With all this Big Brother hoopla taking over TVgasm, I nearly forgot about our wee cooking show, Hell’s Kitchen. Kind of surprising since this rookie series (in the U.S.) owes much of its grainy and stagnant camera work to that reality behemoth. Nevertheless, there was plenty of drama this week in G-Ram’s restaurant, and while the show still strains to be more than just patently good, it does manage to leave us with a full stomach — unlike most of the diners.This week’s episode began in the wake of Mary Ellen’s surprise departure. With a wave of guilt overcoming her, Jessica ran off to the bathroom where she bawled in a stall. I always get excited for the bathroom cam because I hold out hope that maybe, just maybe, someone will get a kidney stone again. Unfortunately, lightning — and calcium deposits — don’t strike twice. Hmmm… maybe Ralphy Boy will stir things up with another egregious erection instead. Or maybe Jimmy will simply take the world’s largest shit (you know it’s bound to happen one of these days).
N-E-hoo, while Jessica cried by her pee-pee, the narrator piped up to state the obvious once again: “Although Andrew wasn’t sent home this time, he knows he is far from safe.” Really! Seeing him cradling his head in his hands surely seemed like a cocky gesture of confidence! I hate you, narrator.
Speaking of Andrew, he had this to say: “This is the most hostile environment I’ve ever worked in, and THAT is hell.” Ahem, Hell’s Kitchen, if you will. Seriously, finish off the pun or get off my TV, jerk.
Meanwhile, in the dorms (or “soundstage basement” as I like to call it), Ralph and everyone else chowed down post-elimination. Andrew, however, was not present. “He’s probably in psycho-therapy right now,” joked Elsie in her Fat Albert voice. Well, Andrew wasn’t in therapy, but if a few guys with a straight jacket and some cattle prods showed up, I wouldn’t be surprised. The hidden cams caught Andrew alone in his bedroom doing some wonderful schizo routines. Seriously, Adrian Brody would be proud. “I’m still doing something right. I’m still doing something right. I’m still doing something right,” Andrew muttered over and over and over again before snapping and yelling, “I SUCKED IT!” YES! Psychotic meltdown! Paging Tom Cruise. We have a vulnerable headcase in need of Xenu. Dr. Cruise! Dr. Cruise!
The next morning, the narrator explained to us, “Individuals are trying to shine.” The narrator then added, “You see, when I say ‘shine’, I don’t mean literally like in terms of brightness. I mean that they’re all trying to get noticed, be superstars, if you will. Maybe I’m not making myself clear. What I’m trying to say is… I’m sorry, I’m not very articulate. Oh, you understand? Really? Because I can explain it some more.”
Anyway, after assembling the Red and Blue teams, Gordon asked Ralph who he felt was the strongest link. Of course, Ralph said he was, but then he added, “Oh, did you say ‘link’? I thought you asked, ‘Who has the biggest morning wood right now.’ Never mind.” By the way, in case you’re just joining us, I make these jokes because Ralph had a GI-NORMOUS boner last week. I’ll probably be making fun of him for it until he’s eliminated (much the same way I harped on Mary Ellen’s endive obsession).
G-Ram then asked Chris who he thought the strongest chef on his team was, and like Ralph, Chris said he was tops. Wow, over Michael? Hmmm… that’s kind of, I don’t know, not correct. But whatever. Chris then singled Jimmy out for being the worst, to which the portly chef replied (to us, at least) “I’m gonna show him that the weakest can go from the bottom to the top.” Yeah, that’s great. Just don’t drop anything, Señor Klutzsky.
With this silly segment over, Chef Ramsey announced that Hell’s Kitchen would be scrapping its menu and turning into a pasta restaurant. Or as Gordo calls it, “pass-ta.” We then watched as he demonstrated how to properly make pasta. “Chef Ramsey demonstrates how to properly make pasta,” noted the narrator in yet another obtuse and unnecessary observation. Is anyone else sensing a drinking game coming on? Take a shot every time the narrator needlessly explains obvious action. I swear, I’ll do it this Monday, and I’ll liveblog the whole thing. Seriously.
Anyway, after having made a batch of lovely spaghetti, Ramsey then did what any good chef will do: draped it on an underling. Yes, G-Ram covered Chris in the pasta, making for one HILArious sight gag. Oh Gordon, how you tickle me so! Pasta on a man? It’s the new cream pie on the face!
