I'll admit it - I love Top Chef on Bravo. I never miss an episode. My wife and I sit glued to the tube dissecting dishes the way football fans analyze the minutia of every play. I try to skim over the obnoxious product placements and the sometimes completely demented challenges that would try the skill and patience of many a professional chef. I just like it because it is about cooking. And I love to cook.
So I was completely dismayed to find that the producers of Top Chef have abruptly replaced judge Gail Simmons with someone named Toby Young. It's not that I miss Gail so much (I found her cranky and rather difficult to look at; she appears to have some odd plastic surgery. Just my layman's opinion). It's that this Toby Young guy is a complete jerk, at least based on the opening episode last week. He seems predisposed to hate everything. He talks about himself incessantly (I don't care that he ate real German food while living in an isolated shack in the Alps). He makes glib, shallow pop-culture references constantly (comparing an avocado sorbet to the performance of Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder? Spare me).
I didn't know who this guy was until I saw the episode last night. I am reliably informed today that he is modestly famous for having some sort of book about Graydon Carter and Vanity Fair, which in itself tells me as much as I need to know about how seriously to take him.
I want him gone.
So I voted on Bravo's dorky little online poll on the show's site, checking the box that suggested I want Gail Simmons back, which isn't entirely true, but she's certainly better than this obnoxious twit. But I fear that the poll is just part of a conspiracy to make Toby Young some kind of cult hate figure - the judge we love to boo. This would be a great pity - I do not want to boo Toby Young; I want to have him to disappear so we can talk about food instead of some literary C-lister.
Perhaps it won't help, but I did find that Bravo has a "contact us" link hidden carefully at the bottom of the site. So I sent them a note:
Please ask the producers of Top Chef to take Toby Young away as abruptly as he came. He is irritating beyond endurance and seems mostly interested in discussing himself and demonstrating his considerable, but gratingly shallow, knowledge of pop culture. If I wanted a glib, self-centered Englishman to comment cruelly about food, I would invite Simon Cowell to dinner. As it is, I just want to watch a show about cooking.
Contact Bravo and complain about Toby Young.
Are you with me? Can we get this guy exiled for the finals? Can we guarantee that he does not return next season? Join me in my cause. Save the show I like, despite itself.