Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dreaming About Kitchen Nightmares

I'll admit, I've never seen Hell's Kitchen. If I wanted to watch so-so chefs get verbally abused and embarrassed for cooking mediocre food, I'd go back to Red Lobster. But I was drawn to Gordon Ramsay's new show, Kitchen Nightmares, for two reasons:

  1. The chance to see a restaurant get shut down by the Health Department after Ramsay finds mold and/or pubes on the salad greens. 
  2. It was free on iTunes. 
Here's the show in one sentence: Ramsay spends one week in a failing restaurant and tries to keep it from closing. It's essentially Supernanny with line cooks and refrigeration problems. However, the crying, complaining and fighting are still there and the problems are still the parents (or manager's) fault. 

 Taking a glimpse behind the swinging doors and into a kitchen, especially a dysfunctional one, is like peeking into a friend's medicine cabinet and discovering a half empty gallon jug of lube. You're disgusted, fascinated and impressed they're still standing.
Another plus? Peter, the co-owner of this week's restaurant, had a fondness for free espressos, Miami Vice-inspired suits and apparently 'roids. 

But despite its strengths, Kitchen Nightmares was predictable and melodramatic. The music and use of split screens are reminiscent of CTU. Since the subject is less "impending nuclear doom" and more "rotten bell peppers," it all seemed like a stretch. 

Though the show isn't perfect, it should find a nice home on Fox. Not only will there always be disgusting restaurants, but Americans have a creepy obsession with Gordon Ramsay. He's blunt, has a bird's nest for hair, and he has an accent. Plus, he says "Fuck me" more times this episode than the last season of Cathouse. It's a guilty pleasure of the best kind, a crappy, overzealous cooking show with heavy censorship. I hope they make all 22 episodes.