On ''Hell's Kitchen,'' the teams compete to make the yummiest lobster appetizer (despite Bonnie's qualms), and Melissa burns out
Credit: Kharen Hill

”Hell’s Kitchen”: For the seafood lover in you

Greetings, my little chicken skewers, and welcome to the continuation of Hell’s Kitchen. In tonight’s episode, the girls ruled and the boys drooled, and Melissa — having finally achieved the dream of becoming her own category — was such a nonfactor, it was almost possible to overlook the constantly mutating soul patch on her chin and count the minutes until she could be sent home. Which she was. Farewell, Meldawg. Your life seems fraught with peril. Try not to get your hair stuck in a car door.

Anyway, so much for ”the sex barrier” being broken, as Josh so delicately put it at the beginning of tonight’s episode. With Melissa switched over to the blue team (who, for the remainder of this TV Watch will be referred to as the MMMBoys), the women were permitted to retain the balls they discovered at the end of last week’s show: Bonnie called a team meeting, making sure to clarify for Mel, ”Not you, bitch,” then called our resident cavegirl a ”pipsqueak.” It’s hard for me to argue with the use of the excellent word ”pipsqueak,” yet there was something — dare I say? — incongruous about Bonnie the Weepy Nanny dropping it as an insult on someone else. Although it should be said that Bonnie has now made it through at least one entire episode without crying, and for that, I commend her.

Continuing with the balls: Jen, who has also stopped crying entirely, to such a degree that I can’t help thinking all the waterworks were a cunning strategy to lull us all into a false sense of complacency while she quietly takes over the world. Turns out the sensitive pastry chef has actually worked at some killer establishments, like the Ritz and Morimoto — and just never got around to mentioning it. This fact engendered significant unease amongst her competitors, with the exception of Rock. Rock admires gamesmanship. Rock gave Jen a very suave nod that, to me, said, ”Rock sees where you are coming from, and Rock likes it. In fact, Rock wishes Rock had brought up his humble ghetto upbringings two weeks ago.” It was a nice moment between two potentially very mentally unstable people. I liked it.

Wait, did I say Bonnie didn’t cry in this episode? Well, I guess that’s debatable. Tonight’s challenge was to prepare three dishes made of freshly cooked lobster. How fresh? Tank in the middle of the dining room fresh. The cheflings had to pluck their own sea insect and carry it back to the kitchen to be assassinated, and Bonnie, bless her heart, had a hard time with that. It was tough to tell whether she was just being a squeamish girl or in fact has a legitimate humanitarian issue with the slaughter of innocent lobsters for food and is opposed to the cruelty of snatching them from the minuscule glass rectangle where they have been uncomfortably clawing at each other’s heads for the last God only knows how long and delivering them to their final rest in a pot of warm, salty water. Frankly, I’m not even sure which side of that moral dilemma I come down on (thanks, David Foster Wallace!), but it sure was fun to watch Bonnie have a teensy little freak-out, especially given how on top of things she’s gotten all of a sudden.

If you were keeping score during the challenge, you would have noticed that this group of people who are continually frustrated by tasks such as making Rice-a-Roni and frying eggs managed to come up with six completely edible lobster dishes, a mysterious phenomenon indeed. Essentially, it came down to the two salads, with Bonnie beating out Melissa (and earning a place on the menu for her grilled-lobster-and-baked-apple concoction, tonight’s winner of the Whittlz Sez Yum award). It was that salad decision that gave the girls the edge and the win, sending them off to an In Touch photo shoot — where they redubbed themselves ”the Hotties of Hell’s Kitchen,” yet another tremendous victory for feminists everywhere — and leaving the MMMBoys behind to sort recycling.

Rock does not like to sort recycling. You see, Rock is from the ghetto, and Rock has never dug through trash. Rock angry. Rock smash. Etc. I tried to write down the crap he was spouting as he stormed around the kitchen, slamming things, but none of it was that interesting. Suffice it to say that if you were looking for Rock to fulfill a particular Reality Show Stereotype in this instance, Rock was more than happy to oblige. I want Rock to keep it together, because Rock appears to be a talented guy and the last thing we need is for Rock to smack someone upside the head with a frying pan. Breathe, Rock.

At tonight’s service, picking a winner was nowhere near as tough as it had been in the challenge. As I stated earlier, the girls ruled — even though Bonnie tried to set the kitchen on fire and Julia had a brain fart that was blown up to galactic proportions thanks to the desperate-for-parity editors at Fox — and the boys drooled. Sucked, really. Sucked would be the only word to describe it. They could not boil water. They could not make mashed potatoes. They could not make risotto. They ran out of fish. They ran out of potatoes. Chef Ramsay started calling Melissa a ”f—ing gremlin.” Finally, a table of six returned all their entrees to the MMMBoys, and Gordon hollered, ”Shut-tit down!” and so they did.

No time was really wasted at the end of tonight’s show. Chef Ramsay pointed out that two sous chefs, an executive chef, and a line chef got their asses handed to them by a nanny, a short-order cook, and a pastry chef; he then asked all of the MMMBoys to come up with two nominations. He then did not take these nominations (which appeared to have been Melissa and Josh) and just booted Melissa. Okay, saw that coming a mile away, but this was supposed to be the Most. Shocking. Elimination. Ever! ”I’m not done yet,” he snapped, and asked Brad and Josh to come forward. ”Both of you…” he said, and I gasped (no way are you kicking off everyone but Rock! no way are you just declaring the whole team incompetent! this rules!) ” …get back in line.” Ah, dangit. Bad news, Fox: My expectations are officially too high for this show now. I wanted more from tonight. At least Bonnie’s hairspray could have gone up in flames or something. No? Sigh.

Not too many questions this evening, pork chops, as so many have been answered: The women did fuse into Kitchen Voltron, there appears to be no brewing showmance anywhere in the house, and tonight’s MLB All-Star Home Run Derby was, as expected, a raging disappointment from a kayaking perspective. One interesting tidbit to watch for next Monday: Former EW scribe Michael Endelman, who was clearly visible in the dining room during tonight’s scenes from next week. (He’s the dude with the black-rimmed glasses.) Will he successfully be served? Will he be dumb enough to approach Chef Ramsay at the pass? Was there an incident? Is that why he works at Spin now? Stay tuned….

Episode Recaps

Hell's Kitchen

Gordon Ramsay verbally abuses wannabe chefs. Bon appetit!

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