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November 11, 2013 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-11-11

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8A - Monday, November 11, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

8A - Monday, November 11, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom


"How did I get in 'The Office'? "
Ambitious 'Brooklyn'

"It's like I'm talking to bloody children!"
Deconstructi ng
'aster hefJunior'

DailyArts Writer easily1

The cooking series
that made us care
way too much
Daily ArtsEditors
The recipe for "MasterChef
Junior" shouldn't have worked.
Its formula was simple enough:
Take the tone and form of
cooking-competition series
"MasterChef", remove the adult
competitors, add tiny, prepubes-
cent "chefs" and leave Gordon
Well, it worked. And then
some. With impressive ratings
(which rose a staggering 15 per-
cent for this week's final install-
ment), "MasterChef Junior"
became FOX's secret ingredient
this fall.
What's more, it made us
care a lot (read: more than we
ever thought we could pos-
sibly care) about snot-nosed,
privileged middle schoolers.
We're talking screaming-at-
our-televisions, live-tweeting-
until-our-thumbs-hurt levels
of caring. "MasterChef Junior"
broke us. "MasterChef Junior"
changed everything.
Before we jump into our anal-
ysis of the finale, a quick note:
What's the point? A Sarah-less,
Jack-less finale? We never want-
ed this! We never asked for this!
Jack (11, Hawaiian shirt aficio-
nado) was tragically eliminated
in the semifinal round, but we'll
never forget his intensely seri-
ous chopping face, his bite-sized
wisdom or, of course, those
adorable Hawaiian shirts. Sarah
(9, feminist icon) seemed des-
tined for the finale, the youngest
in the competition and the only
aspiring MasterChef Junior to
truly understand the nature of
the game ("Keep your friends
close and your enemies closer,"
she once mused with the deter-
mination of a "Hunger Games"
But, alas, Friday's finale fea-
tured not tiny Jack Hoffman
nor Sarah "Whip it like a man"
Lane, but older child-chefs Dara
and Alexander. In the final chal-
lenge, both homecooks had to
prepare a three-course meal in
90 minutes at their battle sta-
tions, while past competitors
and their families cheered from
the sidelines.
We present to you some of
the particularly inspired notes
we took on our iPhones as we
watched the finale and played
our self-made "MasterChef
Junior" drinking game one last
"I hate blue cheese." - Flash-
back Dara
Two highlight reels of
Dara and Alexander moments
throughout the season remind
us Alexander was a frontrun-
ner from the start (boring) and
Dara inex-
plicably .
hates blue First seen on
cheese -the filter

(unforgivable). Do we have to
choose sides? Is this what the
show has come to without Jack
or Sarah? "Drink every time
Alexander is the worst" and
"Drink every time you have
a negative reaction to Data's
bow(s)" are rules in our drink-
ing game. Clearly, we're not
rooting for either of these lil
chefs to take the cake (and, yes,
drink for every bad culinary pun
Big Al's menu: Shrimp & Baby
Heirloom Tomato Crostini,
Potato Gnocchi with a Pan-
seared Veal Chop, Decon-
structed Cannoli Napoleon
There aren't enough ellipses
in the world to possibly repre-
sent our reaction to Alexader
saying the words "deconstruct-
ed cannoli." Do we know what
that even is? No? Drink.
Dara's menu: Ahi Tuna, Spot
Prawns with Wonton Coco-
nut Curry, Poached Pear in a
Lemon Ginger Miso Sauce
Miso sauce in a dessert
sounds innovative to be sure.
But is it as innovative as a
deconstructed cannoli? We're
not sure. We still don't know
what that is.
Dara forgot to grab a key
ingredient, but Alexander will-
ingly hands her his own. These
children might have a vicious
appetite for winning, but they
still have hearts.
Oh, she just needed water.
She's fine, everyone.
For her appetizer, Dara pre-
pared tuna two ways: seared
(got it) and poke (what?). One
of our drinking-game rules is
to drink every time a child-chef
uses a word we University-
attending adults do not under-
stand (past examples: ganache,
acidulate). Drink for poke.
Way to go Dara, that's a $25
appetizer in Manhattan
The judges tell Dara her two-
way tuna creation would clean
up in a real restaurant. Too bad
child-labor laws prevent her
from being able to work in said
"To lose at this point would
just really suck." - Alexander
They might have dreams, aspi-
rations and talent bigger and bet-
ter than we ever will, but man,
they could stand to work on their
eloquence. It's like they've never
even been to high school.
"Idk if I'd have beaten them."
- Luca Manfe (paraphrased)
Previous "MasterChef"
winner Luca Manfd inserts
commentary throughout the
finale that makes us a tad wor-
ried about his self-esteem. The
Italian chef doubts his cooking

