Last week, American audiences — for the most part — were introduced to hot-tempered kitchen Nazi Gordon Ramsey and his unique brand of culinary abusiveness on Hell’s Kitchen. His foul mouth and penchant for hurling plates of spaghetti into underlings’ tummies took center stage as we learned just how evil (but inspiring!) this man could be. With that initial shock absorbed and processed, we were ready for the real drama to begin this week, and I’m happy to report that the producers didn’t make us endure sixty more minutes of only G-Ram’s foul mouth (although rest assured, we got so many bleeps, I thought Fox was conveying hidden messages via Morse code). Yes, in addition to the expected cursing, we had squid gutting, kidney stones, angry musical doctors, and a sweaty Dewberry. Oh, and my friend Audra even showed up to chow down on some pizza. I don’t know about you all, but I was entertained.The show began with a never-ending recap of not just the central premise (yup, there goes G-Ram in his bad-boy convertible again) but last week’s episode as well. I suppose this was Fox’s way to make all the new viewers feel at home. Anyway, after five minutes of this, we finally began episode two as the over-eager narrator announced, “Dewberry seeks a moment alone!” Thanks, I didn’t notice that when we saw Dewberry standing in the bathroom, you know, alone. Unfortunately, our man-muffin could have nary a second to himself as Elsie soon walked into the bathroom. Uh oh. This would be awkward. For those of you who missed last week, Elsie promised to keep Dewberry safe, only to betray him at the last second and nominate him for elimination. Surely Dewberry would lay into her with the potent brand of sass that only a fat gay man from Georgia can muster. Or… he would hug her. Yeah, Dewbs simply embraced his turncoat friend before she could even utter an apology. Way to diffuse the tension, jerk. To be fair, he did think she was a giant croissant. (Don’t know why he hugs croissants, but just go with it).
Anyway, the next morning, while the contestants all slept fitfully in their dorms, sous chefs Scott and Maryann raised hell (heh, get it?) by banging pots and pans as an early morning wake-up call (the narrator informed us that this was both figurative AND literal. THANKS). Dewberry confessed to us that in his confusion, he thought a gun had gone off, which leads me to wonder how many guns he’s actually been around. I’d hate to see him knock over a kitchenware display at Williams Sonoma — he’d probably think a gang shootout had erupted near the olive oils.
Nevertheless, the cooks shuffled into the kitchen where Gordon greeted them with a typically angry face. Not everyone was there though. Cocky chef Chris stayed back in the dorms to brush his teeth and change shirts. When he finally emerged seven minutes later, G-Ram quickly berated him with an efficient “Lazy f-cker!” And with that, the narrator piped up again, this time reverently saying, “Everything Chef Ramsey does has a purpose.” The narrator then added, “I LOVE Chef Ramsey!” Actually, he didn’t say that, but he did go on to explain that the contestants would now be tackling a challenge that would test their attention to detail. Specifically, the cooks would be gutting and preparing squid, and the team with the most clean squid at the end of ten minutes would win dinner with the man himself, Mr. Gordon Ramsey.
I actually enjoyed this little challenge, if only because it seemed like a legitimate training exercise. I was mildly disturbed though when Gordon stuck a zucchini into the dead squid. Maybe it’s my dirty mind, but the entire image looked mildly sexual in an all too squid sort of way. It didn’t help that we then saw Dewberry gently stroking his squid-wrapped zucchini. I’m all for the phallic jokes, but when there’s a squid involved, well, that’s just unpleasant.
Anyway, it came time for Gordon to examine all the squids, causing Wendy to boast, “I think Gordon’s going to love the fact that I’m a perfectionist.” Unfortunately, her squids were far from perfection as many had tears or skin still on them. Well, looks like Wendy’s perfected the art of being an IDIOT!
Ultimately, the Red team won the calamari competition which meant they could eat dinner with G-Ram while the Blue team would spend the evening preparing squid for the next night’s dinner service. Later, as the winners got all dressed and spiffy for din-din, Dewberry stumbled upon a snazzy-looking Elsie and declared, “Look at you, J. Lo!” Because all Latina women look exactly like J. Lo, right? Dewberry then cornered Wendy and said, “So how’s it hanging, Connie Chung?” I would make some joke about African American stereotypes, but oops! No black people on the show! Yay diversity! (Then again, with one Asian, one Latina, and possibly one butch lesbian, the show looks like the United Nations compared to The OC).
