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Cutting off The Chopping Block

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I may have been way off base last week when I said that The Chopping Block could be a "cut above" other reality shows.  After last night's episode while it's still possible for the show to be better than others, it doesn't look like the show will ever reach that height. 

In science they refer to "potential energy" and "kinetic energy."  Most easily explained, potential energy is the total amount of energy inside a thing that could be released, the stored energy of an object.  Kinetic energy is the energy, in the form of motion, that is being given off.  Applied to The Chopping Block, I might say that the show's potential energy is massive, while it's kinetic energy is near zero.

Spoiler time – last night, for the second week in a row, Marco Pierre White didn't actually have to chop anyone from the competition.  The team that ended up disappearing did so of their own accord, of their own whims, of their own wishes.  Simply put, they quit.  Two weeks in a row now a team has quit rather than getting fired.  Yes, it may have looked bad for Chad & Mike who went home yesterday, but if they'd fought at least a little they certainly could have stuck around another week at least.

There's definitely something to be said for reality show contestants that realize that they ought not win, it shows a certainly amount of sense on their part.  I can and do respect the fact that Chad felt as though the best team ought to win and that he and Mikey weren't that team, but having two teams quit two weeks in a row isn't the sort of thing you hope for when you're watching a show. I can't imagine it's what the producers wanted either, I can't imagine it's who they thought they were casting.  Chad ought to have fought a little for himself, just a little.  No? 

Okay, no more spoilers

Truthfully, the show seemed to be falling apart on other levels too last night.  Last week, I found that I loved much of Marco's commentary.  This week, not so much.  I love hearing him speak, I think have those extended segments with him is a great idea for the show, but what he was saying last night was downright foolish. 

Early on, he said that the most important thing in the restaurant was the environment that you sit in, the look and feel of the front of house.  Thirty seconds later he said that front of house was equally important to the kitchen.  I get that they can be equally important, but he kind of put the emphasis on "the" when he said "the most important" talking about the environment that you sit in.  He said it with the clear intent that the front of house was the most important thing, as in not tied with anything else, in its importance level.  To instantly negate that saying that front of house and kitchen are equally important means that what we as an audience got was a poorly edited program.  Whether or not Marco went from saying one thing to saying the other immediately is irrelevant, the show should have cut out one of the two statements.  If they strung together two thoughts of his to make them one, that's even worse, but either shows a lack of thought and effort.

I shouldn't really have been surprised when what came next, the challenge for the week, wasn't actually even explained.  It appeared as though the teams had to redesign a single corner of the restaurant to look different from the rest of the place.  At least, that's how it was explained.  That wasn't what the challenge was though, the challenge was to redesign the corner with an idea that the teams were going to later rework the whole place to look like the corner.  Again, not explaining that to the viewer showed a lack of effort.

In the end, that was kind of the hallmark of last night's episode – there was a lack of effort on the chefs' part, there was a lack of effort on the servers' part, there was a lack of effort on the producers' part.  Maybe they'll figure it out next week, but I'm no longer going to keep my fingers crossed.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.