Hell's Kitchen Essay

Submitted By ogopogo312
Words: 1412
Pages: 6

There are four women at different workstations in a kitchen, each hectically trying to accomplish something individually. A fifth is moving from one to the next, proffering help and seeming very confused. Each of the others shuns her away and generally ignores her. This is Hell’s Kitchen, the elimination-style cooking show with every chef trying to outlast the other. This specific scene exemplifies what Hell’s Kitchen is about, that every chef is for themselves, and there is only one winner, ever. This message is also advertised to viewers, which is a detrimental message to believe, as in the program, individual success is favored over teamwork consistently, and build fake trust only to backstab and break promises each other hours later.
This message has been shown time and time again throughout the program, each in specific ways and for different reasons. In one episode, contestants went so far as to physically prevent other chefs from working, and verbally abuse them in hopes of gaining a winning edge. In another, each contestant viewed each other as an obstacle, talking about each others exploitable weaknesses, and how to use them. This shows how much the mantra has gotten to the contestants, and how it made them think about others besides themselves. In the next episode, teams backstab and ostracize each other just to try and accomplish their own task as quickly as possible. This extreme self-centeredness was a perfect example of the media message that the program spreads, and it is sickening. In another episode, the men dealt with an older, weaker contestant, by removing him from the kitchen during the dinner service, so he wouldn’t get in the way. This exemplified the message yet again, as the men sacrificed one of their own to get closer towards their goal.
Each of these episodes revealed a new facet to the message that the program is sending, but all pertaining to the “every man for himself” theme, which viewers do not directly understand and may view as simple competition, while the program feeds the hidden message through the contestant’s interactions. The message here seems to be that putting one’s self before others and sacrificing relationships to reach ambitions are the only way to get what is wanted, while selflessness and kindness are signs of weakness to be exploited for personal gain.This message is unsettlingly confining, as it gives only a single view on reaching goals and the way to problem solve to get there. Also, the fact that it vilifies teamwork and positive relationships is very worrisome, as it opposes many good virtues that are commonly taught, and attempts to replace them with biased ones.
The amount of opposition from social norms and family values against the messages the program prove the single-minded and self-centered tone of the suggestions given by the show. In an article from the Center for Disease Control, an informational article gives the amount of overweight adults in America at the time the show was released. “An estimated 32.7 percent of U.S. adults 20 years and older are overweight, 34.3 percent are obese and 5.9 percent are extremely obese.” This extreme physical change also gave a mental change, as Hell’s Kitchen, which contained media messages previously unvaluable to viewers, was now a viable program to watch. Also, the program was one of few competitive cooking shows, and with the food and the new genre, people were enticed, and were blind to the suggestions of the show.

The message advocates unproductivity and requires the sacrifice of relations to be able to get anything done. In an article by the New York Times, reporter Edward Wyatt talks about the off-screen interactions and how they affect the relationships onscreen. The producers are aware that causing trouble offscreen leads to more drama onscreen, and take advantage of this through many venues, such as alcohol, sleep deprivation, and many other factors. “If you combine no sleep with alcohol and no food,