A reality nightmare

Kitchen NightmaresI don’t get into reality television. I think that, for the most part, it’s over-dramatized, over-edited tripe. I watch it on occasion – sometimes, it’s the only thing on, and often it possesses that train wreck quality that makes everything else utterly unimpressive; a horribleness so bright it fades the other channels in comparison.

I’ll admit – some reality television has its merits. I’ll never slag on American Idol, or Dancing with the Stars, or Survivor – these are ground breaking television shows that garner high numbers and are doing everything right. It’s stuff like Kid Nation, or Rock of Love, or any other “famous/non-famous person seeks mate/job/acceptance through grueling challenges/taking clothes off/surprisingly limited talent” program that sets me off. It’s like that Shaq’s fat camp show that was mercifully canceled (more accurately, “not renewed”). Those are the shows that make my teeth grind.

I’m even tired of the house-flipping, redecorating, Ultimate Home Makeover stuff. And I used to like that.

But there is a small genre of reality television, however, that I cannot get enough of.

Cooking shows. I’m talking about Top Chef. Hell’s Kitchen. Iron Chef. And my new personal favorite: Kitchen Nightmares.

What is it I love about this? Realistically, this is the same thing as the ultimate home makeover genre, except with horrible restaurants. Maybe I just like Gordon Ramsey. (Though it can’t just be him – I sat and watched hours of Top Chef while in the hospital with Kerrie after Sierra was born. I couldn’t get enough of it.)

I like food. And I like cooking. And I like seeing the art and design put to use out of every day kitchen items. I like British guys yelling at hapless restaurant owners, calling out the lazy drag-alongs and butchering the unconvincing chefs. I love the hopeless shots of disgusting kitchens, of ridiculous menus, of flies and rotten burgers and exhausted wait staff left to fend on its own thanks to the moronic deeds of the restaurant’s management.

Really, you wonder why anyone would want to eat there after the horrible exposure of each restaurant’s flaws. And then, just like a makeover show, Gordon flips the restaurant into something worthwhile. While he’s at it, he gives it some peripheral marketing through positive “after” images and impressive promise.

Yeah – it’s the same thing I hate. It’s a little hypocritical. Oh well. I hate reality television for the most part. But if you throw a few cooking challenges, it’s suddenly appointment viewing. How’s that for petty?

Anyway, you have to watch this show. It’s awesome. Kitchen Nightmares. Wednesdays at 8 PM CST on Fox.

This was lovingly handwritten on September 27th, 2007