As the Blue team got down and dirrty Xtina Aguilera-style with the squid, Gordon showed his softer side by dining with his culinary slaves. Aww look. The asshole can be nice too. We heart Gordon now! Later, we switched to night-vision mode as the tired chefs all slipped into bed and went to sleep. All that was missing was a tinkling music-box chiming away on the soundtrack. Fearing that we might be total morons, the narrator suddenly piped up and said, “It’s the end of another long day in Hell’s Kitchen, and everyone has gone to bed exhausted.” Yes, WE KNOW.
Actually, to be fair, not everyone was asleep. We cut to Jeff who was hobbled over in the hallway moaning like he’d just been shot in the gut. What the? Did G-Ram poison him out of anger? Well, surely someone would help him, right? Eh, not so much. Jessica (short, bleached blonde, looks like a little boy) walked by him and asked, “Are you okay, Jeff?” But when he only moaned and fell to the ground, she simply replied with a disgusted grunt, “Whatever,” and sauntered away. Um, there’s a man DYING in your hallway, bitch. Lend a freakin’ hand!
“Little help? No? That’s cool.”
The next morning, Jessica explained, “He’s a bit of a hypochondriac.” THE MAN WAS DOUBLED OVER ON THE GROUND! As Bonnie Raitt would say, Have a Heart! Well, turns out Jeff has a history of kidney stones, and he passed one that night. Now, I once had the pleasure of passing my very own kidney stone, and I will tell you, Jeff’s experience was not an over-reaction. It is shocking how difficult it is to simply stand up when that mo-fo is making its way through your body. That being said, Jeff is sort of a pussy.
Anyway, let’s talk about Dewberry again. “Dewberry’s definitely on the right track,” gushed the narrator after our portly cook whipped up some tasty pasta. Seriously, what’s with the Greek Chorus? Do we really need this disembodied voice to spell out ALL our feelings? I half expected the narrator to say, “Dewberry is happy now. And now Dewberry is sad. And now Dewberry is confused. Wait, he’s sad again. Happy. Confused. Happy. Sad…”
Finally, it was time to serve the masses, and before starting up the kitchen, Gordon had another surprise for the Blue Team. Because they lost the squid challenge, their air conditioning and fans would be turned off. You see, on G-Ram’s first or second night of owning a restaurant, similar ventilation problems plagued him, and like an abused child, the traumas of his experiences must now be passed on to a new generation. Of course, Ramsey added his own motivational flair to this twist: “You stand there like a man, and you SWEAT!” Seriously, I think Ramsey has to stand there like a metrosexual man and hit a day-spa. CALM DOWN.
Unlike last week’s episode, the food service seemed to be a little more reliable this time around with the announcer proudly noting, “Mary Ellen’s Caesar salad heads out without a snag!” Such a difficult dish, too. All that lettuce that has to be, you know, put on a plate. I get worn out just thinking about it. Luckily, Mary Ellen’s previous expertise with endives (and presumably chicory, escarole, and the occasional frisée) prepared her for the intense gauntlet that is Caesar Salad Tossing. Bravo, Mary Ellen. Your Cordon Bleu certification awaits!
Unfortunately, the kitchen’s strong start quickly faded away as screw-ups began to mount at a frightening pace. Perfectionist Wendy turned fell into a risotto nightmare as she found herself struggling to keep up to speed. Meanwhile, kidney stoner Jeff became a complete space cadet as he bumbled around his station, spilling peppers and losing sight of valuable spinach. Thankfully, Gordon jumped on his ass (figuratively) and chewed him out for a few minutes, much to the delight of the studio audience. Jeff later explained to us that the pain from his kidney stones had resurfaced, causing him to lose focus. You know, ever since Tonya’s tenure on Real World: Chicago, I’ve always felt there should be more kidney stone drama on reality TV. Thanks, Hell’s Kitchen!
Elsewhere, future politico Andrew clashed with present endive champion Mary Ellen over some Beef Wellington. Turns out that any dish which needs to be actually “cooked” (whatever THAT means) is a bit out of Mary Ellen’s salad wheelhouse. Well, not any dish. She can toast walnuts quite well.
