'Hell's Kitchen' recap: The drama club

Hellskitchen_lTonight’s Hell’s Kitchen served up a hearty plate of drama, and yet I was left hungry and unsatisfied (luckily I always have chocolate on hand). The blowups, arguments, and surprises were abundant, but the show sometimes felt more staged than my elementary school Care Bears play. To give credit where credit is due, however, the phoniness this week was nowhere near as transparent as last week’s J.P./Fransisco debacle. And there were a few genuine surprises (J.!) and some hurl-your-remote-through-your-TV moments.

To kick off the challenge, Ramsay presented the chefs with a selection of tapas-stylemeals. Tapas-style cooking would be the theme for the dinner service,and for the first challenge the chefs were each required to make theirown dish using only leftovers. To even out the teams, Ramsay movedGiovanni over to the red team, which proved beneficial to the ladies.The drama began immediately, courtesy of Lacey (surprise!), when shestarted her trademark whining. Robert complained about her to thecamera, calling her a "fat bitch." It seems that over the past fewweeks they have been embroiled in a contest to see who can call theother one "fat" the most. Riveting stuff, isn’t it?

Aside from a few little tidbits (Carol thought she’d cooked her dishin soy sauce only to be informed by Ramsay that it was actuallybalsamic; Ramsay told J. that his dish looked "slightly phallic"),the chefs’ presentation of their dishes was largely uneventful. Giosealed the victory for the women with his dish, but not before breakingfor commercial during a tie with Ramsaytorn between Gio’s and Ben’s dishes. In the words of Oscar Wilde "The suspenseis terrible. I hope it will last." Or not. (And yes, I know that WillyWonka used that line too, but jerk stole it from Wilde. Word.)

So, the men were given the chore of preparing both kitchens for thetapas dinner service that night, while the women were sent off to ahorse race. Ramsay smiled and goofed around with the women. And Iswooned. A little. Meanwhile, we cut to the kitchen where Laceyliterally stood like a stump while the men worked around her. Then shecomplained about not being an equal. Really? Then, after someverbal scuffling with the men (mainly Robert), she declared "I quit!"and stormed out of the room. But, don’t panic. Ben coaxed her backagain. I must say, despite the unhealthy amount of rage I feel for thedoe-eyed disaster, I can’t help but wonder if she really is thisunbearable when she’s not participating in a reality show or if perhapsshe’s playing it up a bit for the sake of drama. Either way, I’mdiggin’ the dopey music that starts playing whenever Lacey is shownbeing, well, Lacey.

The big surprise of the night was J.’s "elimination." Things startedout poorly for him when the risotto was inedible due to the fact thathe had seriously overcooked the rice (it looked like it could have beensmoothed out and served as mashed potatoes). Then he messed up thesalmon, which prompted Ramsay to take him aside — into what I havedubbed “"The Panic Room," due to the fear it is meant to instill in ourculinary hopefuls –- and scream at him. The poor guy just didn’t have achance when shortly thereafter he presented rubbery scallops and Ramsayordered him to take off his jacket and leave, right there in the middleof the service. Now J. was clearly not chef material, but hisaw-shucks, mild-mannered demeanor made it hard to watch Ramsayruthlessly dismiss him. I knew it was his time, but I was sad to seehim go.

The men never recovered from J.’s impromptu removal and Ramsayturned the pickax on Ben, who was having a rough time of it himself. Onthe red team Carol and Andrea screwed up the pasta and so, in thekitchen equivalent of facing the corner wearing a dunce cap, Ramsaymade them sit in the dining room and literally eat their mistake.Paula, meanwhile, turned out a perfect Wellington, confirming my theorythat she’s the one to beat -– despite the fact that her knack forstaying out of the drama is rewarded with limited screen time.

Needless to say, the red team won. Ramsay, however, told everyone tothink about one person they don’t want on their team. This, of course,was totally pointless given that J. had already left and thereforeanother elimination was not needed. All the men pick Lacey, of course,but alas Ramsay sent no one else home. Lacey remains and people allover America shake their fists in the air. Calm yourselves, fellowviewers, we must give in to the fact that Lacey undoubtedly elicits themost passionate (read: pissed-off) responses and is that not the point of reality TV?

Bonus

Most puzzling quote of the night: "If you win this, I will hang upmy coat and become a crackwhore." –Robert to Lacey during theirpre-elimination squabble.

So PopWatchers, where do you stand on Lacey? Were you sad to see J. go? Does the show seem too scripted to you?

Comments (45 total) Add your comment
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  • joesmom

    Why do all these chefs smoke like chimneys? Doesn’t that ruin their sense of taste??

  • Jamie

    Robert’s line about becoming a crackwhore was probably the best line out of a contestant on that show in the 2 seasons I’ve watched it. Love his one-liners about Lacey from every episode.

  • Simon

    Hey Joesmom, I have always wondered the same thing.
    It was so predictible that the red team would win the challenge and that there would be no further elimination other than J. What a train wreck of a show (but wonderful mindless entertainment on a Thursday night!)

