July 7, 2006

The Most Recent Guilty Pleasure: A Mean Chef

GordonRamsey.jpgEver since our year spent studying abroad in England, Cinecultist has been a sucker for their accents, their Lion Bars and their television programming. Fortunately for us, we have BBC America to scratch our itch which we use to get a dose of costume drama miniseries, DIY house repair, style makeovers and our most recent favorite, Gordon Ramsay's no nonsense restaurant advice on Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.

Celebrity chef seem to be the new rock-gods or the new movie stars. At first we weren't sold on Ramsay from his reality show program, Hell's Kitchen, where he whittles down a team of wannabe chef with his demands for faster kitchen prep and verbal berating. Like a lot of "voting off the island" reality programs, the contestants they get are complete incompetent idiots who are hardly worth the tutelage of the celeb. CC understood that part of Ramsay's supposed appeal in this venue was his ability to creatively cut the contestants down to size but it seemed unnecessarily cruel and unproductive.

However, his persona on Kitchen Nightmares is completely different. He's still a bit of a hard-ass but generally Ramsay seems to actually care about the businesses that he's coming in to revitalize in the week's time. Generally it seems the people involved in the businesses have sunk their lifesaving, hearts and souls into their endeavors but can't seem to figure out why it's hemorrhaging cash. That's where Ramsay comes in. He gets down to brass tacks, teaches them a few simple lessons about utilizing your assets and keeping the food manageable for the restauranteur's skill set. This kind of instructional TV is the best thing to come out of the reality TV craze. Like fellow how to programs What Not to Wear and Supernanny, they show that clothes, child-rearing or business management aren't rocket science but about well-placed, slightly more clever than the next guy sense.

It'd be fun for Cinecultist to see a show like that for the entertainment biz. IFC or Sundance could host it and it would feature a no-nonsense producer or agent giving advice to an indie movie project or a wannabe starlet. There's so many hopeful young folks sinking their savings into that shoestring DV short flick but have no clue how to get it off the ground. Wouldn't it be fun to see Spike Jonze say schooling them in how to achieve notoriety and artistic expression? Get in the trenches and help people realize their movie dreams, that's good television as far as we're concerned.

Posted by karen at July 7, 2006 11:32 AM