Hell’s Kitchen

You know a show has you hooked when you go back to watch previous seasons of the show. I watched the first 3 episodes of season 6 a couple days ago and have found myself wanting more (surprising for me, I usually hate cooking shows). So I went looking and found that Hulu has seasons 4 and 5 up in full. And being able to watch them commercial free (all I had to do was take a three question Estee Lauder quiz) just makes it all better.

Now that I’ve started season 4, and have something for comparison, I’ve had a few thoughts–

How do they choose the chefs? It seems like everyone’s food is always raw. And few of them have signature dishes that Ramsay finds edible. When Ramsay asks them to make their signature dishes, he likes maybe 3 people’s meals. He might just be nitpicking or they might all be nervous or not used to the time crunch, but it just seems like they don’t really know how to cook.

Are the people really customers? I can’t help but wonder why anyone would show up to the restaurant when it first opens. It’s not like you’re likely to get any food. Of course, they may just be hoping for their fifteen minutes of fame or a view of Gordon Ramsay. When they walk out in the first episode of season 4, was that something orchestrated by the show or just customer initiative? (I’m going to guess that it was arranged, because they all walked out at once even though the women’s side was putting out food and the men’s weren’t. It hardly seems likely that every diner would get up at the same time.)

What’s with dividing the teams into boys and girls teams? The teams is always a fun gimmick, but the whole guys vs girls seems a little overdone. And yet, there always seems to be a couple sexist guys who are all “I’m not losing to a girl” “women belong cleaning the kitchen…” Interesting is that in the two seasons I’ve looked at, the women always seem to start memorizing their recipes etc while the boys are talking or going to sleep. Why is that? (Not that it helped the women is season 6…)

Why do the chefs always get put table side? And how does he choose who does it? Sometimes it seems arbitrary, other times it seems to be a punishment for prior poor performance.

Can the diners hear what is going on in the kitchen? It’s glass, so they can certainly see the screaming, but can they hear all the shouting? Maybe they come for the entertainment and really eat beforehand knowing that they won’t get any actual food.

Why is there a chef who always thinks they know better than Ramsay? Regardless of how good they do, Ramsay is a renowned chef and this is his show. He will always know best. I almost wonder if while filming the “confessionals” they just ask the chefs to say Ramsay was wrong just so they’ll have more “drama” to air.

Is Ramsay as temperamental as he appears? Throwing food and dishes, yelling insults and curses…Can someone really be so angry so much of the time? Sometimes I wonder if he just complains about the food for the sake of it and really it doesn’t taste so bad. Most of the time it doesn’t look as bad as he says a lot of the time. (Maybe the chefs are worse in the most recent season, but he seems to be even meaner in season 6 than in season 4.)

What are we not seeing? I wonder how much of what is actually happening is the way it’s really happening. I wonder this because there has been more than once where the choice for elimination seems obvious and yet they aren’t even nominated by their team/team captain.

I’ve only watched a handful of episodes but so far they’ve already repeated jokes. (“All they want is a little sleep…that’s all they’re going to get…”) I guess no one would notice since they’re two seasons apart, but you never know when people are going to marathon watch the shows so it is something to be aware of. The delivery though, so deadpan no matter what is being said, makes it enjoyable though, repeated jokes or not.

Something that I really enjoy, even though it’s just a minor detail of the show, is the way they include the little pitchfork logo throughout in different ways by using smoke and fire. It’s such a random, unnecessary thing, but I like the creativity in it.

The least interesting part of the show is the reward/punishment part. I enjoy the challenges, probably in part because they seem to be pretty close each time so you never really know who is going to win. The wins seem to be only by a few points in either direction (or a tie as was in the case of the episode I am watching). The rewards/punishments themselves are just whatever. A trip on a yacht or a ride in a car is just not much to watch. And while I know this is a typical reality tv thing to waste some time, it’s just not all that interesting.

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