This week on a “very special” Kitchen Nightmares, G-Ram finds himself playing the multiple roles of tv personality, chef, and family therapist. We hope this involves a lot of shirt-changes.
Sigh. I really need to renegotiate my contract.
A family torn asunder, the very first documented “authentic Italian” potato skins, and the softer side of G-Ram. All this and possibly more (but not promising anything), after the jump!This week, G-Ram is visiting Giuseppi’s, an Italian eatery in a town north of Detroit owned by husband and wife team Joe and Kathy Borgia (sp?), with their son Sam as head chef. They bought the place hoping to pass it down to Sam, but apparently Sam is kind of a fuck-up and neither of them trust him to run the place anywhere but into the ground.
Sam had promised to “step up” and allow his aging parents to retire, but is currently working just 20 hours a week in the restaurant, forcing his diabetic father to work overtime and his mother to worry herself sick. Real sweet kid you got there.
Whatever man. The quicker they die, the quicker I cash out.
Kathy says it is a nightmare for two reasons: “the lack of customers, and the hell that goes in the kitchen.” Cut to Joe and Sam fighting over a plate of frozen salmon fillets. Calm down kids, there’s plenty for everyone. Sam says he isn’t allowed any input, and just supposed to be the chef. Kathy thinks Joe is pushing himself too hard out of mistrust for Sam’s ability to run the restaurant successfully. This father-mother-son triangle just smacks of Greek tragedy.
On comes the “sad times” music and Joe talks about his health problems, specifically that he is a diabetic. Sam says his dad’s health is pretty bad, and he just wants his family to be “healthy and happy. Nothing else matters. If anyone can help out family, it’s Chef Ramsay.” The sad times music hasn’t stopped and I’ll brb because I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.
Kathy shows up to pick up G-Ram (his lack of gas-guzzling SUV this episode is kind of a turn on). Kathy says she was “excited and nervous” but that once G-Ram arrived, “everything was going to be fine.” Yes, as in this man is FINE. He kisses her hello and thanks her for picking him up–aw. The picture of a gentleman.
G-Ram asks about the specifics of the situation, and Kathy tells him not only is her house in foreclosure, but she owes about $150,000 outside of that. They pull up Giuseppi’s and Gordon asks, “this is it?” Kathy confirms “This is it, this is my little place. I hope you brought your magic wand.” Oh, us too Kathy. Us too.
Kathy tells us that she thinks G-Ram may be “overwhelmed” by the problems they are having, because “it’s not just as simple as a menu change, or firing somebody.” No, it’s definitely going to require something more drastic than that. Maybe G-Ram can set up a kissing booth for all of your patrons and charge $5 a pop.
Kathy seats him and G-Ram reads a fancy introductory paragraph to the menu about enjoying the “essence of Italy.” It’s a menu guys, not a novel. Get rid of the blurb. After looking around, G-Ram notices that the decor is straight out of the 1970′s, even though the restaurant has only been open for 2 years. Come on, G-Ram, don’t you know maroon velvet draperies and mustard-yellow PVC-covered booth seats are retro-chic? There’s also a ghetto-fabulous TV set sitting in the middle of the dining room for no apparent reason. Probably because the microwave-friendly food is so reminiscent of TV dinners.
G-Ram’s server is Dawn and she’s a total sweetheart. She also has awesome 80′s hair–a high ponytail on top of her head with mall bangs–even though she’s about 60 years old. She has a really cute midwestern accent and I kind of wish she was my aunt or something. Even though she keeps bringing G-Ram the grossest food ever, they seem to get along really well. He keeps calling her “darling” and “love,” and she even touches his shoulder a few times. I bet Amanda from last week is like, totally, like, super, like, jealous.
Like, so totally, like, really, like unfair. Like.
G-Ram is not impressed with the fact that they are serving potato skins. “Essence of Italy my ass.” LOL, G-Ram. The octopus salad tastes like rubber, and he makes Dawn try some of it. She agrees that it sucks ass. “Oh my gosh, we serve this shit?” bwahahahaha Dawn I love you.
G-Ram hates pretty much everything, as usual. Joe threatens that if Brian, his part-time chef, and Sam don’t step up to the plate, he’ll cook every meal himself. Which is probably a great idea, given that he’s sick and gets dizzy when he works for prolonged periods of time. You’ll get an excellent meal, you’ll just have to scrape it up off the floor with bits of Joe embedded in it.
G-Ram gathers Joe, Sam and sous-chef Brian to tell them that their passion is there but their palate is crap. G-Ram says the eggplant tasted like it had been “blasted in the microwave,” and Brian jumps in helpfully with “it was.” He also tells G-Ram that the crunch was not the vegetables, but rather that he clipped his toenails into the octopus salad.
