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As ‘Hell's Kitchen’ heats up, Ramsay boils over

Plus: ‘How to Get the Guy’ didn't get the ratings; 'Iron Chef' eats
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We're lucky this week to have food writer Jon Bonné weighing in on the first two questions, which involve food-centered reality shows "Hell's Kitchen 2" and "Iron Chef America." Jon's very familiar with foodie TV and attended a taping for this season's "Iron Chef America."

Q: Does anyone else find “Hell’s Kitchen” just a bit overly dramatic this year? I like the idea of these type of shows, but please, the swearing is atrocious and one can hardly keep up with what’s happening because of the foul language being bleeped constantly! I mean, there was so much use of the F-word I thought for a moment we were watching a Joe Pesci movie!    —Jackie

A: Absolutely true.  For the second season, “HK” seems to be trying to pluck the most dramatic tidbits from season one and fill entire episodes with them. 

Here’s Gordon smashing a plate into a cook’s apron!  There’s Gordon telling a contestant his [bleeping] risotto (and that’s with a short first O—“rizz-OTT-oh,” because everyone loves when Gordon says it that way) is a [bleeping] [bleep] of [bleep]! 

As with any reality show, the producers have tried to find the past highlights (Dewberry’s fey kitchen demeanor, the eternal suffering of maitre d’ Jean-Philippe) and recreate them.

But the first season worked so well because of its pacing: Yes, Ramsay had ample opportunity to be cruel, but he could also be surprisingly tender. It was a formula that worked well for one of his UK shows, “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares,” which had more than its share of foul talk but also a lot of encouraging words from Ramsay for cooks who were trying hard.

The “HK” producers would do well to take a page from Simon Cowell and realize that watching someone be a bastard all the time just doesn’t make for great TV.    —J.B.

Q: On “Iron Chef America,” the contestants prepare five plates of each of five (sometimes six) dishes. With three judges and one chairman, what happens to the fifth plate? Personally, I think Alton Brown should get it since he has commented several times that he doesn’t get to taste the food.    –Gail

A: Good question.  I’m not sure about the fifth plate, but the only people eating during the tasting are the three judges and the chairman, who doesn’t get to vote. Alton doesn’t get to eat. 

It’s worth noting, though, that only a single finished plate of each dish must be completed within 60 minutes.  Since the tasting process takes 90 minutes, the rules allow the chefs to plate each dish right before serving them to the judges. (Otherwise, they’d be rather cold and unappetizing.)

Once the tasting plates have been cleared off-camera, a lot of hungry Food Network staff crowd around the half-eaten plates to try and grab a taste of the chefs’ creations. Apparently, the judges aren’t the only ones eager to see what the challengers can do.        —J.B.

Q: What happened to the ABC show “How To Get The Guy”? The show isn’t even listed on the ABC website. Why cancel it when it was just getting good? I want to see what happened with the girls who were featured.      —Heather

A: The ABC reality series “How to Get the Guy,” which was produced by the creators of Bravo’s “Queer Eye,” has been cancelled. It’s been replaced by repeats of “Supernanny,” which will now air for two hours on Monday nights this summer.

The six-episode series followed four single women assisted by two “love coaches,” and at its cancellation, only two episodes were left. Its ratings were very poor, and “How to Get the Guy” lost about 40 percent of the viewers who were watching “Supernanny” in the hour preceding it. Critics didn’t really like it, and neither did viewers, so it’s likely to join that pool of shows that disappear midseason and never come back.

The still exists, however, even though it isn’t linked from ABC’s home page. And there’s always the chance or another network will pick it up and air it.    —A.D.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is's Television Editor. is a writer and teacher who publishes , a daily summary of reality TV news.