Hell's Kitchen
18 Chefs Compete

Episode Report Card
Daniel: B | 1 USERS: B
Off to a Bad Start

It'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?").

I feel very lucky to be taking over Hell's Kitchen at this time, because apparently this season is the most volatile ever, and also the chefs want to win more than anybody has ever wanted to win anything, and Ramsay is at his most demanding ever, and there are also fire trucks and a kid rasping "Shut it down!" and what looks a riot and then I think there is a guy on a horse and a man on fire and one of the other cheftestants kills somebody with a trident.

9:18 A.M. Somewhere in Los Angeles. The Hell's Kitchen bus zips through traffic while maitre d' James asks everyone if they're excited to get to Hell's Kitchen. Jason, 29, of Chicago, the burly bearded redhead we saw earlier, says he's so excited to get cooking. He also has a huge lead in the On-Camera Sweatiness category of the show too. Natalie, 23, has brought her formidable cleavage from Harrodsburg, Kentucky, to tell us that she's a rock star in her own world, so coming here and being treated like a rock star isn't that much of a difference. But if you're just a rock star in your own world, doesn't that mean ...? Never mind. Do Kentucky proud, Natalie. Carrie, 31, from Dallas, tells us that she's the hottest chef from the hottest restaurant in Dallas, so she and Ramsay are going to have sex or be best friends or something. Will, 31, from New Jersey is the first guy to point out to us that they're not they're to be friends, and he's going to steamroll me. I didn't do anything! He also has the New Jersey accent that makes me assume it's a daily struggle not to bust out a "fuhgeddaboutit" the way Canadians say "eh."

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Hell's Kitchen




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