'Hell's Kitchen' recap: Off to a Bad Start

gordon-ramsay-hells-kitchen-s7-320.jpgIt's Monday night, and I'm recapping a reality show. But that show is not The Bachelor, or The Bachelorette -- it's a show where people need to have a practical, demonstrable skill to win, and not just be willing to sleep with a stranger for three months' worth of fame. It's a beautiful day!

The show opens with the thinnest explanation of how the show works, by which I mean it just points out that the two finalists each try to open a door, but one leads to eternal fame and fortune and the other leads to the dishwashing station at a Taco Bell in southwest Missouri. There is a montage of clips of people receiving their Hell's Kitchen invitations, and reality TV convention dictates that they try to look completely at a loss as to what this piece of mail may be while studiously ignoring the fact that a camera crew is filming their reactions. A few people insist they will win, including a large bearded redhead who says he will dominate, but the crazy eyes suggest he thinks "dominate" might mean "kill, dismember and make love to drifters I pick up hitchhiking on the Interstate."

And now it is time for Opposite Montage, in which we see clips of Ramsay wannabes displaying the opposite of whichever characteristic the narrator tells us they will need to win: teamwork, intelligence, diplomacy, and then we shift into Literal Montage: humility (illustrated with a woman saying, "I'm sorry, chef" about 500 times and flagellating herself with whisk while Ramsay makes a face like he just saw a unicorn), passion, drive and an inquisitive nature ("Let me ask you a serious question: Do you take medication?").



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