G-Ram spends the next 10 minutes telling them off for their plastic potato skins and sacrilege against all Italian food. Joe says they’ve never had a complaint about the food, and even have given out questionnaires to validate that. G-Ram says that customers won’t tell you they aren’t coming back, they just don’t come back. Touche.
Time for first dinner service! First G-Ram meets a server named Carol, who I immediately see as the next thing for Mattel:
80′s Crackwhore Barbie
G-Ram says she “looks like a cockatoo,” hahahahahahaHAAHAHA oh G-Ram, will you marry me?
As opposed to most of the places on this show, the food comes out way too fast. They nuke everything in the microwave, and that’s probably why it all tastes like crap and people get their entrees at the same time as their salads and soups. Sam says he calls it “fast food Italian.” Dawn brings a dish up to the kitchen and says “more crap, they don’t want it.” Dawn should go on the road with G-Ram.
Sam and Joe fight continuously throughout the dinner service. Sam wants Joe’s respect, and Joe doesn’t trust Sam, because Sam has always been a fuck up.
Is it just me, or was this the kid who sold weed out of his ’89 Oldsmobile during PE class?
Joe kicks Sam out of the kitchen, and finishes the dinner service himself. The too-bad-so-sad music comes back on, and Sam whines about how he doesn’t know how to make his father proud of him, even after 28 years. Also it’s $15/gram, $50/eighth, if anybody’s interested. Meet him in the jr high parking lot around 12:30 tomorrow.
G-Ram sits the family down and Sam tells Joe that he wants to cook fresh food, not microwave crap that is the equivalent of Stouffer’s lasagna served on a glass plate–you can put shine on a turd, but it’s still shit. G-Ram asks Joe if Sam is a good chef, and Joe replies “he likes to cook.” Sam and Kathy both look like they are about to cry at that statement. Joe says Sam is not committed enough, and only works 20-25 hours a week. Sam says he doesn’t come around as much because he feels like his dad hates him. Joe tells Sam to grow a pair, and Sam cowers in his mother’s bosom. The rest of the conversation is blurred out and bleeped. It’s going really well.
The next day, G-Ram has a chat with Joe about his diabetes. Joe says it is the worst disease you can have, and he has pain every day. I can’t really make fun of this because it’s true and I’ll bet just about everyone knows someone, family or friend, who has suffered from it or even died from it. There is nothing funny about diabetes, except maybe those commercials for Liberty Medical, and I even feel a little bad laughing at those.
Joe also says he can’t afford health insurance, which scares the crap out of me. I live in Massachusetts, so it’s required or else you get taxed pretty much the same amount as you would have paid to have the health insurance in the first place, but it’s disgusting how many people in this country go without. Universal healthcare is a tricky thing, but in my opinion, a necessary one. Whoops, got up on a soapbox for a minute there… *steps down*…anyway…
G-Ram tells Joe that he needs to rest, and can’t work as much as he does. Joe says that Sam can’t run the restaurant, and he has to be there every day. I’m not sure at this point which is more true–that Sam is a fuck-up, or that Joe is a control freak. G-Ram can’t either (kindred spirits, obviously), and decides to have a cook-off between father and son to determine who is most capable of producing a delicious dish. The house staff will judge, and the winner’s dish will be the special for the evening.
G-Ram presents them with fresh ingredients (holy crap, novel idea!) and they both get to work. Everybody tastes both dishes and Joe’s porkchop wins over Sam’s salmon. Sam says that he was disappointed, but at the same time, he wanted his father to win because he needs someone to look up to, so his father has to be better than him. G-Ram says that he thinks both the dishes are good enough to be on the menu tonight, and they are both going to be specials. Joe says he wishes Sam had won because his dish looked really good. Everybody cries and braids each other’s hair and talks about cute boys.
G-Ram sits Kathy down and tells her to write a letter to both Sam and Joe, telling them what she really wants to say, but not to show either of them the letter. G-Ram pulls Sam aside and asks him to write the same letter about Joe, and Joe about Sam. Ten bucks says we’re in for a tearjerker ending on this one, folks.
Second dinner service, including the new specials! The servers are told to talk up the new specials, and the actors/patrons all obey without question like normal actors/patrons would. Joe and Sam continue to fight in the kitchen over a piece of overdone meat. Come on kids, now what did I say about there being enough for everyone?! Seriously, I will TURN this car AROUND!
