Very happily, the majority of this week’s Kitchen Nightmares was head and shoulders above last week’s. There were still one or two major flaws which we’ll get into later, but it was better, a step in the right direction if you will. This week’s restaurant is so much further down in the dumps than the last place’s extreme mediocrity it was just what the show needed. Sure, we still haven’t left Long Island more than once on the series (and that was to go to Manhattan), but the Seascape Inn is just the sort of pigsty that makes for good television. Even better, there was no manager to be blamed tonight, just the owners and the chef.
I just loved that on Ramsay’s first day at the restaurant Irene, the mother and co-owner, said to him that the Board of Health gave the place 95 out of 100. When that statement gets combined with Peter, her son and the other owner, having said that he owes 800 to a 1,000,000 dollars (I assume he meant 800,000), you begin wonder where the money went. There is no way that restaurant got 95 out of 100, and if it did, I am going to refuse to eat anywhere that does not get a 99 and a half.
I have said it before and now I have to say it again — the scenes of Gordon picking apart the kitchen and finding the filth and muck and mold is great television. He is so over the top and expressive, and the visuals so good, that I think about rewinding those scenes and watching them again and again. The one thing this week’s glimpse into the filth was missing was the vermin. Sadly, there was nothing alive and crawling about in the kitchen. Sort of.
The closest the kitchen gets to vermin is Chef Doug, who is truly a piece of work. At the top of the show he referred to Gordon Ramsay’s showing up as a "slap in the face." Never mind that the restaurant is tanking and needs serious help, the idea of someone like Ramsay coming in and helping out offends the chef. Every time Doug opened his mouth tonight he had something negative to say about Ramsay and what Ramsay was doing. Doug was defensive from the start and simply didn’t seem to care about anything that was wrong in the kitchen. The one little thing that Doug did seem to accept as his fault was the moldy pesto. I call this "little" because while Doug did take responsibility and say he was hugely embarrassed by it, he was also picking his nails and playing with a napkin at the time. He may have said he cared with his mouth, but his body language was saying something completely different. Good old Gordon actually told Irene and Peter to fire Doug and his sous chef, Charlie. Mamma Irene actually bullied him into doing it. Just like Doug, that woman is a piece of work, sadly Ramsay never took her on in the episode. I assume he was scared.
Peter, having the exact opposite problem from his mom, was too weak to really fire the chefs. He told them they were both off the next day, which prompted Chef Doug to ask if they would be coming back. It was only then that Peter gave them the heave-ho. The man was clearly not strong enough for Gordon’s tastes, so what did our good friend Gordon Ramsay do? He took Peter boxing.
What a ridiculous moment. Yes, Peter was weak in a way that didn’t allow him to run a restaurant, but taking the man boxing is ludicrous. Teaching him how to walk around the restaurant and what he should be wearing and how to interact with people on the other hand, which Gordon also did, was hugely valuable. Surely Peter’s time would have been better spent learning even more about how to talk to his customers and workers than boxing. The first night of the relaunch certainly seemed to indicate this as it was a complete disaster and Peter was unable to help the kitchen and wait staff work as one cohesive unit.
That being said, I love that the relaunch didn’t go well. By the end of the relaunch the restaurant was better, but clearly they still had a long way to go. Ramsay improved the place immeasurably, but there was no miraculous turnaround for the Seascape, there was still work to be done. Peter got better, the food got better, the attitude got better, but there was still work to do.
Then, however, the whole episode was ruined. At the very end of the episode, the show put in a "five months later" bit, and the voiceover says simply that Peter got an offer he couldn’t refuse and sold the place. What?!? Huh!?! He did what?!? We have no idea what happened, it’s not explained, there is no discussion about it, it’s a simple statement of fact and then the show was off to promo the next episode.
Dear Mr. Producer, on behalf of your viewers, I really think it would behoove you to not throw out such an incredible statement as Peter sold and that’s that and then not follow it up. I completely understand that you were trying to be honest with us and say the place got sold, but you have to go about that in a better way, because to just throw the statement out and move on doesn’t work for us as an audience. You have to make it better. When you say that "Peter accepted an offer that he couldn’t refuse and sold the restaurant" you need to go into more depth about how Don Corleone had a horse head put into Peter’s bed. You need to say that Peter’s gambling and drinking debts far eclipsed what the restaurant could ever make. You need to say that Irene kneecapped Peter for crying during a dinner service and he had to sell to pay his medical expenses. Give us something.
You know who will never quit on you without an explanation? That’s right, that nice fellow over at The TV and Film Guy’s Reviews.
My off-topic question of the week: have you noticed in the last two episodes that Gordon has been shown topless, in the process of putting on his chef’s uniform, while talking to the camera? Is that a draw for anyone?