Ramsay. He’s an interesting fellow, old Ramsay. Where Jamie Oliver isn’t just a narrow eyed, chubby cheeked berk, but actually has talent, drive and passion, Ramsay, it would seem, isn’t just a scrotum-faced sac of testosterone. He may resemble a huge testicle squirting spermy insults into the faces of innocents, but credit where it’s due, the fellow knows what he’s doing. He’s got ten michelin stars for Christ’s sake. In these foodie times that’s akin to having found ten holy chalices.But still, there are problems. I have no problem with swearing, and I have no problem with confrontation, but every once in a while the mask slips a little and we see a well of rage beneath the choreographed bad-mouthing and at any moment we sense he could smack out. Is that choreographed as well? Or is it this dangerous aspect that makes Gordon appealing? For me, it does the opposite. It makes him look like my old P.E. teacher, and he was a cunt.Ramsay teaches people, has a position of authority over them. That gives him the perfect opportunity to humiliate them. Throw in a camera crew and the opportunity multiplies. Watching a recent Kitchen Nightmare, we were subjected to Ramsay mocking a chef far further down the food chain for never having cooked mussels.
‘You’ve never cooked mussels?!’
‘YOU’VE NEVER COOKED MUSSELS?’
‘YOU’VE NEVER COOKED MUSSELS?’
‘NO. I’VE NEVER COOKED MUSSELS’
At this point Gordon proceeded to start doing a ‘joey’ impression at the chef, who reciprocated the gesture, and any semblance of adult behaviour disappeared. It’s only fair to point out that GR was berating the ‘chef’ of what was little more than a greasy spoon during this tirade, so his not having cooked mussels wasn’t exactly a massive shock.
Herein lies the problem. Walking around and calling people ‘big boy’, telling them to ‘stop playing with their doo dah and put the fucking tortellini on’ and continually (and I mean endlessly) asking them ‘where their balls are’ is exactly what a games teacher would do. And what’s the big deal anyway? Tortellini, mussels? Who gives a shit?
Now we’re into the second series of the F Word. This consists of Gordon wandering around a conceptual restaurant, teaching normal people to cook. With bursts of the worst theme music I’ve ever heard in my life buzzing in unneccessarily at any given moment.
GR arrived in the kitchen this week and slammed down the bloody carcass of a deer, shouting ‘THERE’S DINNER’. Echoes of Brando in Streetcar Named Desire. Primal man and his bloody package. Yeah – terrifying. The problem is, the highlights in his schoolboy hair rather shattered the image.
This week it was a group of ex-Etonians who Gordon quite rightly tore to pieces. They were put there for a reason – to make Gordon with his working-class authenticity (where the fuck did he get that accent then, big boy?) look good. And they couldn’t have chosen better targets from his bile – one of the chaps had an opening spiel that ran thus: ‘Yah, Dad set me up on a pretty solid share scheme so I get a pretty healthy income from that’. To top that off, he resembled a rapist.
Gordon also cooked a dessert with Natasha Kaplinsky, a woman so artifiicially constructed that I have genuinely forgotten what happened in her ten minute segment. Did she even speak, or did she stand there with those reptilian eyes, staring the camera out? I can’t for the life of me recall. By the time we got to the section where Gordon caught a facehugger in Lapland and cooked it, I’d only just come round. This section of course featured the obligatory Gordon topless shot. Every Gordon show features Gordon topless. He must have it carved into his contract in the producer’s blood.
An hour is a long time to spend on a cooking show, so obviously some junk is going to get chucked in. In series one, Ramsay had the excellent Giles Coren to fall back on for small pieces to camera about this and that, but he made his mark and has his own (far superior) TV shows to make these days, so Ramsay has called in Janet Street Porter (argh!) to fill his shoes. If anyone can tell me what was going on in her attempted assassination of Prince Charles’ food range last night, please give me a shout at the email address in the top right margin. She seemed to be trying to fit two ‘Supersize Me’ type shows into a ten minute slot and believe me when I tell you, it was a garbled fucking mess. With her narrating it, it was always going to be.
Finally, on top of this (where does he find the time? Oh yes, he’s got a whole bloody hour to fill) Gordon interviewed that very current, very ‘now’ comedic figure, Dawn French. Is that the best they could do? I know she’s still working (if you can call The Vicar of Dibley working, rather than just turning up) and she clearly digs her food, but really – how are three separate interviews with her over an hour possibly going to be any fun? Dawn has kissed Gordon! Ha ha ha! Dawn and Gordon keep saying ‘fanny’! Great! Oh look! They’re kissing! Again! Faaantastic.
The problem is, I’ll probably keep watching. The food is good and the format is hit and miss, with more hits than misses. If only Gordo would stop behaving like a 12 year old who’s taken crack instead of his normal Ritalin dose it might be a bit more bearable.