WASHINGTON, March 1, 2013 —Research indicates the original British version of “Kitchen Nightmares” is much more business like, with a lot less drama than the current American version. This comes as no shock since American audiences have been force-fed contrived dramas like Jerry Springer for years. Why would a show about clueless restaurant owners and belligerent chefs be any different?
“Kitchen Nightmares” is a show about a famous chef, (enter Gordon Ramsay) who is called in to consult restaurants on the brink of failure. It’s pretty formulaic; Ramsay goes to the restaurant, orders a meal to gage the staff, and then curses like a sailor about the quality of the meal, the restaurant and the staff.
The premise is a solid one, but following the example of “Restaurant Impossible” by using hidden cameras for the initial evaluation would make it more entertaining. It would also serve to lessen the appearance of a manufactured controversy.
Cameras would tell the story of restaurant operations rather than having Ramsey grill the staff about their process, which often devolves into tedious and uncomfortable discussions. That doesn’t mean the end of tension, because there is always going to be at least one idiot who argues with Ramsey, despite the cameras.
It just means Ramsay and his TV audience will get a more accurate assessment of what’s really wrong with the inner workings of the restaurant. Ramsay would still have plenty of things to point out and curse about, and the “gotcha” effect of hidden cameras would definitely make it more entertaining.
Then again, maybe Ramsay knows using hidden cameras to film food preparation would be the last nail in the coffin of the restaurants he tries to help. Is that a bad thing? Despite all the good intentions of Ramsay on “Kitchen Nightmares” or Robert Irvine on “Restaurant Impossible,” people rarely change.
Human nature being what it is, if a chef is in the habit of serving food that’s accidentally dropped on the floor, chances are they will continue to do so when the experts and the cameras are gone.
Maybe Ramsay should use the cameras to serve as a warning to potential customers not to eat at specific restaurants, and leave it at that. The show would expose bad restaurants instead of trying to fix them. He could fit a couple more restaurants into each episode and rename it “Kitchen Graveyard.” It’s just a thought.
Until then, bon Appétit!
All times are EST:
ABC: Last Man Standing: (New) Mike wages psychological warfare after he catches Mandy sneaking into the house late at night; Kristin tries to hide her new romance from Boyd.
CBS: Undercover Boss: (Repeat) Mitchell B. Modell, CEO of Modell’s Sporting Goods, gets some major league advice from New York Yankee’s pitcher CC Sabathia before beginning his undercover mission. Also, a discontent associate confronts the CEO when suspicions swell about his true identity, and shocking news from the boss causes one associate to collapse.
FOX: Kitchen Nightmares: (New) Part 1 of 2. Chef Ramsay visits the Mill Street Bistro in Norwalk, Ohio, where he encounters an inflexible owner with a belligerent attitude.
NBC: Dateline NBC: (New) Keith Morrison gives a special preview from South Africa into the murder case against Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius.
CW: Nikita: (New) After Birkhoff (Aaron Stanford) gets a tip from Shadowbot that Ari (guest star Peter Outerbridge) is in NY, Nikita (Maggie Q) and Owen (Devon Sawa) swoop in to pick him up before the FBI does. However, Ari reveals he planned everything for a chance to talk to Nikita.
ABC: Malibu Country: (New) Reba’s brother shows up and decides to help Lillie Mae turn her barbecue sauce into a successful business; June embarrasses Cash at school.
ABC: Shark Tank: (New) Fortified, sugar-free nut butters; an acupressure wrist band; an at-home tattoo removal device; an update on inventors who created surf-inspired fitness equipment.
CBS: Blue Bloods: (Repeat) Henry suffers a heart attack the day before Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, Danny investigates a young woman’s suicide that may have been forced; and Frank and the mayor clash over a threat to the city.
FOX: Touch: (New) Jake and Amelia are suddenly on their own and heading to a predetermined meeting place, but Martin and Lucy’s search for their kids also reveals crucial information about Calvin’s brother. Meanwhile, Guillermo makes a confession to a priest in Mexico.
CW: The Vampire Diaries: (Repeat) Caroline worries about Elena’s state of mind; Damon gives some somber news to Rebekah and is surprised at her reaction; Bonnie reveals the rest of Shane’s plan.
ABC: 20/20: (New) Friends discuss Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, who is accused of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp; interviews with Steenkamp’s ex-boyfriend and roommate; Olympic athletes who have fallen off the pedestal.
CBS: Blue Bloods: (Repeat) Danny’s emotional state causes concern for his wife and kids when he relentlessly searches for a killer who murdered an undercover detective. The case is personal for Danny because the victim was a Reagan family friend.
NBC: Rock Center with Brian Williams: (New) Two weeks before the 85th Academy Awards, Rock Center’s Harry Smith sat in during an “Onion” editorial meeting where they brainstormed content for Oscar night. The staff discussed several possible headlines and mentioned nine-year-old “Beasts of the Southern Wild” actress Quvenzhané Wallis. During the awards, Wallis was the butte of a controversial joke tweeted by “The Onion.”
New episodes of:
Gold Rush at 8 p.m. on DSC
Four Weddings at 8 p.m. on TLC
Save the Titanic with Bob Ballard at 8 p.m. on NGC
Auction Agent at 8 and 8:30 p.m. on HGTV
Titanic: Ballard’s Secret Mission at 9 p.m. on NGC
Yukon Men at 9 p.m. on DSC
Ghost Adventures at 9 p.m. on Travel Channel
Say Yes to the Dress at 9 and 9:30 p.m. on TLC
Bering Sea Gold at 10 p.m. on DSC
Portlandia at 10 p.m. on IFC
Out There at 10:30 p.m. on IFC
For movie lovers:
Open Range on ENC
The Rock on FLIX
Taken on FX
Fast Five on HBO
Batman Begins on Spike
The Big Lebowski on TCM
National Treasure on TNT
Resident Evil on BBC
Son-in-Law on CMT
American Reunion on HBO
Drive Angry on SHO
Blades of Glory on TBS
Role Models at 10 p.m. on FMC
Trainspotting at 10 p.m. on TMC
Red River at 10:15 p.m. on TCM
Get Carter at 10:20 p.m. on ENC