If you've ever wondered what the best channel on TV is, let me help you: it's the Food Network. I can be parked on the Food Network for days, idling from Diners, Drive-ins and Dives to the Barefoot Contessa. The Food Network is generally star-based, which means that it's weirdly class-based TV. And I mean class-based in the RPG sense: Guy Fieri is a sort of Ed Hardy tank, Ina Garten, the smiler with the knife, is a classic rogue. How great is that?
But there are places where this falls apart. Places like Chopped. Chopped is not class-based or RPG-like at all, although the presenter, Ted Allen, who is a bona fide national treasure, does possess the courtly manners of someone who is about to set you a riddle outside a tavern. "Brothers and sisters I have none..." Ted is a prince. And Chopped is his realm.
Chopped is absolutely brilliant - and actually, having watched approximately one thousand episodes of it, I now suspect it's more than brilliant. I've come to understand that there is a secret to Chopped - a secret in Chopped. And it's one of the big ones. One of the secrets of creativity! Testify!
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