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Two weeks and three episodes into the second go-around of Hell’s Kitchen, and I’m still saying this season is better than last. Last night’s episode was full of all the high-drama you’d expect from this culinary nightmare process: burns, sexism, and yelling. Lots and lots of yelling. Sadly, we didn’t receive any Grade-A put-downs like last week’s pumpkin slamdown, but we did have Gordon kicking a cupboard and yelling “DONKEY!!!!” And quite honestly, that’s enough for me.This week’s show began on a surprise note. Nothing major happened, but our trusty narrator forgot to tell us, “And now the continuation of Hell’s Kitchen.” How could the producers deny us this phrase? Don’t they realize that without the narrator explaining each and every frame of action, we’re totally lost? Now I’m expected to just assume this was the continuation of Hell’s Kitchen? What if it wasn’t? What if this something completely different — like an old episode of Benson. How would I know? HOW WOULD I KNOW???
Anyway, we soon caught up with former prison chef Garrett who reminded us about his misadventures with the nominations last week. He had picked Tom and Giacomo to face the wrath of Gordon, but instead, the head chef sent Tom back in line and expelled Gabe instead. “That worked out for me about as good as a swift kick in the nuts,” Garrett said. You know, I feel like in prison, there are probably guys who enjoy a swift kick in the nuts. Don’t knock it ’til you try it, Garrett.
If it made him feel any better, everyone was equally shocked that Tom (or “fat___” as Maribel called him) was still around to leave droplets of nose-sweat all over the restaurant. It seemed like a near guarantee that by this time, Tom would be well on his way to some air-conditioned Hell’s Kitchen detox zone. Or at least someplace where he could finally get a dry hand towel. But no, he had survived to live another day, and that new day began with Gordon calling the chefs at 6:16 AM. Tom happened to be awake and happily answered the phone, but amazingly, he asked Gordon, “Who’s this?” C’mon, Tom. Who else would be calling with a gruff, British accent at 6:16 AM? Clive Owen? Jason Statham? Dame Judy Dench?
As can be expected, Gordon wanted everyone in the dining room right then and there. This led to a flurry of activity as all the chefs hopped out of bed and stumbled into the uniforms. Supergirl Heather was, of course, the first one in the kitchen, and it seemed like everyone was all ready to go, but luckily, our trusty narrator informed us that all was not well in Hell’s Kitchen. “Within minutes,” said the narrator, “everyone makes it to the dining room. Everyone… except:” And then filling in the gap was Gordon who barked, “Where’s Sara?” You know, couldn’t the producers have simply showed the chefs filing in and then cut to Gordon asking, “Where’s Sara?” Did we really need the narrator to explain that everyone was there except Sara? Oh, that’s right. I forgot. We’re total morons incapable of following the action for more than a nanosecond. Thanks Hell’s Kitchen!
Turns out that Sara was stuck in the shower during all this excitement, which meant she missed the big announcement that Gordon was waiting for her. Oops. How awkward. As punishment, Gordon then punched her in the face and yelled “BLOODY RISOTTO!!!” Okay, none of that happened. Instead, Gordon lightly chided her and then got on with this week’s challenge. The task seemed relatively easy at first. Each team would be cooking three existing entrées from the menu. Not so hard, right? But there was a twist! Only one person at a time from each team could be in the kitchen. This meant that each aspiring chef only had five minutes to do his or her bidness before passing the reins off to the next sucker. Oh, and in between shifts, each person only had fifteen seconds to convey all the necessary information about what was cooking to the next person.
Anyway, since the girls had one extra member, Heather volunteered to sit out so she could continue to nurse her recently burned hand (much to Sara’s ire. She HATES burns!). Finally, we were ready to begin this event, which the producers dubbed the “3 Entrée Relay.” First up were Virginia and Tom, who both got to work with tortellini dishes. Virginia started her dish from scratch, but Tom — oh, Tom — he busted out some random, pre-made tortellini from a Tupperware container. As you can imagine, Gordon HATED that. I’m shocked he didn’t take it all and throw it in Tom’s face. Then again, Gordon probably wouldn’t want to get his hand anywhere near those torrents of sweat.
