That makes two of us.
Pomona is an up and coming city in East LA. By “up and coming” I mean a lot of antiques dealers put up shop there. They put up shop there because the rent is dirt cheap. The rent is dirt cheap because Pomona is ghetto. Not like candy store that sells individual cigarettes for a quarter through big thick bullet proof glass ghetto (you have to go a few miles east to Riverside for that), but you you’ll never hear anyone say “I’m gonna propose today. I think I’ll take her to a fancy restaurant in Pomona.” There’s a big effort underway to make the city an artsy enclave, but for now it’s that place I fear I’ll have to move to if I ever make the official leap from sarcastic sad sack to ranting raving lunatic and just give up on life.
Olympia Dukakis fled Hollywood, changed her name, and opened a restaurant there when the crushing throngs of paparazzi finally started to break her spirit. It’s hard being one of the world’s biggest sex symbols all the way into your seventies. Sometimes a girl just wants to sit down for a minute and breathe.
I loved you in Steel Magnolias.
“Lela”, as she’s calling herself these days, describes Lela’s as a fine dining restaurant. Cut to the kitchen guys laughing their asses off. Lela was quite an actress in her past life, but she’s never been much in the Human Resources Department.
Her head waitress is Tabitha, who reminds me of one of those women you see on Cops that lights a cigarette with shaky hands right when the police show up at her trailer and says things like “he didn’t hiiiit me!” before telling the cops to mind their own business and then chasing some fat drunk guy in his underwear around with a baseball bat. In other words, Tabitha is one classy lady.
Get me a side of rice or I’ll cut your fu**ing eyes out motherfuc**er!
Lela’s head Chef is Ricky, who humbly opens with “I’m hot, that’s what it comes down to.” Riiiiight. You know those guys with sideways hats who freestyle rap without rhyming once and then bust out Stayin Alive moves and call it krumping?
Taking this episode from highly entertaining to just beautiful is this guy:
I think I bought some incense from him a while back.
Daniel’s earned the name Buzzard because he’s always swooping down on anything edible that isn’t locked up. I didn’t know this was a crime until this show pointed it out to me by painting Buzzard as the lowest of the low. Watching a montage of him shamelessly chowing down to clown music and sad horns makes me feel like shit. I just got home from work as a waiter and this montage could have been starring me, except my montage would be accompanied by Destiny’s Child’s “Bootylicious” and I’d be standing in better lighting. As a matter of fact, I’m eating ice cream I brought home from the restaurant as I type this. I guess that’s wrong. You know what tastes really good with chocolate ice cream? Guilt. It’s like they were born for each other.
Sad piano tinkles and violins. Hoorah! It’s time for Lela’s “About to Lose it All” monologue. She put all of her retirement money into Lela’s and has borrowed over sixty thousand bucks from her sister and another sixty from the bank. She’s even sold her Oscar! Olympia noooooo! Wait. What kind of sister lends you sixty grand? I’d never work another day in my life. Anyhoo, Lela’s screwed unless she gets a miracle. You already got one. Your sister. If your not thanking your lucky stars every second of every day send that sucker to me. I’ll appreciate her (money).
Today her miracle is wearing a studly bomber jacket. I gotta say, pock marks, anger, and highlights aren’t normally my thing, but the more I watch this show, the more Gordo’s swaying me.
Pock marks, anger, and highlights. Who knew?
The staff is nervous to meet him. A bimbo waitress giggles about wanting to hear his funny accent and Tabitha doesn’t know anything about Chef Ramsay except that he yells a lot and she don’t take nobody yellin at her. Anybody! Oooh, this is gonna be a good one!
Gordo sits down to order, and the first thing he notices is that nothing on the menu is spelled right. He asks Tabitha what “shivas” means and she looks at him like “it’s ok, you’re a foreigner” and answers “chives.” Duh. He orders a small bowl of tomato basil soup to start, followed by the skrimp nachos…sorry. No skrimp. Want chikin instead? How bout skrimp cocktail? Nope. No skrimp. How bout skrimp pizza? Nope. Skrimp salad? NO. Skrimp kabob? DAMMIT FIVE YEAR OLD, NO SKRIMP!
