"Sure the show was mildly entertaining at times, but overall, the Cookalong was a trainwreck."

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[Photographs: Jillian Madison]

On the premiere episode of Cookalong Live with Gordon Ramsay, the 13 Michelin starred chef promised he'd do what no person before him has ever done: no, not open a bag of Lay's potato chips and proceed to eat just one, but teach America how to cook a three-course meal. On live television. In one hour.

20091215ramsay3.jpgI didn't actually cook along, because I value my sanity and don't like eating dinner at midnight.

But those who did cook along were expected to have approximately $100 of ingredients on hand (including Italian ladyfingers, which were apparently more difficult to find than the Holy Grail), so they could prepare a menu of Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp, Steak Diane With Sautéed Potatoes And Peas, and a Quick Tiramisu (not to be confused with the Really, Really Long Tiramisu).

So how did it go?

[WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD]

Wait, Whoopi Goldberg?

The cookalong was a lot like my first "dinner and a movie" date when I was 15—intense, stressful, confusing, and sprinkled with moments of Whoopi Goldberg showing up on a big screen.

(And speaking of Whoopi, why the heck was she even on the show tonight? On one hand, she didn't seem at all enthusiastic about cooking. On the other hand, her presence did finally give Ramsay the opportunity to use that ol' missing eyebrow/flambé joke he'd probably been saving since 2003.)

In case Whoopi wasn't exciting enough, Ramsay was also joined live in the kitchen by comedian Cedric the Entertainer, actress Alyson Hannigan, and country singer/tabloid fixture LeAnn Rimes.

Ladies Fingers Jokes

They were presumably there to lend the "if they can do it, you can do it" mentality, but their presence completely stripped the show of any educational credibility it may have had. It quickly became evident that Ramsay's focus wasn't even remotely on teaching America how to prepare a great meal.

He was far more interested in serving up forced banter and awkward sexual innuendos with his guests—like when he snidely asked Cedric if he liked (gag) LADIES' FINGERS.

I'll take "ewww" for $2,000 please, Alex.

Alyson Hannigan, YIKES.

Cedric and LeAnn held their own in the kitchen, but poor Alyson spent the entire hour panicking like she was at the disco. Just look at all the terrified faces she was making! And this was just while she was boiling the water for the pasta!

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And if you thought Alyson was dangerous in the kitchen, what about the Marine's wife who almost lit her kids on fire during her overexuberant flambé?!

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The Bottom Line

Sure the show was mildly entertaining at times, but overall, the Cookalong was a trainwreck. It was rushed, frantic, and harder to follow than an M. Night Shyamalan film. Looking back, the whole thing was a hectic blur that left me feeling stressed out and exhausted. And I didn't even cook.

If you went into the show hoping to pick up some new cooking tips, you probably left feeling a bit disappointed. On the other hand, if you went into the show hoping to pick up some new urinating tips, like "don't pee after handling a chili pepper," you are probably feeling very satisfied right now. After all, good urinating tips can be hard to come by.

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You'd think a man with such strict kitchen standards as Gordon Ramsay would be horrified by having to act as a human scrunchie for one of his chefs. Hey, people, it's called a hair tie. You're cooking food in a kitchen. Is it really rocket science?

What did you all think of the show? Did anyone cook along with Chef Ramsay?

About the author: Jillian Madison is a freelance writer and the editor of Food Network Humorand Pophangover, two sites born out of her desire to shine a light on the ridiculousness we often see in pop culture and on television in America today.

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