Friday, 23 November 2012

Kitchen Nightmares: Season Six, Episode Three.

Season SIX? My God, Ramsey gets a lot of money for calling people donkeys, and apparently he's not going to stop any time soon. I watch this show from time to time for a giggle, primarily because Ramsey seems to be aware that the whole thing is ludicrous and he doesn't give one single shit. He's getting paid.

The beginning of this show is always RIDIC. Thunder rolling, lightning striking, the-apocalypse-is-now kind of melodrama, and this week is no exception.

TONIGHT! ON! KITCHEN NIGHTMARES! Ramsey is shining white in his chef's coat against the black night behind him. Brutal camera cuts combined with bursts of white noise give him a kind of Supernatural ghost vibe. Quick! Get the salt! (Kidding, we know Gordon can't be a ghost, he LOVES salt.)

He also looks chilly.

CHEF RAMSEY! HEADS TO BROOKLYN! A ambulance screams down a street, Ramsey opens a freezer full of Tupperware (the horror!), mauls an awning-canopy thing, chucks a planter full of water on some customers. Wait, what? THERE'S NO TIME FOR EXPLANATIONS! This is the weird beginning of the show which tells us everything that's about to happen. The VO guy is telling us that the Italian restaurant has been open for fifty-five years, and apparently it's not doing so well. Obviously. Ramsey declares in front of the staff that he's just eaten one of the most disgusting lunches he's ever had. The owner's name is John and apparently he's clinging to the past, also he's in desperate need of a chin. John works in the pizza place attached to the restaurant, and so when shit goes wrong he's all "IDK what's going on in there, LA LA LA!"

Or something. I'm paraphrasing.

Various cuts of sad-looking frozen spaghetti, John is nowhere to be found, Ramsey is shouting and grimacing a lot. Quick shots of the food going out. It looks beige. It's all beige and damp and not appetising in the least.

One of the chefs is embarrassed to work there! Ramsey finds mould on what looks like a little cake! He smashes a frozen Tupperware of something beige on the ground! POW! Apparently it's moudly AND frozen. Oh dear, he doesn't like that at all. More quick cuts of John being elsewhere, Ramsey rubbing his forehead, horrible food going out.

Reaction shots of almost everyone in the damn world as Ramsey announces to the kitchen staff that there's someone vomiting in the loo, RIGHT NOW. Gross.

The VO guy promises it will be a Kitchen Nightmare's inspection which will have me in shock. I dunno, dude. You seem pretty stoked about really remarkably mundane shit. I reserve my judgement until I actually see it. Speaking of which, START the damn EPISODE already. Stop with this "Oh, this is what you're gonna watch in a minute" bullshit and let me watch it.

The conditions! Are so bad! That a customer! Pays the price!

The ultimate price? Ooh, maybe it will be worth watching after all. Kitchen Nightmares takes a dark twist. Although, being a reality TV show, he'll probably just be complaining about having to pay his bill or something entirely boring. Like, they won't take his coupon or something. THE DRAMA!

CAN RAMSEY KEEP THIS LIMP-LOOKING OWNER FROM DESTROYING HIS PARENT'S LEGACY? Probably. Just sayin'.

John weeps us into the titles.

DEBT! DENIAL! DISASTER!

FOOD! FIGHTS! DISGUSTING!

SHUTDOWN! PASSION! EMOTION!

RELATIONSHIPS! DREAMS! KITCHEN NIGHTMARES!

No, seriously. That's the titles. Just mildly evocative words bleeding into scenes of people crying and throwing food and/or tantrums, and Ramsey yelling a lot. People sob, food is gross (DISGUSTING! Oh God, that's so good. From here on out if I see something that's even a tiny bit gross I'm going to yell 'DISGUSTING!' at the top of my lungs.) At some point, a distressed woman squeaks: "Mimi takey me mo!" That's all I can decipher. Ramsey points, Ramsey shouts, Ramsey hugs. He really is a modern-day Jesus.

Over shots of the Brooklyn bridge, the VO guy tells us that they're in the historic location of Cobblehill, which is a hip, thriving area home to Sal's Pizzeria. (Note: I presume he means 'hip thriving' as in 'a place enjoyed by those ballsacks who like giant prescriptionless glasses', and not 'hip-thriving'. Pfahaha, can you imagine? It's where post-op elderly folk go to recover. I would prefer the latter SO much - old people are fucking awesome - but by the quick shots of the fedoras and skinny jeans parading around, I think it's safe to say it's the former. Boooooo.)