  • Jim

    I wanted J to leave because I was really tired of him referring to himself in third person. What a tool.

  • Hellsbiyotch

    Not one of these contestants is remotely qualified to run the kitchen at the Borgata. I wouldn’t let them make Shake & Bake in my kitchen, let alone run a real restaurant.

  • Sara

    If the red team had chimed in (risking Ramsey’s wrath), and Ben said that he’d already talked her down from quitting before – making this her third time, no? – Lacey may well have been sent home.
    Carol and Angela will never admit they’re wrong, but Carol really needs to realize that overuse of the f-word doesn’t make your argument stronger.

  • Gina

    The Borgata better hope that Lacey does not win this competition! Actually, any of these “chefs” for that matter!

  • The Dude

    I am not at all sad to see J go. I too was getting annoyed whenever he would refer to himself in the third person and that alone was reason enough for him to go, the fact that he couldn’t cook was a close second.
    Lacey is beyond annoying and needed to go a couple weeks ago. She has been nothing but an anchor on whatever team she happens to be on. I really hope she is kicked off next week.

  • t3hdow

    Oooh. That night was BRUTAL for the blue team. After a nice two service run, they imploded. They not only lost their best man (Giovanni), but they faltered in dinner. At least Ramsey was gracious enough to keep Ben and Lacey together after J’s hasty exit. If the blue team lost 3 people on one episode, they’d have no chance in hell to recover. My current odds for which chefs will win it all:
    Giovanni – The red team convert really shined after bringing together the fractured red team from their Andrea fueled fued. He has every right to call the shots in the kitchen, especially when he shot down Carol’s delusional claims of being a leader. He’s definitely gunning for the top spot. Odds: 2-1
    Paula – Middle-of-the-road contestant that could go either way at this point. She hasn’t done anything too egregious or superb to really stand out, which makes her a dark horse selection at best. At least she hasn’t indulged in the pettiness that’s muddled the red team lately. Odds: 5-1

  • t3hdow

    Andrea – A decent improvement after her last few disappointing services, but still middling overall. Her recent verbal brawls with Carol don’t help matters though. She needs to really improve before she’s top two material. Odds: 9-1
    La – Her work during service is the most consistent among the reds, prior to Giovanni’s arrival, but she’s not exactly the glue holding them together. As for Paula’s criticism of La’s lethargy, it’s not completely uncalled for, since she’s not exactly fired up through most of dinner service. Still, she’s not bad and preferable over Andrea. Odds: 4-1
    Carol – She was a front runner during this season’s inception, but is getting nowhere fast with her recent attitude. Her culinary skills might not suck, but she’s clearly not willing to push past her differences with Andrea to come together. Carol’s getting as bad as Lacey now, except she’s a little easier on the eyes. Unless she turns it around, her days are numbered. Odds: 12-1

  • t3hdow

    Ben – Nothing against him personally. He called out Danny on his arrogance, and is the only blue team member who dealt with Lacey graciously (despite some frustration). Alas, his near-J quality service is a major step backwards. Seeing as he almost won the challenge, he can do better. I’ll give him an off night, but if he screws up majorly again, he might not get a second chance. Odds: 8-1
    Danny – Don’t like his egotism, but he’s not bad otherwise. He has a chance to make it to the top, assuming Ben Paula or La don’t emerge as major threats. Odds: 6-1
    Robert – Consistently brings out the funniest lines of each episode. His comment about removing his jacket and becoming a crack whore was hilarious. The only middling thing is his constant ‘fat b!tch’ insults toward Lacey. For someone who clearly weighs in the 300+ range, that’s kind of hypocritical. He can criticize her without getting crude. As for his cooking, it’s nothing too special or hideous, unless proved otherwise. Odds: 7-1

  • t3hdow

    Lacey – Ugh. Just when I began to warm up to her, she had to revert to her toxic self-loathing that grated everyone’s nerves. There’s no way she’s going to win, even if she manages to do a complete 180. Not with other more pleasant chefs with twice her talent and competence in the kitchen. Her last few dinners were anything but disastrous, skill-wise, but her interactions continue to enervate. At best, top six. Odds: 25-1
    J – Damn. That is all.
    As for the staged claims, it’s no more so than other season, besides that insulting Francisco mess last week. This episode’s much better. Loving this season overall, and I’d rank it third after the first two great seasons.

  • AS

    How could you miss these two things:
    1. As Lacey was picking her wedgie, the narration said “As Lacey brings up the rear…”
    2. J refers to himself in the third person most of the time. It seems to have just started…?

  • badtoy

    Why don’t these people learn to make RISOTTO before they come on this show?? Ramsey is only keeping Lacey around for us to love to hate. She should’ve been gone weeks ago.

  • jake

    Danny never seems to f–k up. He hardly ever gets Ramsey’s wrath.

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