Santino who? I have been inundated with emails about Dave's elimination since last week's Top Chef episode by a mob of people at a Santino-level of rage. I say that because I haven't gotten this much response about a show since the flood of anti-Santino emails I got (and still do) during Runway. The interesting thing about those emails was that everyone's rage at the designer not being eliminated turned to rage about his not winning the entire contest. You have such passion for Dave, for the show, and for Tiffani (good and bad) that I want to share some of your emails and try to respond.
JEANNETTE signs her email "REALLY TROUBLED" and says: "I can't believe that they eliminated Dave! What were they thinking? He won a challenge and Tiffany did not! HELLO! He almost won two challenges! Was this rigged? IS THIS ALL FOR TV? I don't even know if I want to watch next season!"
No, Jeannette, it was not rigged. I was there in Vegas and it was the judges' decision.
STEVE says: "That was chickenshit to dump Dave -- he obviously did better than Tiffani. And you guys only kept her because people hate her and it makes better TV. Blah. I won't be watching the last episode ... it's going to suck. Steve, San Diego. And pissed." OK Steve, I am sorry we pissed you off. The last episode does not suck at all -- I just watched it. But I actually love your email because you use the term "chickenshit" and I think it's about time we bring that back. I promise you that we did not keep Tiffani because "people hate her and it makes better TV."
I think the show is good TV with or without any one of our chefs -- and the judges do, too, which is why they go with their gut.
DALE AND MEGAN say: "The only explanation that I can see where Tiffani moves on is that your production team knows that a hero and villain make for better TV. Regardless of Dave's mistake, Tiffani got a pass after losing all three meals in the Quickfire challenge. Not only did she lose, she came in last in all three. My whole family and entire office watches Top Chef. I am afraid that you made a bad decision. Top Chef is about ratings and not about a true competition. If it was, Dave would have moved on. All of us have just lost confidence in this show. We watch all season to have the Top Chef production team really change the outcome of this show. We don't even like Dave that much, but he deserved to move on."
OK, OK, I have to put this to BED and play devil's advocate with all y'all. If we were fixing the show -- REALLY only focusing on what makes good TV, as you accuse -- wouldn't we have kept Dave in the show and had him WIN? Isn't he the underdog of the whole damn show? Have you seen ROCKY? THAT would've been good TV. What a payoff watching his journey and seeing him come out on top! Better yet, how great would it have been to see Stephen and Dave in the finals, with Dave winning! Now that's good TV! I really wish that we thought this out as much as fans accuse us of. We did not know the extreme level of contempt that Tiffani's fellow chefs had for her until we taped the reunion show, which was weeks AFTER the finale. We knew that people were reacting to Stephen as a villian on the show, but I think that people have really flared up one way or another towards Tiffani in the last few weeks. If it were fixed maybe we would've kept Ken -- who was great TV from the very beginning, and who reviewers blasted us for losing because he was such great TV! OK, now I am really thinking about it and if we were fixing the whole show wouldn't Lee Anne still be in the competition? People were not happy to see her go, either. I dunno, there's a million ways to look at it but the judges decide.
STEPHANIE from NEW MILFORD, CONNECTICUT is mad at me for something else! "I am so terribly disappointed in your comments to Dave about the statement "I am not your Bitch, Bitch." To call a woman a bitch in a professional setting, in front of supervisors no less, is unacceptable. I am sad to see you would celebrate and encourage such obvious misogyny. To thank Dave for a sexist attitude is truly a disservice to the women who watch Bravo and truly dangerous. I would have hoped for a more progressive attitude. It will color my opinion of your network."
OK Stephanie, I'm sorry. It was such a great line at that moment and I took in "fun." I think BRAVO is pretty progressive when you consider it, especially vs almost every other channel on cable! I don't think Dave is sexist, I think he was just pissed off at Tiffani. But I guess if Tiffani said, "I'm not your faggot, Faggot!" I wouldn't be putting it on a T-shirt and thanking her for saying that, so if you think the word bitch=faggot then I=sorry.
While we are completely off topic, CECILIA writes: "Just being nosy -- is Harold dating Tiffani or does he just like her for a friend?"
Um, Cecilia, is there something I do not know? I never picked up on anything between Harold and Tiffani -- but I am intrigued!
LAURETTE in Pennsylvania is so mad that she can barely see straight. I am only printing parts of her letter because it is long. "If you are a program exec...too bad. The results of last night's Top Chef only proved that you and your other 'classmates' have no idea what the public really wants to watch... an honest contest. Sorry Tiffani isn't Omarosa or whatever her name is...if you think she will bring you ratings??? Don't bother... your bald judge should hide his personal feelings for Tiffani...they have shown throughout......too bad. You and your other execs and the producers of the show have no honor....And no, I am not afraid to say who I am...I do have honor..."
OK Laurette, you have honor and BRAVO does not. But we did let the judges decide and that's their decision. I love Dave, too!
GEORGIE, who tells me she's a 50-year-old lady, is so mad that she says "we do not plan on having our Top Chef party/get-together for the final show, or next season after this as our confidence in the judges went down the tube. Show/drama took over challenge..sad. Please let me know where Dave and Harold open their own resturants...and can you provide email to Dave or forward this to him as we are so proud of him!"
Georgie, please have your party. You are a 50-year-old lady at the prime of it all, on top of the world, and I think that you should celebrate that with a Top Chef party on Wednesday night. The judges are incredibly opinionated with extensive backgrounds in food and they were united in their decisions in Vegas!
CAMERON has another message for the judges: "I could smack those self-righteous judges who THINK they're all that. Well they AINT. Shame on you, judges! There is a hot oven waiting for you on the other side!"
LYDIA in FISHKILL, NEW YORK has conspiracy theories on her mind!: "Methinks Bravo needed to fit in with Dave's schedule to get to Cannes on time and orchestrated Dave's removal for everyone's convenience and I feel ripped off."
Sorry, Lydia. Dave left for Cannes last week -- three weeks after we taped the finale. His schedule was clear for a victory!
Let's end it all with some sweet lovin' for Dave from CHERYL: "I would just like to tell Dave precisely how endearing, sweet and true he appears on the program, and though forgetting that third dish probably negated his title of Top Chef, I truly have learned a lot from his philosophies, and, as an artist, I totally recognize the emotional ups and downs under pressure. And, I don't care what other's think about it, talking to one's self in anticipation of a performance in public is not only acceptable, it is the sign of genius (I say humbly). Oh, and the 'walk in cooler' snippit was priceless. Good luck to you and Bravo TV."
Thanks for all your emails, folks.