Sal's Pizzeria is run by Sa-- Oh no, my bad. It's run by John. John looks defeated already, and kind of like he's in the middle of a Terms of Endearment, Beaches, Sophie's Choice marathon.

Alternatively, he looks as if someone just diagnosed him with cancer of the puppy.

John made the A+ decision to flunk out of high school at fourteen and go work for his Mama and Papa instead. At the time, their pizzeria was flourishing, probably because you could get away with mouldy, frozen whateveritwas in the 60's. Maybe John should grow a Hitler mustache because he looked way fucking happier when he was rocking one.

"I was happy once. It was awful."
By the 90's, they bought the restaurant next door. THRILLING, isn't it? Let's fast-forward all this talky rubbish and get to Ramsey insulting the food. The gist of it is that after his parent's passed, John was left alone to deal with both places, and it began to take its toll on him. First his moustache fell out, then his chin left him. He'd rather do that cool thing flipping pizza dough around than deal with asshole people in his restaurant who don't like his beige food. Aint nobody got time for that.

Lori the waitress tells us that John is always making pizzas and covered in flour. At no point this evening will I see John covered in flour. I can only conclude from this that Lori is a lying whore. I have to say, I don't really understand why the owner of the place can't do what he wants to in it. Hire a restaurant manager, leave that shit to him. Stay where you're happy, regrow the toothbrush mustache, whatever.

The staff bitch a bit more about how pizza places and restaurants are totally not the same thing, one of them uses a dumb accountant analogy, I don't know. Lori is whinging about how John uses the places like a second home, and how his (adorable) kids are always there. Well, FUCK YOU, lady. If I had a restaurant I'd have my imaginary kids running around in it as well. You know why? Because I own it. Go carry this plate over there and shut your hole. The kids are never mentioned again in the whole episode, leading me to believe that not only is Lori a lying whore, she's also barren. She ends that weird kid-hating segment by saying that it doesn't look good for the restaurant. You know, children smiling and playing, creating a family feel, yeah, NO ONE would want to eat THERE. Yuck.

(I feel it only fair to add that I probably wouldn't eat there because I don't have kids. But I live in England, so it's not like I'm their target demo.)

Oh CHRIST, I was right about the hipsters. The area used to be old school, and (probably drawn by the scent of something pure to corrupt) the fucking glasses and slouchie hat brigade moved in. To prove my point, some lackwit in thick black-rimmed glasses sort of oozes up to the counter and drawls about his spaghetti not tasting right.

John wins 10 internet cool points from me by saying he's not going to put on any fucking plastic glasses to please these a-holes. He then loses those points by saying he's not going to get a funky haircut or earrings either, both of which I have. This week, my hair is cotton-candy pink. John would not like me.

All of this, of course, serves to remind us that John is stuck in the past and doesn't want to change anything, and yet remains baffled as to why the shit that didn't work twenty years isn't still working now.

Ramsey arrives and is immediately repulsed by the awning outside of Mama Maria's. (That's the name of the restaurant, did I say that yet? Trying to repress it as I'm typing.) There's holes in it, and the letters are falling off, and it kind of looks like a place you might be stabbed in. Chef Ramsey does what any rational human being would do when faced with such an eyesore: he dubs it 'Ghastly', then jumps up and down trying to tear bits off. Whee!

"I'm going to yank it down and throw it at his face. With my face."
John's nowhere to be found when Ramsey walks in; instead he's greeted by Fabio, who is the manager of the restaurant. Oh, okay, so John did hire a manager - he's just about twelve and sporting a really unfortunate goatee. He's also a big snitch, since he gives up John as the culprit behind the Sign of Doom without even a little bit of water boarding.

[CAN I JUST INTERJECT TO SAY: It's really, really hard to watch this TV show at the best of times. It's ridiculously hard while one of the cats is sitting on my shoulder like a parrot and eating my hair.

