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'Hell's Kitchen' recap: We've got spirit! Yes we do?

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Hellskitchen_lTonight’s Hell’s Kitchen was momentous for several reasons: Colleen reached new and astronomical levels of annoying, Ramsay showed some sweetness, we found out that Carol wears fake hair in the kitchen (okay, not so much momentous as perplexing), and someone who actually deserved the boot got it. Was this the “most controversial episode” last week’s promos promised? Um, no. The commercials mentioned the word “Sabotage!!! Sabotage!!” more than the Beastie Boys — and yet no real sabotage occurred. False advertising! In fact, the episode could be summed up with two words: everyone sucked. End of recap.

After the mandatory post-elimination whining, Robert unveiled hisGordon Ramsay impression. Now as much as I love Robert, his Ramsayimpression was, well, bad. So bad in fact that I wasflabbergasted as to why the other contestants were doubled over inlaughter telling him it was spot on. I love ya, big Rob, but stick tothe stove. Later, Ramsay put the chefs on the spot with theannouncement that the first challenge would be serving breakfast to 100ankle-biting cheerleaders and football players. The cheerleadersstarted things off with a good rhyme, which had Colleen so pumped thatshe joined right in with them — completely and totally forgetting thatshe was supposed to be cooking hash browns. I concluded that thismoment explains the mystery of Colleen — she is not the middle agedwoman we think she is. She is actually an 8-year-oldcheerleader trapped in a grown woman’s body. Somewhere walking theearth there is an 8-year-oldwith the spirit of a 41-year-old cooking instructor trapped inside her á la Freaky Friday.I choose to believe this because it is the only rational explanationfor Colleen’s lack of abilities and exhausting optimism. She simplymust be the victim of a body swap.

Ramsay yelled at Robert for his messy presentation of the breakfastplates (which made me wish someone would make a breakfast smiley face.You know, with the egg eyes and the bacon mouth? Never mind), tellinghim “it’s breakfast — respect it.” The blue team started out in thelead, but the women ended up with the win due to — guess who? —Seth’s slow eggs. The win prompted another surge of s-p-i-r-i-t fromColleen who enthusiastically spelled victory “v-c-i-t-o-r-y.” So close!After the breakfast service Ramsay hung with the kiddies for a fewminutes and we got to see his daddy side. And I must admit, with only asmidgen of shame, that it is moments like these — his tender momentwith Ji a few weeks ago is another example — that have me developing abit of a crush on the Ramsanator. What can I say? I’m a bit of amasochist.

The women’s prize for their challenge win was a “camping trip,” anannouncement that was met with blank faces and silence until Ramsayclarified that it was “Beverly Hills camping” — which apparentlytranslates into sunbathing by a pool while sexy men spray mist on you.The red team headed off to change into their bikinis with L.A. remarking“good thing we shaved our legs.” Which was my favorite quote of thenight solely because of what it says about the joys (read: annoyances)of femininity. However, this also got me wondering whether or not, had they won, the men would have received the same prize. Would we have had the privilege of seeing the blue team slap on their trunks and Speedos and lounging poolside while a sexy woman misted them?  Anyhoo, the men’s punishment for losing was to clean the entirekitchen and dining room and then prepare for both their dinner serviceand the women’s as well. Before they could get to cleaning, however,Danny felt the need to brag that he was the best cook on the team,prompting a very angry response from Ben, which set off a pointlessconfrontation where both men engaged in a pissing contest trying toprove who had the bigger spatula. The nasty scene reached new heights (lows?)in class and sophistication when Ben told Danny “you couldn’t cook my(insert anatomical word here).” Seriously Fox, who are you kidding withthe blurry mouth? Oh gee, what did he say — nose? Belly button? Not effective in the least. The blowup ended with Benstorming out of the room to cool off and Danny screeching somethingafter him. Word to the wise, Danny — smack talk is less effective whenyour voice cracks like a pubescent teenager.

Dinner service started out on the wrong foot (and stayed there) whenthe women returned to discover that the men hadn’t completed thepreparations and they had to do some of it themselves. The red teamdiscovered that the butter sauce wasn’t ready, which caused Ramsay toquestion if the men were trying to sabotage the women — but alas, itwas merely a tease that amounted to nothing when Danny finally made some (after Ben had muckedup the first batch). Coi screwed up the pasta, causing an outburst from Ramsay, and Collen followed L.A. around like a lost puppy in need of some obedience classes.  My culinary vocabulary was expanded again thisweek when a salad was returned to the kitchen because J. had left the“butt” of the lettuce in it. Upon learning this Ramsay — rightly fedup with his lot of incompetent contestants — slammed the salad intothe ground (later, unable to resist a good pun opportunity, he called J.a “butthead”). Things failed to improve after Ben attempted to servepaper thin lamb chops and Danny was slow on the garnish. Seth (who wasinexplicably saved last week) then violated at least 900 gazillionhealth codes by wiping his face with a cloth and using the same cloth to wipe out a pan. Can I get a collective YUCK from the audience?

The dinner service disaster led Ramsay to make an unexpecteddecision: both teams would have to nominate two people for the choppingblock. The women came to a decision rather amicably, but the men — allstill sporting their cranky pants — argued and fussed about thedecision before nominating Ben and Seth to join red team membersColleen and Lacey. Ramsay asked them to plead their cases and we wereonce again subjected to Seth waxing poetic about how he has the“biggest heart” of all the contestants — he’s just lacking talent, butwho needs that, right? I had fully prepared myself for another week ofSeth when — lo and behold! — Ramsay sent him packing. Hallelujah!!Ramsay then switched Lacey over to the blue team, a move that looks tohave some interesting ramifications next week.

So what did you think? Was anyone sad to see Seth go? What do youmake of Ramsay’s decision to move Lacey to the men’s team? Does anyonestand out as a front runner?