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2008 TV Shows Reviews

Kitchen Nightmares

World famous Chef Gordon Ramsay (Hell's Kitchen) is back in Kitchen Nightmares; this time he's traveling to various restaurants around the country to try and rehabilitate troubled establishments in his own inimitable style.

You may have read about this show in the news recently, one of the participating chefs is suing the production, insisting that he was set up to fail and made to look foolishly incompetent by the production. Honestly, if you want to look good in public, why would you go on a show like this to begin with? Did the guy not see Hell's Kitchen where Chef Ramsay humiliated everyone in sight? If you don't want to be embarrassed don't go on a reality TV show for heaven's sake!

Why any sane person would invite this guy into their insular and disoriented world is beyond me but it displays the level of sheer desperation these restaurateurs must feel. Ramsay brings the hammer down for an extreme makeover of the kitchen, menu and staff alike and it's exciting, nerve-racking, emotional and severely entertaining.

On the first episode Chef Ramsay travels to Babylon, Long Island (one of my favorite places) to try and rehabilitate Peter's Italian Restaurant run by a Goodfellas wannabe and his family.

Things go poorly from the start, as you would expect; the gobsmacked master chef barely gets through his first sample meal before the entire place descends into chaos. It's astonishing to believe that people could possibly do business in this manner.

After much screaming, cursing and drama, Ramsay manages to alienate everyone in sight. That's his style. Wait until you see the goombah co-owner who's ready to thrown down at a moment's notice (and he gets plenty of opportunities to brawl before the hour is over). Between the shouting and shoving matches that break out when the creditors show up to the heartwarming outcome, it's jaw-dropping, eye-popping fun.

Sure, It's heavily edited to make everyone look ridiculous and it appears that customers were shipped in by the production to heighten the drama (one of the complaints of the suing chef) but that's expected of the genre.

Episode three focuses on another troubled, long-standing Long Island establishment, The Seascape Inn. I almost ate in this crumbling shithole once - boy, am I glad I didn't after seeing the conditions that existed before Chef Ramsay's amazing makeover; as soon as he saw what was going on in the hopelessly arrogant chef's kitchen he immediately closed the place down! (For the record, next time I'm in the area I will definitely stop in to eat.)

If you liked Hell's Kitchen, enjoy fine dining or ever worked in a restaurant you will love this new series. Rotting food, filthy conditions, roaches escaping from the fridge - sometimes it's best not to know what you're eating. You may never look at your favorite local eatery in the same way again but you'll enjoy watching these clueless restauranteurs sweat, strain and then ultimately find absolution.

This is one damn fine show.

Kitchen Nightmares debuts Wednesday September 19th at 9:00pm on FOX. Here's are some teasers from episode 1:

2008 TV Shows Reviews
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