INTERJECTION OVER -----------------------------------------------------------------------------]

Fabio says something incomprehensible about how John cut the letters out of the awning because it was tearing, and he wanted to complete the whole thing. I don't know. He's scratching his neck nervously while he's talking to Gordon, as if expecting him to suddenly attack and go for the throat. Ramsey is a modern day vampire Jesus.

Man, the Foley guys just go all out on this show. Ramsey can't do anything without someone adding a wacky sound. I'm presuming that's the reason, I've never met Gordon in person so I guess it's technically possible that his head makes whooshing noises when he looks around, or that his fingers go 'tinkle-tinkle-tinkle' when he taps them against his brow in consternation.

Chef wanders off to Sal's to find John, who is treating Ramsey with that muted blend of distrust and terror that I've come to recognise in these owners. Gordon pretends he doesn't know shit from shit by scratching his head cartoon-style and wondering if John's in the pizzeria because someone called in sick. He also quizzes him on the canopy, which John blames on the wind. Foley adds whimsical plinky-plonk to Gordon's smirk.

Ramsey and John sit down to talk and it's so interesting that I cZZzzzzz...

Oh, when I wake up, Gordo's ready to order food. Yaaay! My favourite part.

Gordon is going to be waited on by Lori, which means I have to watch more of Lori, and I am kind of sick of Lori's raggedy face already. Her mouth goes down when she smiles. She opines that the problem in the restaurant is lack of leadership. She calls John both frantic and chaotic, behind his back of course.

Then there's this:

Pretty sure the top portion is in some bastardisation of Comic Sans, too.
Homemade pasta.

Who here wants to bet that Gordon is going to immediately hone in on that? And that when his food is beigely delivered, the pasta will taste frozen and not, as the menu boasts, homemade? Congratulations! You've seen this show before! He confirms it with Lori, but since we know she's a lying liar who lies her 'Yes, that's right,' doesn't mean a damn thing. A damn thing.

I have a thing where I really like to pause on the menus to read what's on offer, but I can't here because most of the page is taken up with that bullshit HOMEMADE PASTA declaration. Now I'm in a bad mood. Good move, Mama Maria's.

Ramsey orders tortellini de patate, spaghetti meatballs and a Margarita pizza. Ten pounds says it's all beige.

In the kitchen, at least one of the chefs has caved to the influx of hipsters - either that or he was wearing thick-rimmed black specs before they were cool, which kind of makes him the hipster that hipsters worship. They toss green leaf in a pan, and do other chef-y things, including grumbling at each other and declaring that although the food at Maria's sucks, it's not their food. The head chef tells everyone in earshot that he's cooking for Ramsey the same way he cooks for everyone else, every other night. The Hipster that Time Forgot lets out an entirely hilarious "Oh, boy."

"HOOOOBOY."

A girl wanders out to Ramsey's table and introduces herself as Fran. Fran is the desert-shower-girl! I didn't know that was a thing. Clearly, I'm going to the wrong restaurants. Or the right ones, whatever. Fran presents him with a plate brimming with slices of various cakes and desserts, and says "Everything is made fresh on premise," which makes me giggle, because oh, Fran. 'Premise' is not the same as 'on the premises'. Don't worry about it though guys, she's pretty, she'll be fine.

This is the first thing Ramsey picks up. It looks like a chocolate cake topped with a slab of butter (???) and garnished with a strawberry:

Garnished as well with what looks like limp lettuce. Or mint leaves? Christ, I don't know.

Ramsay asks about the blob of butter and apparently it's there for display to represent ice-cream. Okay. If I can tell from a video it's butter, people can probably tell in person. Just sayin'. Oh, and it's also there to hide the mould. No, seriously.

Aw, it almost looks like it has a smiley face.

Fabio goons on by and Gordon calls him over to EXPLAIN THIS BULLSHIT. Fabio doesn't look in the least phased by the mould and butter decoration, instead echoing what Fran has already said about it being for display purposes only. Ramsey's head spins around all the way as Fabio goes on to derisively insist there's no need to make a new dessert plate every day, because they'd just have to throw it in the garbage after dinner service was done. He also says that as long as it's fresh, it's good.

DUDE. FABIO. THERE'S MOULD ON IT. Ramsey's eyes glaze over a bit as he asks Fabio if he has lost the plot. Fran stands there looking prettily confused. Fabio would like Gordon to know that he has not, in fact, lost the plot, but as Ramsey pulls out more and more gross, rock-hard, culture-growing examples from the plate, it would seem otherwise. Also, apparently it stinks. Yum.

