Hyphen magazine - Asian American arts, culture, and politics


Hyphen TV: Fishy Type of Town

Oh Kuniko, how those potatoes will betray you.

Hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving! Before we go on to anything else, I totally neglected to mention last week that Hyphen TV beloved show America's Best Dance Crew was canceled. Dang, guys. Let's have a moment of popping and locking silence.

The shades hide the tears

But let's not dwell on sadness. Going back to good eats holidays, it was a Thanksgiving feast on Top Chef, but first the chefs had to make dumplings from around the world for their quickfire challenge. Sheldon played at knowing all the different dumplings on the board, but quickly admitted, "Not too much dumplings in Hawaii, I'll tell you that." He managed to grab the relatively recognizable Chinese jiaozi, which he filled with shiitake mushrooms. Kuniko got takoyaki, fried octopus balls that she loves to eat but has never made at home. Unfortunately, her first time didn't go well, as she didn't plate her food in time for the judges. Major bummer.

Josie pulled Korean mandu and described how the dumplings have to be cooked very delicately before summing up the challenge as a whole: "It's really about putting love into a little envelope or a little purse and eating it." Amen. The judges questioned whether it's traditional to put kimchi inside the mandu, and she responded with another gem: "Anytime you go into any Korean restaurant it's one pickly, fermented, fishy type of town." I guess that's fair, more or less. Impressed with how complete Josie's dish was after a very short amount of time (isn't an hour much longer than they usually get for quickfires?), the judges gave her the win and immunity.

The chefs were then split into two teams, and each team worked with a judge to create a full Thanksgiving meal. All of our guys were on the grey team with Emeril and his cajun flavors. Chrissy was excited to work with the chef, asking if she could say "Bam!" while adding ingredients and then happily doing so. I definitely would have been unable to resist doing the same. Since she had immunity, Josie offered to take on the turkey (which involved an incredible amount of butter). Kuniko, still embarrassed about her quickfire performance, took on a potato pave and declared that she would time herself correctly this time. We also saw her help her pal from last week, John.

"Bam!"

Unfortunately, the grey team landed in the bottom. Its worst offense was Josie's chicken, which was blackened and flavorful on the outside, but "practically raw" inside. Kristen's root vegetables were underseasoned and didn't need the creme fraiche she added. Sheldon's greens needed to be cooked more -- he clearly wasn't familiar with the Southern style of cooking greens to the point of mush. And poor Kuniko's pave was underseasoned and raw to the point where the judges couldn't put a knife through it. What on earth was happening in that kitchen? Tom made his opinion of the meal clear: "I would love to send Josie home. She blew it for her team." It was lucky that she had immunity, especially since she thought the dish was potentially OVERcooked. Seriously, what was going on in there? Kuniko got the ax instead, and she had about as gracious an exit as I've ever seen: "It meant a lot for me to come here, to try. I don't have regrets because if I didn't help anybody and I only took care of myself, that's worse than me going home." What a class act. Of course, that interview was immediately followed by John telling the other chefs that anyone who can't cook potatoes doesn't belong in the competition. John, may I remind you, is the person we saw Kuniko helping earlier. Ugh.

Josie's innocent, unknowing smile

Go On was also celebrating Thanksgiving this week with an episode that had the therapy group eating their Thanksgiving meal together (they really don't have any other friends, do they?). Yolanda had a sweet little moment with Owen when they bonded after his controlling mom reared her slightly frightening head. "You got a tiger mom? Me too. That's why we're so crazy. Which stringed instrument did she make you play?" It turns out that Owen, who is African American, plays the cello, and later the two have a cello/violin duet. I liked the relatively subtle nod to shared backgrounds, and I'd be happy to see those two paired up again in the future.

Okay Owen isn't pictured, but imagine him here

Turkey time isn't over yet: on the X-Factor, Bancroft Middle School's music department was surprised with a whole new classroom outfitted with instruments and supplies for a full band. Music teacher Sophia Lee is clearly loved by her students, who were shocked by their new stuff and then got to perform on the X-Factor stage. Rock on, Miss Lee! Love seeing teachers so filled with pride. Excuse me, I seem to have something in my eye...

On RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race, the two remaining teams played a game of FISH (think HORSE with more makeup and less hoops confidence), and Rujubee won, getting the prize of a phone call with a loved one. Jujubee called her boyfriend Chris, who she's been with for six years. No wonder she wants him to put a ring on it.

For the mainstage, the pairs had to create hero/villain duos complete with backstories, a choreographed dance number, and, of course, outfits. Juju and Raven had a complicated story about a planet called Solaris that shot into Earth because of a solar eclipse? Or something? Also stuff about tans and libraries? Anyway, Jujubee was a hero ("Of course I'm the hero. Duh.") named Melanina whose mission is "to bring a bronze glow to every human being" by activating her spray tan gun with the words "No T, no shade." Michelle loved Jujubee's skintight white bodysuit, calling her "very Marvel Comics." The other judges were mixed, saying that they wanted to see a little skin, she seemed a little fake, and they wanted more accessories. Despite Michelle's defense that Rujubee was fierce, she was outvoted and our beloved duo was in the bottom once again. They tearfully lip synched their way through "Dancing on My Own," coming together in real friendship and conveying despair at having to split. At the end of the number, Juju had a bit of a hyperventilation attack, saying she couldn't breathe and needed help from Raven. In the end, neither girl went home, so this week we'll see another battle between the final four. Juju knew just how to react to the joyful news exclaiming, "I want fried chicken now." That's our girl.

Melanina will not stand for untanned skin

About The Author

Dianne Choie

Dianne Choie's TV is in Brooklyn, NY. She has a cat, several reusable shopping bags, and other mildly annoying stereotypes of youngish people who live in Brooklyn.

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