could hold a candle to that of
these kids. At one point, he even
says: "I don't know how these
kids can handle this situation
so young. I can barely handle
myself." Is he talking about han-
dling his kitchen? His entire
life? Is Luca Manfe spiraling in
front of our eyes? Can someone
check up on him?
"Hard on the outside, magi-
cal in the center"
Chef Gordon Ramsay gives
the above epithet to Alexander's
perfectly cooked veal chops.
He then makes it weird by also
describing himself and Alexan-
der with the same words.
"Let's not forget the gnoc-
chi." - Joe Bastianich ,
Yes, let's not indeed. Further
shaming us for our ineptitude
("I don't even know how these
kids can cook like this. I still
struggle with ramen." - Kendall
Russ), Alexander made his own
gnocchi from scratch. He also
correctly pronounces "gnoc-
chi," which can't be said of some
of our friends watching this
with us.
"This might be the most
important day of my life" -
Considering your life hasn't
really comprised many days at
this point, that's a safe assump-
It's the end of the judging
period, and it seems like we have
a very close race on our hands.
The words "bloody phenom-
enal" were thrown out about
Alexander's deconstructed can-
noli (still sounds more like an
art installation than a dessert),
but Chef Gordon Ramsay also
told Dara he wants to give her
a hug for her miso-pear concoc-
"There can only be one win-
ner." - Gordon Ramsay
"Sarah." - Kayla Upadhyaya,
without hesitation
Unfortunately, there were
no last-minute twists or sur-
prise endings like a Sarah or
Jack victory. Instead, after
several dramatic pauses, the
judges crowned Alexander.
Confetti fell. Dra's brow deflat-
ed (finally). The dynamic and
surprise-filled first season of
"MasterChef Junior" came to a
disappointingly vanilla ending.
First-ever MasterChef Junior
Alexander walks away with
$100,000, presumably to put
toward culinary school or the
restaurant he wants to one day
own (how do these kids have
their lives figured out?!). Run-
ner-up Data gets to go back to
middle school, where we like
to imagine she judges other
children for the quality of their
bagged lunches.
* Have no fear: "MasterChef
Junior," which was originally
developed as a one-off endeavor,
has already been renewed for a
second season.
- A version of this article
originally appeared on the Daily
Arts blog, The Filter, on Nov.10.

Craving a comedy with just the
right combination of sweet friend-
ships and salty, biting comedic dia-
logue? "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" has
you covered.
"Brooklyn Nine-Nine" feels
familiar in the best way. Showrun-
ners Dan Goor and Michael Schur
bring the lighthearted workplace
spirit of their other series "Parks
and Recreation" to a Brooklyn
police precinct populated by
dysfunctional slackers and their
uptight new Captain. The show is
essentially"Hill Street Blues" with
the raucous humor of "The Office"
- a fresh cop comedy that hasn't
been done on television in years.
What's not to love?
The characters are already well
defined and unique. Some favor-
ites include Terry Crews ("Every-
body Hates Chris"), who plays the
hilariously contradictory Sergeant
Terry Jeffords. Terry's persona can
switch fromthat ofloving father to
terrifying tough guy in seconds,
and he steals every scene he's in.
Comedian and former "Parks and
Rec" writer Chelsea Peretti slays
every joke as the sarcastic office
administrator Gina Linetti.
AndySambergplaysthe charm-
ing but eccentric Jake Peralta with
surprising likeability. Samberg's
easy con-
fidence First seen on
and lively the filter

