don't mean Mary Beth do you? Or Susie? I can't picture who that is. I'm rooting for Jeff, the Chicago sandwich guy (I think that's his name). I actually have a soft spot for Chris who tries really hard, haha.

                                            1. re: Joanie

                                              i don't know. i thought penny looked and sounded ridiculous. the get up was weird. she was trying too hard. i can't believe she went over well.

                                              and i think she was the first one to play by backstabbing. again, not a sign of a terrible person but it's like she didn't get that the goal of this show is to be likable. you can she has hard edges.

                                              1. re: AMFM

                                                The get up was ridiculous but you also had Vic in that wig and Jeff doing that song which could be considered trying too hard. I agree that she's a hard edged backstabbing person (altho I'm not really sure she's a backstabber, she's pretty up front about her goals), but I still think they dicked around with things to make it look like she bombed.

                                                1. re: Joanie

                                                  but somehow the other two worked at least a bit better. they pulled off silly.

                                                  may definitely be true that the editing elves were involved. perhaps i just hope she bombed! :)

                                                  1. re: Joanie

                                                    But (judge) Susie commented on how awkward it felt to be watching Penny get so little response from the crowd. "Crickets", she said.

                                                    1. re: babette feasts

                                                      True. I can't help but think it was the editing tho.

                                                2. re: Joanie

                                                  Oh, you are probably right...sorry!
                                                  I guess I am not paying to much attention!

                                      3. re: monavano

                                        I didn't think that Guy called Justin out either. In fact my interpretation was that Guy really liked Justin and wanted him to succeed so he continued with his role of director. It just didn't work. I thought his facial expressions and gestures were a little strange and disconcerting, but all that may be in the editing.

                                        1. re: chicgail

                                          I think Guy liked him to, but Guy has to reel himself in insofar as he seems to inject himself into the contestant's performances rather than letting their vignettes play out on their own. That's probably a matter of inexperience on Guy's part.
                                          Instead of coming off as a mentor, he directs them a bit too heavily, IMO.
                                          In other words, Guy needs a lighter touch.

                                      4. SEND PENNY HOME ALREADY.

                                        1. I watched most of his episode. Penny does not have a likeable personality and will not win. She is however good for ratings for this competition. Jyll is forgetable and won't win. Some of the others have a chance, but I think if Vic keeps preparing good food, the competition is his to lose.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: John E.

                                            I tend to agree with you and the more I see of him - tats and all - the more I like him and the less I like some of the others. It could come down to Vic and Susie or Vic and MaryBeth

                                          2. This show reminds me of why I don't watch any food tv shows about cooking.

                                            1) Bah humbug, I don't care about personal stories. I don't get teary hearing about how they sat and watching their grandmother cook, or about bad dates or whatever that the execs get so excited to hear.

                                            2) Tablescapes and people scapes don't interest me--give them odd props and see who looks the least odd. Why? Vic in a Wendy's hairpiece or Penny in that odd get up or Jeff with the flag around his neck and pretending to be a rocker all make me cringe.

                                            3) I don't care how they interact with a crowd. It does't matter if they work a crowd well to get them to buy their items and market themselves.

                                            4) If you're going to cook something like lamb kebabs and tabouleh, I don't need to see an excuse for it, as a challenge of "sausage and peppers." There's no connection other than there's a meat and why try to connect dots that aren't there?

                                            The one show that would catch my eye would be one that Justin, fishmonger/butcher could do, and there isn't anything similar on right now--more about meat/fish. I'd love to see a show on a cut of meat, how to tell it's a good cut, how best to cook that piece, a couple of recipe ideas and what to look for in a restaurant. I know some fish but I'm often faced with a list where I can't identify a few. I'd love to know the taste/flavor/texture of, say branzino, how it's best prepped. Know if it's typically served w/ bones, as a filet, steak. What do I do if served a fried whole trout and how not to butcher it. Maybe Justin didn't have the personality but he had the knowledge and could cook. Teach him to be himself in front of the camera.

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: chowser

                                              " If you're going to cook something like lamb kebabs and tabouleh, I don't need to see an excuse for it, as a challenge of "sausage and peppers." There's no connection other than there's a meat and why try to connect dots that aren't there? "

                                              It's a good point, and it reminds me of how annoyed I was a few episodes back, where they had to take a classic dish, and reinterpret it for the home cook or something....

                                              I think one chef did anything vaguely similar to the original dish!

                                              Why bother giving them a challenge at all if they are going to do whatever they want?
                                              It drives me crazy!

                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                And, the ones who don't follow the rules end up winning! That drives me crazy.

                                                1. re: chowser

                                                  i feel the same way!!! i liked justin. i would've watched his show. would be definitely interested in the one you describe.

                                                  and i agree i don't need to hear about grandma. susie is probably my next favorite but i still don't like it when she does it. now the "i don't like mayo so i add avocado to my slaw for creaminess". that was great. and healthy. i'd want to try that.

                                                2. re: NellyNel

                                                  I feel the same way. I hear the challenge, think to myself, what on earth would I make, and then sit back and wonder why their food is praised when it has noting to do with the original dish.

                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                    I feel your pain Chowser.

                                                    Years ago when I lived in the Bay Area I was laid up after knee surgery and watched a ton of cooking shows on the various PBS stations I got. I remember there was one show that featured a woman who was classically trained and had opened her own culinary school. In the series she went through many different techniques and recipes and often used her students to demonstrate. Unfortunately, the poor woman had the personality of a wall-eyed pike. Even tho' the episodes were jam packed with useful information I generally lost interest about half-way through due to the poor delivery. I agree we don't need someone continually aping for the camera in order to make a point, but some animation and camera presence does help with the presentation.

                                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                                      Are you talking about Joanne Weir? She's still on CreateTV.

                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                        No, I saw many Joanne Weir shows and while she was somewhat understated her shows were pretty good. Or at least good enough for me to go out and buy the companion book ;-).

                                                        I've been trying to remember the name of the show to which I referred and am drawing a complete blank. I think the show was produced by a PBS station in Minnesota, but I could be wrong. The woman who did the show was trained in France and was probably in her mid to late 50s when she did the show and that was at nearly 15 years ago. Lots of good information, lots of good technique demonstrations but the show was a total snore.