Well, after two miserable weeks of technological suffering, I'm back. I survived my internet/telephone/TV disappearing randomly for about a week and a computer disaster. We still don't know why and Free doesn't know what they did wrong (because I'm sure it was their fault), but at least it came back. Then, right as I got internet again, my computer decided to give me a near heart attack and stop working. Lionel just managed to get it to work again yesterday after a week spent freaking out about how I was going to pay for a new computer and get back all my saved files/photos/music. But all is well for the moment, though I have to back everything up in case my computer dies again. Lionel is sure it will happen and he thinks it is the hard drive which means I won't necessarily have to but a new computer, but still, it sucks!
Anyway, I've been wanting to post about Top Chef France for awhile now. I really enjoy Top Chef in the US and it has had a lot of success in 6 seasons. And I was very excited to see a poster in the metro announcing Top Chef France. I was looking forward to some quality television. However, I am quite disappointed.
I really thought it would be the same as in the US, but in French with French chefs. Boy was I wrong. In France it is completely different, very slow, and very often quite boring to watch. How did the French manage to destroy a show that already had so much success. They had the perfect model to follow, and instead they changed it, "Frenchified" it and destroyed it!
In France they don't have the Quickfire Challenges at the beginning. Instead they do a group challenge that doesn't function the same as the Quickfire but in the end has the same result - a winner who gets an advantage. Then, instead of the Elimination Challenge they split the group into two groups and each group competes in a different challenge. They then decide who from each challenge should continue and who needs to go onto a Last Chance Challenge where they cook whatever they want using the ingredients they find and the person who cooks the worst dish goes home. This whole thing takes about 3 hours (with almost no commercial breaks, of course) rather than the 1 hours time slot for Top Chef in the US. As a result, the show in France is much slower and less interesting to watch.
I don't think it is very fair that they don't always do the same challenges. It seems like it could be advantageous for some and really hurt others. Also they aren't all being judged on the same rules and same competition, yet the losers of each challenge still all risk being sent home. I definitely prefer the American way where they all compete at the same thing and therefore it is more equal from the beginning.
I also find it very strange that the chef judges never change and they come out and help and give advice from time to time. The show also concentrates too much on the judges in my opinion. And when they don't complete their plates or forget something or just don't have enough time, the judges still taste their food, which I have never seen happen in the US. Another difference is that the judges watch the entire thing so while it is good that they know exactly what happened and whose fault it is, we also don't get the fun of a battle at the judges' table to try and find out what happened and why.
I also find it strange that they never draw knives to determine groups. The judges decide and I feel like this also leaves room for prejudice. With the drawing of knives it is always fair and objective.
But probably the thing that irritates me the most is that when I watch Top Chef in the US I always want to eat afterwards. It leaves me very hungry and I either have to plan to be having a meal during the show or prepare a small snack so I don't go crazy while watching. But here in France I haven't yet seen an episode that has really made my mouth water. I don't know why...maybe its the different techniques or the different ingredients, but it just doesn't have the same effect as Top Chef America. Especially the episode where they cooked les abats (scary animal body parts basically).
All in all, in my opinion the French tried and failed to do Top Chef. I'll still watch it this season because I want to know who wins, but I don't think I'll ever watch it again. Instead I'll continue streaming Top Chef America on my computer (until it completely dies at least!).