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Fix The Show

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Okay, I know this has been done for so many other shows on the forum, so lets try it for this one.

 

How do you change the show to actually refresh it a bit?

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Get people who can actually cook and have experience in a restaurant.  It seems like every season I say "this is the worst final four ever" only to have the next season be even worse.  Instead of focusing on people with no cooking talent who are only there to bring drama focus on a real competition.  You can still have drama and gameplay, just do it with people who are viable candidates to be a "head chef" in a Gordon Ramsay restaurant.

 

Also, don't have virtually every challenge be tied up until the last pair faces off, complete with the commercial break right before Gordon picks the winner.

 

Get rid of the men versus women setup at the beginning - it seems to encourage boorish behavior and serves no purpose.  Mix up the gender of the teams from the start, we can tell which team is which based on the color of the jacket.

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Men vs. Women setup has to die, I agree.  It's just predictable at this point, and annoying.  

 

Getting people who can cook may actually be a problem.  The talent pool has to be SO drained by this point.  Remember, these are likely the people who tried out for the better shows and got laughed at.  Not sure how they overcome this, other than maybe offering even MORE money?  I dunno. That hasn't worked in the past.  This show gives a whopping quarter of a million and STILL gets mostly clowns.

 

I think the show needs to leave L.A. and try maybe... New York for a bit.  Yes, unfortunately the show needs "stars" and celebs visiting as VIPs, that seems to be too inevitable a part of the show to ditch, but you can get that in NY as well.  Here's a thought... while it's mostly an upscale neighborhood now, there are a few corners of the area around the REAL Hell's Kitchen in NY that could serve for the show (out by 11th Avenue, for those of you who know New York).  Or there may be a piece left of Brooklyn where they could do this.  And it's not like Gordon hasn't spent months at a time in NY before (he used to shoot entire long series of Kitchen Nightmares in NY).  At this point I assume he's always flying between the US and the UK to see his family anyway, and NY is actually a shorter flight than from LA.


Why NY?  Even still dragging in celebs and such, the overall energy of the situation will be a bit different, and the off-site challenges and rewards will at least be a bit fresh.

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I think Gordon equates L.A. with stardom, which he craves, and they've also got that huge HK studio set up that would be hard to reproduce in New York without spending a small fortune. Same with MasterChef, another studio set up that Gordon probably has already paid for by now.

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Getting people who can cook may actually be a problem.  The talent pool has to be SO drained by this point.  Remember, these are likely the people who tried out for the better shows and got laughed at.  Not sure how they overcome this, other than maybe offering even MORE money?  I dunno. That hasn't worked in the past.  This show gives a whopping quarter of a million and STILL gets mostly clowns.

 

I feel like you're assuming that they aren't actively looking for clowns. There's a common theme in Fox reality shows that the common man(/woman) is a buffoon who struggles and can't ever get ahead because they just aren't special and smart and ruthless enough to be successful, because if they were the invisible hand would be dropping confetti on them 24/7.

 

Oddly, their news channel has the same theme. Hell of a coincidence.

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I feel like you're assuming that they aren't actively looking for clowns. There's a common theme in Fox reality shows that the common man(/woman) is a buffoon who struggles and can't ever get ahead because they just aren't special and smart and ruthless enough to be successful, because if they were the invisible hand would be dropping confetti on them 24/7.

 

Oddly, their news channel has the same theme. Hell of a coincidence.

Nah, I know they are looking for clowns.  But even if they weren't, I doubt they'd find serious chefs taking them seriously.  I imagine the dividing line between a good chef and a bad one might be on a CV for it to say "got to an advanced casting stage with Hell's Kitchen" vs. "got to an advanced casting stage with Top Chef".  Or even "got to an advanced casting stage on Chopped" has got to be better (although they've spread things pretty thin too and cast some semi-clownish people occasionally too).

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I'm sure there are good chefs who audition for Hell's Kitchen but Fox/OPTP opt for contestants who bring drama first, cooking skills second.  I understand they need contestants who bring some drama - the show is entertainment, after all, and they feel like they need some characters to give viewers something to talk about.  But if they cast a season of mostly contestants who would be credible winners they could change the image of the show and attract more contestants who are credible winners.  As it stands now you know going in that at least half of the people on the show have no shot whatsoever of winning.  There's another (fairly large) group that have a bare minimum of cooking skills who are kept around for a while, and there are at most two or three people who could win without the audience feeling robbed.

