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TV Analysis: Weighing in on Chopping Block

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Though there are some aspects of the show reminiscent of Fox's cringe-inducing Hell's Kitchen, Chopping Block, NBC's Marco Pierre White vehicle that premiered last night, is really just a season-long episode of Top Chef's Restaurant Wars. Except instead of mensch Tom Colicchio, you have an egomaniacal creepy White behaving like a lunatic. And instead of a motley cast of camera-friendly young chefs (some from well known restaurants), you have a group of eight couples, seemingly cast more for their ability to fill a quota—there's a black team, an Asian team, an old team, a douche team, etc.—than for their cooking backgrounds. That said, they chose the right Bravo concept to steal, and this could turn out to be quite the interesting season.

Highlights:
· The restaurants are right on the Bowery, in the old Kelly & Peng space and the old Marion's Continental space.
· One of the young team's members exclaims, of Marco: "It's like he invented food almost."
· The critic! The Atlantic's Corby Kummer is such an awesome jerk in this. (When a server pronounces a Claret "Clar-ay," he says, snippily, to his guests, "It's Clar-et.") We cannot wait for all of the other food critics—perhaps Reichl, Alan Richman, Dana Cowin, oh please please please Gael Greene—to appear.
· The genius cuts to Marco, sitting in a leather chair, sockless, wagging his finger at the camera, make him seem totally bonkers.

Disappointments:
· The team with the terrible hair.
· That the mild mannered team of two cousins bowed out of the competition after being forced to throw a teammate under the bus/hearing the fighting between the two teams on the Chopping Block. We were really rooting fr the handsome douchey guys to get the boot.
· Reality TV: Chopping Block in Action [~E~]
· Chopping Block [NBC]

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