During all this, John is darting around in the background clutching his pearls and fretting about Ramsey laying into Fabio. He doesn't actually do anything about it, I hasten to add, he just mutters to himself and goes to comfort himself with a pizza dough pillow.

Ramsey excuses himself to 'go wash the pus off [his] hands' and when he's back, it's time for the eats! I can't even remember what he ordered now, after that dessert tray fandango.



Oh, right. The beige thing. The bland, beige thing, according to Gordon. Visually, he says, it looks like someone ate the whole mouldy dessert tray and shat it out onto a plate. Mmm. He has such a a way with words. He identifies a grainy texture in the dish and thinks it down to something [Read: Everything] being frozen. Lori, the liar, tells him nothing is frozen at Mama Maria's. After suffering a skeptical glower from Gordon, she scuttles off to check with the kitchen and - suprise! - turns out all the pasta is fresh-frozen. One of the chefs mutters something about that being the most mind-boggling thing about the whole place. I dunno, dude. That dessert tray was pretty gross.

Ramsey bitches about how they advertise in giant letters on the menu how all their shit is fresh, but that apparently Lori isn't the only big fat liar in this place, since all of their food is frozen. He thinks something is very wrong here, and the cameraman treats us to a lingering shot of Fabio looking creepy, leaning against the bar. Lori goes to tell him about her conversation with Gordon, and Fabio apparently didn't even know the food was fresh-frozen, and bemoans it not making any sense. Come on, dude. If you're the manager, manage this shit.

Gordon, apparently bored with picking apart the terrible food, gets up to bitch about the dirt festooning the place. Fabio has no idea how often it's cleaned because Fabio doesn't actually know anything. I kind of suspect Fabio was hired this morning for reasons unknown.

Following his nose to a funky smell sees Gordon manhandling one of those decorative urns people put plants in, and then dumping the rotten, stinking water inside it over an innocent couple just trying to enjoy their beige meals. At least Ramsey offers to pay for their dry cleaning.

MUST GET THE TASTE OF BEIGE OUT OF MY MOUTH

Ramsey tucks into his spaghetti and (frozen) meatballs. Fabio's whole body is cringing now that he's discovered that everything in the place is frozen. He's a broken shadow of a man, grimacing and fighting the urge to hang his head. John, on the other hand, keeps shrugging and looking generally sort of limp.

At least it's not beige. Well, more or less.

Frozen! Rubbery! Disgusting! (DISGUSTING! Heh heh heh.) Gordon isn't a fan of the meatballs and sends them back with nothing but negatives. To their credit, the guys in the kitchen seem to know that they're being forced to serve up shit and accept the damning reviews with resignation (I mean that they're resigned to it, they don't throw down their coats and walk out) and mutterings of 'He's right'.

One of the chefs folds his arms and grumps: "Everything here is frozen. When I first started here, I cut up a leg of veal and I'm still waiting to use it." I don't think that veal is still good, my dude.

It's pizza time! Oh hell, no. That doesn't look tasty at all. Did John make this? John who claims he's been making pizzas since he was eight years old? Yeesh.

It's all burny and blobby. It looks sad. It makes my tummy sad.

Gordon declares the pizza waaaay too greasy, while John peeks out from the bar and makes little voodoo dolls of him. Lori is over this bullshit by now, so when Ramsey tells her to go take the greasy pizza to John and make him taste it, she hops right too it. Gordon is scratching his head as to why he's even there if the owner doesn't care to do anything other than play peek-a-boo with him.

THEN! THEN! YOU GUYS! THE MOST AMAZING THING HAPPENS!

Lori tells John he should be tasting all this shit before it gets sent to Gordon. John proceeds to flip the fuck out. It's amazing. Oh my God. It's this weird, slow-burn of a freakout. I've never seen anything like it. I didn't know it was POSSIBLE to lose your shit in such a passive-aggressive loser-y manner. First he slides the pizza REALLY FAST YOU GUYS into the bin, without even tasting it like he was told to.