At the end of the five minutes, Tom and Virginia swapped out with Giacomo and Rachel and had to impart all the information about what dishes Gordon had assigned to them. Not a problem for both teams, but then five minutes later, when Keith and Maribel took over, things began to fall apart. Rachel only managed to explain two of the dishes before G-Ram shooed her away. This meant that Maribel had no idea there were tortellini cooking. And even worse: the tortellini were cooking right in front of her in a pot! Now, I understand that Maribel was rushed and flustered, but if you know there’s a third mystery entrée that you should be looking for, and if there just happens to be a random pot of bubbling water in front of you, wouldn’t you check the pot? I mean, it wasn’t there for atmosphere.
Meanwhile, on the men’s side, things were starting to fall out of control. Keith had received all the info from Giacomo, and yet, he wasn’t quite processing it correctly. Luckily, the narrator was there to explain everything — with quite the passive-aggressive snobbery too: “Keith ODDLY begins a second batch of tortellini, despite having been CLEARLY told that it was already done by Giacomo.” I half expected the narrator to then add, “Maybe if Keith wasn’t such a FAT IDIOT he CLEARLY would be able to follow directions.”
Nevertheless, with the wheels falling off the car (or is it train?) for both teams, it was down to Garrett and Sara to save the day. Yeah, not gonna happen. First, Maribel managed to waste her fifteen seconds babbling about how Rachel never told her all the entrées. Then, on the men’s team, Garrett began starting yet another batch of tortellini! At this point, the narrator noted, “Tortellini continues to torment both the teams.” Ah yes, nothing burns quite like the unforgiving sting of TORTELLINI TORMENT!
Finally, it was time to plate the entrées and present them to Gordon. This entire relay reeked of disaster, but I was hardly surprised. Few humans can overcome the brutal wrath of tortellini torment. Anyway, Ramsey didn’t even bother tasting the tortellini dishes because it was clear the men had won (on account of them at least having a tortellini dish). However, just because he didn’t consume the tortellini didn’t mean that G-Ram was going to forget about it. He lambasted the men for omitting the sauce, causing a slouched over Tom to stupidly ask, “May I speak? May I speak?”
WELL. No one requests to speak in front of GORDON RAMSEY. The surly chef barked back, “May you speak? May you stand up straight and stop acting like a slob!!!!” This then led to a louder, angrier follow-up: “JUST STAND UP STRAIGHT AND AT LEAST LOOK LIKE A FUCKING COOK!!!” Well, if Tom wants to have bad posture, gosh darnit, he’s gonna have bad posture! He clenched his jaw and then told us, “He doesn’t want to get in a street fight with me. Trust me!” He then added, “I’ll sweat so hard over him, he’ll think he was in a monsoon!”
Anyway, the producers used this supposed standoff between Gordon and Tom to go to commercial — as if there was any doubt as to what might happen. Sure enough, when we returned, Tom merely lowered his head and shame and let Gordon continue on his rant. C’mon. As if he was really going to fight Gordon. “He’s lucky that I signed a thing saying I would never touch anybody here,” Tom then told us. Yes, he was very, very lucky. Granted, Gordon’s a former footballer from the rough streets of England, but yes, I’m sure Tom and his lumpy bodice would have certainly been able to take him down. Gordon would surely crumple under the soft thud of Tom’s meaty fist. Those soccer players are always the gentle sort.
Back to the tasting. As I mentioned before, the men won the tortellini round, but when it came to the chicken, it was all about the women. Now it came down to the salmon dish. Who’s cuisine would reign supreme?? The red team (a.k.a. the women)! Turns out the men had forgotten the bacon, sauce, and, most important of all, the tarragon. Sadly, Gordon did not yell, “WHERE’S THE BLOODY TARRAGON!!!” Too bad. It would be a worthy addition to the “BLOODY RISOTTO” and “GIACOMO!!!” and “DEWBERRY!!!” family of exclamations.
Well, as punishment for losing, the men had to spend the afternoon washing, ironing, and folding laundry. The women, on the other hand, were going out for the day, which meant they could get all dolled up and whatnot. This did not please Tom, who struggled with the laundry. “The women should have lost this challenge,” he said. “And I’m not being sexist. The women do the laundry better than men.” Yes, it’s not sexist. Just misogynist with a light touch of idiocy.
