Can all reincarnations of FOX shows with Gordon Ramsay be revamped to include kids? That’s what I’m wondering …
We’re 2 weeks into the second season of MasterChef: Junior Edition and I’m already clamoring for kid-testants to be mandatory on all future Gordon Ramsay shows. Here are my reasons why (In no particular order)
1) Gordon Ramsay is nicer. On his other shows, Gordon Ramsay is a screaming Scotsman. He seems to relish when the contestants on Hell’s Kitchen mess up so he can morph into the Tryant of Taste. If he treats his actual employees like that, does it make anyone actually want to dine in his restaurants? I ate at Gordon Ramsay at the London in West Hollywood and while the food was excellent, I did keep an ear out for yells coming from the kitchen.
On MasterChef: Junior Edition, Chef Ramsay still cuts an intimidating figure and offers tough criticism of the dishes prepared by the show’s children age 8-13, but he actually smiles. How many times have you seen him smile at the grownups on MasterChef or Hell’s Kitchen? (and smiling at their misery as he forces them to clean a dumpster — or something — doesn’t count.)
I haven’t heard him call anything a kid has made: “disgusting,” “inedible,” or “rubbish,” … yet.
2) The kids are talented. Seriously talented. This week, the kidtestants had to bake cream pies. I have no idea how to do that, but several of the contestants whipped up pies that looked like they could grace a magazine cover.
And their culinary mastery doesn’t stop with pastries, they chop, and braise as well as the adults on the grown up version of the show. They’re not as good as getting stuff off of high shelves, but that’s TV gold, and what step-stools are for. And let’s be honest, the grown up version is supposed to be “home cooks,” but most of the contestants have culinary backgrounds. I am a home cook — I cook in my home. A caterer who has 20 years in the industry but who lacks a culinary degree isn’t.
3) The kids are adorable. Have you seen how precious and precocious these kids are? 11 year-old Logan wears a bow tie. A bow tie! I know that Graham wears a tiny tie, but how sweet is it when a kid wears a tie!?! The other kids are charmers too: 8-year-old Abby is a winning combination of spazz and spunk. 9 year-old Oona is tiny in stature, but her cooking talents are gigantic. And Levi, Sean and Samuel may only be a dozen years-old, but they each have the culinary confidence of chefs with decades of experience.
Everything is cuter when it’s done by kids … remember Bugsy Malone? (one of my favorite movies when I was a kid; It came out before I was born but I wore that Betamax tape out)
Gordon Ramsay getting a vat of maple syrup dumped on his head is one of the greatest moments FOX has aired this year. You can watch the dousing here.
5) The ratings are about the same. This week’s MasterChef: Junior Edition had 4.89 million viewers and an episode of MasterChef from early September had 5.4 million viewers and an episode of Hell’s Kitchen from September 10 had 4.21 million viewers, so while I have no reverence if my comparative episodes were finales or special episodes, it’s not like the kids are boosting or killing the ratings either way.
6) Ratings aren’t everything. Now that viewers have dozens of channels of programming to choose from at all times, advertisers are looking for targeted eyeballs, and they will pay you handsomely for the coveted 18-49 demographic. And guess what parents age 18-49 are doing at 8pm ET? If they’re not putting kids to bed, they’re watching TV with said kids!
FOX is vibing me, because last week they announced that Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader will soon return to it’s primetime lineup (hopefully to replace it’s clunker Utopia.) Can a kid-centric version of Hotel Hell or a revamp of American Juniors be far behind?
What do you think, is Gordon Ramsay more palatable when he’s minding his manners around kids?
Related: MasterChef: Junior Returns Nov. 4
images © Greg Gayne/ FOX