 

Think about the final two - invariable they lead a team of contestants who already went home.  Ideally all of those returning contestants should be people who make you think they had a real chance of winning.  Instead, picking your team is a case of holding your nose and hoping the returning contestants don't totally screw things up for you.

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We need a few good chefs to try out, act like buffoons in the tryout stage, then go in with guns blazing and really cook some good food.

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Mix up the menu. Wellingtons, scallops, and risotto have been drained of all their potential dramatic value. Gordon's a world-class chef; surely he's heard of some other kinds of food.

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Gordon strikes me as a "if it's not broke, don't fix it" type of TV personality. He does the same things over and over and over. Yet shows like Bravo's Top Chef get nominated for Emmys, and they are also basically doing the same thing, just in different locales. The challenges are all pretty much consistent from season to season. But in a different place, you have different foods available.

Gordon focuses too much on the drama and those long....long....pauses....between.....announcing....who.....is .....going....home. And the repetitiveness with the commercial breaks repeating everything you just watched.

To Gordon, I think it's just a game show. Not trying to find someone who can actually cook.

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Oh gosh there are so many things that could be fixed/changed about this show it's hard to know where to even begin...

 

Count me in as wanting a change up from the men vs. women thing. I remember in the first couple of seasons the men and women were mixed. 

 

Change the menu. I guess GR picks the same items he knows they'll screw up but how many times can you watch someone burn scallops or send up raw meat before it stops being entertaining?

 

Enough already with the Jaws music over everything that happens, enough with the cliffhangers, enough with the recaps every 5 minutes.

 

It's to be expected 90% of the cast will be below average cooks. That's fine. But they shouldn't be lasting for as long as they are (Gabriel, Kaisha).

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Change the menu. I guess GR picks the same items he knows they'll screw up but how many times can you watch someone burn scallops or send up raw meat before it stops being entertaining?

If he was really going simply by what they could screw up, we had the perfect example of a different item this year (placed on the menu by the contestants more than by Ramsay).  Fried Chicken.

 

For dessert, I'd nominate an item that Gordo has had on MasterChef but not here:  Baked Alaska.  

 

I'd also add a Savory Soufflé.  That'll fuck 'em up good....

 

Wellingtons probably DO have to stay, because they are legitimately considered one of the toughest things to cook.

 

I know Galantines are considered tough too (but I think we've actually seen them on this show every once in a while).

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Yes, I agree with others on STOP with the replays of what just happened...and/or what is going to happen...right before, and right after...EVERY bloody commercial break.  How long is the actual show with all the rehashing and teasing...20 minutes long?  Maybe all that time wasted could be say, focused on describing the actual food. I also cannot stand getting a summary of what I am about to watch  RIGHT BEFORE I WATCH IT. This is nothing new for a reality show but Ramsay's shows take it to a whole other level. Same thing happens on Kitchen NIghtmares and The F Word. I never watch episodes live so thank gawd I can zip past all this wasted footage.

 

And don't give me that BS that these contestants are the best cooks they can find. How is it we can get so much more knowledgeable cooks on MasterChef...a show featuring HOME COOKS?!! Even the MasterChef Junior cooks know more than these stupid donkeys.

 

Its also annoying to watch American reality shows in general and have to put up with so many arrogant ignorant asses. I'm not saying all Americans are like that but its got to say something when you compare any international reality franchise...Masterchef.....Next Top Model....Top Chef.....Project Runway/Catwalk...and the American ones are the only ones where most are assholes only looking out for #1, getting into trash talk and borderline physical confrontation, while those filmed in other countries mostly try and help each other and get along fine.

 

I suspect American TV  producers "know what is best for us" and purposely choose confrontational and crazy people thinking that that is what we want. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just taking Masterchef for example....I learn from and enjoy so much more the Australian version, where I get a good feeling that these people are there because they actually love food instead of loving the spotlight.  They actually feel good for their competitors when they do well....that would be a shocking sight for American viewers.

