Jill and I have caught up on Masterchef (we were about a day behind), so now I can share the thoughts we had as the beginning of Season 2 has wrapped up.
* I thought that the producers did a decent job with misdirection in the audition stage. Edgardo seemed like a lock to go through, between his Joe endorsement and his oh-so-cute elementary school students. But it was a no. Other surprises were the firefighter and the other (sweet meatballs) women for whom Joe was the only "yes" (and whom Gordon made beg for her spot before unceremoniously turning her down).
* Speaking of Joe, I spent most of the audition episodes hoping he'd start cutting on Graham (or as Jill and I have nicknamed him, Fluffy). Alas.
* I was rooting for an all-gator final between the Mississippi truck driver and the Florida construction foreman with an ailing wife. Alas, neither made it through day one of the competition.
* I'm sure editing has a lot to do with it, but Max is really shaping up to be an obnoxious villain. I hope he and Suzy go head-to-head soon. I also think it's funny how they're setting him up as the anti-Whitney (both very young, but while she was eager and bright-eyed, he's cocksure and arrogant).
* Speaking of Suzy, she's one of my favorites so far. I loved her mom impression ("You mean you want to be a servant!?"). I don't know what a neural engineer is, and find it a little conceptually creepy, but I'll say it's cool if it stops her from turning me into an android. She seems to have a talent. And, right after I remarked to Jill about how I hoped we'd have another Sheetal moment where she had to learn how to kill, she brightly announced her hope that she'd get to slaughter a live animal, which I thought was hilarious.
* Two other early favorites of mine: Alvin and Giuseppe. I could imagine classical chefs finding Alvin's fusion of science into the "art" of cooking to be blasphemous, but I found it really cool and the judges seemed to like it too. It's a skill that doesn't really lend itself to this style of competition though. Giuseppe just seems like a very genuine, likable fellow.
* Jury is still out on pumpkin hat. He's not as annoying as I thought he'd be, but I'm not quite willing to say he's in the clear yet. I've got my eye on him.