In the newest edition of our summer TV preview feature, we are looking at a show that has really put cooking competitions in part on the map — though with excess swearing and rage to boot. “Hell’s Kitchen” is an institution of reality TV at this point — it’s been on longer than most would realize, and it’s been entertaining just about every step of the way. (It would be nice to see an “All-Stars” season at some point!)
But can this show stay current in the midst of a crowded field of cooking shows? Now that we are entering the tenth season, some questions are starting to come up.
The pros – Gordon Ramsay is almost as much of a TV icon at this point as he is a culinary icon, and he knows what viewers love — to see him freak out. The rage in this show is what makes it work — not everyone loves to watch a grown man throw plates or smash a cooked fish with his hand, but the diehard fans do.
While some shows are really reliant more on their cast, this is really all about Ramsay — as long as the chefs can cook to a certain extent and there are at least a few somewhat-likable people, the leading man more than makes up for any flaws.
The cons – As great as Ramsay is, there are still some major questions about if people still care. “Top Chef” and “MasterChef” are both big hits, and “Around the World in 80 Plates” is also competing. There’s a cooking competition on almost as much as there is a singing competition, and the market is getting saturated.
The other problem “Hell’s Kitchen” faces is that it has gotten by for years with changing next to nothing about its format or it style — but we’re not sure how much longer that can work. The editing feels at times outdated, Gordon obviously keeps a few bad chefs longer than he should for drama, and the kitchen itself could use a facelift in order to keep things reasonably fresh.
The verdict – Ultimately, we know that “Hell’s Kitchen” will be good based on Ramsay alone — but what could keep it from being great is if the show uses no creativity in its challenges, and if they cast a group of horrendously unlikable people as they have done in some seasons. Not everyone has to be angry and swearing every other word — it’s okay to see a smile!
We know we’ll be watching, but at this moment it’s still unclear if longtime fans of the show will be joining us.
Now that “MasterChef” has become so popular, does the “Kitchen” really even still excite you as much?