Hyphen magazine - Asian American arts, culture, and politics


Hyphen TV: A Big Giant Hole in My Heart

Sheldon is not afraid of tentacles

A new season of Project Runway already? No, you didn't just time warp -- Project Runway All Stars did indeed wrap up last week. Project Runway, I love you and everything (and I missed Tim Gunn), but it's getting to be a bit much. This time around we've got our eye on 26-year-old Tu Suthiwat Nakchat; originally from Thailand, he later moved to Virginia (though it seems from his new Twitter account that he's back in Thailand, where he had quit his job just before auditioning for Runway). We found out that he tried to be a monk for one month for his mom's sake, but he couldn't handle being away from sex, the internet, and television ("It's not me!"). Tu is also a self-described "girly sissy boy," who was judged by others during his childhood, but fashion saved him: "Whenever I feel depressed or I don't have a friend, I just draw." His acceptance to Parsons only further cemented fashion as a healing constant in his life.

I hope Tu isn't feeling depressed here

Tu showed some sweet dance moves in his audition video, and at casting, former contestant Laura Kathleen was ready to buy a red-trimmed trench Tu showed; she called it "a twist on Burberry." We didn't get to see very much of Tu in the premiere episode, but we see him land on the Dream Team (is it just me or is the whole team thing this season not as bad as I feared so far?), which ended up being in the bottom. Tu was safe with his two-piece outfit that Heidi called "cool," so I'm hoping that we'll get to see more of him next week.

Not a look I could pull off, but I appreciate his creativity

On Face Off, the contestants were tasked with creating a comic book character. Jim Lee was one of the comic artists who helped develop the characters, and Alam decided to create a man made of glass named Dark Shard. I thought that things looked promising when we saw her sculpting her character's head, which had the angular lines and geometric panels of a Superman-type character.

Jim Lee looks very happy to be here

However, disaster struck when Alam couldn't get the back piece, a flat panel with shards of plastic "glass", to attach to her model's back. After struggling over and over with glue, then with tape, Alam was forced to give up at the last moment and send her model out with a messy, unpainted, bare back. "There's a big giant hole in his back, and there's a big giant hole in my heart." That's some real poetry right there. Although the judges registered true horror when Aram's model revealed the mess that was his unfinished back, several contestants dealt with even bigger problems, and Alam escaped without even landing in the bottom three. That was a close one, Alam...let's not tempt fate again, 'kay?

Dark Shard...kind of looks like he's wearing jammies

It was sad to watch Top Chef after Kristen's horrible exit last week, but at least Josie admitted that it was the first elimination in which she "felt some sort of guilt"...I guess? For the quickfire, the chefs had to make sushi for master sushi chef Katsuya Uechi. Though everyone expected Sheldon to win with his experience in cooking Asian food, he didn't even land in the top. Assume much, guys?

"Don't be racist, you guys."

The elimination challenge brought with it another Asian American judge, David Chang of the Momofuku empire in New York and "an all-around badass in the culinary world," as Sheldon put it. Sheldon, inspired by the badass, made sweet and savory fried chicken. Unfortunately, he didn't have time to get both pieces on every plate; luckily, the dish was so good that the judges didn't care (except for wanting more). Wolfgang Puck showed his chicken eaten down to the bone, and Sheldon landed in the top three. We also learned that he's been playing the ukelele since the second grade. Aww. This is not helping my assumption that every Hawaiian child is handed a ukelele at some point and forced to learn.

David Chang is REALLY happy to be here

Josie, on the other hand, told the judges that she was going with a classic southern style but then raised eyebrows when she served her fried chicken in a banana leaf. "In the south, we'd run her right out" for the leaf decision, the judges agreed. As for the chicken, the judges found it had no spice to it, and they couldn't stop talking about how oily it was. When she landed in the bottom at the judges' panel, they asked her what happened, and she explained that she didn't have enough time (surprise!) and had to take the chicken right from the fryer to the plate. Oh how sweet it was to see her finally -- finally! -- get shot down for her excuses. Responding to her protests, Tom sarcastically said that the judges all must not know what they're talking about. I don't think very many people were sorry to see Josie get sent home at last. Oh, and Kristen soundly beat her in Last Chance Kitchen, so it was a night of double satisfaction. I do feel badly that Josie was edited to look like such a villain, but there was just no denying that the lady was full of excuses and never able to get her timing down. I hope things go better in your own restaurants, Jos.

Is Sheldon already looking apologetic here?

And finally, the country music drama Nashville -- the last show I ever thought I'd be writing about in Hyphen TV --  featured Ming-Na Wen this week as Calista Reeve, a record exec trying to lure main character Rayna James from her longtime record label. Though she nearly succeeded in enticing the singer with a (toy) jet plane and a fancy watch, the deal was ultimately rejected. It turns out that Calista was secretly in cahoots with Rayna's new guitarist, who would have benefitted if Rayna signed with Calista. Y'all, you do not keep secrets from Rayna. You would think that's the end of Calista's time on the show, but you don't bring Mulan (Wen was the voice of Disney's Mulan.) in for one measly episode. Will we see television's first (I assume) Asian American country music executive again? I'll let you know.

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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