Nobody ever said life was fair, and that goes double for the deliciously cruel world of reality television. All the evidence you needed could be found in this week’s installment of Worst Cooks in America, which found hapless Kat surviving to fight another week despite serving up a piece of lamb so raw its hue was downright aubergine and a pile of fennel that was more bludgeoned than shredded.
Why the miscarriage of justice? Well, at its basic heart, Worst Cooks faces a terrible conundrum: In its opening few weeks, the show basks in the hilarity of the spill-burn-overseason-repeat rituals of its kitchen-challenged contestants. With each passing episode, though, Mentors/Judges Anne Burrell and Robert Irvine are supposed to eliminate the baddest of the bad from each of their merry bands of recruits — until all that’s left are two protégés ready to face off in a final three-course challenge. Which means, with every step closer to the finale, we see fewer and fewer culinary crime scenes featuring hacked-up veggies, charred proteins, and splattered sauces. In other words, as Worst Cooks loses its worst cooks, it faces a case of diminishing entertainment. And that’s why I suspect Kat got traded from Team Red to Team Blue, leaving lust-struck Anna to get eliminated by her No. 1 crush, Chef Robert.
I won’t complain, though. Kat turned bad cooking into visual poetry: Watch as she grates fresh pineapple with all the grace and finesse of a coal miner blasting off a mountain cap! Wince as she mixes the tropical fruit into a bowl of ground beef! Howl as she feeds the sacrificial, disintegrating patties to a hungry grill that sucks all but a few withered scraps of “burger” into its white-hot coals.
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Thus, we were left with Kat plunking grizzled nubs of “burger” onto enormous chunks of grilled bread. The pièce de résistance, though, was Kat’s decision to douse the entire catastrophe with mayonnaise, stab it with a gargantuan skewer, and garnish it with a hunk of pineapple. “You said it’s like an art canvas!” offered Kat, when asked to defend what Anne referred to as the “magic wand” sticking out of her meal. Runner-up for funniest moment of the grilling challenge: Erika inventing a condiment called “Fancy Sauce” by combining ketchup and mayonnaise. (I’d hate to see what qualifies as low rent in that woman’s refrigerator.) The situation was so dire that the selling points for the two best burgers were “served on an English muffin” (Kelsey) and “contains two types of cheeses” (Georg).
The elimination task, which unfortunately didn’t follow the grilling challenge’s format of asking the contestants to use their never-to-be-trusted instincts, found the Red Team attempting to recreate Anne’s lamb chops with olive tapenade and fennel salad over a potato cake and the Blue Team taking a stab at Robert’s pan-seared duck breast with julienne of vegetables and poomegranite sauce with diced apples. (Whew!)
The minute Anne said to use a nonstick pan for the potato cake, you knew somebody was going to do the opposite, and it turned out to be Erika, who really can’t be blamed for the sins of the cookware industry, can she? “Why would anyone invent a pan that’s not non-stick?” she demanded to know. “I think it’s stupid.” Well, if Erika thinks it’s stupid, the good folks at Calphalon really ought to listen up, no? Erika’s failure to follow the simplest instructions, along with her decision to use heaping quantities of red-pepper flakes to mask the taste of her mortal enemy fennel, made her an easy alternative to booting the less-skilled but more enthusiastically awful Kat. Back on Kat’s former Blue Team, Anna’s slightly blackened veggies — hardly “burned beyond recognition,” as Chef Robert declared — were enough to join Erika on a trip to the Land of Unsuccessful Dinner Parties, Possible Food Poisoning, and a Lifetime of Takeout.
The top dishes this week came from Kelly and Carlos, but at this point, I’m not really invested enough in any particular contestant to care about who “wins,” let alone review their fleeting successes. I just want to know where Chef Anne is buying her array of dazzlingly awful pink skirts, so I can hit the MegaMillions, purchase the shop in question, and burn it to the ground.
How are you feeling about this season of Worst Cooks? Are you rooting for anyone in particular? And did the right two people get the boot this week? Sound off below! And for all my reality TV coverage, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.