I have gotten several emails over the last few days that I thought deserved attention.
JEN said: "After watching your after-episode "live" video with Cliff and Gail, I got the distinct feeling that while you may not have loved Cliff's attempt at "hazing" Marcel, he was still OK in the producer's book. The convivial environment and exchange between you Gail and Cliff suggested some acceptance of Cliff's behavior and a fondness for this person. Why give Cliff more attention and air time than necessary? Your video doesn't change the ratings .... Getting to where you are professionally may preclude developing a conscience ... hope I'm wrong.
Well Jen, I found the show very difficult to watch too. I wish we didn't have to show any of the BS and focus more on the food, but it happened. I was trying to make Cliff, who was my guest -- who had just been completely shamed in front of a national television audience, and in the very uncomfortable situation of having to then take questions about acting like a fool -- feel a little comfortable. I don't condone what he did and tried to at least be fair to all parties. We kicked him off as soon as we possibly could but I felt I owed him the respect to let him explain himself. He and Marcel have made up and Marcel has accepted his apology.
ANOTHER JEN said: "I totally couldn't believe what trash last night's show was. My boyfriend and I were so excited about the new episode last night and what a terrible disappointment it was. Granted, chefs are typically boneheads at some point in time, and the cast was probably quite excited from the anticipation of going to Hawaii, there was no need for Padma to call them idiots on national television. Idiot is way more offensive then if she were to call them asses or something. From the American Heritage Dictionary, an idiot is defined as, "A person of profound mental retardation having a mental age below three years and generally being unable to learn connected speech or guard against common dangers. The term belongs to a classification system no longer in use and is now considered offensive." Honestly, do we have to lecture people by referring them as mentally retarded on national television? In a modern age of trashy tv, i would never have thought a great show like "Top Chef" would fall into the mix. I am truly disappointed."
Jen, I'm sorry, but whatever the literal definition of the word -- I gotta agree with Padma. Cliff, Sam, Elia and Ilan acted like idiots.