Fine! He’ll follow the soup with sammin. No sammin. Toona? Nope. Lam chops. Ding ding ding! We have a winner! Tabitha goes back to the kitchen and yells at Ricky about not keeping the kitchen stocked. He stays quiet, sends her out with the tomato soup and then tells the cameras, as he chews on a toothpick, “I’m not nervous I whattdyou gotta be nervous for? You know? He’s a man just like me.” Well, he has a penis and a white jacket, but I think the similarities end there, Ricky. Good luck to ya.
Gordo takes one sip of the soup and calls Tabitha back over to the table, telling her it tastes canned. She nods. He says he thought this was fine dining, and she laughs and says convincingly that she did too. Then she asks him how they spell shivas in England.
Another waitress brings out his fine dining nachos (which are nothing like tacky normal nachos) and he asks who’s shouting. Hullo it’s called rap. Don’t they even have rap in England?? The waitress says it’s the executive chef and Gordo’s surprised to hear that they have one. He asks her why frozen processed food is brought in if there’s an executive chef in the house. She shrugs and walks off, leaving him alone to take in the hit coming out of the kitchen. I’m not sure, but I think it might be called “Diamonds on My Fish.” As he cooks, Ricky fingers an air record player and spits:
“Diamonds on my fish, yo,
Diamonds on my fish! Diamonds…”
(searches brain for rhymes with diamonds)
“Diamonds on my…”
(searches brain for rhymes with fish)
Man, if Missy Elliot still had that American Idol rip off on the CW network, Ricky would never have to cook again. Gordo calls Tabitha over to his table and asks if the nachos are fresh or brought in and she assures him that they are freshly fried every morning. He shakes his head, not buyin it, and she takes them back to the kitchen, to ask when they were made. Yesterday! Scream scream yell yell. Ricky shrugs and checks for texts. Why would someone order nachos in a fine dining restaurant and not expect them to suck? “That’s why they’re called nachos.” I’m not sure, but I think that might have been a racist slur.
And now for my (possibly) favorite dish ever. As the clown music plays, Ricky puts the final touches on his lamb chops… Hershey’s chocolate sauce. Bwahahahaaaaa. He tells us that it’s his masterpiece and he’s got real creative with it. Say what you want about Ricky, but no one has the nerve to diss Hershey’s. Not even Gordon Ramsay. If he doesn’t like this dish, we will know for sure that this show is just plain rigged.
If your mouth isn’t having an orgasm right now, you’re not paying attention.
Gordo prays for his life before he takes a bite and then asks Tabitha where the meat is. She shakes her head and he holds the chop up to his knife, which dwarfs it. She laughs and laughs. He asks her to go back to the kitchen and ask the chef if the lamb is frozen. No need. It is. Is everything? She nods like she’d never considered that it shouldn’t be. He refuses to eat it and asks her if there’s anything on the dessert menu that’s made in house. She raises her left hand and then switches with her right, promising him a delicious brownie a la mode.
When she gets to the walk in, though, there are no brownies left. She screams her head off for Buzzard, who’s eating a full meal behind the line, and he says “I didn’t do it! Don’t axed Buzzard. I don’t know!” I don’t know about you, but I totally believe him.
Tabitha’s had enough and rips into Ricky. The whole scene turns into shouting and bleeps. All I could decipher was “shit head” “fuck face” and “child support” before Gordo gets back there to tell the staff what he thought. He starts by asking Ricky what was fine dining about any of his food, and Ricky, confused, chews on his toothpick. Ramsay tries a different tactic and simply says “I thought it was shit.” Confused toothpic chew.
What part of “Diamonds on My Fish” did you not understand?
He rants on about the lamb with chocolate sauce and Ricky argues that no one else complains about it. Could that be because no one eats there? Gordo asks him how he has the nerve to wear a fancy embroidered jacket and then serve frozen food. Ricky says he’s proud of his food because he never lets anything go bad and he’s not gonna give up! Inspiring. Gordo yells some more and Ricky storms out, saying he doesn’t take this shit from NOBODY! Gordo puts his face in his hands. Ricky tells the cameras “who’s dick is bigger? His or mine? Put it like this, we gonna bump heads.” As we go to commercial, I hug myself and thank God for this show.