Anyway, the women all jaunted down to Marina Del Rey where they boarded a fancy yacht for an afternoon on the water. It was a lovely treat, made only lovelier by the presence of oily maitre d’, Jean Phillipe. Yes, it would be a wondrous day on the ocean! Meanwhile, back at the kitch, the men discovered that they not only had to wash all the laundry, they had to do so by hand. “You can go fuck yourself,” Tom scowled. “I’m not fucking washing anything with a fucking washboard!” The washboard then yelled, “YES, YOU ARE, YOU SLOB! NOW STAND UP STRAIGHT AND GET TO WORK!!!” To which Tom replied, “Yes, sir. Anything you want, sir.” He then explained how lucky the washboard was that he had signed a contract stating that he wouldn’t punch any washboards.
Back on the high seas, Gordon told the women that he’d have to say cheerio for now, and as he left, flirty (read: big breasted) Virginia cooed, “Miss me!” I’m sure he will, especially if she never serves him another coconut celery root salad ever again. (And/or she shows him her tits.)
The narrator then returned to provide one of the many slide-whistle puns we’ve grown accustomed to hearing. “While the women are left to enjoy a day at sea, the men are still in hot water,” he said. GET IT?? GET IT??? Water humor is the BEST!
Anyway, the guys were still toiling away at the laundry, but at least they were being productive. They all quizzed each other over and over again, making sure they knew exactly how to prepare each dish. The women, on the other hand, were hanging out. Literally. They all stripped down to their bathing suits, which meant we once again had a chance to see those two giant funbags hanging off Virginia’s chest (complete with blurred-out nip-slip). “I wish Chef was here to rub lotion on us,” she giggled, adding, “I’m a massive slut.” Okay, she didn’t say that, but I”m shocked the narrator didn’t note, “Virginia will now show us her breasts. She plans to use these to win the competition.”
Later, when the women returned from their leisurely afternoon of tanning and being bosomy, they happily sauntered by the men, gloating about their second reward in a row. It was fairly obnoxious, but I guess all’s fair in love and war. Well, almost everything. You see, in response to the women’s behavior, Garrett barked (semi-jokingly, it seemed), “Y’all women have dinner ready for us men when we get home from work!”
He might as well have taken a plate of BLOODY RISOTTO and poured it down Heather’s shirt. She was not happy with that. She fumed to us that Garrett had been a total chauvinist pig by saying, “Go home and cook our dinner like women should!” Wow. That is insulting. One problem though: he never said that. Still, that didn’t stop Heather from further misquoting him. She marched out to the other women and insisted that he said, “Get married! Cook for us! We work so hard; we’re coming back from work, have our dinner ready!” Give her another five minutes and she’ll be claiming he said, “All women are idiots. Men are perfect. Women must cook for men and do everything for us. Boobies boobies boobies. Vagina.”
Nevertheless, this all precipitated Heather’s famous rant as she yelled, “I’m not your wife! I’m not your girlfriend! You don’t fucking treat me like that!” Was she implying that if she were his wife or girlfriend that his behavior was allowed? Nevertheless, she continued: “You have no RIGHT to speak to me like that! You’ve crossed the fuckin’ line!” You know, Heather, you may be all mad and stuff, but, um, Garrett’s been to prison; so I wouldn’t really piss him off too much… unless you want your eyeball carved out with a broken light bulb. Sorry, been watching too much Prison Break. Still, Heather insisted that if Garrett were to come at her again, “God help him!” Yes, I’m sure spending years avoiding shanks and butt-rape will have never prepared Garrett for the unholy misery Heather was about to hand down.
We then went to commercial, and upon return, we saw Heather talking to Garrett about “the comment,” or as I like to call it, “the comment that was completely distorted and reworded in Heather’s mind.” He explained that he didn’t like the way she had disrespected him with the gloating, and she said, well, nothing too interesting. Point was that the conversation ended with everything unresolved. A little later, we found all the guys talking about the situation, and now Garrett was venting about how the women were acting like they had to prove something, like they were rallying around the battle of the sexes thing. Unfortunately, in the middle of all this, Rachel overheard the men and told her team, “Do you guys hear them just wasting time talking smack?” Technically, they really weren’t talking smack. They were just venting about the situation. But I guess it would be too much to demand any logic from people on this show.
