Top Chef - ZZZzzz-- ::snort:: Wha--?

So there wasn't a new Top Chef last night, after all. I forgot that we'd be treated to a veryspecial reunion dinner hosted by none other than Season 5's Fabio "I'm zweating like a mountain goat" Viviani.

Very? Sure. Special? Not so much. It was kind of a bore, and I actually folded up the laptop and walked away from the TV for a few stretches. I'm trying to figure out why Bravo decided to air this, and the only thought that came to mind was a grim one: preparing for life after Colicchio.

We all knew last year that Fabio's charm would land him a gig somewhere on TV. But this broadcast, with Fabio as the lord of the estate welcoming a select group of friends, enemies, and aspirants for the throne, struck out on so many levels that it almost feels like Bravo kicked Fabio out of the nest to see how hard he could land.

The idea was that these chefs from the past five seasons of Top Chef would gather at Social Club Hollywood for a little schmoozing, a little dinner, and maybe some alcohol-fueled head-butting. The gimmick turned out to be the good old Top Chef knifeblock, which instructed that each season's attendees would work together to prepare one of the five courses of the evening's meal.

There was Tiffany and Harold from Season 1. Marcel and Ilan (would you expect anything less?) from Season 2. Dale, Casey, and Hung from Season 3. Richard and Lisa from Season 4. Stefan and Carla from Season 5.

I'm gonna be honest; I really didn't pay attention to the food. And I'm pretty sure we as viewers weren't really expected to, either. There were some choice dishes from the looks of it; Hung's sardine impressed Ilan quite a bit. But mostly, this show was about the chefs, and how hard the producers would have to tweak them to get something interesting to happen.

Marcel continued to be a bit of a twat (thank you, Stefan, for summing him up so perfectly last year), fulfilling the Dark Lord Bravo's wicked intentions for him by getting strident and antagonistic with Fabio by the 15 minute mark. Casey showed that she was indeed a bit nervous about Carla's presence, since this was apparently the first time they'd spoken or met since the Season 5 finale where Casey's creative contributions appeared to pop Carla's rapidly ascending fortunes. But Carla's so sweet, there was never any chance of drama.

The funniest moment might have been at the seafood counter in Whole Foods, where a little old granny complained to the man behind the counter that she was there before Marcel. Give that lady a few Michelob Ultras, and she'd be pinning that little bastard down and shaving his head, too.

The meal served as both showcase for the chefs, and sounding board for their gripes about the show experience. At some point, however, Lord Fabio tired of this negativity and--after instructing the cameras to go dark (they didn't)--gave the assembled party a heavily-accented ass-chewing for being so pissy. The next time you're asked to do something like this, if you're so unhappy about the experience, just say no!

It was vintage Fabio straightforwardness, and maybe the only redeeming message of the night. These chefs should thank their lucky stars every night for having had the platform of Top Chef upon which to work, and looking down on it for the fame it created is the dictionary definition of looking a gift horse in the mouth.

I'm looking forward to next week's return to regular Top Chef programming, but not because it'll feature Padma and Nigella Lawson in bed together. Definitely not for that reason. Nope.

Other reasons.