As the seventh season of "Hell's Kitchen" begins (Tuesday, 7 p.m., Fox/Ch. 13), we see Gordon Ramsay at his Gordon Ramsay-est.

"Take your jacket off and get out!" he screams.

"How dare you!?!?!?" he screams.

"If you don't get out, I'll drag you out!" he screams.

"You're crazy," he screams.

"You guys are useless!" he screams.

"(Bleep) off!" he screams.

"You better start listening!" he screams.

"How dare you!?!?!?" he screams again.

"Come here!" he screams.

Ramsay also kicks garbage cans, throws stuff on the floor, throws food and gets in the face of several of the contestants in as menacing a manner as he can muster.

And he can muster plenty of menace.

All of this happens in the first 40 seconds.

I'm still trying to figure out the entertainment value in "Hell's Kitchen."

OK, those first 40 seconds are "highlights" from upcoming action. But they're representative of the show.

The format remains the same. The 16 contestants submit to all the bullying in hope of winning a job as a chef at one of Ramsay's restaurants. Which seems like a less-than ideal position, but ...

At least we should be grateful that Fox bleeps out so many words. A lot of words.

Well, mostly it's one word — the one that will get you an R-rating if it shows up more than a couple of times in a theatrical film.

The ever-classy Ramsay drops F-bombs all over the show, along with plenty of shrapnel from, um, lesser curse words. And not always when he's angry. Just whenever.

He's not alone, however. The 16 contestants curse up a storm as well.

"Hell's Kitchen" will never win any Emmys, but it has to lead the television industry in the number of bleeps per hour.

It's not that Ramsay isn't often right. He is. Who wants to be served raw halibut in a restaurant?

But what is he teaching? Great cooking or horrific behavior?

It's clearly much more the latter than the former.

You could argue that this is all in fun. I wouldn't argue that, but there are those that do.

You could argue that Ramsay is tough to make the contestants into good chefs.

Except that, as is clearly apparent in Tuesday's premiere, his abusive style does the exact opposite. He so intimidates and discombobulates some contestants that they can't function.

I won't say I understand the pressure involved in running a restaurant kitchen. Maybe "Hell's Kitchen" is a realistic representation of what goes on there.

But that's not the point. This is a TV show. And the message it sends is beyond troubling.

The world we live in is becoming less civil by the day. Rudeness and lack of courtesy have become the norm, not the exception.

"Hell's Kitchen" celebrates atrocious behavior. Glorifies it, even.

I shudder to think that young people watching the show think this is acceptable behavior. Think this is the way they should be treated on the show. Or, worse yet, think that this is the way they should treat others.

And it's a concern to think that viewers find entertainment value in watching other people get screamed and sworn at.

Yes, "Hell's Kitchen" is only a TV show. But it's one the world could easily do without.

SPEAKING OF MEAN:Jillian Michaels — the trainer/drill sergeant from "The Biggest Loser" — gets her own show this week. And "Losing It" (Tuesday, 9 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5) is all about tough love.

In each episode, Michaels moves in with a family that needs help. People whose health is very much at risk.

View Comments

And Michaels motivates/bullies them into cooking right, eating right and exercising.

She's tough. She's kind of mean. But she doesn't scream, swear or throw things.

And this isn't just about winning a reality show. It's about helping people get healthy.


Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.