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Sometimes I think that it's part of the mission of Fox Entertainment to send America the message that working class people are getting screwed by the economy because they suck. Yeah, I know, you thought that was the mission of Fox News... But with the exception of MasterChef, which is aspirational and has its own product line, all the shows Ramsay has done since he got to this side of the water have gone from helping hard working small businessmen or giving talented young chefs a chance in England to berating lazy, stupid people throwing away other peoples' retirements and mouthbreathing buffoons with no meaningful cooking experience. He set up a business in a prison in England to help prisoners learn skills to help them live outside and made a popular show out of it? Fox turned it down.

I'm pretty sure they could troll the employee parking lot of a Red Lobster or a reasonably busy iHOP and find more competent contestants than most of this year's, or last. Although I'd be willing to bet english would be a second language for more than a few of them, which is a reality of the restaurant industry that none of these shows is ever going to touch...

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Julia, do you remember the woman who quit in the second episode a season or two ago? She never worked at a restaurant, period. Nor did a big black fellow who got eliminated early on. Every season, I look on Google to find out where these people work, and there are always some who don't work in the food industry. Period. I think half of them are from Central Casting. Which would explain the buffonery.
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Oh, the woman who made fish pescatore (Department of Redundancy Department, please hold) and had conversations with her puppet? I think someone at TWOP hunted her down afterwards working the counter at a taco shop. It doesn't surprise me that she had no experience.

Just, you know, I can't remember which of the guys this week was kvelling because Gordon Ramsay was personally showing him how to brown scallops and get them out of the pan, and I was thinking, if you actually cooked for a living, would you even admit that Gordon Ramsay had to show you that? And then got it wrong again twice.

I have to think grownups apply for this show and get turned down at this point.

Edited by Julia
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First and foremost, get rid of the narrator. Every other cooking reality show does just fine without them (sometimes they use talking heads to convey the same information, but that at least feels less condescending and manipulative).

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Julia, do you remember the woman who quit in the second episode a season or two ago? She never worked at a restaurant, period. Nor did a big black fellow who got eliminated early on. Every season, I look on Google to find out where these people work, and there are always some who don't work in the food industry. Period. I think half of them are from Central Casting. Which would explain the buffonery.

 

It works the other way, too. Anyone else remember the infamous Raj from Season 8? Everyone thought he was an actor whose experience of cooking probably went no further than occasionally sticking a TV dinner in the microwave, but on further research it turned out that he actually had a fairly extensive culinary resume, albeit mostly as a personal chef, which actually explained a lot since private clients generally won't care as much about what insane things their chef does so long as the food arrives on-time and tastes good.

 

As to the main subject of the thread, I think Ramsay should take a leaf out of The Apprentice's book and after 3 or 4 services of men vs. women, swap one or two chefs around every episode. Restaurants have notoriously high staff turnover rates after all, so may as well simulate that in the show and see how they cope. Plus it'd lessen alliances like the one between Joy and Kashia last season, and the one between Aaron, Santos and Steve this season.

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+1. Imagine how much faster we would have been rid of Robyn and Tiffany if they hadn't had consistent allies.

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Stop casting people with the greatest potential for friction and rather check for culinary knowledge instead. A potential question: have they ever bothered to visit an Indian restaurant.

 

I know Ramsay said in a previous episode he didn't care what a chef did upstairs and I think that's wrong. If you pretend to look for a head chef, you should also pretend to give a crap about soft skills. How can someone lead a brigade if they can't actually deal with people and will therefore not be accepted as a leader? I've seen what happens when there's no leader in a kitchen and it isn't pretty.

 

I also think that some things that go on during prep and punishments should go into the decision. Can't be arsed to participate in the punishment? Suprise! There were cameras, you're up for elimination. Threaten a fellow contestant upstairs or scheme to sabotage them? Step forward, please. The way they are doing it now is sending the message that cooking and leading a brigade is secondary to being a rude, destructive piece of leftovers. It's not good television either because I'm not rooting for someone who behaves either despicably or like a 5 year old on a sugar-crash; if I don't care about the contestants, I'll stop watching at some point.

 

 

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What I need is for them to do is stop doing the challenge punishments in their chef coats. It skeeves me out to see them cleaning the dorms and then serving up scallops in the same jackets. Gross.

