Sunday, December 05, 2010

Let's Get Real -- A Look At My Favorite Reality TV Shows

What a week for reality TV!  Another season of “Hell’s Kitchen” on Fox-TV is coming to a close and it’s hard to believe that any one of the chefs that Chef Ramsey put through the drill this season is capable enough to put polish sausages and nachos together at a local 7-Eleven – but this coming week he’s going to pick one of the remaining two chefs to run his L.A. restaurant with a paycheck of something like $250,000. 

“Hell’s Kitchen” is one of those guilty pleasure reality TV shows.  The premise of the show is the same season after season with twelve chefs of varying skills trying to win the top prize – which is usually being the head chef at one of Chef Ramsey’s restaurants (the ones that are still open and haven’t filed for bankruptcy protection as of yet) – it’s just watching how incompetent these competing chefs are in just being able to complete a service.  Each and every season there is a chef or two that is your basic ‘fish out of water’ who is seeing the big city and bright lights in Hollywood for the very first time.  Then, you have those one or two chefs who think that they know everything who get a rude awakening when Ramsey lets them have it with a verbal tongue lashing.

There’s only one week left to “Hell’s Kitchen” and it’ll be interesting to see who he finally picks to win the whole kit-and-caboodle – but that won’t be the end of the exploits of Chef Ramsey on television – because this Wednesday night BBC America is rolling out another Gordon Ramey  reality TV cooking show.  This time – it’s not just chefs competing to win some outlandish grand prize – it will be restaurants.  Who knows what he has in store for this competition?  The only way to find out is to tune in to BBC America this week and find out – (and to sound cliché) – check your local listings for time and channel.

While I like to watch Chef Ramsey’s reality TV shows – I will admit that he is the master of “junk reality TV cooking shows” – but luckily there’s something out there for the more serious minded reality TV foodie and that’s “Top Chef” on Bravo.  I would love to see Carla Hall for season five win it all – but once I start picking favorites – they’re bound to lose.

A new season of “Top Chef” began last week and the twist to this season is that all of the chefs competing are runners up and just-about-made-it chefs from the previous seven seasons of the show.  Eighteen chefs in all will be competing to win this season’s top prize and the competition is fierce and if you’re a fan of the show – you will already rooting for your favorite chefs.  One thing that all of the chefs this season know is that you won’t be able to give the judges food that taste like crap and get away with it.

Anthony Bourdain has joined Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons at the judging table and he has already pissed off one of the chefs this season with his “spare no feelings no bullshit” comments. I know that I will never ever taste a quarter of the dishes ever presented on “Top Chef”, but I love watching this show. 

Dr. Drew's team at the Pasadena Recovery Center
Another reality show returned for its fourth season last week – “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” (Thursday nights, 10pm VH-1 and at various other times throughout the week) and I love this show.  Watching “Celebrity Rehab” is a lot like slowing down your car near a train wreck – you really shouldn’t be watching it but you’re drawn to it like a moth to a light bulb. 

If you’re looking for some really famous people going through the rehab experience on television for your entertainment pleasure – you’re not going to find a lot.  The biggest star of the bunch would have to be actor Eric Roberts, who has starred in a fair amount of movies and is also well known for being the brother of “Pretty Woman” Julia Roberts. 

Tiger Woods ex-mistress, Rachel Uchitel is another one of the people going through rehab with Dr. Drew, but you won’t hear Tiger Woods name mentioned at any time on the show, although you’ll get an earful of how she has been physically and sexually abused all though her life. 

The biggest human train wreck this season would have to be former 70s heart throb Leif Garrett who life of drug abuse makes Celebrity Rehab season one patient Jeff Conaway (of the movie “Grease” and the TV show “Taxi”) look like he’s a friggin’ eagle scout. 

The asshole of Celebrity Rehab’s season four patients would have to be Jason Davis – the spoil rich grand kid of businessman of Marvin Davis.  In the first two episodes Davis has done his best to piss off one-time model and reality TV start Janice Dickinson with cruel comments her looks and plastic surgery.

Even though Season four of “Celebrity Rehab” is not packed with stars – I feel that this could be one of the most interesting seasons of the show and if any one of these celebs advances to “Sober House” (another Dr. Drew VH-1 show)…I will be surprised.

[Small side note:  If you’re a fan of Dr. Drew – you be able to see him a lot more often than on his VH-1 rehab shows.  Dr. Drew has just signed on to do a nightly talk show on CNN’s HLN network after the beginning of next year.  I’m assuming his show will follow Joy Bahar’s show and air from 10-11pm.]

Well, we all know that there’s nothing more real than what we see on reality TV and I’m going to quit writing this and watch some of it.  What can you say…it’s only TV!

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