Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Gordon Ramsay and Me

I'm pretty sure I first saw Gordon Ramsay on tv in the UK, on an old episode of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares; I know I first saw Gordon Ramsay's F-Word (it's "food" by the way) while staying in London, waiting through a Saturday night stayover, because (believe it or not) three more nights in London was still cheaper than a quicker return flight.

Anyway, as Rose can tell you, I've become a big fan--at least of his UK shows. Unlike me, perhaps, Ramsay is famous for being abrasive, if not abusive; he's a regular user of strong language and an in-your-face advocate of his passions. He appears regularly (maybe too much so) on BBC America, and Rose can always tell when I'm watching his show by the frequent bleeps which carry throughout the house, even if the rest of the soundtrack does not.

He's had a couple of stints on American tv, too, I should point out: on Hell's Kitchen and an American version of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. But on American tv he's regularly edited to emphasize the abrasiveness: the yelling, the cursing, the unbending expectations. All that is there in the BBC shows, too, but in the British programs you see another side as well, one perfectly capable of being nurturing and nice, as well as obnoxious. He's much more human on British tv, I think, and I've always suspected that it's the complexity of how both sides fit together that makes him a star on British tv, and a failure on American.

The difference is a comment on the reality of reality tv, of course: but it's also a comment on what Americans seem to want, or what the networks want us to want.

But if you like food and you hate the Food Network, you could do worse than watch Ramsay.

1 comment:

Rose said...

Tom, I think you need to start your own blog and call it "Things you could do worse than." It seems the natural counterpart of "You couldn't be more wrong."