Jun 18, 2007

Hell's Kitchen: It's Deja Vu All Over Again

Was it me or did this episode of Hell's Kitchen seem repetitious?

Aaron fainted, again, but this time he had to be rushed to the hospital for banging his head.

Chef Ramsey booted him off the show for medical reasons, but what took him so long? Why didn't he eliminate Aaron in the first episode?

Bonnie ran around with no clothes. Again. Ok, so she was in the shower and it was reveille and two soldiers were blasting trumpets. No matter. The evening before, the camera crew showed her running around in her bikini or underwear or both. Again. Ya think the camera crew has a thing for Bonnie? Ya think?

For the first challenge, the red team cooked breakfast for a room full of soldiers and the blue team cooked for sailors. The chefs' reaction to serving the men and women who were serving us was truly heartfelt, and one of the highlights of this show.

But then the guys were awful and couldn't get their act together. Again.

Julia saved the day. Due to her leadership, the red team's soldiers were served breakfast first. Chef Ramsey praised her to the skies, and Julia felt validated. Again.

The ladies won another special treat and they got to talk mano-a-mano to Chef Ramsey. Again.

Well, you get the idea.

For being awful, the guys peeled potatoes and onions for the army until the cows came home. They realized they would have to do something drastic to win a challenge. Plus they were down a man. So they chose Brad as a team leader, but interestingly, it was Rock's leadership skills that pulled the men's team ahead.

On the red team's side, Julia took over the leadership position for dinner service. Again

Joanna messed up the risotto. Again.

And the ladies fell apart. Again.

I suppose I wouldn't have been so disappointed in this episode if we had seen more of the food and how it was made, and more of the chefs cooking. But largely, we saw Chef Ramsey yelling, and the chefs messing up in the kitchen, and customers leaving after waiting for two hours.

There WERE a few original moments, though.

Jen, who had been sterling so far, dumped the last of the spaghetti into a garbage can, then took the same spaghetti out of the trash when another order came in, rinsed it, reboiled it, and tried to pass the reconstituted spaghetti off as serviceable food.

Julia wouldn't let her.

Toward the end of the dinner service, Chef Ramsey was disgusted with everyone. Again. He had a good reason to be angry at Joanne for using rancid crab. (Doesn't rancid crab stink to high heaven? Does this girl have no olfactory cells?)

This time there were no clear winners. Chef Ramsey chose the red team as the losing team, and told the women to choose two from their team to be eliminated.

Melissa and Bonnie suddenly grew horns and turned on Julia, who had been nothing but competent so far.The big question was: "Does Julia have it in her to become the top chef of a major restaurant?" However, this early in the game, after Chef Ramsey had been singing Julia's praises all morning long, the women's move was dumb, dumb, dumb.

The two ladies chosen for elimination were Joanna (no argument there) and Julia.

The second surprise of the night was when Jen stepped forward and put herself up for elimination. Classy move. Jen was frightened, but it was the right thing to do. Chef Ramsey took her up on the offer, and contemplated the three women.

Almost immediately he told Julia she was safe. No surprise there.

Then he hesitated. WTF? I wouldn't have batted an eye eliminating Joanna. That woman was a disaster from the very start, whereas Jen has been competent in the kitchen.

Well, folks, let's hope next week's episode will be a whole lot better, or I may not last out this show.

Here's a great post about this episode on Zap 2 It. Click here.

Dr. Phil's thoughts about the three reality cooking shows is pretty cool. Click here.


ArtfulSub said...

From a first-timer's perspective:

1) Portion of the format like Ramsay constantly bleeped-out, a narrator, and an over-emphasis on teams and team leaders sucked.

2) The "grand honor" of eating at a table with Ramsay came across as phony and lame even if the viewer hasn't seen it in previous episodes.

3) The show generally had a trite deja vu feel even if you'd never seen it. If that makes sense. Felt like I'd seen it all before, including Jen's admitting the pasta mistake before NWA or Julia Waffles ratted her out.

On to the ending/decision, there was no decision to make.

You could drop pasta in a used kitty-litter box, apply the Jen Technique, and serve it without a single customer becoming ill.

Serving rancid crab will make EVERY customer who swallows a single bite ill. And that can happen to any diner regardless of their sense-of-smell.

It could also KILL someone who polishes off a plate. And that can happen.

Especially with smokers, senior citizens, small children, and those who ate or drank certain items prior to the crab being served.

It's the cook's responsibility to keep their nose in working order, not the diners.

That's one of the reasons I've never found Bourdain's fond recollections of coke-snorting and binge-drinking while managing a working kitchen as amusing as some do.


Ms. Place said...

You'll get no argument from me, Art. Up to now, Jen has been pretty good. Whereas Joanna's using rancid crab is worrisome. A chef without a good nose might as well have no nose at all.

BML said...

I missed tonight's episode, but from what I saw in the first episode, I think that Julia has some promise -- she's not a "fine dining" restaurateur, but she works hard and I think she could learn to run a high end establishment.

I'm sort of glad I didn't see tonight's episode -- it sounds as if most everyone screwed up.

And now I don't have to see any more of Aaron...