Next up is the kitchen investigation. I figured this would be easy squeeze since everything is packaged, but the fridge is at fifty one degrees, which is way too hot for a walk in. The only things that aren’t frozen (some beef, salmon and cheese) are all rotten. Gordo calls the staff into the kitchen and makes them scrub while he goes out into the ghost town to do his goal market testing. There, he finds some kids at the stoner wall and a tatted guy in a shoe shop. I hope he finally makes a proper stoner restaurant. I have been waiting all season. Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter and ham. It’ll take off, I’m telling you.
There’s not a good place around here to go for meth.
He gets back to Stella’s and the place is way cleaner. Now he has to deal with the staff. He does this by standing in the middle of the kitchen to really get a sense of the vibe. There is a lot of laughing, yo mama jokes and people talking on cell phones. Gordo starts with Buzzard, asking where he got that name from. Ricky shouts “cuz he’s always peckin’ at shit!” and Buzz chuckles and confirms “cuz I’m always eating everything, that’s right!” Well, you can’t accuse the man of not having pride in what he does.
Two hours into dinner service, the FOX bus pulls to a stop outside to let about fifty of Pomona’s finest “real people” off. Anyone else horny?
It doesn’t take long for the night to deteriorate into a screaming match between Ricky and Tabitha and they are out of everything. A waiter tries to serve a piece of cake that’s past it’s due date and Gordo catches Ricky making powdered mashed potatoes. “What? No one’s ever complained!”
Making this situation even worse as the night wears on, customers are hellapissed and Ricky is nowhere to be found. Oh, there he is, chillin behind the restaurant. Where’s Buzzard? He just left with “his bag of goodies”. Gordo, not really having the chance to properly rip into anyone yet, follows Buzz down the alley and stops him with three bottles of wine and a four course meal. He makes him go back to the restaurant and admit his wrong doing, but instead of apologizing, Buzzard starts shouting about not having to take this shit from NOBODY!! That’s the catch phrase of the episode. Did anyone who works at Lela’s get enough love in their childhood?
At the end of dinner service, Gordo gathers the staff to ask them one basic question. “HUH?” No one can answer. He calls Ricky out on the powdered mashed potatoes, and Ricky’s answer, predictably, is a shouted “No ones ever complained about em before!” Ok, that’s the catch phrase. Ramsay tries to explain that having pride in being a chef means making your own food, but Ricky just chomps on his toothpick and shrugs. Poor Olympia Dukakis. She’s put her whole life into this place, and I don’t think there’s much hope here.
Buzzard has the balls to show up for work the next morning, and Gordon calmly and politely tells him that if he takes anything off the premises ever again, he will be fired. Lela isn’t as gentle, firing him on the spot. Damn, Lela! Way to grow a pair! Tabitha nanny nanny boo boo’s him on the way out the door.
Since none of his normal methods (yelling, cursing, be a man) aren’t working, Gordo pulls out a new trick. He blindfolds a meek sous chef and Ricky to see if they can even identify their own food in a taste test. First up is chicken. Ricky answers beef. HAHA. The sous chef gets it right. They both take a bite of steak and Ricky identifies it as pork. Oh. My. God. Again, meek sous chef gets it right. Ramsay asks who the better chef is, and meek waiter says he is. Lela, meet your new head chef! Ricky yells “BULLSHIT! I DON’T WANNA HEAR SHIT FROM YOU!” and storms out, and meek waiter, now suddenly confident from the compliment, looks like he’s had a makeover.
Since Lela’s never pretended to have any idea what the hell she’s doing, Gordo sends her to the spa for a makeover while he plans a new menu. First, he tells both Ricky and meek sous chef to come up with an original salad on their own that really shows what Pomona’s made of. Meek sous uses fresh field greens, chicken breast and black beans, and Ricky uses bottle caps, cream cheese and tootsie roll wrappers. Meek sous wins!
Next, Gordo shows them how to make a delicious burger using ground beef, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, chopped onions, and egg yolks. Ricky says he could have made a burger, but it’s so boring. But, since Gordo just opened a three million dollar restaurant, he’ll shut up and listen. Growth? Nice work, Ricky! Then he tells us that the recipe to Lela’s burger is top secret so he won’t tell us. Um, ground beef, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, chopped onions, and egg yolks? Dumbass.
