Halloween Wars

Halloween Wars is a Food Network show that teams a a master pumpkin carver with a candy maker and cake decorator. They combine their talents to produce an almost edible, Halloween themed piece of artistry. After several rounds of eliminations, it is now down to the finale with two teams: Team Bling Bats versus Team Boo. So exciting!

Last week, the theme was Vampires and Zombies and required the incorporation of something gooey and tasty. Team Bling Bats won with their creation of a pumpkin-framed - vampiric Marie Antoinette battling a zombie. On the other hand, Team Boo produced a stone cold, pimp-ass, three dimensional pumpkin carving of a zombie eating the brains of a vampiress.

The judges argued that Ray Villafane's life-sized pumpkin zombie outshone his fellow team members whose talent and contribution don't exist on the same parallel which proves the judges need to get a clue.

You see, just as Ray carries Team Boo, the master cake decorator of Team Bling Bats - Karen Portaleo - carries her team. In every competition, her contribution is 80% of her team’s product. But Team BB doesn’t consistently win because they have more creative talent than Team Boo, they win because Karen is a tricky, tricky minx!

Unlike other cake competitors on this show who mostly use cake, Karen only uses cake for the larger structures but when it comes to detailed work, she is monogamous with her modeling chocolate which allows her to carve greater detail than fondant or buttercream. Karens figures are smaller, allowing time for intricate detailing and painting which is her silver bullet. Her team members’ contribution are accessories to her figurines, shadows to her painted backdrop (ie. flat, gold pumpkin pieces assembled as the frame to Karen’s story picture or pink candy hair to Karen’s Marie Antoinette). The judges don’t complain that Karen’s work overshadows her team-members even tho they don’t hold a long stick to her talent because Karen seamlessly weaves their nuggets into the final piece with her gift of camouflage thru painting.

But in Team Boo’s case, while Ray’s pumpkins are crazy, sexy, cool, in this competition they are unpainted and monochromatically orange, highlighting the difference between his work and the colorful candies and cake produced by his team members. Despite one ill-conceived submission a few weeks back, (really? Teddy Bear melting into a half pumpkin?? Wth??) it's obvious Team Boo doesn’t lack creativity, they lack clever incorporation.

But regardless of Team Boo's failure, Team Bling Bats should have been penalized for not incorporating the mandatory element of oozy gooey-ness in their last piece! Altho Team BB deserved to win because of their artistry, their exclusion of a mandatory element for whatever reason is like an Iron Chef omitting a secret ingredient because his pan overheated. Sacrilegious! Instead, Team BB served their candy goo on a plate to the judges but that was weak-sauce. While they should not have been disqualified, they should not have won either. The unearned victory should have gone to a spanked Team Boo.

Despite this oversight by the judges, redemptive points go to Judge Shinmi Li for recognizing Team Bling Bats has been producing the same opus every week: painted backdrop, enclosed scenes that are breathtaking but predictable. But other than that rare insight, the judges’ expertise don’t compensate for their square personalities or ineffectual comments and the celebrity judges are useless. It doesn’t take a sweet genius to determine whether a candy tastes bad. But it takes someone with personality to tell me they’d need to wash it down with a glass of cyanide.

Goddamn, I should be judging this competition.

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