Wednesday, May 13, 2009

F the Troops

One of these days, someone's going to drop Gordon Ramsay on his ass, and then you'll never hear from him again.

Here's hoping.

Ramsay is a TV chef, but with an attitude. A seriously bad attitude.

I remember when you could hardly say "pregnant" on television. You had to hint about it, using words like "expecting". Maybe "bun in the oven" would have been acceptable.

Then George Carlin, some 30 years or so ago, did a famous comedy bit about the seven dirty words you couldn't say on radio or TV. He was even arrested for having said them during a performance.

Imagine that.

I don't really watch Ramsay's show. I have a hard time concentrating on anything where the audio is so full of the censor's beeps that it sounds like someone playing songs on a touch-tone phone.

Ramsay's routine is this. He goes to restaurants across the world--invited, incredibly--and his aim is to find out why said restaurant is foundering. Then he goes to work to try to fix it.

A noble aim, actually.

But Ramsay doesn't just observe, jot down some notes, and take the owner aside for some counseling.

Why, that would be bad television, after all!

Instead, Ramsay storms through the kitchen, barking orders and denegrating and humiliating the staff, almost exclusively with salty language.

Salty, as in the ocean.

In a recent episode, Ramsay uttered the f-word no less than 115 times in about 40 minutes.

It's not just that he curses. He gets up into the faces of the employees, making like a drill sergeant.

Ramsay has other shows, too. And in each of them his act is the same.

Cursing ad nauseam. More humiliation.


Yep--pretty much says it all.


The thing of it is that Ramsay actually has some good things to say--some helpful suggestions. The man really does know his restauranting.

I just don't know why he has to do it the way he does.

I'm amazed, frankly, that someone hasn't cold-cocked Ramsay. Hasn't hauled off and socked him in his British kisser.

That would make even better television!

For me, anyway.

Yesterday I wrote about how I don't know when anything is on TV. In Ramsay's case, I'm glad to NOT know.

But I've seen enough, stumbled upon his show enough, to not care to remember its airings.

If I was 16 years old, maybe I'd feel differently.

Back then, swearing on TV was funny.

Yet Ramsay is popular, no question. His act is clearly not tiresome to millions of viewers.

However, according to this story, some 51 viewers were fed up enough with the 115 f-bombs to dial into Channel 4 in Britain and complain.

It wasn't so much the swearing itself, for Pandora's Box was long ago opened in that arena.

The concern British viewers had was that the show, Great British Nightmare, aired at the relatively child-friendly hour of 9:00 p.m.

Not that we even have child-friendly hours anymore, with DVRs and TiVo and YouTube on demand 24/7.

But Channel 4 admitted that its judgment was poor when it came to airing the Ramsay curse fest at 9:00.

"We respect that, given the strength of language in the first part of this two-hour special, the program should have been rescheduled later than 9 p.m.," Channel 4 officials said in a statement.

Ramsay's spokesman also issued an "apology."

"Strong language is a feature of the restaurant business and Gordon is as passionate about his business on screen as well as off," he said.

I'm sorry, but there's a difference between having passion and being classless.

The spokesman went on.

"Naturally, Ramsay is sorry if some people were offended, but they should know by now that with Gordon there normally comes some pretty choice language," his rep added.

First of all, Ramsay isn't sorry. Let's get that straight. To think that he is, is laughable.

Of course, there's always the trump card of "turning the channel." The familiar cry of those defending such behavior.

Just turn the channel.

Except that there are more and more Ramsay-like shows on TV, meaning that there are fewer and fewer channels to turn to, in order to avoid this fusillade of foul language.

I don't know--I still think one good sucker punch, dropping Ramsay to the kitchen floor, might put an end to all this.

Just think of the YouTube hits on that one.

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