Screen: FOX

Is The Return To Amy's Baking Company Icing On The Cake?

Kitchen Nightmares kicks off the season by revisiting last year's infamous finale, and it left Sarah with a bad taste.

High-Profile Show Attempted

The seventh-season Kitchen Nightmares premiere, "Return To Amy's Baking Company."

Topic

Last May, Gordon Ramsay tried to help Amy's Baking Company of Scottsdale, AZ. As you have doubtless heard unless you were born in this calendar year -- and possibly then, too -- it did not go well for anyone except the meme-generators of the world: Amy and Samy Bouzaglo's customers endured long waits for C-minus food; their waitstaff got their tips heisted by Samy and Amy fired them for questioning her in a routine way about an order; they picked fights with "haters" and claimed that all their social-media accounts had gotten "hacked," thus explaining their combative language (and caps lock); and their high-frequency combination of defensiveness and confrontation led to a KN first when Ramsay decided he couldn't help them, and walked out.

The story crossed over from entertainment news to national and spawned GIFs, animated reimaginings, and YouTube parodies while revving up the Bouzaglos' cornered-animal response even further. It also regained Ramsay some respect from this commentator, as his handling of the intractable pair was quite measured and savvy under the circs.

How Far I Expected To Get

I had no specific prediction. On the one hand, I was morbidly curious to find out what had become of the Bouzaglos in the intervening 11 months. Had anything changed? Had they closed the restaurant and/or started over elsewhere?

On the other hand, I'm not naive about how much new or "bonus" footage a "Return To" episode is going to include -- i.e., just enough to justify repackaging the old stuff and get Twitter talking about it again -- and fresh or recycled, it's still going to be footage of the Bouzaglos. Her personality and business practices notwithstanding, Amy Bouzaglo's voice is physically unpleasant to listen to, and given that her standard means of forestalling criticism is to throw up an impenetrable wall of chittery rationalizing, getting through the hour without a handful of Aleve wasn't a sure thing.

How Far I Did Get

53:20

What Did It

Well, the "bonus" footage added nothing; as is often true, it got cut in the first place because it duplicated poor form we'd already seen. One sequence, in which Amy justifies not hiring any men to work in the kitchen because she doesn't want men bumping into her physically in the small space, or Samy doesn't, or men's egos are too big, or men don't have her "standards," is almost art; why pick one bullshit rationale and stick with it when octopus-inking your interlocutor with a multiple rationales -- and ending the conversation, because you're crazy, but who cares why as long as whoever it is stops questioning you -- is so effective?

And the montage of diners grimacing at their "food," intercut with interviews from now-former waitstaff (one of whom did a Reddit AMA about ABC and the episode), is entertaining enough, but then Ramsay is in the home studio all 60 Minutes, introducing the actual geographical return to Amy's, which is undertaken by one Ana Garcia because...Ramsay is afraid to go back there? I doubt it. The Bouzaglos refused to let him back onto the premises? Possibly. The situation would have degenerated into incomprehensible bellowing from three directions, and possibly come to blows? You can take that to the bank.

But it's Amy's willful dismissal of her online detractors as "pansies," even after a warning from Garcia that she's gotten clocked for that word in the past, that finally put me off the episode. (She's also bleeped at one point for what I think was the word "faggot." In 2014.) From a business standpoint, a personality disorder like the one this couple apparently shares is interesting, in the sense that we all have to deal with troublesome folks at work and is Ramsay's "you're wrong, fuck off" approach always the best way to get results. From a use-of-my-time standpoint: that'll do, pig.

Worth Taking Another Run At It?

Nobody learns anything; despite Samy's big talk about Kitchen Nightmares paying him to shoot this time because of all the money they made off him, it's clear Amy's Baking Company is doing a land-office business from rubber-neckers and "witty" t-shirt sales, and this episode will give them a nice bump; Ramsay spent my good will on a bad person with worse makeup. You're wrong, fuck off.

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