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Let's not have one season follow another with only a week or two break (it seems) between them.  I couldn't believe there were still 8 people left in this week's episode, because it feels like I've been watching forever.  Then I realized that's because this season started so soon after the end of the last one.

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Fix the show? How about not 're- capping' what just happened after EVERY commercial break?

AND stop with the Ryan Seacrest patented, " The...................contestant.......................eliminated..................................tonight..............is............"

Along with the fakeouts, "step forward, take off your jacket, blah blah, back in line!"

Someone gets eliminated. Just announce it and stop with all the drama.

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We could add "make less of it".

Note that Season 14 starts airing March 3rd.

Remember that Season 12 was LAST March (started on the 13th) and dragged through a good part of the Spring and Summer (till July 25th). Season 13 started September 10th and is ending next week (Dec 17th). With Season 4 next March, that's 3 damn seasons touching a single calendar year (even if barely), but more importantly like 37 or 38 episodes (depending on if next season's premiere is a double episode or not) airing during a year. TOO DAMN MUCH!

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Hopefully this year we just got two seasons because of the X-Factor being canned, as the rumor mill has been saying. But I remember back in 2009 and 2010 we got two seasons in both of those years because of the writers' strike, and even with the show being less tired and generally having better contestants, it was still too much. If they make a regular thing of two seasons a year, they'll drive the show into the ground faster than an anvil-filled 747 that's run out of fuel.

 

As an aside, maybe ease up on the emotional manipulation just a little? Last night they may as well have referred to the two finalists as "Woman with dead grandma" and "Man with cute baby" instead of their actual names.

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That would be so nice. I'm really into competence porn, and if you watch him on his british shows (the F Word, particularly) he's just so deft. I love watching real chefs  (think Mike Symon or Mario Batali, not Bobby Flay). Whatever the cool thing is they're doing, you know they spent months of their lives doing it for hours a day and it's like watching a magician work.

Edited by Julia
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Mix up the menu. Wellingtons, scallops, and risotto have been drained of all their potential dramatic value. Gordon's a world-class chef; surely he's heard of some other kinds of food.

 Maybe they are holding out hope that one of these contestants will someday practice cooking scallops and risotto before getting there. That is one of the most baffling parts of the show to me. If the menu is the same year after year, why do they still get contestants who don't know how to cook the food on the never-changing Hell's Kitchen menu?

Julia, do you remember the woman who quit in the second episode a season or two ago? She never worked at a restaurant, period. Nor did a big black fellow who got eliminated early on. Every season, I look on Google to find out where these people work, and there are always some who don't work in the food industry. Period. I think half of them are from Central Casting. Which would explain the buffonery.

 I have always wondered about that but don't think they are professional actors. I think they are people who see this on TV and think they can do this just as well as the professionals. (And they are almost always wrong.) 

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A lot of them do practice those items but it's known that producers tamper with oven temperatures a lot, hence even the most skilled chefs screwing up.

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They need to stop advising the contestants to yell when they're in the confessional room. I feel like I'm watching Maury Povich: "Bradley thinks I can't cook and I'm here to tell him I CAN COOK BETTER THAN YOU, AND YOU KNOW YOU'RE THE FATHER!"

Edited by Uptown Sasquatch
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Here's how to fix the show - have every single person involved go back and watch Season 1.  I'm rewatching on Hulu so I can see where it derailed so badly.  Season 1 is great - 12 (mostly) likeable characters, no huge dramatics.  GR's original proclamation of turning "anyone into a master chef" (not yet trademarked) shows with the contestants - only 2 or 4 were chefs.  Any the characters were mostly memorable (who could forget Dewberry?  Michael talking to himself?), and they helped each other.  Ralph was a huge mentor to some of the younger people (Andrew, Jessica).  Plus GR had talking head interviews as well, where he explained his thinking behind his methods.  He demonstrated cooking methods.  Plus - Maryann!  Scott!  JP!  and they interacted with the contestants.

 

So show, go back to the drawing board.  It used to be good.

