Hot Dog, MasterChef Junior Has A Wiener
The kids flip out when Mayim Bialik shows up, and then turn on her in a second when she makes them cook vegan burgers.
Ah, one of those episodes that make you wonder if a full hour is actually necessary. There's a corndog challenge and then the kids cook burgers. That's it.
And not even all the kids make the corndogs; they draw straws, with just three teams of two competing: Evan and Justise, Lila and Peyton, and Eddie and Gonzalo.
They have ten minutes to make as many perfect corndogs as they can, with the prize being automatic advancement this week and being allowed to choose which judge will be covered in corndog batter (you know where this sort of thing always goes; see below).
Justise and Evan win and kick it upstairs to watch the nonsense that is the next challenge. Mayim Bialik comes out, and the kids freak out way more than they do when they're all pretending to know who a guest chef judge is. Their challenge: 45 minutes to produce a burger and side. Just as they're about to go, Mayim informs them that she's vegan, and so will be their burgers. The kids groan, AS THEY SHOULD. I swear I heard a "Fuck you, Big Bang Theory" or two from the crowd. "I've never even met a vegan," says Peyton, disdainfully.
Then the rest of the episode is filled with phrases like "cabbage-carrot burger" and "Brussels sprouts burger" and it is the worst.
Thing I want to eat now: I'm not a snob. I would really like a corndog right now. Especially since all my other options are vegan burgers commissioned by Mayim Bialik.
- The Top X Countdown
"I'm X years old and it's amazing that I've made it to the Top X on MasterChef Junior!" Do we have to open the show like this every week?
- Judges in jeopardy
Yes, it's one of those challenges where the kids will decide which judge gets some sort of foodstuff dumped on them, which means all (well, both, this episode) will. I guess if you're going to rig up a huge corndog batter-dispensing apparatus, you may as well get your money's worth.
When Evan and Justise win, they opt to flour and batter Gordon, which of course winds up meaning that Gordon is just the first judge to get coated. (And don't forget the weird magic revolving-door-that-instantly-cleans-up-the-judges thing they do, where they make the kids pretend that actually happened.)
- Mayim Bialik
Introduced as a "huge TV star, mother of two, cookbook author, and neuroscientist." When she checks out how Eddie's doing, his patty is falling apart. "Yeah, that's a problem with vegan burgers," says Bialik, like this isn't HER FAULT and like "vegan burgers" is not an abominable phrase.
- Steady Eddie
Eddie, everyone's favourite forty-year-old nine-year-old, wants to dump batter on Christina for two reasons: One, because she's a girl, and two, because she's a girl. Turns out he's terrible at making corndogs, though. I wonder if the editors don't like Eddie, because his work with the corndog batter produces shots like this:
Frankly, I don't know how this was allowed on television.
There is also like ten minutes of him freaking out about having to make a vegan burger and running around the pantry screaming, which is not overly endearing. And we spend a great deal of time with him having a hard time during the actual cooking.
- Cydney's tears
Cydney drops her cabbage burger on the floor. Normally, this would be cause for celebration, but the waterworks start immediately, because there are only a couple of minutes left.
Just mush some veggies together! It's not like it has to be cooked or taste good!
Responds to the vegan challenge the way you'd expect a beefy kid from Texas would: with repulsion. "Making a vegan burger is like speaking Russian to me," he says. Angling for a cabinet post, is he?
But he still turns in a Southwest burger with avocado fries and sriracha pepper sauce that the judges love best of all the entries.
Consistent, but quietly so, because he doesn't have a trademark piece of flare and he's not young enough for the producers to exploit an adorable aspect about him.
His falafel burger earns him second in the challenge, although his potato rösti should have been cooked a little more.
- The return of the elimination hug
Last week, the departing contestants left the kitchen unaccosted, and it was a bummer.
I don't know if the group hug is a producer prompt (I sort of assume it is) but it still manages to come off as sweet.
Cydney barely stops crying from the joyous moment her vegan burger hit the floor, and she's summoned to the front along with Sam, Eddie, and Avani. But since Eddie served a bun full of uncooked turkey stuffing and Sam burned his burger, she and Avani aren't in any real danger. Eddie allows himself to cry while Sam stoically stares ahead. Eddie tells us that he plans to wear his MasterChef Junior apron everywhere, just "not in public." Sam does a pretend mic drop, so I feel like these young guys are being eliminated at just the right time before they start to seem insufferable.