I haven’t watched much television in my year of marriage. I didn’t watch much before I got married, and I watch even less now.
Still, MrsLarijani and I enjoy getting on Hulu.com to watch Hell’s Kitchen and The Biggest Loser.
(My dad worked for about 30 years in the restaurant/hotel industry–moving up the ladder from dishwasher to VP for Franchise Operations for a major hotel chain–and Gordon Ramsay has my dad’s feisty streak. I enjoy watching him rip the would-be gourmet chefs a new one. My dream job is to be a trainer on The Biggest Loser.)
Anyhow…back to the point. I found many aspects of The Biggest Loser disappointing. Sure, Patrick, Frado, and Ada put in otherwise inspiring performances. Who couldn’t admire Patrick (who was unemployed) or Frado (a Marine vet from the Gulf War who let his health go to pit), or Ada “the Terminator” (who had been carrying all the guilt of her brother’s accidental drowning her whole life)?
Still, my gripe is that others clearly were more deserving to be finalists.
Mark, Rick, and Adam–each of whom lost more body weight percentage than Patrick or Frado–had been eliminated not due to merit, but due to “game playing”. In the end, the best performance didn’t win. While the three finalists were impressive–especially Ada, who ran a marathon in just north of 4 and a half hours–there were three other people who were more deserving to be up there.
Contrast that with Hell’s Kitchen. Gordon Ramsay is what you get when you cross an otherwise mild-mannered Scot with R. Lee Ermey. The results are entertaining, if you can handle the expletives. (I have no problem with them. His style is a lot like my dad’s.)
What I enjoyed the most about Ramsay: as hard as he is, he’s fair. While contestants get to choose people for elimination, Ramsay takes the liberty to make the final decision. As a result:
(1) Some cooks who were talented but unpopular–Sabrina and Trevor–were saved countless times.
(2) At least once, Ramsay eliminated someone who wasn’t even up for elimination.
(3) On two occasions, no one got eliminated.
As a result, the ones who were eliminated were those who truly deserved to be eliminated.
The finale was a very nice one. Both Russell and Nona were talented enough as cooks–almost equal, even though Russell won the individual “challenge”–so their leadership abilities were going to be the decisive factor. This is where Russell was potentially in trouble: he had a reputation for being brash and arrogant. He once threatened Trevor physically.
Watching the ways Nona and Russell handled command responsibilities, I knew Nona was going to win it. She had some teammates who blew it, but she confronted them without being threatening or unnecessarily harsh. Russell, on the other hand, was berating Vinny from the get-go, and darn-near got physical with Robert. (This is a sure-fire way to get sued in the real world. Every H.R. official who saw Russell do this knows what I am talking about.)
Once Russell realized Nona had won–her door opened but his did not–he was surly, blaming his teammates and threatening to blacklist them. That is the mark of a terrible leader, a spinless asshat who can’t take responsibility for his own performance.
Ramsay was excellent, as was Nona. The best performance clearly won.