162. Heck's Kitchen
163. Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares
Both shows seem to have achieved some sort of phenomena status amongst their fans. My own family seems to enjoy them and occasionally insists I watch with them. I admit there is a kind of horrid fascination with both shows. They provide a sort of never ending answer to the questions "How bad can it get?" or "How dumb can you be?"
They are both reality shows- or as real as a show can be that compresses the events of several days into one highly edited package. The content of the show is reduced to pure entertainment. Watch a bungling fool make a mess of the meat! See an incompetent lackwit ruin the risotto! Behold in wonder as the head chef swears at the pair of them! All this and more in one hour. The Kitchen Nightmares show occasionally features some cockroaches and other critters that found their way into some hapless kitchen before Ramsay showed up on his motorcycle to Save the Day. If the show gets an Emmy, I hope it's handed over to the roaches.
A conundrum: Here are two ostensible cooking shows, and neither teaches anyone anything about cooking. They are edited to display ego and incompetence, and that's it. It is a triumph of mere form over content- because there is no content. The only thing I get from the shows, apart from a mild but growing aversion to eating in restaurants, is that Ramsay is a jerk and everyone else is stupid.