With the chefs all stumbling along, a new batch of customers made the brave trip to the kitchen to ask what the fletch was going on. Those of you viewing last week may remember Gordon’s rude and dismissive remarks to his patrons, and for a second, it looked like he had changed his ways. He actually apologized to one Long Island-ish looking pipsqueak, but when the kid dared to say that Gordon’s remorse did nothing for him, G-Ram snapped back, “You do f-ck for me either.” Ka-BOOM! Amazingly, the little douchebag stood there and kept talking, finally realizing that a bunch of amateurs were running the kitchen. “Finally your head’s coming out of your asshole. Now sit down you f-cking shit!” snapped Gordon. By the way, I’m not sure about the last two words. There were a few too many beeps for me to decipher.
Speaking of bleeps, we heard a bunch more as Dewberry frantically bounced around the kitchen like a beach ball in a mosh pit. Gordon sneered, yelled, and berated Dewberry (god, I love it when Gordon yells “DEWBERRY!” It’s like some long lost catch phrase from a 1960s TV show). Eventually, Ramsey called him useless, causing Dewberry to chirp, “Goodbye!” Oh shit! He’s leaving! Dewberry’s leaving! Nooooo!!!
Well, not so fast. Dewberry claimed that when he saw Elsie’s sad face, he knew he couldn’t walk away (I personally think he just got too winded by the time he reached the kitchen door. Zing! Poking fun at the easy target — classy!). Later, Dewberry tearfully told us that Gordon “was trying to get me to be, I guess, better than I am.” He then shot himself in the head. No, that actually didn’t happen, but I think everyone else in America wanted to after that depressingly defeatist comment. Cheer up, Blueberry! Maybe you’ll have a comeback! Right?
Meanwhile, two more customers approached Gordon, and unsurprisingly they received a bitter, vulgar reception. Angered and appalled, the customers returned to their table, and in retaliation pulled a brilliant little stunt: they ordered pizza for the restaurant. We then cut to my friend Audra chowing down on a big ole slice of pepperoni. Sorry, I promised I would give her a shout out. There wasn’t anything inherently funny about watching her eat.
TVgasm friend Audra: secretly pining for Dewberry?
Anyway, our trusty (and greasy) Maitre’D, Jean Philippe, was le boum pooper as he ordered the diners to arrête with the pizza. Unfortunately, the rowdy group had become belligerent, probably thanks to having spent two hours doing nothing but drinking wine and growing hungrier. One hefty, bearded, Paul Giamatti-esque man was exceptionally surly, and when Jean questioned his education, the guy got right in his face. “I HAVE A DOCTORATE IN MUSIC FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA!!!” the man yelled, as if that were to impress anyone (you know he’d been waiting about fifteen years to pull that card). “DO YOU HAVE A DOCTORATE?” the man then asked violently. I would have loved if Jean had earned a doctorate from Julliard, but instead he simply replied with a nonsensical, “But do you have an education?” Good one, Jean. Way to really sock it to him. Personally, if I were Jean, I would have yelled back, “I HAVE A DOCTORATE IN KICKING YO’ ASS!!!” Because that would have been cool.
Well, the Music Doctor was escorted out, and like last week, Gordon ceased food service once again. He declared the Blue team as the winners, and on the Red team awarded Chris with the power to nominate two people for elimination. Jeff immediately began some awkward ass kissing, but Dewberry refrained. Instead, he tested the structural integrity of a nearby hammock by, well, reclining in it. Seriously, I’m not sure if he was more than three centimeters off the ground.
At this point, it’s not so much a hammock as it is a raised picnic blanket.
But I shouldn’t make fun of him for his weight. I’m sure his whole life he’s been teased, and we love Dewberry. We want him to feel welcomed and loved and DEAR GOD that’s an unflattering t-shirt. Yes, in case it wasn’t obvious, Dewberry was fired (over Jeff), meaning that he had to remove his chef’s coat and waddle away in his XXL undershirt. Poor guy.
As for Gordon, he still seems to be struggling for a catch phrase. Last week was “Hell’s Kitchen no longer needs you.” This week was something like “Get lost.” Can’t we be punnier? How about “You’re COOKED!” or “Hell’s frozen over for you!” or “This isn’t HELL-o. It’s goodbye.” I don’t know. Just throwing that out there.
Who said a man-bra wouldn’t sell well?
What did you think of this episode? Will you miss Dewberry as much as I will?