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Tuesday, July 26, 2005 

Anger: Iron Chef America

As loyal readers know, I am a big fan of Iron Chef and Iron Chef America. With that in mind, I question the sanity of the producers of Iron Chef America.

I sat down in a quiet moment to watch the latest Iron Chef America (thanks to Tivo) with excitement and anticipation. A BBQ chef was the challenger, so it was going to be Iron Chef Bobby Flay, not my favorite Iron Chef (Iron Chef Chen), but still I was happy to get new episodes. Bobby is always good for comic relief, he can always be counted on to start something on fire or be seen pulling back his hand in a wince of pain. He managed to do both of these things in the first cooking segment. The secret ingredient of chicken is a great choice for both chefs, so I was thinking that this was going to be a stellar episode. All is well until the judges were introduced.

I am somewhat familiar with Chef Smith (the first judge) and I have to say he appeared considerably “less gay” than other times I have seen him. I expected him to be a fine judge and was glad that the show was finding more qualified people for the panel. The second judge is a regular; I forget the name (anyone who knows it, feel free to clue me in). She is usually very picky and harsh, well maybe harsh is not the word I am looking for, maybe “shrill” is closer. She has the essential meanness of Asako Kishi, without her wit and withering smile. These two seemed OK, as long as the third judge wasn’t a complete buffoon, the judging would be solid.

Alas, the third judge was a MAJOR BAFFOON, Mo Rocca.

My first thought was: “How odd, WuzzaDem was just beating him senseless, I wonder if his voice was as bad as John said.” I remember seeing Mo on The Daily Show (back when it was funny) and thinking he was a weak link in an otherwise fine cast, but didn’t think his voice was all that bad. After seeing is gob-smackingly bad performance on Iron Chef America, I totally agree with John. It not really his voice (which is annoying on its own), but what comes out of his mouth when the camera is pointed in his general direction.

Mo, dude, you are on a gourmet cooking show; try not to embarrass yourself and the nice people that employed you. When asked for comments on a dish, don’t say how hungry you are and if there is more in the back. Don’t steal the plate of the judge next to you and start stuffing your stupid looking face while talking, or more aptly spewing forth bullcrap. Though, I have to say that his initial comment between cooking segments was sort of cute. [Paraphrase] “Could we get some bread up here since it is going to be an hour before we eat?” Somewhat cute, but it certainly doesn’t compensate for the rest of your dreadful performance.

I hope that the producers will learn from this mistake and no longer seek to add “comic relief” to the judging panel. You would think that everyone in TV would have learned this lesson from the Dennis Miller/Monday Night Football debacle.

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