is an a
once d
ulous of


and an
ing st
guy, b
man. I
it info:
risen t
tain), i
but he
and ap
Of t
Amy i

a character that could so co-worker Gina lived in a rough
been played as an unmoti- neighborhood in her youth.
"Workaholics"-esque bro. The female characters on the
e operating on a different show are as skilled and funny
,y than his Captain, Peralta as their male counterparts.
dept and successful cop. His Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz)
hness endears, and never is "Brooklyn" 's answer to April
oes he come across as ridic- Ludgate, an intimidating and
r lazy. deadpan officer whose tough
persona is offset by her weak-
willed and nervous admirer
lore diverse Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio).
Gina, though not employed as
:han 'SNL' anactual detective, is ambitious
and hardworking; Amy's unwill-
ingness to consider her value to
the precinct and helping with a
at really sets "Brooklyn" task force offends her. Amy, Per-
from its workplace sitcom alta's romantic interest, actually
though, is its diverse cast inspires and motivates Peralta
mbitious goal of overturn- and many of the other males in
ereotypes. Captain Ray the precinct.
(Andre Braugher) is the Each of "Brooklyn"'s episodes
ypal no-nonsense straight that have aired thus far have been
ut is a proud homosexual solid and filled with comedic gold.
He makes no secret of his It holds its own against its peers
orientation, and though on Fox's fantastic Tuesday night
rms his character (it's that comedies, "New Girl" and "The
more impressive that he's Mindy Project." In a sea of stale
o his current post as Cap- fall pilots including the racist and
t's never played for just for unfunny "Dads," the disappoint- *,
y. Ray Holt is a gay man, ingly un-fun "Super Fun Night"
's also an excellent leader and the bland "Michael J. Fox
great cop. Show," "Brooklyn" thus far offers
:he seven series regulars, fresh, diverse and hilarious televi-
are women, and two of sion. I look forward to following
three are women of color. the show inthe comingweeks, and
ethnicity is often used in I can only hope I'veconvinced a
irning stereotypes: audi- few of you to join me.
are surprised when Latina - A version of this article origi-
s unable to connect with nally appeared on the Daily Arts
ed youth, but her white blog, TheFilter, on Oct.18.

Taylor brightens a 'Dark World'

Daily Arts Writer
The God of Thunder has been
busy jumping across the Nine
Realms, including a stop on Earth
in "The Aveng-
ers," to control B+
the chaos let
loose since the Thor:The
destruction of Dark World
the Bifrost in
"Thor." AtQuality16
"Thor: The and Rave
Dark World"

Time to get hammered!

sor did
hero b
entry, t
the Nit
a kind:
think t
ease of
ingis n
of aver
the pro
realm i
seems t
as a p

uch like Disney that Aether ends up inside the
predeces- body of Thor's lady-friend Jane
l with an extended battle Foster (Natalie Portman, "Your
ce to explain some super- Highness"), awakening the Dark
ackground info. In this Elves, led by Malekith (Chris-
he malicious Dark Elves of topher Eccleston, "Unfinished
fheim (don't ask how it's Song").
nced) try and fail to destroy It sounds outlandish and
te Realms with the Aether, downright silly, but it works,
of evil energy that converts and it works because director
into dark matter ... don't Alan Taylor recognizes just how
oo hard about it. Despite the outlandish and silly it is. Taking
delivery, scientific ground- nods from such fantastical films
ot this film's forte. as "Star Wars" and "Lord of the
Rings" as well as his experience
directing episodes of "Game of
)on't take it Thrones," Taylor depicts a uni-
verse that is gritty yet bizarre
io seriously, and ridiculous. He never takes
Je s anything too seriously, choosing
to fill the film with loads of outra-
geous humor - way more humor
rever, it's incredibly suc- than one would expect with a
at exploring the mythos title like "The Dark World".
y rich Marvel world. After Much of this humor stems from
logue, we see Chris Hem- the fantastic supporting cast,
("Rush") as Thor leading including Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexan-
lian forces on a different der, "The Last Stand") and Heim-
n the midst of revolt. Peace dall (Idris Elba, "Pacific Rim") on
to be within reach though, Asgard, and Darcy (Kat Dennings,
ally with Loki (Tom Hid- "Day One") and Dr. Selvig (Stellen
, "War Horse") returned Skarsghrd, "Romeo and Juliet") on
'risoner to Asgard - all Earth. But it's Hiddleston's Loki
to be well. That is, until that, once again, stands above

them all. Even with far less screen
time than his past two outings,
Hiddleston manages to reveal even
more depth to his character than
before, while infusing him with
incredible charisma, comic inflec-
tion and timing.
Unfortunately, the supporting
characters' vibrancy makes Thor,
Jane (who is essentially silent for
at least half the film) and Malekith
seem flat. That's somewhat under-
standable for Thor, as he is, after
all, a god and pretty perfect, but
Malekith's lack of exploration as a
villain proves tobe a loss; both he
and Jane end up existing solely to U
drive the plot.
The actionsequences aredown-
right thrilling and creative, espe-
cially the climactic finale; the set
pieces more grounded than previ-
ously and it's generally fast-paced
and exciting, despite a plotthat's at
times familiar and predictable. It's
the little flourishes of humor, like
cameos from Chris O'Dowd ("This
is 40") and a certain Avenger, that
make this film well worth the ride.
Despite its flaws, "Thor: The Dark
World" strives to be exactly what
it is: a popcorn flick that expands
the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It
does itsjob brilliantly.

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