 

But I'll still keep watching.  :)

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Here's how to fix the show - have every single person involved go back and watch Season 1.  I'm rewatching on Hulu so I can see where it derailed so badly.  Season 1 is great - 12 (mostly) likeable characters, no huge dramatics.  GR's original proclamation of turning "anyone into a master chef" (not yet trademarked) shows with the contestants - only 2 or 4 were chefs.  Any the characters were mostly memorable (who could forget Dewberry?  Michael talking to himself?), and they helped each other.  Ralph was a huge mentor to some of the younger people (Andrew, Jessica).  Plus GR had talking head interviews as well, where he explained his thinking behind his methods.  He demonstrated cooking methods.  Plus - Maryann!  Scott!  JP!  and they interacted with the contestants.

 

So show, go back to the drawing board.  It used to be good.

 

But I'll still keep watching.  :)

Ramsay has been complicit in all of this bullshit.  It's no accident that it's all of his shows that feature dubbed in crashing sounds and clearly artificial camera shakes, for example, whenever someone marches off or slams a door onscreen.  It's no accident that a number of clear total incompetents are cast side by side with a bulk of mediocre people and only 2 or 3 real contenders.  It's no accident that you can almost hear the producer prompting in the talking head interviews asking them to trash talk.  It's no accident that as tired as we are of it, it's Boy/Girl teams every season now.  etc etc etc.

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I think it's the devil's due. His shows supported his restaurants for many years, and that probably put him in a bad negotiating position with Fox.

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I am just curious as to why American producers think what drives interest in reality shows is drama, drama, drama. Not just on HK, but it's happening with lots of other reality shows as well. American audiences love drama, yes, but only when it is authentic, not contrived. For some reason producers think this is what the American audience wants, when the majority see right through it and some shows are even suffering in ratings because of the contrived drama. It's especially unwelcome on shows that are actually supposed to have some sort of point to them like HK, Idol, etc. 

 

IMO around season 8 or 9 was where the show started to fall off the rails. Even the season with Elise wasn't so bad because I think a lot of her drama was real and not producer-driven. S10 or whatever season it was with the dreadful Tiffany/Kimmie/Robin trio was easily the worst, most disgusting season of this show ever made. That, IMO, was where its downfall began. That leaves a good number of seasons before it that were actually pretty decent. All they need to do is cast better. They purposely cast clowns because for whatever reason they think it makes good TV. Cast a few of those for the entertainment factor, but the majority of the cast should be competent cooks, at the very least. Change up the menu. Stop assuming the audience is dumb and think you can pull these lame "pranks" on us like the "jumping off the roof" fakeout at the beginning of the season. The less producers get involved, the better. Of course producers need to steer the ship a little bit, but that's it. Only a little bit, not completely. Unfortunately that is the way most reality shows have become now. If you cannot get a decent group of cast members together who can make magic happen without a lot of influence from producers, maybe it's time to can the show.

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I want to see a menu changeup, something besides the same things every year. Since it's obvious these chefs aren't practicing making scallops, risotto or beef Wellingtons at home. And I am almost convinced that they screw with the ovens on purpose. I wouldn't put it past Andi or the other guy to turn off an oven when no one's looking. Just stop.

I would love for this show to go back to what it was, as mentioned above. Let's all learn something. Let's watch competent cooks become chefs under Gordon's wing. But no.... he'd rather scream and throw food in the trash. The wastefulness makes me ill every week.

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The sad thing is that I think this is the way they want to produce the show for the American audience. Because I have seen the UK version and it's entirely different. People have also noted differences between the US and UK versions of Kitchen Nightmares and Ramsay's other shows which only appear in the UK such as The F Word and that show about prisoners working at a bakery or something (unless that's the same show). 

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No, you're right. There have been a number of Ramsay shows in the UK way smarter than this. Only his Fox shows are this bad. Which, well, Fox.

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The sad thing is that I think this is the way they want to produce the show for the American audience. Because I have seen the UK version and it's entirely different. People have also noted differences between the US and UK versions of Kitchen Nightmares and Ramsay's other shows which only appear in the UK such as The F Word and that show about prisoners working at a bakery or something (unless that's the same show). 

Although in some sense, it's not fair to compare US and UK Hell's Kitchen, because for the most part Ramsay only appropriated the name.  His actual direct involvement with UK Hell's Kitchen was 2 weeks long (8 days over 2 weeks).  That's it.  That's all.