FUCK YOOOU, PIZZA

Then he walks perfectly normally into the kitchen while all the chefs do the kitchen equivalent of taking the expensive bottles from the top shelf when a drunk blazes into a bar. He starts to stomp around muttering "I've had it. I've had it with this. Fuck this. Fuck this." He sort of contorts himself into a display of anger that looks more like a really serious dance move, while the alien from the first Men in Black movie stands in the background and waits for him to stop acting the damn fool.

I can dance if I want to.

In his BLIND PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE RAGE, John picks up a stack of cardboard pizza boxes, stomps across the floor, trips on something and the boxes fly everywhere, including an innocent server who's doing something in the corner on a desk. SO ENRAGED, is John at this ill turn of fate that he flails his arms trying to catch all the boxes, and when that fails miserably, he grabs one, lifts it above his head and HURLS IT AT THE GROUND WITH ALL HIS MIGHT.

Yeah, take that, world.



I hate everything, especially these boxes.

ARGHNO, THE HUMANITY, I TRIPPED!

There is no coming back from this.

I will take out my anger on this box. Because that makes sense.

When we come back from the adverts, John's calmed down. Phew, I was starting to think he was going to do some real damage for a moment there. Ramsey marches everyone out of the kitchen to explain themselves, noting that he just had the displeasure of eating one of the most disgusting lunches he's ever had. I think 'tasting' would be a better word to use, Gordo. It's not like you actually powered through it, like some of us have had to do in the past when faced with a Grandmother's soggy Sunday lunch.

All of the chefs are on Gordon's side and aren't afraid to be vocal about it. When John mutters something about them not having the time to make meatballs every day, his chef makes an adorable snorting noise and says it takes ten minutes to make ten pounds of meatballs, actually. John counters with the old chestnut 'It's the way we've always done it', and Ramsey shouts him down because it's not 1969 anymore.

John makes this face, it's ace:

"I'm imagining you as a pizza box right now, Ramsey."

As you can probably imagine, the rest of the conversation doesn't go well for John. His chefs are mutinying, they think his menu and his methods stink and Gordon agrees with them. John has his heels dug in in and head in the sand while listening to all this, repeating his mantra of 'It worked before, why can't it work again'? Gordon tells him he's running on nostalgia and that he's in love with the memories, which don't pay the bills now that the rest of the neighbourhood has moved on. He tells John he should be nowhere near this business and tells him to shut it down, before prowling off to take a shower in a bid to rid himself of the 'plant juice' he spilled over himself and half the restaurant earlier.

John sulks and doesn't agree with Ramsey.

It's supervised dinner service time! You know what that means, right? Flocks of people attracted by Gordon's presence in the town [Read: Bribed by the production company] pack into a restaurant that hasn't seen more than two people a night since last Christmas. The food will be shit, people will be waiting forever, Gordon will swear a lot and rub his brow.

Okay, GO! Things hustle and bustle. Gordon embodies consternation  John is pounding dough behind the counter of the pizzeria (don't be crude) and when Gordon quizzes him about his usual dinner service behaviour he confirms this is it. Ramsey grimaces and goes off to glower at something else. John glances to make sure Gordon's gone, waits an extra five seconds to be sure, then says in a passive-aggressive micro-whisper: "You can leave." Amazing.

Things in the kitchen are rolling, they're getting food out at a quick pace. It's a pity it's all beige and tastes like crap, really. Complaints come hard and fast: the food is bland, part is frozen, all one guy can taste is rosemary, a girl finds a bone in her vegetarian sauce--

WRRRRKKKKKK. The needle comes off the record.

I choke on my mouthful of wine a bit (Shut up, I need it for this show) while some poor vegetarian girl tells Ramsay that there's a shard of bone in her tomato sauce. Since plants don't have bones (and if any do, I don't want to know about them) something is amiss here. Ramsey curses his way into the kitchen, where Joe (the chef, I suppose I had to learn his name at some point) tells him they put pork bones in the tomato sauce and always have, and that's it's another case of John's way or the highway.

Ramsey boggles at this. He actually boggles.

