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'Hell's Kitchen' recap: Yes man

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Anyone who has watched Hell’s Kitchen on a semi-regular basis has surely noticed Ramsay’s habit of saying “yes?” after pretty much everything. Obviously he doesn’t intend for his “question” to be answered, but the variety of sentences Ramsay tacks his rhetorical inquiry onto is rather diverse. It ranges from things like “well done, yes?” to “f— off, yes?” — and I find it oddly mesmerizing. Last night, I decided to take a stab at tallying up the “yeses,” and the final number came to nine, I think. After so many weeks of writing this recap, I felt this recurring theme needed to be addressed. So there you have it. Now onto what you actually came here for…

The show was rather uneventful this week. Things started off withRamsay wasting his breath telling Ben to practice the phrase “I waswrong.” This is the point where I would normally bitch and moan abouthow Ben is seemingly unaware that he has no talent and is basically aculinary hack who has somehow managed to weasel his way onto mytelevision set and now maintains permanent residence under my skin —but I think I may have mentioned it once or twice before, so I’ll spareyou this week. Instead, I will mention how much I like Paula, who maybe the most low-key, semi-boring reality TV contestant ever. I’ll takeboring over Ben any day.

For the challenge this week, the chefs had to taste a variety ofChef Ramsay’s dishes, choose a favorite (they picked fish stew), andrecreate the recipe from taste. For someone with as unsophisticated apalate as mine — mac & cheese and chocolate are the only two foodgroups as far as I’m concerned — this challenge sounded difficult. Notso. Danny was the only one who used the correct fish (red snapper),but the Ramsanator was relatively pleased with everyone’s dish. We wentto commercial with Ramsay divided between Danny and Paula’s dish, andcommenting on how the decision is “so hard” and so on. This weekly setup is done with such a lack of subtlety, the producers and Ramsay mayas well spell out S-U-S-P-E-N-S-E in neon pink letters across thescreen. We returned from break to find out that Danny won. Whew…Iwas really sweating over it.

To celebrate his win, Danny and Ramsay went for a joyride in a biplane. The two men, like Hell’s Kitchen‘sown odd-couple version of the Wright Brothers, flew around in the tinyplane with their unprotected heads bopping along (although, if a birdflew directly into Ramsay’s face it would probably just disappear intoone of his forehead wrinkles). They appeared to be enjoying the thrill,while, for reasons unknown, my mind kept drifting to this brilliant Daffy Duck cartoon (at the 5:50 mark).

Once the men returned from their Looney Tunes-esque adventure,Ramsay sent the chefs up to the dorms for a surprise. What did theyget? Why, their very own sets of Ramsay endorsed pots and pans!! Theyseemed thrilled, which is what counts I suppose, but is it too much toask for something a little more grand, exciting, or even weird?  Likesome nicotine patches and a giant “No Smoking” sign…or a llama. Thatwould liven up Hell’s Kitchen a bit, yes?

Dinner service began unlike any other before it — without a hitch.Ben’s risotto was good. Paula’s scallops were good (like always),Andrea’s Wellington was perfect. Bravo! Then the camera panned to asatisfied customer’s, um, breasts. Yes, the camera was presumably meantto be focusing on her dish (wink, nudge), but the lady’s bosom had asubstantial supporting role and the camera seemed to linger there for awee bit longer than necessary. Unfortunately, post-boob sighting,things started to go downhill. Ben’s next batch of risotto was bland,Paula was a bit slow on the dory, and Ben asked Ramsay if thevegetarian salad needed tuna. Ramsay then started yelling at Ben, as hedoes every week, and Ben told the camera that Ramsay yells at himbecause he sees him as a potential winner of the competition. Sigh.I simply do not have the energy to rant about how incredibly deludedBen is…again. Then, a customer wanted to propose to his girlfriendand asked J.P. if the kitchen would put the ring with her dessert.Panic! So many possible scenarios went through my brain at this moment:It’s a set-up, someone will lose the ring, ruin the dessert, bring itto the wrong table, etc. I was pleasantly surprised when all thatresulted was a simple proposal without any drama. Touché Hell’s Kitchen,my cynicism was undeserved…this time. Ramsay then went over to thehappy couple with a rose in hand, called the future bride “my darling,”and sent my heart all aflutter.

Dinner service ended on a sour note when Andrea realized she wasmissing two Wellingtons. So, after a brief and typical deliberation, Benand Andrea were sent to the chopping block and Ramsay finally sent Bena-packing. Good riddance. Please seek medical attention for yourapparent memory lapses. I am very concerned.

I leave you with the season’s most tubular quote, from Danny, inthe preview for next week’s episode: “This is gonna be gnarly.”

So PopWatchers, will you miss Ben? Should Andrea have gone first? Who do you think are next week’s surprise guests?

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