All that complaining about the women must have reinvigorated the men because the next morning, they were up and ready to go super early. The ladies, on the other hand, were slow, thanks mostly to cafeteria worker Maribel who was busy crying in the bathroom. Apparently she was homesick over her “husband” and “children,” whatever those are. Nevertheless, she finally emerged from her den of sadness and both teams got to work prepping their meals. As usual, they had the assistance of über-sous chefs Mary Anne and Scott, the latter of which told the guys, “It would be pretty bad if you guys lost tonight.” Yeah, thanks, JERK. I’m sure the guys really appreciated that. In fact, I’m surprised Tom didn’t give Scott a withering glare and then pretend like he might fight him (only to slink away with defeat).
On the women’s side, the growing rift between Heather and Sara continued to, well, grow. “When it comes to Heather,” Sara stated, “I’ve always been told that if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Oh, come now, Sara! Since when are you so bashful? It’s a reality show! If you don’t have something nice to say, you’re supposed to say it loud and clear! Besides, it’s not like you haven’t bashed Heather before. Nevertheless, enough with this harping. The restaurant eventually opened, which meant it was time for pure chaos.
Things started off on a rather unsanitary note as a diner spotted Keith licking a spoon in the kitchen. “That guy’s eating off the spoon and then putting the food on the plate!” the diner complained. Hey, at least that was the worst that they saw. Tom was probably in the corner, basting a chicken breast in his own sweat.
Anyway, Gordon bashed Keith for his low pants, telling him to pull them up, lest the poor people in the dining room have to see all his ass crack. But maybe if G-Ram had taken a looksie at Keith’s derriere, he would have seen that there was no crack to be found. At least, according to Keith, who said, “I wear my underwear up high and my pants low ’cause that’s how I rock them. So the customer didn’t see my ass crack, and there’s no chance they did because you could ask anybody how I rock ‘em, and that’s it!” I’m sorry, but I don’t exactly remember when wearing underwear up high was considered “rocking it.” Come to think of it, I’m not sure there are many things Keith could say he ever “rocks,” beyond five donuts and a milkshake.
Elsewhere in the kitchen, Garrett began to whistle, causing Ramsey to nearly have a conniption fit. Gordo told him to be silent, thus serving as the perfect opportunity for our favorite narrator to go puntastic on our asses: “While Garrett tries to get in tune with Chef Ramsey, Heather is giving Sara [wait for it, wait for it] AN EARFUL.” Oh no he di’int!!! AN AURAL PUN!!! It was pretty good, but if the narrator really wanted to impress us, he’d have said something like “While Garrett learns to stop whistling while he works, Heather makes Sara feel like a dwarf.” Eh, it sounded better in my head.
Anyway, Heather apparently was ordering around Sara, who scoffed, “Heather is very abrasive. She just barks orders like a drill sergeant.” Hey, hey, hey! What happened to your strict “If you don’t have something nice to say about someone…” policy? I call shenanigans on Sara. By the way, I like how she was bristling over Heather’s supposedly abrasive, domineering personality. It’s a good thing Sara didn’t sign up for a reality show that featured, you know, an abrasive, domineering maniac like Gordon Ramsey. Oh wait…
Well, it seemed like this evening’s dinner service was going much better than ever before. The appetizers were all reaching the tables at a normal pace (i.e. not in THREE HOURS), and all signs were pointing to a marvelous dining experience in Hell’s Kitchen (minus all that Keith ass crack business). Yes, everything was going perfectly, until the narrator warned us, “BUT THE NIGHT IS YOUNG!!!” Dunh dunh DUNH!!!! I half expected the lights to go out, followed by brief murmuring, and then the lights coming back on, which would reveal a diner dead at a table, a knife plunged into his back. I blame JP! J’accuse!
Unfortunately, nothing like that happened. Instead, the kitchens merely descended into anarchy. For the men, the first problems came when Giacomo, ahem, I mean, GIACOMO, couldn’t get any heat out of his oven. The damn thing was cold. You know why? IT WAS OFF.
