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The 15 Bestworst Moments Of MasterChef, Numbers 10 Through 6.

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10. YOU'RE DOWN AND THEN YOU'RE UP.

Season One

The judges at MasterChef, and the producers behind them, love screwing with the competitors and the viewer -- everyone who isn't them, basically. When Gordon, Joe and Graham announce who's leaving the show, they'll grimace, clasp their hands, exchange concerned glances with one another, and spend five minutes completing a sentence that should take five seconds.

It's stupid and maddening, especially when they leave us on a cliffhanger over a commercial break, but it's supposed to be. It's a component of the reality show format, and I know that going in. I'm forgiving. Sometimes, though, it's just so transparently manipulative and silly that the only reasonable response is, "OH MY GOD GO FUCK YOURSELVES."

Y'all? Did you really have to get the guy running the scoreboard in on the gag? And let's back up and revisit this apron-tying thing. Are apron strings like shoes or something, where you have to stop once in a while and re-tie them? Aprons don't just come untied, do they? Like, even within the construct of your gag, nothing about this makes any sense, and you can't expect anyone to buy what you're selling.

Well, except for Tony here. He bought it hard. HAHA WOW WHOA. YOU'RE DOWN AND THEN YOU'RE UP, IT'S LIKE AN EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER. ACTUALLY THAT WOULD BE THE WORLD'S SHORTEST SHITTIEST MOST BACKWARDS ROLLER COASTER. I AM TOTALLY COOL WITH BEING DISRESPECTED AND SCREWED AROUND WITH. I WONDER IF THERE ARE ANY ROLLER COASTERS ABOUT FOOD?!?!??

9. I DO NOT KNOW GORDON RAMS.

Season Three

Big fan of you, nameless guy in middle America. Big fan of you. Just a big fan of what you're doing out there. You're just, you're doing great work, and I really appreciate that you're out there doin' what you do. Outstanding work here.


8. WAIT, WHAT?

Season Two

SMALL CHILD HAVING SEX OH HO HO HO LET'S ALL HAVE A CHORTLE WHAT A WONDERFUL seriously what the hell masterchef

7. IT'S ROOOOOOOOOOH!!!!

Season Two

Jeez, guys. I mean, trichinosis has been basically eradicated. Y'all know that? It's not like it's raw, it's just a rare cook on the pork. Doubt it's gonna make you sick. And I know that it's a staggering and wildly unexpected development for you to round up a gaggle of amateurs and find that one of them didn't cook their meat correctly, but I mean, ain't gotta piss your pants about it, you know?

That's what I find funny about this: the forced disbelief and outrage. These three judges are culinary legends who have worked in tons of restaurants and seen all kinds of shit. Like, I bet they've seen some goofus line cook throw a flank steak into a food processor with some cooking oil and sour cream and poured it into a Meet the Fockers commemorative glass with a crazy straw and called it Meat the Fockers. That kind of big-league stupid shit. Surely they've seen undercooked pork a billion times.

But nope, they have to keep calling it raw, then asking each other if it's raw, then asking if they can eat it, then Gordon says, "you can't, it's RHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHWHWHH!!!" Alejandra calls him "sir," and he says "MY NAME'S GORDON NOT FUCKING SIR," which of course is a really weird and dickish objection you would never make, except, of course, if some lady takes her pork out of the oven 90 seconds early.

Alejandra made pretty awesome food and was one of the more likable competitors during her time on the show, but this is the dish that sent her packing. She was one of my favorites, and she didn't deserve to go out like that. If I'm ever a contestant on MasterChef, I'm going to pour two cups of iodized salt over a raw pork butt, garnish it with one of my wisdom teeth and a blood-stained claw hammer, set it in front of them, and yell "THIS IS FOR ALEJANDRA, EAT IT YOU PHILISTINE BABIES, FREE MUMIA, ROLL TIDE," and sprint out of the kitchen before they can take my apron away. I don't have an apron, see, and whenever I stand in my kitchen while frying an egg I always think about how nice it would be.

6. SLIM'S FESTIVE ORGY APPETIZER GETS TRASHCANNED.

Season One

The theme of this particular round is to come up with a romantic dish -- something one would cook for one's significant other. Slim confesses at the outset that she's terrible at relationships and has no idea of what to cook. Eventually, she presents this thing.

She should have just made a lasagna or something. "It's a love lasagna! You cut it in half and share it because of love!", she could have said, and the judges would have been shitty about it, but they probably would have calmed down. Instead, she ends up with something that looks like an appetizer one might share with a group of business associates at a Chili's in Independence, Missouri. And if we're being asked to interpret this in a romantic context, well, I guess you and your business associates are kicking off your loafers, pulling your pants somewhere between halfway and all the way down, and just collapsing into a big ol' sweaty fuckpile of an orgy. And that's fine, provided consent of all parties and express written consent from the Chili's establishment in question, except this is American television, and Americans just can't deal with romantic permutations that can't be represented on a wedding cake.

That's all just me reading into Slim's dish, mind you, not anything that anyone actually said on the show. Gordon, predictably, hates this dish, and I'm a big fan of how his damning of it is framed by the sound engineer:

If we were on a date, and you cooked this for me, I'd go to the bathroom and you'd never see me again.

...

I'd bolt out the door.

DUNNGGGGGGG

Yo MasterChef Sound Engineer, I knew where that was going. I didn't think the story was going to end with, "I'd poop so hard that I died," or, "then Jesus would come for His chosen," or whatever.

And then, Joe caps it off with his signature trashcan maneuver. By my count, he's pulled out this move exactly once per season. Just walks over and chucks it in the garbage. You can tell he's not in full Shawn Kemp Slamjam Rage Mode here, because he only threw away one of the non-disposable pieces of dishware, and not both of them.

Oh, but that's coming. Next page.

Numbers 15 through 11 | Numbers 10 through 6 | Numbers 5 through 1