Actually, there was some mild method to this madness. All this nonsense was simply a setup for the day’s big challenge. The teams would compete to press the most pasta in ten minutes. Whatever was usable and approved by Gordon would then be weighed, and the team with the heaviest batch would win. Oh, and all eligible pasta had to be draped on a teammate. Because what’s the fun of a bowl when you’ve got sweaty Jimmy!
Well, the challenge got underway, and within seconds, teams were powdering their workstations with flour. “It was so incredible,” noted Elsie. Yes. Flour. Incredible. The splendor is jumping off the screen. Elsie then added, “It reminded me of the first time I used baking soda. I orgasmed twelve times that night.”
After ten minutes, the challenge came to halt and Gordon began inspecting the goods. Surprisingly, he seemed quite pleased with his protégés. He even remarked, “immaculate” and “very nice” at one point. Wow, these guys have come a long way since Dewberry’s baked spaghetti disaster. Oh, Dewberry… (cue Kenny Rogers singing “Through The Years”).
As for the final weigh in, well, that was one drawn-out affair. Blue tallied up 2.41 pounds of fresh pasta, but Red… well, first we had to watch Gordon painstakingly sort out individual strands of spaghetti. Then weigh them. Then announce “Two point–” (cut to commercial). Grrrrrr… About three hours later, Red won by .04 pounds (2.45 lbs for you math flunkies). Their prize: a gondola ride. Um, the Los Angeles river isn’t actually a… never mind. Blue, meanwhile, had to stay home and prepare all the pasta for the next evening’s dinner service. Andrew was not happy, protesting that his team’s spaghetti was “fluffy and beautiful!” Hey Andrew, stop staring at the bunny rabbit in the corner and make your pasta. Fluffy and beautiful…
While Andrew made more pasta with an emphasis on greater fluff and beauty, his rival team boarded a gondola in the Pacific Ocean. Ah, bellissima! Nothing captures the spirit of Venice like paddling amongst surfers and barges. And what a beautiful day too. That gray sky and chilly breeze really made this reward one to remember. Pssst. I just heard that next week’s challenge winner gets a free trip to Auschwitz! Yay!
Well, even though the reward looked miserable, the chefs seemed happy to simply get out of the restaurant. Chris gloated, “Ralph’s got flour caked in places I don’t want to think about.” I’m sorry, I can’t help it. All I can think of is a flour-caked erection. Thanks, CHRIS!
After all this gondola mumbo-jumbo was over, we then cut to nighttime as all the burgeoning cooks slipped into their PJ’s and got ready for bed. Roommates Michael and Chris babbled about how they’d love to be the final two and blah blah blah WAIT! Did I just see that? Did Michael just tuck Chris into bed? What the? Where the hell is that narrator??? I need some explanation! Is this an every-night occurrence? Does Michael ever read a bed time story first? Is there perchance an occasional lullaby? Is Michael’s singing as angelic as I’ve always dreamed? ANSWER ME, NARRATOR!
Well, this sweet and cuddly bedside Michael turned out to be just a front for a more enjoyably demented personality. While everyone slept peacefully in their cots, Michael paced the courtyard and talked to himself. “Michael hasn’t been Michael since day one. Michael’s been quiet and watching and thinking and plotting and manipulating and waiting,” he said with increasing rage. Okay. Everyone, quietly get out of bed and RUN! RUN LIKE HELL! This guy is psycho. You know how it is: one moment he’s tucking you in, being the world’s best nanny. Two seconds later he’s slitting your throat. Michael might very well be reality TV’s Rebecca De Mornay.
Enough of these shenanigans though. Let’s get to dinner! The next day, G-Ram informed his funky bunch that there would be two dinner services that evening. One team would cook for the restaurant while the other served and vice versa. Exciting! It’s almost like a real restaurant — you know, with customers constantly coming in at different times. How novel!
Anyway, the first dinner service seemed to go decently at first, and I’m sure the diners were more than impressed with Ralph’s colorful recommendations. After asking someone if she’d ever been to Tuscany, he promised, “I’m gonna take you there in a bowl.” That’s an odd choice of transport. Normally, I’d opt for an airplane. Rimshot! Yes, I’m here all night, ladies and gentlemen (wiping sweat from brow, sighing).
While Ralph tamed his Tuscany erection (and by the way ladies, don’t ever touch one of Raph’s bowls, even if it supposedly can take you to Northern Italy), chaos took over the kitchen. Meal tickets began piling up, causing Gordon to repeatedly yell “Lasagna!” or as he pronounces it, “Lissana!” Elsie and Jimmy struggled under pressure, but unlike previous weeks, Michael did not come to their aid. Instead, he doted on his desserts, hoping to stand out amongst his crappy peers. Hey, it’s like the narrator said before, individuals are trying to shine. Thanks narrator!