Once he's done boggling, he screams for John, who slouches his way in from the pizzeria to explain that they've always put sausage and pork in the vegetarian sauce to add the flavour. I actually half fall off my chair laughing at this point, and that's only partly because of the quarter bottle of wine I've ingested. Gordon is about an inch away from throttling John Homer Simpson style and shouting "VEGETARIANS DON'T EAT MEAT, YOU DONKEY!" but instead he tries to explain how feeding vegetarians pork sauce isn't A+ behaviour. John just whargarbles and shrugs a bit, and when Ramsey stalks off in disgust goes back to pounding his dough. I know I said no innuendo, but the angle they've shot this at makes him look like he's furiously masturbating. Bork. If I knew how to make GIFS, I'd do it.

A customer is talking to someone through a closed toilet door, which almost never means the person inside is pooing because they're so freaking happy about their meal.

"You okay in there?"
"Fine! It was just so delicious!"
So the guy had the lobster tail, and when Ramsey makes Joe cook him exactly what the sick man ate, turns out the lobster is bad. Like, really bad. Like Joe and Ramsey can smell ammonia coming from it in waves, which apparently is the smell decomposing bodies give off. MMM, ANYONE FOR LOBSTER? Joe clarifies for John - this sort of shit kills people. John calls an ambulance (at Ramsey's insistence), then goes to take a shot of vodka, because only pussies deal with life-threatening food poisoning with clear heads.

Predictably, the rest of the customers are somewhat perturbed at the arrival of an ambulance. Hilariously, John tells the EMTs that someone had the lobster and 'reacted badly' to it. Yeah, someone ate lobster and the ammonia it was saturated in didn't sit well with him. John ponces round and is all "We need to kill the cameras, kill the cameras.." I think you're doing a good enough job killing the customers, leave the cameras out of it. He also does the throat-cutting gesture when he asks them to turn the cameras off, which for some reason makes me want to punch him right in the face. With my face.

Ramsey SHUTS IT DOWN. The kitchen, not the restaurant. Yet.

It's serious talk time. Ramsey talks seriously. John sweats a lot and looks pasty. I don't know, I'm not really paying attention when no one's almost dying from ammonia poisoning. That reminds me, I have recently been trying to harden myself to horror movies because I can't watch them without shrieking and staying up for a fortnight with terrible nightmares. I feel like this is a skill I should master. It led to a terrible hour on Youtube watching all of the Saw 'games'. By the time the Spy got home I was a gibbering mess in the corner, rocking quietly and weeping about my own mortality. Moral of this story? Don't watch horror movies if you don't like them. Their plots are usually lame anyway.

It's the turning point for John, or something. He calls HIMSELF a donkey, which is a startling change for a Ramsey show. John says he loves his family and wants to provide for them, which is fairly adorable. He's tearing up. Gordon gives him some tough love, and tomorrow will be a new day.

The next day, Gordon throws himself into the freezers. There is a lot of frozen food. Like, all the food. In the world. Maybe John is preparing for a zombie apocalypse, ever think of that? It doesn't matter if your shit isn't named and dated if you're in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.

TUPPERWARE! Chicken, freezer burnt, five years old, oh my God! All words like this. A lot of shit is frozen AND mouldy. I snicker into my wine glass and watch Gordon pick stuff up and throw it around.

He decides a good idea is to bring all the frozen shit upstairs and chuck it all over the tables. Oh, and the vomiting diner from the night before is OK  I know everyone is breathing a sigh of relief. Gordon says he's never seen so much frozen stuff in his cooking career.



"LOOK AT THE MEATBALLS!"

Snigger.

And there's more downstairs, apparently! John, at least, accepts responsibility for it all. He says he's buying as if they're still busy, and Ramsey looks fairly sympathetic. The specials menu has been around since his parents died, and that's why he hasn't changed it. Gordon says that he's 'still treating this business as if Mum and Dad are here' which is pretty heartbreaking, really. Oh GOD, now I'm feeling sorry for fucking JOHN? UGH. CHRIST. Stupid manipulative plinky-plonky reality TV music!

There's a weird lightning shot next to the Statue of Liberty as John talks about growing up in the kitchen at the restaurant and that he doesn't want to be there anymore. Gordon basically tells him to suck it up, because he's not going to have much of a TV show if every fucker went around quitting every time their parents died.

Oh, fine. There's also some motivational speech-ifying by Gordon, where he appears very sympathetic to John's plight, especially when the poor man starts crying and has to take his specs off to wipe away tears, choking back his sobs as he talks about wanting to do better for his kids and to not fight with his wife anymore. Ramsey promises to help him turn it all around as long as John promises not to hide behind the pizzeria anymore - to start making the dough instead of just, snigger, pounding it.

