We’ve all seen it by now and, we’re quite familiar with Gordon Ramsey’s television show Kitchen Nightmares. I’ll be brutally honest – I’m a fan of the show, Ramsey, and helping the community. I find it warming to see such an accredited chef help out smaller local bistros.
Sure, the cafés, bars, restaurants all get compensation to be in the show (not to mention the global marketing), but ultimately Ramsey is there to help – we’ve seen it for 82 episodes! Well that was until we met Amy and Sammy Bouzaglos.
If you haven’t seen it yet, and the above is totally confusing watch this:
I’m going to say what Ramsey didn’t, “WHAT THE FUCK?!”
Watch the episode again and you’ll completely be on Ramsey’s side. Not only that but perhaps you were like me and begging for him to open a restaurant in the town just to hire all the staff that were fired and put this company out of its misery.
But I sat back for a moment are remembered one fundamental thing: this is reality television. Drama, characters, and audience emotions are all being created and manipulated. None of us were there, and if we were, you most likely wanted your fifteen minutes of fame just like this guy.
I’m not here to comment on the show, the demeanour of the owners, Ramsey himself, and how customers have felt with the baking company over the years. No, I’m here to comment on what we tend to forget, and how today, in a world of technological advancements that allowed social media to escalate such an episode into global interest.
So last December (2012), Amy’s Baking Company (ABC) signed a waiver with Kitchen Nightmares’ producers to be apart of the television series. This included being filmed constantly, meeting the prestigious Gordon Ramsey, and broadcast the episode how the producers pleased five months later.
It’s a simple task – a common requirement that any production will have agreements and clauses to prevent backlash, or worse a payout! So this clears up the all so common question, “why did they [ABC] allow the episode to air?”
Well there is copious amounts of research into the what happens to a person when a camera is placed in a standard person’s arena. You can see this in a quick little study with your friends! Whip out a camera, and start filming. Don’t tell anyone, or say why – just film. People will act differently – they become more dramatic or opposite and reserve into don’t film me I’m doing nothing. This is why birthday and wedding videos are so daggy since the enjoyment is exaggerated for the camera, and the memory to be expressed. Nobody wants to look unhappy at either of these events – especially forever.
So am I suggesting the show is staged? Well not intentionally, but subconsciously, yes. At the end of the episode you saw how many cameras were installed, and at the beginning of the episode you saw how many crew were ready to separate the argument. This is why television shows like Big Brother, and David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet are such phenomenal productions to both scholars and generic audiences. The intervention of the crew, and camera is near non-existent creating a simulated reality as close as possible to life itself.
So there’s that element to the show which people have forgotten. But then there’s this new addition called social media which made the story boom. Not only providing visibility for millions of people around the world, but also swaying people into opinions that they might not initially have.
Let’s look at it this way: In Australia if you open a restaurant and the food is terrible, people aren’t going to buy it. They will complain about you to family and friends, effectively making nobody attend your restaurant and you’ll go out of business. And I’m not talking just small time single shop businesses. No, we even made MacDonalds (yes, the food chain giant) reevaluate their coffee area McCafé after nobody seemed to like the product provided.
But here’s the kicker! I enjoyed McCafé coffees. I sure didn’t think it was brilliant, but I never received one that tasted like dishwater. So why did I stop drinking it? Unanimous pressure. A fear instilled by consumers who have had bad experiences in a company uniting to create a forceful, common stance.
This is why I (and many others knew of the issue) stopped going and never went back to MacDonalds for a coffee. It was common belief that you would receive dishwater in a cup – regardless of whether you had tried the experience or not.
And this happened with ABC too. Many people jumping on a bandwagon to destroy a company that they most likely had never ever tried. And from the people who had tried it, said that the restaurant was “okay”. Not brilliant, but okay.
Take it from somebody who is on the opposite side of the planet, sometimes we forget the world we live in and disregard what is ruling our lives. The immediacy of social media and networking has allowed us to combine opinions, and banter against people from different regions. Yet strip that back to before the internet, and what do you have? A story that is relevant to Americans. It is simply this:
I think if people see this footage, they’ll say Oh, my God, that’s horrible. And then they’ll go on eating their dinners.Reference
A quote from Hotel Rwanda after footage of the genocide was filmed and ready to broadcast to Western societies. Without the discussion, the episode is nothing since I can assure you there are thousands of ABCs around the world.
I’m not defending the claims that the food was raw or service was poor from the episode, but we need to remember that Gordon Ramsey is critically acclaimed. He can cook. With a blunt knife. Blindfolded. Upside down. Naked. And oiled up hands. He can cook under pressure, and in front of lights and cameras.
Amy cannot. She might be able to cook between good and mediocre (would have to or else the business would have gone broke a long time ago) but we have to give her a little leniency. She’s not as prestigious as she claims, “the best in the world,” but I am assured that the food was edible.
That’s the thing – and though this is a little messy in the argument – we need to realise that ABC, Amy, Sammy, Ramsey, and Kitchen Nightmares was a television show with a purpose to generate ratings. These are characters who were created for television pleasure. They might exist like this in day-to-day life, but here what we saw was amplified, manipulated television trickery to spark global interest.
Any you know what? It worked.
Here are some videos of trailers re-edited to create a new feel. What I want you to see is that footage can be manipulated, and you need to take an objective view to television, films, news. Everything has a motive, and an agenda – even this article.