Now that they are cooking fresh food, the dishes are taking ten times as long and people are getting hungry and impatient. Joe’s blood sugar is low and he’s having difficulty keeping up. Sam wants to pull Joe off the line because he’s not able to produce, and G-Ram tells him to go ahead and boot the fucker.
Joe leaves, and Kathy tells him that he needs to let him stand alone and fail sometimes or else he’ll never stand alone at all. Love Kathy. After the service is over, G-Ram says that they should go home and get some rest while he works through the night. Joe asks G-Ram “so, you’re gonna work for a change, huh?” G-Ram resists the urge to slap an old man and calls him a rottweiler instead.
The next morning, G-Ram reveals the new Giuseppi’s, and it’s beautiful. It’s all modern chairs and tables with white linens and low candlelit centerpieces. The bar is especially beautiful. G-Ram also steps into his therapist role and puts up black and white family photos in black frames on the wall. Tears all around.
G-Ram also lets them know that they are going to host a bowl-a-thon for Giuseppi’s and the American Diabetes Association, which brings about even MORE tears and hugs. I’m going to need another Mt. Gay and diet to deal with this.
The bowl-a-thon is pretty much just a bunch of people bowling, drinking, stuffing ones into a plastic cup, and Joe serving homemade soup. Looks like fun, but bowling kind of intimidates me ever since my finger got stuck in the ball and I went halfway down the lane with it.
Back at the restaurant, G-Ram presents the new menu made of fresh foods and classic Italian dishes. Sam is thrilled that no microwaves will be involved. Joe says he’s so excited, he feels like he’s eighteen again. Then he and Kathy quietly duck into the meat freezer for a quickie.
Time for the relaunch! G-Ram tells Sam that he should be running the line, and Joe is there to “expedite.” (see: microwave dinners.) After 30 minutes of service, Joe butts into the line and Sam tries to kick him off of it. Every dish seems like it’s coming up raw or cold. Sam said it’s because Joe is trying to rush everything. He keeps trying to kick Joe off the line, and finally G-Ram intervenes and kicks Joe out. For two seconds. Then Joe is back. The dude is like the worst kind of rash in the worst kind of place.
The cockatoo waitress has a table that’s been waiting longer for food than the other tables that got there after them, and when they finally get food, one dish is raw. They send it back, but the rest of the table finishes their meals before the new dish comes out. The table threatens to walk, and G-Ram flies off the handle. The sous-chef Brian tells G-Ram that he blames all of this on him.
Oh NO he DI-IN’T!!!!
Sam recognizes this is quite poor judgement, and I couldn’t have said it better myself: “here we got Chef Ramsay giving us a hand, and here you’re gonna turn around and basically spit in his face and say that it’s your fault that I suck?” Bwahaha well said Sammy boy, well said. G-Ram calls Brian a fucking goofball and tells him to get back in his fucking truck. Brian takes off his apron and walks out crying and snivelling and probably peeing a little.
Joe comes back in to be sous-chef and suddenly they’re working together and not fighting, so you know they’ve got some damn good editors on this show. Joe tells Sam that he did an excellent job, and tells us that he realizes that family is everything. Cue G-Ram taking off his chef’s jacket and buttoning up his therapist suit.
He tells them to all bring out their letters that they wrote. Kathy’s says that their behavior is “not acceptable any longer, and we need real change before it’s too late.” She tells Joe she doesn’t want to be a widow, and that he needs to back off and let Sam run the restaurant. Sam needs to “fucking stand up” and take control of the restaurant they bought for him. Sing it, sista.
Sam’s letter to Joe says that he always looked up to him, and he only wants him to be proud. He feels like a big disappointment because of his past, and is sorry blah blah blah… did anyone else get to this part and think, gee, what would have been really great here is a poolside scene with G-Ram sipping a cocktail and applying tanning oil?
Joe’s letter to Sam tells him that he’s realized how important Sam is to him, and how proud he is of him. He’s ready to let Sam take charge of the restaurant and he never stopped loving him and he’ll never let go, he’ll never let go. And I want the last ten minutes of my life back.
They all talk about how G-Ram brought back the love in their family and how grateful they are. All I can say is it seems like we are definitely seeing a softer side of G-Ram so far this season, and I’m not sure I like it. How come Tabatha gets all the ridiculous people you don’t feel sorry for on Salon Takeover, and I’m stuck with the sob-and-cryfests? I’m calling shenanigans–SHENANIGANS!!
Next time, it looks like we’re in for a treat–a special 2 hour event featuring what looks like the biggest assholes G-Ram’s ever encountered. Thanks for reading, and see you next week!