“DUDE! You don’t have the fuckin’ gas on, STUPID!” Scott yelled. Wow, if even Scott was yelling, that’s just bad news. But seriously, how could you not tell that it was off, especially when the same thing happened last week? Well, when Gordon found out about this, he was livid. He asked why the oven was off, and Giacomo had no answer, causing Ramsey to simply yell, “YOU DONKEY!!!!” Donkey is so the “PLANK!!!” of 2006.
Later, the men had a minor incident when Keith thought he was running out of tomato sauce. He asked Tom to make some more, but Scott said no, there was no time. Luckily, Garrett found some pre-made tomato sauce, which meant that Tom could stop chopping tomatoes. Unfortunately, Tommy Boy didn’t get the memo, and when Gordon saw him futzing around with the tomatoes unnecessarily, yelling ensued. Tom then acted all “He needed tomato sauce!” but Keith was all, “I got it. I got it.” And ultimately, Tom was made to look like an idiot. As usual. Well, Tom was not happy about this. He scowled nice and hard, as if to say, “As God as my witness, I will SWEAT on you until your skin prunes!”
Okay, I just grossed myself out with that last image. I apologize. Anyway, with the oven working again, you’d think the men would be back on track, but as usual, they were all waiting on “GIACOMO!!!!” Yes, the curly-haired DONKEY was all confused about duck or something, and ultimately, Gordo accused him of lying. Ramsey announced that he was going to do something that he’s never done before. “I’VE HAD ENOUGH!!!” he yelled before calling out, “GIACOMO!!!” And then… A HELL’S KITCHEN POT BUBBLING OVER! Dammit! I hate that!
Yes, it was a well-placed commercial break, one that allowed me to ponder what cruel fate would befall GIACOMO. Surely, he’d be fired. But how? Would Gordon whop him over the head with a rolling pin? Or would he shove his hand in the deep fryer? Maybe we’d see some sort of impaling involving the lamb wellington. We could only hope.
As it turned out, however, we had none of the above. The big “thing” that Gordon did was not fire Giacomo but instead switch him to the fish station. LAME. How could G-Ram say that he’d never done this before? On the first episode, he swapped Heather and Polly. Gordon’s proclamation was about as lame as a plate of undercooked BLOODY RISOTTO!
In flesh burn news, Tom joined the ranks of Heather (and Survivor’s Michael Skupin) when he accidentally handled a pan that was — oops! — scaldingly hot. Unlike Heather, however, Tom refused a medic and instead pushed through the pain. That’s not to say he wasn’t a pain in the ass about it — because he was. In fact, he made such a drama about his burned hand that soon he and Keith began bickering like schoolgirls. This would explain why out in the dining room, the blue tables had been waiting two hours for entrées. Yikes. Meanwhile, the women were all over their entrées. They had served half of theirs, but just when things were on a roll, disaster struck. Or rather, Maribel struck. You see, all the red tables kept ordering lamb wellington, which put an inordinate amount of stress on Maribel and the meat station. She began to falter, at one point cooking only six lamb wellingtons instead of eight. She was so gonna get DONKEY!!-ed.
Back in the men’s kitchen, Tom was still complaining about his burned hand, saying he was about to throw up from all the pain. I’m sure that would go perfectly well with all the sweat he’d been trailing everywhere (luckily, on this episode, we weren’t treated to any ghastly closeups of sweat droplets clinging onto Tom’s nose like Sylvester Stallone in Cliffhanger). Anyway, Gordon yelled at Tom and told him to use his balls, which I really hope was a figurative command. If those diners thought Keith’s ass was bad…
Meanwhile, out in the dining room, a table of two women decided they wanted to be on camera and began complaining. They had been waiting an hour and ten minutes for food, and they were not happy. C’mon. The blue tables had been sitting there for two hours. These women were pussies. Luckily, JP was there to calm them down. He promised them Wellingtons in seven minutes. Whether they would be cooked all the way through was another issue. Yes, Maribel had this annoying tendency where she’d serve up the lamb Wellington, and it would be, you know, RAW. Really restores my faith in cafeteria workers.
Sure enough, Maribel didn’t reach the seven minute promise, and so the two ladies capitalized on this chance to be on TV and said, “I would actually like to speak to [Chef Ramsey] because I don’t think it’s right to make people wait this long.” Even though she was right, she was sooo gonna get attacked. Maybe he’d tell her to stick a beef Wellington up her arse.