With the kitchen sputtering to a near halt, the servers found themselves with hungry and angry customers. Jessica responded to the mess by simply handing out random entrees to random people. Oh that’s really great. Why even bother with a menu then? It’s called taking an order, LOOK INTO IT.
Finally it was time to swap out teams, but before Blue could take control of the kitchen, Michael had a little devious scheme up his sleeve. He and his cohorts were going to promote the lasagna at their tables, a strategy that would surely tie up the kitchen to no end. Michael then added, “Michael is very tricky. Michael will win what is rightfully his. My kitchen, my precious.” Okay, so basically Michael is Gollum now.
Well, Michael’s plan worked. He and his team managed to sell nearly everyone on the “lissana,” causing a massive slowdown in the kitchen. The real fun, however, was out on the floor where Jimmy proved to be a complete disaster, as Donald Trump would say. First off, he was sweating like… like… ah shit, I forgot the rest of the expression. Hmmm… what sort of swine am I thinking of? “He’s kind of sweating like a boar,” said one woman. YES. BOAR. Wait, no. What the hell? Boar? Are you on crack, lady? Who says that? It’s “pig,” you dumbass.
Actually, according to Ramsey, Jimmy was more “like an inflated turd.” Uh… yeah, let’s just stick to the “plank” putdowns. Remember those days? “You’re the plank, PLANK!” and “You put the PLANK in PLANKton!” Okay, I made those up, but I’m almost positive those were said off camera.
Poor Jimmy. Things just kept getting worse for him. “Go for a walk, lose some weight!” scoffed Gordon. But the more Jimmy walked, the more likely he was to knock something over or burn his hands. Eventually it was JP, not G-Ram, who finally said the quote most deserving to be taken out of context: “Jimmy, stop touching yourself!” But JP, when he thinks about you… a little Divinyls humor. Hello? Anyone? Is thing on?
With the food service becoming more and more of a disaster, a dopey customer decided he would give Ramsey a piece of his mind. YES! We haven’t seen one of these in a while. Oh, and this guy seems like an unabashed idiot too! “Ramsey!” he yelled across the dining room. Seriously, this guy is gonna get decapitated. This is so awesome.
Well, actually it was fairly low-key. Despite the diner’s annoying dramatics, Ramsey was very apologetic and polite. Hey, that is NOT cool. You are contractually obligated to be ridiculous at all times. Now dance! Nevertheless, the customer eventually slunk away, saying “You have a good night.” To which Ramsey replied, “Yeah, you lose some weight.” ZING! Man, G-Ram seems really preoccupied with people shedding some pounds. Maybe he’s more caring than we thought. Or maybe he just needs to get some new material. Yeah, it’s probably that. I mean, as much as I love all the random “turd” compositions (“inflated turd,” “dehydrated camel’s turd,” “Camilla St. Turdbottom, The Third” — okay, I made that last one up), it might be time to revamp the old insult machine.
Anyway, after two more hours of this mess, Gordon finally sneered his favorite line, “SHUT IT DOWN!”, leaving forty-two customers hungry. Forty two! Good thing there weren’t any doctorates of music in the house, otherwise we’d have a brawl. Still, despite serving fewer people, the Blue team’s food was higher rated, and so despite Michael’s Machiavellian kitchen tactics (named the “Lasagna Conspiracy” by the narrator), Blue won. All was not lost for Michael though, as he was chosen to nominate teammates for elimination. We then cut to Michael in the corner, talking to himself: “Michael is Chef Ramsey’s favorite. Michael doesn’t need these other cooks. Michael will kill. Yes, Michael will kill…especially the fat one. My precious…”
Surely, this would be a face off between Elsie and Jimmy, especially given Michael’s penchant for tucking wee Christopher into bed. But no! Jimmy miraculously survived the ax as Michael nominated Elsie and Chris. Oooh… strategy. Me likey! And when asked why Chris, Michael had the smug but clever response, “If Chris is the strongest link, he’ll be here tomorrow.” Throwing down the gauntlet, eh? Well, it was a smart move because Ramsey eliminated Chris in a heartbeat, which wasn’t really a surprise given the fact that G-Ram has hated him from day one (Chris was, after all, the official “plank” of the cast).
Was this a smart move? Do we really care about who gets eliminated? The show is fun and everything, but isn’t it kind of bad that none of these characters seem particularly engrossing?