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Hello, folks! To make up for shorting us a week of Gordon, Fox brought family drama galore on this week’s episode of Kitchen Nightmares. Featured is Sam’s Mediterranean Kabob Room, the result of the aforementioned Sam Najjar’s years of diligent work. He started there as a busboy and clawed his way up the chain to finally take over as owner, realizing his dream to run a family restaurant. He means that literally, too—his idea of a family restaurant means one that employs only those related to him by blood. The biggest problem with that is that his kids don’t appear to share his dream of daily family togetherness. Head Cook Emad would love to have a life of his own that doesn’t include working for his parents, and server Randah is depressed by the place. None of Sam’s million kids seem to want to be there, and so they blame each other for the failures of the restaurant, starting loud fights in front of the customers and making the whole place miserable.
Now let me just say that I started this episode expecting to feel sorry for old Sam. Most of these Kitchen Nightmares-based family issues center on the hardworking parent fronting money to fund the dreams of their lazy children, but this case is different in that the children are the ones being used to fulfill Sam’s dream, and none of them seem to have much choice in being there. I can also dig the source of the squabbling —I come from an overly large family, and I can’t picture us working any sort of job together in harmony for more than a week or so. Too many family dynamics and power struggles and leftover grudges. And of course, poor Sam isn’t making any money with his brood bitching left and right, so they bring in Gordon, who’s likely well prepared to deal with a crowd, seeing he has a million kids himself.
They tell him they all work full 12-hour shifts, seven days a week, and they all resent Sam because they’re basically indentured servants who never get a day off. Sam doesn’t want any outside employees, I guess because if someone’s going to fuck up his business he wants to be able to guilt them at Thanksgiving for the rest of eternity. Apparently, Sam didn’t have a shitload of kids so he could release them into independence—you don’t spend all that time breeding a restaurant staff just to send them to college and let them be their own people. Everyone knows that.
Gordon goes in to meet Sam and acts like he doesn’t know anything about the kid situation, but he really does get a surprise when Sam admits he doesn’t even pay them. Wait, what? How do any of them pay bills? Do they all just live at home, with no means to even save up for their own escape? If so, I can only say I’m surprised old Sam doesn’t have a few ligature marks on his neck by now. And yes, Sam confirms: they all live in the damn house with him. Okay, I think I can safely say fuck that noise. No wonder they’re always yelling at each other; they never get a break.