'Food Network Star' Recap: Food Trucks, Ball Jokes and WTF Goodbyes
'Food Network Star' Recap: Food Trucks, Ball Jokes and WTF Goodbyes
Matt Click
Matt Click
Staff Writer, BuddyTV
It's astonishing how much my mood has shifted over the course of just a few weeks of Food Network Star. I began season 7 optimistic, if a little hesitant. But this season has been draining, and we've all felt it. All it takes is one glance at the comments on our Facebook insider page to gauge the overall mood. Viewers are angry and frustrated, with many even swearing off the show until Penny Davidi leaves. Clearly, the novelty of Penny's scheming, dramatic ways has worn off. And now we're just sick of her.

Am I looking forward to Food Network Star tonight? Honestly, no. We've got the same stupid food truck challenge we see every damn season. We've got Penny pitching more fits. And we've got Tyler Florence, a man I just cannot stand to even look at, due to his overwhelming douchiness. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy watching contestants like Orchid Paulmeier, Whitney Chen and Jeff Mauro. But their appeal is just completely overshadowed by the bad stuff. It really is a shame, because there are some awesome people on the show this season.

We've already been promised more drama tonight. Maybe the judges will finally take note of Penny's antics, and maybe she'll finally slip-up in a big way. Or maybe this charade will continue into the final weeks of the summer, and we'll be forced to deal with Penny Davidi until we just can't stand it anymore.

You all can turn off the TV. Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury. Suffer with me, won't you?

Oh man, guess what I just realized? This episode is only an hour. Thank the Food Network Gods (Alton Brown and Ina Garten, reigning from on high). I don't think I had another 90-minute episode in me. Maybe I can do this. Maybe I can weather this storm. Just maybe.

Food Truck Fiasco

Our finalists head to a parking lot, and Tyler Florence is standing there bein' all Tyler Florencey. This challenge is the same challenge we've seen before: the finalists will be split into teams, and spend the day running a food truck. We saw it last season and I'm pretty sure the season before that. And maybe two seasons ago. Anyway, you know the drill.

Mary Beth and Penny are on the same team again. There's no way that was random. Like, seriously, Food Network? Vic, Jyll and Orchid are on a team, and they're planning on doing a crazy fusion taco truck. Jeff, Whitney and Susie get put together, and their idea is Balls on the Roll (Jeff's idea). Whitney and Jeff love it, but Susie gets all uncomfortable about it. Chris, Mary Beth and Penny are doing some sort of Charlie's Angels type thing.

The teams film their commercials for their food trucks. Everyone's all uneasy about Jeff's Balls on the Roll idea, but they all need to get over it. I'm cracking up about it. Even Mary Beth "Penis Joke" Albright is all offended. Um, Mary Beth, you unveil a new wiener joke every week, you have no room to judge.

After grabbing their ingredients, the teams head back to the house. Jeff and Penny bond a little bit as Jeff talks about his history with comedy. I giggle every time he says balls, and he says it a lot. The next morning, Team Balls break out the bandanas and get to work. I think Susie's finally on-board with this whole balls idea. They're doing meatballs, felafel, etc. You can imagine.

Vic's making an awesome Philly cheese steak burrito thing that sounds really good and I want one now. Jyll's doing tacos again. Jyll! Do you not remember what happened last week with the tacos? She's trying to redeem herself, but I can't imagine it going well for her.

Chris is concerned about Penny's speed, because she's agonizing over every piece of meat (heh-heh, see what I did there?). Seriously though, she won't shut up about the meat.

And just like that, more than a hundred hungry people show up, along with Bobby Flay, Bob Tuschman, Tyler Florence and Giada DeLaurentiis. First things first, they've got to air their commercials. The crowd (and the judges) love Vic, Jyll and Orchid's commercial. And the balls commercial doesn't go as well as they probably would've hoped. Giada has the most ridiculous reaction.

Penny's food isn't ready, so Mary Beth has to run crowd control to make sure the hungry attendees don't riot and tip the truck over. Over at Jyll, Vic and Orchid's truck, the food is going over well. Penny's wrap is well-liked, but Chris and Mary Beth's food isn't doing so hot.

Oh man. Over at Balls on the Roll, there's ... nobody in line. It's super awkward. The other two trucks have mile-long lines, and Balls on the Roll is really hurting. Poor Jeff feels responsible. Jeff, if you're reading this, for what it's worth, I would gladly eat your ... well, y'know. Let's just leave it at that, huh?

It does start to pick up for Balls on the Roll, and their customers respond well to the food and their personalities.

The judges descend upon the trucks. I'm pretty sure Bob Tuschman has a crush on Mary Beth. He's always gazing at her. They love Penny's wrap, but aren't so crazy about Chris and Mary Beth's. They hit up Vic, Jyll and Orchid next. Jyll and Vic converse well with the judges. Orchid's trying a little too hard to get a word in. I'm worried about Orchid. The food goes over well, including Jyll's tacos.

The judges head over to Balls on the Roll last. They're digging Jeff's meatball sub and Susie's soup. Whitney's falafel doesn't go over as well, and Bobby Flay chalks it up to cooked chickpeas.

I'm feeling bad for Team Balls.

Goodbye to WHO?

Once again, it's judgment time. I'm worried about Jeff and Orchid, at this point. I don't think either of them are going home, but they both had slip-ups this week. I don't think Penny is going home, as much as I want to see it. She didn't have any major issues.

Mary Beth and Penny start arguing about chopping onions, and Penny ends the argument by making cat noises. Is this real life? The judges call out Penny and basically say, "Play nice." And that's it. She's not going home.

Vic and Jyll get major props for their performances and their food, but Orchid was a bit of a letdown for the judges.

The Balls Team is up. The judges are so full of crap. Whitney says she thought the joke was funny, and Giada makes the bitchiest face, complete with eye-roll, that I've ever seen. What the heck is her problem?

The winner of the challenge is Vic. Penny and Susie are also safe.

Good job, Vic. I'm liking you more and more every week.

The bottom three is Mary Beth, Whitney and Orchid.

This is just ... dumb. That's really the only way to say it. It's just flat-out stupid. So Chris is safe? Penny is safe? What in the nine hells are the judge's even thinking? It makes zero sense. It's like the judges are watching a different show where Penny isn't a horrible harpy. I wouldn't be too upset if Mary Beth went home, but Whitney or Orchid? You've gotta be kidding me.

And ... you're not kidding me. Orchid Paulmeier, early frontrunner (and my pick to win), has been eliminated.

I wish I could say I was pissed, but I'm not. I just don't even care anymore. I still have Jeff, and I still have Whitney. And I'm starting to like Vic. But with Orchid gone, it's like the show has lost all credibility.

Next week ... eh, who cares. Orchid's gone. But hey, double-elimination! So that way we can be pissed off that Penny doesn't get sent home twice in one episode.

(Image courtesy of Food Network)