 

Of course there's the better comparison of UK Kitchen Nightmares (called "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares") and the US Kitchen Nightmares.  That was all Ramsay all the way and the UK was indeed a kinder gentler show than the US show.  And Ramsay's other UK shows usually are in the same range--he does still swear a lot, but there's generally no "you donkeys!", there's no camera shaking and dubbed in crashing sounds, there's no producer engineered fights between people, and casting that usually seems more like real people than people who know people who know people at a casting agency.

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I echo what most others have said and add: Fewer contestants! That solves the problem of getting enough semi-competent people, and it also makes the earlier episodes each season less boring. I only half-watch the episodes until there's at least 10 people eliminated, because there's so many and I can't get attached to anyone yet, as they're mostly just faces in the crowd.

 

Cut out the recapping after every.commercial.break. We've been watching the entire time. No need to tell us what happened 2 minutes ago.

 

Some of the challenges are SO cringey.  People chasing chickens and various livestock around is such a joke. I wonder at Gordon being able to keep a straight face.

 

Stop with the live challenges in front of a huge audience. It's so cringey. They all seem straight from central casting and just brought in to clap on cue. It's clear most of them have no interest in the show IMO.

 

All the wasted food really bothers me too. What if some people like their Wellingtons well done?

Edited by EarlGreyTea
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They all seem straight from central casting and just brought in to clap on cue. It's clear most of them have no interest in the show IMO.

They are.

I applied to be an audience member for a taping of Food Network Star, which was taping it's last episode of the upcoming season in Los Angeles March 9. I didn't get picked, probably because I wasn't a member of SAG or AFTRA. They had boxes to check if you were a union member. They had also asked for a headshot and any IMDB page listings. They pay you to sit there all day and look happy. Same thing goes for all the diners in Hell's Kitchen dining room. I've also applied for that, but so far no luck.

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They are.

I applied to be an audience member for a taping of Food Network Star, which was taping it's last episode of the upcoming season in Los Angeles March 9. I didn't get picked, probably because I wasn't a member of SAG or AFTRA. They had boxes to check if you were a union member. They had also asked for a headshot and any IMDB page listings. They pay you to sit there all day and look happy. Same thing goes for all the diners in Hell's Kitchen dining room. I've also applied for that, but so far no luck.

Thanks, I figured as much. I think at least some of Hell's Kitchen diners are real fans, though. I read a post on TWOP many moons ago about some fan who had applied and gotten to go to the restaurant during taping. I think she ended up leaving with no food lol.

I think they should just drop the pretense and have all the tables point right at the kitchen, as it's probably the draw for many applicants. Like a weird version of Medieval Times, dinner and a show.

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I agree with a lot of what's already been mentioned.  Especially that there should be fewer contestants, more competence, and less faux-drama.  And if there's interference to make the contestants look bad (i.e. Andi shutting off the oven, which I also believe happens), that should stop forever.  

 

Mostly, I just wish that every single thing about this show didn't have so much potential to be a drinking game -  a challenge comes down to a tie just before the last plate, the wellington is undercooked, GR sends someone back in line after calling their name, etc. - the script never changes.  I know each season will contain GR choosing a third contestant for possible elimination.  I know teams will be sent off without completing a service, and there will be a reward challenge involving a flight and one involving a spa and one involving a shopping trip and that the losing team will have to decorate for an event once and have to unload a truck once.  I know there will be a medical scare and a surprise early-morning wake-up call and a Vegas-like challenge where they all pick an ingredient they'll have to cook with and....  just change the damn script once in a while. 

Edited by ElleryAnne
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I agree with a lot of what's already been mentioned.  Especially that there should be fewer contestants, more competence, and less faux-drama.  And if there's interference to make the contestants look bad (i.e. Andi shutting off the oven, which I also believe happens), that should stop forever.  

I totally believe they tamper with the ovens. But I've wondered if that's breaking that old game show law that you can't rig the game if there's a prize involved. In this case the prize is the job, obviously. Anyone have insight into this? I know none of the sous chefs will probably never admit to tampering so they might not ever be able to investigate.

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That wouldn't be considered rigging it for any one person in particular, so they can get away with it. They do it on both sides. The game show laws involve giving one particular contestant an edge, either through information or preferrable treatment.

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