Ramsay rents a catering truck and takes the staff into town to give away free burgers. The college kids and construction workers all dig it. Awesome. Just what every nice restaurant wants. College kids and construction workers. Thanks, Gordo. Before you know it, the whole town will be abuzz! Even Randy Jackson stopped by to give the burger his stamp of approval!
That shit’s tasty, dawg!
When they get back to the restaurant, it is remodeled! This one didn’t need anything too drastic, which is I guess why Olympia got a do over as well. They both look great, and Gordo is being so sweet and positive that it makes me feel…not good. What the hell is happening to this show?
The biggest change will be in the chain in command. Gordo nominates and seconds Tabitha as general manager (YIKES) and promotes meek sous chef to head chef (OUCH). Meek sous says it’s the most important thing that’s ever happened in his life so far (AW)! Good, then buck up, boy, cuz the commercial made it look like you lost your shit in the first five minutes. Ricky, of course, thinks it’s totally unfair, but being the wanksta he is, he shuts up and keeps his tail between his legs instead of yelling and shouting and putting a cap in someone’s ass. Wuss.
As booming announcer guy tells us, Gordo has invited locals, students, and car clubs to the relaunch. Car clubs? Jesus Christ, man, these people haven’t had more than two customers at a time since they’ve opened. What are you thinking? Car club people are bitches! They want their food now! To make things uglier, the Mayor has shown up with her punk ass daughter. I know I should be excited for this, but I’m bracing myself.
The waiters don’t even know the table numbers, so what food is coming out of the kitchen is going to the wrong tables. Thirty minutes into service, and still most of the crowd isn’t fed. Tabitha tries her usual tactic: running back to the kitchen and squawking at everyone she sees and rolling her eyes and pointing her finger, and then she decides that whatever food comes into the window, she’ll hand off to the waitstaff to serve, whether it’s for the right table or not. This of course makes the train wreck worse. Gordo comes back to hound the kitchen and Meek Chef tells him what Tabitha did. She denies denies denies, and Meek loses it, going outside to take a break.
Everyone is shocked that Meek Sous didn’t rise to the occasion. He’s suddenly got a hundred people in front of him with a brand new menu and he’s never headed a kitchen. Yeah, his failure’s a real shocker.
Lela is trying to stay as calm as she can in the front of the house, but when she comes back to the kitchen to find out where a couple orders of salmon are and there’s no chef, she finally gets pissed and goes outside to tell Meek to get his bony tiny ass in the kitchen or get out. He tells her he doesn’t like being talked to like that and can’t work like this and she starts screaming “I have an autobiography and an Oscar and I know Nicolas Cage! You think I like working like this?!?!” He is way too young to remember when Nic Cage was anything other than a creepy old hair plugged dweeb, so this argument doesn’t work on him. He’s outta there! Gordo tries to talk nicely to him and then yell at him, but it doesn’t work. The little boy jumps in his huge (comparatively) Scion and guns it.
I think we have a new candidate!
There are only about three minutes left of the show, and this is usually the part where everything miraculously comes together and we get a happy ending. And it does! Ricky takes over in the kitchen again and food starts coming out. And little Meek Sous came back!! The mayor liked the Pomona Salad so much that she’s gonna suggest it on every Pomona day. Glad to know that the Mayor can’t speak English, either. Keeps things in the town running consistently and smoothly. The real people in Pomona turned out to be the nicest real people ever. They tried to find so many ways to compliment the food that it made me feel a little sick to my stomach.
Oh, no please. Embarrass yourself.
The sweet touching music starts to play for the Gordo private time with Ricky. He tells him that when he first met him he thought he was a looza who would bolt within 24 hours and he was proven wrong. “Great fucking job tonight, mate!” Wow! Ricky, ya pulled through and got an acutal “You Became a Man” speech instead of a “Be a Man Speech”. Now that’s turnaround. Too much of a turn around. How does Gordo turn crazy people less crazy in like half an hour? Me thinks something’s fishy, here.
The staff gathers round and Gordo thanks them for doing such a wonderful job. I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy inside until booming announcer guy pipes in and tells us in two seconds that Lela’s couldn’t pay their bills and closed down. WTF? The end. Happy Thanksgiving, Lela. Sad horns.