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October 13, 2015

Kitchen Confidential: Dinner Date With Death

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 3rd 2005 9:03PM

Kitchen ConfidentialYou know what? This show just isn't that funny. It's still entertaining in its own way. A good cast, great setting, and all that. But it's just not that funny. And coming after Arrested Development, that really stands out.

The plots tonight: John Larroquette plays Jack's old mentor, who is dying and wants to have a standing reservation every night at Nolita until Jack can kill him with a meal. Meanwhile, Jim, worried about being the "low man on the totem pole" in the kitchen, yells at a dishwasher, who turns out to be one large, angry tattooed man named Ramon.

I'd love to see this show stick around for a while, but the script really has to be more clever. It's just not that funny (I think I said that above). Steven has a few funny lines, and there are two oral sex jokes that push things for the 8:30 hour, but all the other dialogue is just stale. It just seems to meander, humor-wise, even if what we see on the screen is fast-paced plots and slapstick antics and quick edits and voiceover narration. It's not a bad show; it gets the vibe of the kitchen kinda right (though the dining room vibe is sorely underused). The problem is that it's just an ordinary show, and with this souce material (Anthony Bourdain's book) and the cast and a setting ripe for a smart comedy, right now it's a disappointing one.

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Actually, I thought this was the best episode of KC so far, and I was planning on taking it out of my tape rotation and swapping it for How I Met Your Mother. I didn't really give a shit about the pecking-order plot, but I loved the "eating himself to death" thing. I thought it had great execution, I loved the ludricrousness of it, and I rather enjoyed Larroquette's attitude. Hell, now I want to eat myself to death! (Kidding.)

October 04 2005 at 11:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

elf, I don't think it should be an hour now, but that maybe it should have been imagined as an hour-long series to begin with. This would have changed some of the dynamics and probably skewed it towards being a drama with funny moments. As it is, I do like it, but I think it suffers from being a half hour show that's not a laugh a minute.

October 04 2005 at 9:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marion Paige

in re additional "gay subtext". In order to end the feud between the youngest chef (John Francis Daley) and the "street tough dishwaher", Nicholas Branden offers to BUY the youngest chef from the dishwasher (the dishwasher is a guy who is clearly Hispanic and is sporting "prison-like' tattoos). The reference here, to some any way, is clearly to the all male world of Prison in which the younger/weaker male is assigned the "female role" and he can be bought and sold. Prison, like the kitchen, is an all male environment and the "classic psychology" of men who are without or denied the company of women is that they "do it" with each other. I hate to get too psyche into Kitchen Confidential because I'm not sure just how much of this "sub-text" is intentional. But, outside of the kitchen, in an environment where there are women, the youngest chef is seen seated next to a woman on a bench in the restaurant. However, IN the kitchen, in the all male environment, the youngest chef is "the girl". In fact, the whole point of the second episode (Larroquette was presented merely as a distraction for the action in the Kitchen) from the kitchen IMHO) was to establish, literally, that the youngest chef is at the bottom of the "pecking order", as it were.

October 04 2005 at 3:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marion Paige

There is a great deal of "sub-text" to this show. At first I thought it was unintentional, but now it is rather clear that the "gay subtext" was/is deliberate. First, all of the chefs seem to be male. The kitchen is all about men. There is a lot of "suggestion" that the younger chef is gay (or closeted gay). On the first episode, I had the sound turned off and when I saw the conversation between the youngest cheft and the main character Cheft, it looked like a pick-up scene in a gay bar. On the second episode, the audience was TOLD that the younger chef was about to tie the shoe laces of the "street looking" dishwasher,however, when the main charcter chef came into the kitchen and saw the younger chef on his knees in front of the diswasher, he just assumed that it was a sex act. Fairly subtle stuff and very funny in my opinion. The event of the younger chef (sorry, I don't know his name) having his eyebrows burned off opened the door to him having "girly" eyebrows drawn on (and answering the question of whether the "gay subtext" was unintentional or not). This show reminds me a little of the old Highllander TV Series. Personally, I believe that Highlander was the gay-est tv show ever created (http://www.tempcity.com/dramanyc/index.php?showtopic=1199 ). There was a story line on the surface of Highlander, but the subtext to Highlander was a completely different story, a very gay story in my opinion. I like KC so far.

October 04 2005 at 12:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Come on now, the eyebrow thing was pretty funny.

October 03 2005 at 11:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maybe it would have done better as a one-hour humorous dramedy type thing, like the Gilmore Girls in its level of humor. Unfortunately, everyone expects a half-hour swhow to be a straight-up comedy, which is a shame for this show because I agree that it has potential and is entertaining. Now that hourlong shows are being considered comedic, like GG and Desperate Housewives, why can't we make room for half hour shows that are less comedic?

October 03 2005 at 11:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't mean that as a slam to Sports Night. I think that was a very good show. Both shows are humorous and entertaining, but not particularly funny. I guess I think Kitchen Confidential is a little more clever than you do, but the shows have a similar "feel."

October 03 2005 at 11:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob Sassone

Oh, Brian, I wouldn't say that. Sports Night was a brilliant show, one of my favorites.

October 03 2005 at 10:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I completely agree that while the show is entertaining, it just isn't very funny. It's the second coming of Sports Night.

October 03 2005 at 10:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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