MasterChef Junior S01E05: We Need to Talk About Troy

[Ed. Note: Sarah Ramos is an actress, director, and writer. Fox’s new series MasterChef Junior combines her (I assume) love of children, chefs, and cooking competitions in which children pretend to be adult chefs, so she will be taking us through the season!]

Helloooo to all my fans!!! Needless to say, between completing my master’s degree, working part time in a mall pet store to make ends meet, being a grown woman, and BLOGGING, all while bit by bit moving ten years worth of stuff out of my house after being served an eviction notice, I hardly have time to read emails from my mom. But she did send me a Slate article about MasterChef Junior recently, which I made time for. It was really complimentary of “the show” (that’s showbiz slang) and was, all in all, great press (more showbiz slang) even though it didn’t mention Videogum. Its main point was that MasterChef Junior is about losing and how losing is a part of growing up. And when we all watched nine-year-old Sarah lose this week, we all — no exceptions — wondered if that article could BE any more true.

Except the one thing that was weird about the article was that it said that, although it is a part of growing up, “losing, as much as we can help it, is not a part of being an adult.” LOL what? Eerrrrrrrr *puts the brakes on!* I think I know a thing or two about losing, and I feel like I lose in small ways every day (eviction) (a cat bit me). But it turns out that the big secret to life is not about not losing. It’s about pretending to be happy — at least, according to TROY.

The whole show was kind of going off the rails this week. Sure, Dara told us that she went to the Olympics and she knows how to win.

Sure, Gordon Ramsay said “wow” literally every time Gavin and Dara chose a teammate, until the teams became Dara, Alexander, and Hawaiian Jack versus Gavin, Sarah, and Troy (shake your noisemaker like it’s Purim and he’s Haman). And sure, the kids had to make a bunch of burrata salads, seared albacores, tunas with risotto cakes, and short rib raviolis all night. But Troy was being a total dick from the moment the show started.

I mean, we all know how bad it can get when you put kids in a restaurant kitchen –- we do, right? It’s a classic situation with complicated emotions that we’re all familiar with, plus we know Gordon Ramsay has to shout out orders really fast almost like he’s trying to manufacture drama for a TV show — but this week Troy was the one out of control. He said he was going to pretend to be happy, but instead he was pretty much like, “Shh. No talking. I am the captain now.”

In all honesty, though, this was such a metaphor for real life. Because, like Troy, what we all — all of us, no exceptions — really mean when we say “pretend to be happy,” is “overwhelm our disgusting, stupid teammates with criticism and smug comments like ‘I’ll tell you what to do. You just do it’ and ‘You should’ve taken notes.'” We’ve all made super cool digs at Hawaiian Jack about how many raviolis we’ve made “just to make him nervous.” We all do it. I saw you do it three days ago. It’s like when I was watching The Counselor, and I was just thinking “I talk like that. I dress like that. It’s realistic,” pretty much after every line of dialogue and outfit change.

But you guys, MasterChef Junior isn’t a dumb movie. It’s a real competition with a $100,000 prize! I could use that money to keep my house, but this isn’t about me. This is about the “pickiest and most frequent diners” at Los Angeles’s Drago Centro restaurant, who liked their pasta even though the sauce was “congealed.” This is about making quicker cuts in the Fox editing room and telling the Drago Centro chef/guest judge to say things like “it’s neck and neck” and “it’s really just splitting hairs” between the two teams. This is about Gordon Ramsay saying that the food Sarah plated “looks like a dog’s dinner.” More than anything, this is about how in life, like Gavin said, “anything can happen.” Just so true.

It truly was difficult to keep track of anything that was happening this episode. There were conflicts and power struggles all over the place, but still the kids seemed to do an ahmahzing job. Alexander told us it was so ahmahzing that when the diners found out the chefs were children, they cried.

I don’t know? The narrator told us in the beginning that the diners were in for the shock of their lives. And for me, the shock of my life was being evicted on the same day I dropped a puppy on its head at work and my co-workers judged me for it, but to each his own. When the kids got back to the MasterChef Kitchen, The Red Team: Dara, Alexander, and Jack were saved from elimination and The Blue Team: Sarah, Gavin, and Troy had to go home. There were some cool shots of Sarah crying. Joe Bastianich stiffly told her he was proud of her and Gordon Ramsay called her “gorgeous.” Then the judges (I’m worried about Graham though, he wasn’t really PRESENT in this episode, I hope everything’s okay) made the most difficult decision they’ve ever made. They saved Troy from elimination so he could go on to the top 4. In Captain Phillips, they [spoiler alerted] the [spoiler alert]. But I guess truly anything can happen. I guess life is a little less about losing than we thought. Troy looks like Mr. Burns.