Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The new TV addiction

It is ever so humiliating to be an outspoken critic of reality TV and then succumb to a series ... and yet, here I am. Lately, Kristen and I have been glued to the TV on monday nights to see Hell's Kitchen, one of the latest competition / elimination shows to grace the screen. And I must say, it is brilliant.

Actually, like all such shows, it's crass, contrived, and humiliating for all those involved. But it also stars Gordon Ramsay, everyone's favourite foul-mouthed, caustic, supremely arrogant British chef, who in every episode browbeats his incompetent would-be cooks to within an inch of their lives as they compete with each other to be worthy of the ultimate prize: a job as executive chef at a brand new multi-million dollar hotel/restaurant in Las Vegas.

Never having been someone who takes inordinate pleasure in the misery of others, I am quite appalled at myself for the great delight I experience when I see Ramsay utterly destroy the competitors. I do console myself however by reminding myself that each and every one of the people on the show are, to a person, utterly unlikable and incompetent. Wherein lies the big "Huh?" of the show -- no matter what paces Ramsay puts these unfortunates through, I cannot imagine that they could ever rise to the challenge of running a genuinely prestigious kitchen. What high-flying restaranteur has been convinced to fall on his sword for this sake of this show, I wonder? Hopefully he's getting reimbursed by the network when the "winner" runs the business into the ground ...

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