Hyphen magazine - Asian American arts, culture, and politics


Hyphen TV: Give Good Mouth

Kuniko with her usual expression on the blue team

New show alert! Bravo premiered LOLwork (actually two weeks ago; I'm a bit behind), a show that takes us behind the scenes at the offices that create and curate content for icanhascheezburger.com. CEO and founder Ben Huh (who has a standing desk with a treadmill) is the bossman of the ten employees that include his wife Emily (editor in chief who takes care of content and makes sure everything they post is funny) and Sarah Hiraki (an art director). Though the employees seem to all be energetic 20- and 30-somethings and the work is obviously pretty fun, it's still an office, so it's not terribly compelling so far in the first two episodes. There are staff meetings intercut with cat videos (and staff watching cat videos during meetings), and each episode has some kind of project to ground it. The first episode had everyone working in pairs to create a video to be featured on the site, and the second episode centered around career day for a group of 12-year-olds. There's nothing earth-shattering here, but if you like voyeuristic peeks into other people's offices with a dash of Keyboard Cat-type antics, check out LOLwork.

Ben and his trendy glasses have been LOL'd

The competition is now underway on Top Chef and it's already pretty exciting. For the quickfire, the chefs broke down into five teams of three and were tasked with working together on a dish that featured one of Seattle's local shellfish. Kuniko's blue team member John (Sheldon was their third) was excited to work with her, since she's Japanese so "maybe she has incredible knife skills" (note that when I first heard the line I thought he said "life skills;" I wish I had incredible life skills). Kind of a weird assumption to make, but whatever. On the green team, Kristen went right for the geoduck (can anyone tell me why that's pronounced "gooey duck" and not "jee-oh duck" like I want it to be pronounced?), explaining that it cooks quickly so it's great, "except it looks like a penis. A really big one." Can't argue with that.

Kuniko was concerned because she's "not good at speaking English or clearly expressing [her]self," but the blue team took the win with their take on geoduck in a sashimi dish with ponzu, apple, and cucumber. Judging the quickfire along with Padma were three previous contestants, including Josie Smith-Malave from season 2. The twist of the episode? Those three returning players re-joined the game as a sixth team for the elimination challenge. A twist indeed! For the elimination the chefs once again had to use local delicacies, this time getting fish and other foods to use. Kuniko decided to poach the blue team's cod using chili oil, earning her the title of "risk-taker" from teammate John (he really has a lot to say about her). When her oil caught on fire, she remained calm but admitted that she was losing her focus. Seems like a bad time for that, but once again she faked us out and ultimately took the win with her cod. When it was revealed that she'd never cooked in chili oil before, Tom suggested that she do it again. Congrats, Kuniko!

No seriously, it's her go-to expression

We also learned about Jeffrey's background, which is never a good thing this early in the competition. He is engaged to his boyfriend, and didn't come out to his parents until he was 25. His dad was fine with the news, but his mom didn't take it well. Growing up with military parents, Jeffrey had a tough upbringing, but he's thankful that they taught him discipline from a young age. Unfortunately, that outlook didn't help him when he overcooked the grey team's halibut -- Padma compared it to a hockey puck during the meal. Ouch. Josie was also dinged for overcooking the red team's prawns, though her teammate Stefan got worse from the judges for his overcooked quail. Uh oh, you guys. When the red and grey teams landed in the bottom two, it was no surprise that Jeffrey was sent home for "the worst mistake" of the night. It was a bummer to hear him talk dejectedly about facing his family and his fiancee and be the first chef to leave the show, but I wish him luck and a happy marriage.

Chin up, Jeffrey!

On RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race, it was finally -- finally! -- time for the queens to read one another. Why am I so excited? Because Jujubee's reading of her competitors in the second season was basically the best thing ever. When the girls were tasked with dressing up as cheerleaders and reading one another through cheers, I thought team Rujubee had it in the bag...but they didn't win! How can this be?! They got a chance to redeem themselves in the mainstage challenge: forming girl groups with celebrity guests. Rujubee formed V3 with Pia Zadora's daughter Kady Z, and I'm sorry to say that Kady was totally not into dragging herself up. She was clearly uncomfortable with the amount of makeup that our girls wanted to put on her, leading Jujubee to exclaim exasperatedly, "Girl I wish I could paint this bitch UP." What a wasted opportunity, am I right?

On the mainstage, the judges loved V3's lip synch to "Jealous of My Boogie," and guest judge Rosie Perez added that Juju "gives good mouth," really putting her all into the performance. Santino added that Juju "took it to church" and "had every single syllable down." However, the judges dinged the group for not dressing Kady up more (gah!) and for reusing choreography that they used back in season 2 (how on earth the judges recalled that is beyond me). Despite Jujubee's skills, they were once again in the bottom two and barely squeaked by with Raven lip synching for her life. TOO CLOSE, ladies! No more of this bottom two business, please!

I am legitimately jealous of Jujubee's boogie

One last Drag Race note: in Untucked, we saw Jujubee receive a sweet video message from her boyfriend, Chris. Chris is sad that they can't be together for his birthday, but he wanted to offer encouragement and tell Juju that he doesn't know if he can wait for same sex marriage to be legal before they get married. Tears! On all fronts (including mine)! Juju stopped crying ("I don't want to look ugly") and composed herself to say that she wants "a nice diamond-crusted platinum band. It has to be big and it better be a nice Tiffany's, I hope." Oh Juju. Too cute, need a tissue again...

On Project Runway All Stars, the designers had to create garments inspired by photographs. Ivy chose a photo of a monarch butterfly because "butterflies represent evolution and change," and she tries to grow as a person every day. I was personally not a big fan of her look, but I see the inspiration in it and Joanna said that Ivy was "finding a real energy" in her pieces. For the first time, Ivy was safe in the middle, so we'll see her again next week.

I get it, but I'm not into it.

On Go On, Yolanda took center stage for the first time when she thought she could graduate from the therapy group. We learn that she's there because her would-be husband left her at the altar, but now that he's marrying someone else she's realized that she's finally ready to move on. Of course, Ivy quickly realized that she couldn't go on alone, assembling the group outside their usual meeting place again and again until they all stopped showing up (she has no other friends, it turns out). The last straw came when everyone was too sick of Ivy to agree to attend her Alice in Wonderland-themed Halloween party, but in the end they all showed up and Ivy swore that she'd "never get better". Hurray for co-dependance? I suppose?

A very somber Alice

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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