Tomorrow, is as promised, a fresh new day! Boy, an apocalypse would have really put a dampener on things. Especially since Ramsey threw away all of John's frozen zombie plague supplies! All the staff are wearing sleep masks outside of Mama Maria's, which means that either Gordon changed the sign, or they're all about to get hazed.

Bring in the hooker-clowns!

Ramsey greets them all and seems genuinely peppy. He welcomes them to the new Mama Maria's and invites them to take off their masks. John is the last one to take off his mask, so while everyone else is 'Wow!'-ing over the new sign, he's still processing it. It's pretty hilarious, to be honest, that I've been waffling on about the apocalypse during this recap, and by the looks of it someone in the production/design team decided that they could just run a search for 'apocalyptic' on daFONT and whatever came up would be good to use. It's not classy. It's not special. It's not inviting, except I suppose if you're an asshole hipster writing his zombie version of Twiligh-- OH WAIT! The whole neighbourhood is comprised of asshole hipsters! Well played, Gordo.

"Make it look like it has bullet holes. Or make it look old-but-new, hipsters love that shit."

Anyway, what do I know, because everyone loves it. Oh, synthetic happiness. Gordon goes on to say he's made a few minor changes inside, which we know means two things:

1) 'He' did fuck all. He went to a hotel and drank the minibar while the production team made children and puppies do it for tuppence an hour.
2) 'Minor' changes means the whole thing will be unrecognisable.

Apparently we're going to 'shit our pants when we see it'. Why? Is it covered with lobster tail?

Look at Gordo's mischievous little smile as he leads them in. WHY, YOU LITTLE-- You're just a big teddybear, aren't you?!

Whenever I write 'Gordo', I accidentally and without fail type 'Grodo'. I'm telling you, The Fellowship of the Ring would have been WAY different if Ramsey had the One Ring. "What do you mean, 'what's taters', you plonker?"
In they traipse and there are gasps and squeals and general exclamations of surprise and glee. I mean, yeah, it's very nice. They've opened it up a bit with light and better colours on the walls, they've replaced the old twee tables with ones that appear to be made out of papier mache, but somehow they work just fine. They've got some nice new lighting and a painting of the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as the word BROOKLYN down the side of the restaurant in case someone really forgets where they are. What's particularly nice is that Ramsey's [Read: The production company] had arty black and white photos of his parents blown up on big canvases and hung on the walls, doing a fair enough - if heavy-handed, but I like a bit of heavy-handedness from time to time, just ask the Spy - job of mixing the old in with the new. Also, the newspapers printed onto the tables are all about Mama Maria's through the years. N'aaaw, John gets all teared up.

I know you're just dying to see, and I am ever your wililng slave:






Of course everyone is delighted with the results.

Everything starts to happen super-fast now that there's very little chance for anyone to breakdown and/or throw pizza boxes around. Ramsey rolls out the new menu, complete with dishes (no mould, not for display purposes only.) I can only see it from afar, and it's already making me hungry. I'll kill the hunger pangs with wine, don't you worry.



Everyone oohs and aahs over the food too, and Ramsey runs them through the menu. The music in the background is very "LALALA BRAND NEW DAY, SOMETHING ABOUT A BABY PROBABLY, AND BIRDS FLYING, LALALA". I mean, there's no lyrics, but that's the gist.

A VIBRANT bruschetta. Earthy, rustic and charming. Like a barn.
Incredible mussels to 'get the juices flowing'. Oh Grodo, there's no time for romance, we must get to  Mount Doom!
Margarita pizza. Doesn't ring my bell, but whatever.
Ossobuco, served in the cooking jucies over mashed potato, gremolata and a demi-glace. I don't know what any of these words mean. 'Ossobuco' according to Chef Google is also known as 'the bone with the hole'. IDK, man.

Gordon promises to push John in the pizza oven if he sees him anywhere near it. Now THAT would make for good viewing. Hansel and Gretel his ass, Gordo! John is delighted with the whole menu (well, as delighted as John gets. He sort of smiles) and takes the black chef's jacket Gordon offers him with good grace, only grumbling once about having to abandon his bitchin' teal polo shirt.

