The comfort of structure: destroyed

As a big fan of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, I watch it because I know what to expect. It’s comfort TV. I’m watching it at 11 am every day while I have breakfast. 

Every episode has the same structure and it’s something like this:

  1. The narrator describes the restaurant and says they’re struggling
  2. Chef Ramsay arrives at the place and says “oh my god” in his most British accent and orders a lot of dishes. After eating just a bite of them, he says something like “that was like a funeral in my mouth”
  3. Chef Ramsay talks shit about the food with the waiter or waitress who just laughs at how bad the situation is
  4. Chef Ramsay talks with the owner who doesn’t know why they’re struggling: they have the best food, the best service, the best location. In fact, most of the times, it’s the clients that don’t appreciate the food they’re being served
  5. Chef Ramsay stays to see how the restaurant works when there are customers there
  6. Service goes bad, really bad. In the best episodes, Chef Ramsay goes out of the kitchen and sends every customer home, the food is so bad… even raw sometimes!
  7. Chef Ramsay makes a kitchen inspection and discovers GROSS things everywhere which really makes you think if your favorite restaurant is as dirty and full of cockroaches as these Kitchen Nightmares
  8. There’s always a toxic person that’s stopping progress. It can be the owner, the chef, the daughter of the owner, or the father-in-law of the owner/head chef
  9. Fights, fights, fights!
  10. Chef Ramsay gives a pep talk to anyone that needs it and there are tears, so many tears
  11. Kitchen Nightmare’s team remodels the restaurant and it ends up looking like the restaurant of a supermarket. Nothing wrong with it but do you really want your Greek restaurant to look like a Walmart?
  12. The menu changes. Before, it had like 100 dishes, now it only has 20. Everybody tries the new dishes and say WOW THIS IS SO DELICIOUS
  13. The restaurant re-opens and there is TROUBLE. I mean, obviously, you can’t change a malfunctioning restaurant in just one hour
  14. By the end of the night, everything works out (because you can change a malfunctioning restaurant in more than one hour), customers go home happy after a yummy meal, and everybody lives happily ever after
  15. Chef Ramsay talks to the camera and says either how happy he is about the changes or how doubtful he is about the changes sticking

In short:

And that’s it. Always the same.

It’s comforting to watch it because you know that, in the end, everything will be ok(ish). Listen, in the current state of the world, I just want to know that a show recorded in 2012 has a happy ending. It’s all I’m asking for.

But here’s the thing.

I think, as unique and creative beings, we want to be remembered. We want to know that, after we die, people will know, at least, our names. We’ll have some kind of legacy. Someone will know we were here, doing our best.

Well, that’s what the owners of Amy’s Baking Company secured when they appeared in Kitchen Nightmares: people would remember them.

This episode really stands out and it’s the only one I can remember clearly. And, do you know why? For all the wrong reasons, of course! It stands out, mainly, because the owners refuse to acknowledge how terrible they are, not only as owners but as human beings

We’re used to watching terrible people in reality shows. In fact, that’s the reason I watch them, to feel better about my boring, boring life. But these guys, just wow.

I mean, they keep the tips the waitresses earn! They shout at customers because they shouldn’t be angry they’ve waited an hour to get their food! They fire a waitress in front of everyone while she’s crying! Amy denies there’s something wrong with her food even after Chef Ramsay gets unevenly cooked pizza on his plate!

It’s an outrage and I love the drama.

You’d think that, since they’re in the show, there will be a happy ending. The owners will change, things will get better.

You’d be wrong.

They’re such a lost cause, Chef Ramsay decides to just leave. Amy’s Baking Company even has a bonus episode with the aftermath (things are as terrible as always)!

The formula we all know and love is broken.

Chef Ramsay can’t fix this. Human beings are stubborn, terrible, they always want to be right.

That’s their legacy.

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