Back on the men’s side, the kitchen faced a dangerous mashed potato shortage. Apparently Tom had burned them all, causing Gordon to ask, “You’ve stopped caring, haven’t you?” Tom denied it, but Gordon didn’t believe him. He then asked what Tom did care about, and Tom replied, “I care about making an ass of myself right now.” Huh. That didn’t really make sense. His brain must have been sweating.
Nevertheless, Gordon responded, “Congratulations!” Okay, none of this made any sense. Let’s just move on.
Over on the women’s side, those pesky ladies from table 37 had appeared at the hot plate and were threatening to leave the restaurant. Believe it or not, Gordon actually apologized to them, and when the woman asked when her dish would be ready, Maribel said 45 seconds.
“45 seconds, or I’m walking out of the restaurant!” the woman announced. Yeah, um, enjoy the walk out of the restaurant. Suddenly, a dumb “Wellington Countdown” clock appeared in the corner, quietly ticking away. Would Maribel shine at the last moment? Would she finally get her Wellington to the diner? Eh… not so much. Maribel served up a rare piece of steak, not medium as requested, and table 37 walked out the door. This caused Gordon to freak out and kick something, quite possibly the stack of trashed Wellington that had undoubtedly accumulated nearby.
Well, this Wellington disaster was the straw that broke the BLOODY CAMEL’S BACK! Gordon huffed and puffed and finally ordered the teams to SHUT IT DOWN! The diners all left the restaurant angrily, with one guy saying, “Thanks for nothing!” Hey, dude. Don’t go on Hell’s Kitchen and expect to be served. Anyway, Gordon lined the teams up and said that Sara was by far the best performer on her team (heh, take THAT, Heather!). He then blamed Maribel for ruining the women’s chances of completing their service. As for the men, Gordon told Tom, “I just wish you’d cook more.” And with his lips quivering, Tom replied, “So would I. So would I.”
“That’s all I want you to do,” Gordon then said.
“That’s all I want to do. That’s all I want to do,” Tom responded, adding, “That’s all I want to do — that, and find a giant sponge to sop up my forehead sweat.”
Well, despite Maribel’s failures, the women still won, which meant that one of the guys had to go home. Since Gordon didn’t think there were any real winners on the men’s team, he said he wanted everyone to nominate one person for elimination. Afterwards, Giacomo expressed how much he didn’t want to go home, saying, “I want to make my family proud.” Probably something he should have thought about before he went on a reality show…
Anyway, Tom and Giacomo babbled about how much they wanted to be there and whatnot, but let’s just cut to the good stuff. Gordon summoned all the men into the kitchen and asked them who their picks were. Tom nominated Giacomo, of course. And Giacomo nominated Tom, of course. Garrett then picked Tom too, on account of him being a quitter, and then Keith selected… COMMERCIAL! Seriously, why? It was going to either be Giacomo or Tom. No need for a cliffhanger.
We then came back from the break, and here’s a shocker: Keith nominated Tom. Wonderful. The two guys then pled their cases in the ten seconds G-Ram had allotted for them. Giacomo made the usual speech about wanting to learn and grow and blah blah blah. Tom, on the other hand, stated, “I’m the sharpest, smartest guy here.” And by “sharpest, smartest,” he meant “sweatiest, most flustered.” Seirously, Tom. Let’s not be ridiculous with the self-adoration.
Surely, I thought this would be Tom’s swan song, but surprisingly, Gordon cut Giacomo. Excuse me, GIACOMO!!! “You can’t turn an oven on. You got no chance at even running a kitchen,” Gordon stated. Oh pish posh. So he doesn’t know how to turn on an oven. Since when did that ever matter in cooking!
Well, as the cooks all returned to their dorms, Tom warned us, “These guys have pissed me off now! I’m gonna make them feel stupid that they nominated me!” Yes, he was going to glare and glower and grunt so intensely that they’d rue the day they ever thought to nominate Tom! Sadly, what he doesn’t realize is that the only reason he’s still around is purely for ratings. Sorry, Tom. Don’t think you’re that special.
What did you think about this episode? Should Gordon have gotten rid of Giacomo over Tom?