Every once in a while, you have to take a dip in the media pool that you never pay attention to. People talk about such things as Justin Beiber, Gangnam Style, and Snookies… and you just sit there in wonder, until you decide to dive in full force.
With Hell’s Kitchen having wrapped up the season, I decided to jump into the season finale to see what had gone on since I last watched the show… in the first or second season.
What a different about a decade makes.
It’s not to say the show has vastly grown or matured in that time frame. In fact, it’s easy to say the opposite. The series has devolved (or possibly, just revealed to have been with more jaded eyes) into a smattering of smash cuts, manufactured drama, and minimal attention to the actual dishes.
There was something with steak?
Possibly a fish dish?
The show was purely focused on the drama between the two remaining contestants, Christina and Justin, and their teams. Christina and Justin themselves have no battle between each other beyond the ones on the plates, but find major faults with their handpicked teams. Primarily, Barbie and Clemenza seem to be the ones who can’t get things together, overcooking and undercooking dishes left and right, while Royce and Dana likewise had their faults.
Ribeye steak, bruschetta, and halibut were amongst the dishes prepared, but you wouldn’t learn how to prepare any of them. In fact, you might not know what they were if you weren’t paying incredible attention to the dialogue; the dishes are vague and not photographed well, and only any cooking tips were brought up in passing as the dishes were ruined. “Don’t burn the dish” and “don’t serve it raw in the middle” was the largest extent of culinary criticism.
That’s fine; it’s less of a cooking show and more of a reality show with cooking elements.
The problem comes with how much fluff there is. Constant recaps, bumpers, tags, cuts to what the other chefs are looking like as one is yelled at… there may honestly be only 22 minutes of actual content in this 43-minute show. Other food competition shows do all these things to a much smaller scale, feature more focus on the food, and don’t make things more dramatic than they need to be. If they do, it’s better hidden at least.
A few years from having watched Hell’s Kitchen, and I think I’ll pass on watching any more. Thankfully, Iron Chef will be returning to Japanese airwaves, so the originator of competitive cooking shows will return to show who’s boss.