Dear real Gordon Ramsey,
I miss you. Please come back. I'm kind of embarrassed for this other guy who claims to be you. He shouts too much and has none of your charm.
Anyway! We start this week the way every Fox reality show begins: with a twenty-six minute retrospective of the previous week. Boy, that Corey sure did make some shocking nominations, didn't she? She’s so saucy!
And that's where the action picks up this week, with Jen cursing Corey out for nominating her. Christina cries, Jen yells, and Corey high-fives all the boys while saying "I don't care if you all think I'm a bitch" to the women. It's all very Betty and Veronica.
The next morning, chickens meandering through the living quarters awaken the contestants. Gordon gets on an intercom and tells them to grab their chickens and get into the kitchen. Though they have trouble with the wrangling, they eventually all line up in front of Gordon with poultry in hand.
The recap came very close to ending right here, because Gordon announced that he wanted the contestants to get "up close and personal" with their birds. He grabbed a butcher cleaver and a chicken, and LA LA LA OH MY GOD I AM NOT SEEING THIS. I know the argument can be made that because I'm not a vegetarian, it's hypocritical of me to be unwilling to slaughter or watch the slaughter of the animals that become food. To that I say, yeah, I know. I suck and I'm sorry. But I ALSO say, hey, you over there making that argument - do you fix your own car? Do you sew all your own clothes? Do you install your own plumbing? DO YOU .... yeah, okay, it's probably not a great counterargument. But I still don't want to see a chicken slaughtered, k? And for once Fox Broadcasting gives me what I want, because Gordon is just kidding! Ha! Ha! Hahah! Heh. Meh.
The contestants are also relieved that they don't need to do any killing before they've even had coffee, but Gordon makes the point that they don't respect their product. It shows up beautifully prepped for them, and they take it for granted. Not today, suckers! This morning's challenge is to butcher a (dead) chicken into its eight pieces. They have five minutes.
Fat and prematurely bald Jason opines that the men will win the challenge simply by virtue of their penises. "This isn't the dusting and housekeeping challenge!", he smirks before eating yet another White Castle slider and unsuccessfully surfing match.com.
On the women's team, Vanessa points out that Corey jeopardized their solidarity with her nominations, and they need a win to get them back on track.
With the women up first, they turn in a nearly flawless performance (even with the whole no-penis thing) with most of them earning a perfect eight out of eight from Gordon.
Jason puts down his Realdoll long enough to be the first critiqued on the men's team. You guys aren't going to believe this - maybe you should all sit down? - but he did NOT do well. I KNOW! In fact, he did so poorly that it prompted Gordon to ask him "Did you f**k this chicken?" Gordon is so silly. If it was at any point alive, NO, Jason has never had sex with it. Silly, silly Gordon.
Though most the other men did well, they couldn't match the performance of the women. Craig - he of the huge hat and small stature – was unusually bad, earning a score of only two out of eight.
The punishment for their poor performance is just as gimmicky and theatrical as you'd come to expect from this show, as the men are told to dress up in overly stereotypical farmer-style clothes - replete with straw hat and bib overalls - so they can go pick peppers in a field. While they're elbow deep in Peter Piperville, the women will be dining at "one of the most famous restaurants on Sunset Boulevard."
As the men put on their costumes, Matt, the sous chef who looks a bit like Jon Lovitz's creepy cousin, throws the most ridiculous tantrum I've ever witnessed - and that includes the time that my friend's younger brother crumpled to a heap on the floor, wailing "WHY CAN'T THE COYOTE EVER CATCH THE ROADRUNNER?!! WHY!!!!" He kicks things, he throws his shoe (which hilariously bounces back up and almost hits him in the face), he damn near threatens to hold his breath until he does NOT have to pick any peppers. And whatever, he goes to pick them anyway, because he has no choice.
While the guys are at the farm, the women have arrived at Saddle Ranch - and there's a surprise! In a shocking, NOT SCRIPTED NO NOT AT ALL twist of fate, Aaron, the pitiful contestant from last year who couldn't stop crying, is ZOMG riding the mechanical bull at that very restaurant! What a small world! He assures Gordon that he's not crying anymore and then quickly leaves. What a very odd little segment.
Also, the restaurant doesn't look like all that. It may just be my own preferences bleeding through (but this is my recap, so HA!), but the guys get to go on a yacht ride last week, and now the women are at some place with peanuts on the floor? Lame. Of course, this sequence of rewards allows for the women to be objectified and sexualized as they ride the bull and say things like "I want it faster - I mean harder", and isn't that what it's really all about? Yeehaw, ladies. Yeehaw.
As they eat their lunch of ribs, fried chicken and mashed potatoes, the women decide that the best way to beat the men is to mess with their heads. I would have suggested cooking well, but what fun is that? Ben, Craig and Jason are the men they vote "Most Likely to Get Psyched Out", and they toast to...something.
As everyone finishes their day back at the Hell's Kitchen compound, a few of the women (with Corey as ringleader) put their stupid plan into action by, uh, inviting the guys into the hot tub with them? Sure, why not. You are so going to win a cooking show if you wear a bikini in front of men! It's foolproof! And if you bump your head on that glass ceiling, honey, well, just be glad you even got that far. I guess. Hilariously, Ben (the electrician) couldn't be less interested, and tells Corey as much.