Gordon's brought some very influential journalists and bloggers coming in for dinner service. What the actual fuck, why wasn't I invited? I want to eat on papier mache tables too, you know.

Once they're all changed and ready for dinner service, Gordon amps them up and freaks them out by listing his 'big hitters' who'll be coming to dine tonight. He wants every hipster in this damn neighbourhood to know that Mama Maria's is the new cool place to dine in Brooklyn. I don't think Gordo understands how hipsters work. Also, I was wrong about John's new jacket, it's not a chef's one, it's just a black shirt. It's also miles better than the sweaty pizza one. Coming to critic the restaurant are:




RATHER TELLINGLY, I can find not a-one mention of Mama Maria's on any of these sites. (Can I just say, in doing a bit of research to try and find out WTF is going on with that radio silence, I stumbled across a site where Gordon was referred to as a 'wrinkly shoutbot' and giggled myself into a puddle. Whoever wrote that, marry me. Don't worry about the Spy, he'll be fine.) ANYWAY! It's the moment of truth, the post-makeover, relaunch dinner service! If it doesn't go well, Gordon's going to cut a bitch, I can just tell.

Diners file in to take their seats, including the hallowed bloggers, none of which are me. Not that I'm bitter or anything. I mean, sure, do I know anything about food? Only that I like it. Did I have to look up all the names of the dishes Gordon was rattling off earlier by typing them into Google phonetically? Yes. An invite would have been nice, that's all.

So dinner service starts off really well. Chef Joe is killing it, pushing out really good food at an admirable pace. The diners are all making yummy faces and saying nice things about the food. The sauce is delicious! This meat is just right! Everything is unicorns!

But then John, oh John, drunk on his own success, starts to slow things down by chattering away to the customers about the history of Mama's. I understand why, he hasn't HAD a lot of success, this is probably what he thinks being a popstar feels like. Still, the kitchen is starting to back up because he's too busy flirting. OH NO! The weighty influence of the NY Observer food blogger who has only ever written four things for the paper is being soured by the wait! (It's four more things than I've written for a newspaper that big, or you know, any newspaper, so I should really shut my mouth there.)

"It's a blogger's table, guys!" Gordon shouts with aplomb and annoyance.

I wish that was a thing. I wish people shouted that at the chefs when I go to a restaurant. That would be the best and most hilarious moment of my life. BUT I DIGRESS!

Gordon pinwheels off the walls in his search for John, and finds him - in a giggle-worthy moment of serendipity - when John's saying to the couple he's been chatting up roughly forever: 'There's this guy, right, he's around here in a white chef's jacket, blonde hair--'

Ramsey's sharp: "JOHN!" makes him fill his pants a little and he scuttles off after him, accepting all the mild abuse Gordo throws his way and also the metaphorical kick up the arse. The kitchen starts moving again, hurrah!

Once all the food is out, John does the rounds and asks various people how their meals were. All the answers (THAT WE'RE SHOWN) are positive and full of praise, as is Ramsey as he slaps Chef Joe about his shoulders and congratulates all the chefs on a job well done. Aww, it's like those movies when they're at odds at the beginning, but a wacky series of events and some life-changing conversations leads to one of them saving the other one's life at the end! Speaking of saving lives, I can't believe they led with that whole 'one of the customers pays the ultimate price' bullshit. I didn't see bodybags. Ugh, MANIPULATION. Explosive diarrhea is not the ultimate price. That's a Tuesday in a restaurant.

Ramsey and John have a nice conversation and then Gordon peaces.

Outside, he says that Mama Maria's has belonged to John's parents for the last 55 years (ghost cooks would be an amazing TV show, by the way) but now it belongs to John. Gordo's rooting for him!

Well, that's that, more or less. We get some parting shots of John being manger-y once Gordon's gone, keeping away from the pizzeria and mingling with people. The VO guy says that Mama Maria's is well on its way to becoming a fixture in Brooklyn. Sweet.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a bottle of wine to finish.

PEACE.


1 comment:

  1. Heh. This was an enjoyable read, though I have to say that in the same paragraph where you rightfully say 'premises' isn't the same as 'premise', you also ended up typing in 'desert' in the first sentence, which has an entirely different meaning from 'dessert'.

    ReplyDelete