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Rain Man – Hell's Kitchen 2, Episode 3


Last week, Chef Gordon Ramsay pulled Tom – our damp schlubby former stockbroker – from the fire set by his teammates. They’d felt that he was the most expendable member of the team. But in Ramsay’s universe, sweatiness is a lesser sin than mop-headedness, so Giacomo was sent home instead.

Tom is angry at Garrett and Keith, the other two remaining men, for voting for him. He repeatedly tells Garrett that he “had his [Garrett’s] back.” Sorry, pardon me? How? Garrett, having performed adequately, was in no danger of being voted off that evening, and since Ramsay has already demonstrated twice he couldn’t give a rat’s bum what they vote anyway, exactly what could Tom do for Garrett? Season his food by perspiring in it? (Oh Reader, believe me, I’m as sorry I wrote that as you were to read it. I’m ashamed of myself.) He certainly couldn’t have meant that he has Garrett’s back in the kitchen, because Tom barely has his OWN back. Or his front for that matter.

(Clearly, once again, I am losing patience with reality show staples, and the one that’s irking me tonight is: contestants’ tendency towards self-delusion and an inability to accurately assess their own skills.)

And Tom’s not just annoying me; he also offends Rachel and Heather by telling them that he’s got more to lose in the contest than anyone else. His rationale for feeling this way is that this would be the fourth career he’s started and failed at (I would NOT admit that on national television, but that’s me) and he has nowhere else to go after this. Rachel and Heather are angered, pointing out this is their ONLY career and what they’ve always felt they were born to do. (Tom also especially charms Heather by saying he’s got more to offer than some young whippersnapper. Heather, who’s about twenty years younger and twenty times more skilled than Tom, doesn’t much appreciate the dismissal.)

The two teams head to the restaurant to meet with Ramsay. Ramsay points out that the men’s team is now three to the women’s five. He calls out Sara, Rachel and Heather on the women’s team for having already demonstrated leadership. In interview, Virginia, who, along with Maribel, was left out of Ramsay’s list, sniffles that the way to stand out is to be “bossy.” Well, if leadership = being the boss, then yes, maybe boss-y is the way to go? It’s a tautology, no?

Ramsay tells Heather he’s sending her to lead the men’s team, and there’s a flurry of emotion in the room, as we learn through interviews. Keith doesn’t feel like he needs a leader, Sara’s glad that one of her rivals is gone, and Heather wants to do well with her new team, but doesn’t like to be competing against her former teammates.

After the new teams are formed, Ramsay takes them on a stroll to a local neighborhood restaurant that is one of the “most successful” restaurants in L.A. The chefs wonder what kind of Wolfgang Puck delight is in store, which makes me immediately assume they are going to a burger joint.

My reality show telegraph censor must be out of whack, because they don’t go to a burger joint. They do, however, go to a hot dog stand, a vastly different form of inexpensive meat and bread. It’s a popular local stand called Pink’s, and there’s apparently some kind of lesson to be learned but I missed it.

The group then has to trot back to Hell’s Kitchen as the restaurant is going to be open for lunch! They learn the menu will be basic – pizza, burgers and fries – and Ramsay tells them to focus on “speed, taste and quality.” (Oh, I get it; maybe that was the lesson at Pink’s.)

And then the customers arrive: hordes of screaming children. The presence of the children doesn’t stop Ramsay from swearing, but he’s at least got the decency to be chagrinned by this fact. He tells the teams they have to complete a full service to win the contest, and Keith, pull up your *&!$% pants!!!

Heather sets about knocking the Blue (Previously Men’s) Team into tiptop shape, and the fellas have enough common sense to see that listening to her might be the best way to pull themselves out of the hole they’ve been digging.

Over on the Red (still All-Women) Team’s side, Sara’s taken the irritated bitchery that was previously focused on Heather and turned it towards Rachel. Tension grows!

Meanwhile, out on the floor, the kids have been given Pixie Sticks and Silly String. You can imagine the horror.

Both teams actually manage to make it through the service without too many bobbles. Ramsay isn’t thrilled when the Red Team’s pizzas start to lose their round shape, but his outraged is tempered by the fact that the food is going to children. He’s not going to make the team re-do it, but he still admonishes them to have some respect for the process.

They both complete the service, so the winner will be determined by the children’s ratings. It’s close – the Red Team received a 9.84 rating, and the Blue, a 9.85. The Blue Team is thrilled to have a win. Because they lost, the Red Team will have to clean up the dining room, which has been effectively destroyed by the children hopped-up on Pixie Sticks.

The Blue Team’s reward is to head out to a local amusement park. Fun is had by all.

Not so much for the Red Team. It’s bad enough that they have to clean, but Sara’s flippant attitude aggravates Rachel. And, it would appear, Mary Ann, Ramsay’s sous chef. Sara goofs around as she cleans the floor, and when Rachel asks her to take things seriously, she calls Rachel a “bitch.” Mary Ann, in response, drops an iced cake icing-side down on the floor right in front of Sara.


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