I’m not the type to sit down and waste my precious time watching reality TV. To me, reality shows tend to be melodramatic, predictable, and completely uninteresting. But a few weeks ago, I ran across Fox’s fourth season of Hell’s Kitchen. I never expected a night in hell to be so good.
Hell’s Kitchen is a reality cooking show starring Chef Gordon Ramsay, who I would describe as the devil himself. He rules over twelve to fifteen contestants separated into a red and a blue team. The format of the show is similar to the original Hell’s Kitchen produced in the UK. The two teams go head to head displaying their cooking skills, creativity, and leadership. Depending on these criteria and, of course, some personality conflicts with other teammates, contestants get eliminated one by one as Hell’s Kitchen gets hotter and hotter.
I was reluctant and, okay, extremely bored when I first sat down to watch Hell’s Kitchen. As the first episode of the fourth season began, I conjured up all my energy, expecting to somehow reach the remote and flee from hell as soon as possible. But by some supernatural power of Hades, I got sucked in to the competition. Now I’ve ordered previous seasons and can’t wait for the next episode.
I think I might be a tiny bit obsessed.
For me, it’s the characters. Each has their own personality, weakness, and strength. I root for them and ache for them when the pressure of hell gets out of hand. Recently, a cook burned her hand so badly she required plastic surgery. It was a little like watching MTV’s Scarred. My hands just hurt afterwards.
The food is also incredible. My idea of a fancy meal is throwing veggies, spices, and meat into a wok and hope it’s edible by the end. The food in hell is not only edible but looks absolutely beautiful. Well, that is unless Chef Ramsay disapproves. In that case, the entrée may be thrown against the wall. Or, if the service gets completely out of hand, he may “shut it down,” send the customers away, and tell the chefs to “piss off.” You never know. Every show has its own level of intensity.
Hell’s Kitchen is much more extreme than some other cooking shows I’ve seen, like Top Chef. But, even though it has all the elements of a reality TV show, Hell’s Kitchen is one of the better shows on Fox right now. Maybe I’m caught up in my obsession a little too much, but I say just watch the show, download a single episode on Amazon.com, and spend one night in hell. If you aren’t sucked in after that, maybe it’s just too hot for you.