Jason, on the other hand, is in such a hurry to get within ten feet of a scantily-clad woman that he literally falls on his ass getting into the hot tub. Hot tub 1, Jason 0. They liquor him up and he spills the shocking and VERY SECRET news that some of the guys are mad at Craig for doing poorly in the chicken challenge. The guys don't take this enormous betrayal well, and give Jason a hard time for spilling his guts to the women. I truly can't fathom why this is a big deal, since wouldn't you just assume that people were pissed a the guy who made them lose a challenge? Can you imagine being the producer whose job it is to make high drama out of the mundane? Horrible.
Hey, what do you guys say we get back to cooking, and forget all this other nonsense. You in? Cool.
Prep for the dinner service starts routinely enough, with Christina reiterating that she may need Corey's help to get through dinner that night, but she's still looking to get rid of her as soon as possible. I should mention that Christina was super-villain #2 in the previous evening's wily hot tub shenanigans. I guess that was just strategy, though. Mmhmm. Yep! So, cooking time. Gordon wants a complete service this evening. There is a special chicken dish they'll be preparing - an escalope of chicken with peppers, capers, and creme fraiche. (Add your own accent marks in that last sentence.) As part of the losing team, Bobby (the four star general) will be cooking tableside. Jason, who can never seem to stop sweating, will be on desserts, and Gordon cautions him not to eat any of them. Hee. Asked to recite the desserts he'll be preparing, Jason freezes. Frustrated with Jason's dumbassery, Gordon sends him off to learn them.
Service begins, and Hell's Kitchen fills up with hungry people who act a lot angrier about their free meals than one might expect.
Women's kitchen: lots of orders, Christina is in charge.
Men's kitchen: Craig is on hot appetizers, he's starting to shut down. He almost refuses to speak, saying only "Shut the f**k up" to Matt. He may be a man of few words, but I must say that he chooses them wisely.
Women: Rosann messes up, and Gordon tells her that she's from "the back streets" in a pep talk. Is that like the British version of "the mean streets"? Either way, he tells her that she isn't stupid, so quit messing up.
Men: Jason is still trying to memorize the desserts. Petrozza is taking charge for the men, doing a great job. There's a giant pile-on on Craig, who has definitely become the whipping boy. Because he forgot to cook some bacon, Gordon makes what the narrator characterizes as a "painful decision" and sends the order out incomplete. Hopefully there’s a therapist available on-set to help Gordon through this trying time.
Still on the men's side: Ninety minutes into the dinner service, only one half of one table has received any appetizers.
Women: Four tables have received their appetizers. It's like Christmas!
Men: Louross goes to find Jason who, wow, still hasn't learned the desserts. If this was edited in a timeline that even approaches reality, Jason is piteously stupid. It's almost enough for me to feel bad for him. I mean, fat and bald - that can be difficult enough. Fat, bald, bad at your job, disliked by your peers AND stupid? That has to hurt. Upon Jason's re-entrance into the kitchen, Gordon quizzes him on the dessert menu - the one he spent the last however long ostensibly studying. Jason can't do it. He just can't do it. And here's where my entire belief system begins to break down, because I can't help but to feel some empathy for Jason. Poor kid. He must really be dying inside. He even attempts to quit the show over this, he's just that defeated right now. After numerous "I can't do it!"s, Gordon forces him to dig deep and Jason manages to recite the dessert menu. God, all this drama and the guy hasn't even cooked anything yet.
Women: Entrees are going poorly. Vanessa tries to serve raw meat. She cries a bit. Okay, a lot.
Men: Starting entrees. Bobby cooks the chicken special tableside, and is his normal talkative self. Louross and Matt have a squabble over poor communication. Ben burns the salmon. I suppose that's what happens when you cast electricians on a cooking show. Gordon gets in his face about it. Bobby learns that the salmon is a mess, so cuts his chicken dish up into smaller pieces and gives it to the whole table.
Women: Rosann nearly burns down the kitchen. "I blew four pieces of meat on that", she says. Heh. Not that different from Corey and Christina's tactic, I suppose.
Men: Jason's desserts. Full of fail. "Women can make desserts, it's not my thing." Aaaaand, moment of sympathy over. I - man, I'm just speechless. It's like, I know there are people like him out there, but it's still surprising when you actually come across one. Like two dollar bills, or Nickelback fans.
Ben tries again with the salmon. It's raw.
Three hours into the dinner service, Gordon has had enough. Shut it down!
Neither team is deemed a winner. Christine and Petrozza are both the best of the worst, and are tasked with nominating a member from each of their respective teams.
Back at the residence, Vanessa is still crying about how poorly she performed. Petrozza tries to decide which was worse: Craig's incompetence, or the fact that the entire team was overly-taxed because of needing to pick up Jason's slack. Christine hasn't forgotten Corey's nominations, and crows that there's only one dumb blonde left - and "it ain't me!"
But for all her big talk, Christine nominates Vanessa. That's fine, I don't have a problem with it, but just don't talk up how badass you are first, you know?
Anyway, Petrozza makes my whole week by nominating Jason. "Jason has trouble with cooking skills", he reasons. And he's bad at life. Never forget that.
In fighting for his spot, Jason says that he deserves to stay because he's getting better every day. For her part, Vanessa cries and says that she's very disappointed in herself. When it comes down to it, though - oh, hey, see ya Jason! Head back to mom's basement, and the warm comfort of microwave pizza. As he walks out the door, he wonders if he would still be there if he cried "like some pansy, like some chick"? And maybe he would have. But probably not, because he likely would have managed to do it wrong.
Next week: More yelling!