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  • Acceptable Ethnic Targets: Given the number of times Chef Ramsay has made jokes about it, Belgians.
  • Accidental Innuendo: When Chef Ramsay showed Trev from Season 8 how to cut the Wellington.
    Trev: Yeah, I wanna see your delicate touch again.
    • From Season 13: "Why are you touching his meat?"
    • From Season 2: "Now it's up to the men and their meat"
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  • Adaptation Displacement: Even in the UK, the American version of the show tends to be more renowned than its UK-based forerunner, which was basically just a standard-issue "celebrity cooking challenge" show, except with a slightly more abusive chef involved (Ramsay initially, and then Marco-Pierre White in later seasons).
  • Adorkable: In Season 10: once David Beckham was invited in the restaurant, Christina could barely contain her joy and was soon fawning over him in her confession cams, and even initially struggled during service due to Beckham's presence and had sheepishly laughed over it. And before that, after the Red Team wins the Fashion Night dinner service, she does a little "chicken dance" in celebration.
    • Season 7's Salvatore was this in spades.
  • Archive Panic: As of the Season 20 (Young Guns) finale, Hell's Kitchen has 314 episodes.
  • Audience-Alienating Era:
    • Some consider Seasons 8-11 to be this. Season 8 was criticized for focusing more on incompetent chefs than talented ones (and for having the worst runner-up in the entire series - Russell, who was a massive Jerkass that nobody liked, including his own team) and Season 9 was criticized for having Elise get a ridiculous amount of screentime, even though the finalist pair (Paul and Will) is widely considered to be one of the best. Season 10, however, had half the chefs have a ridiculous attitude and the Small Name, Big Ego flaw, and bully several other chefs (especially Barbie, who actually outlasted her entire team except for winner Christina and Dana) for no apparent reason. On top of that, Jean-Philippe was not supervising the dining room in these seasons due to commitments elsewhere, leaving James to replace him; this was lampshaded at the start of Season 8. Meanwhile, both Seasons 10 and 11 suffer from some of the worst and excessive Padding techniques ever seen for the series, which is why they ended up being the longest seasons. In addition, if you're not interested in watching a whole team suffer week after week, Season 11 gave us the worst Blue Team ever put together where only one of the male chefs (Jon) was actually considered good. The Dork Age is considered over after Season 11 due primarily to a return to having more competent cooks on the show, and for greatly toning back on the episode Padding to much more appropriate lengths. The return of Jean-Philippe for two seasons was also greatly welcomed.
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    • Seasons 15-16 are also considered this, mostly due to their lack of talent and unlikable roster. Season 15 was noted for having much more arrogant and irritating contestants (Frank and Dannie specifically) and having an unremarkable winner, while Season 16 was plagued with the worst men's team in the show and keeping incompetent chefs for longer periods. The whole flirtmance between runner-up Heather and fellow contestant Andrew (who was revealed to be engaged) was also heavily scrutinized, although most fans do agree that Ryan was a solid winner. Most of these problems were thrown under for Seasons 17 (All Stars) & 18 (Rookies vs. Veterans) (although they were reunion seasons), and Seasons 19 (Las Vegas) & 20 (Young Guns) were praised by fans as being solid seasons with memorable and likable characters.
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  • Author's Saving Throw: Season 11's biggest complaint was the overuse of multi parters and cliffhangers, making the Season feel bloated as a result. Afterwards, future seasons cut down the multi parters and cliffhangers, while keeping it a reasonable pacing level.
  • Awesome Ego: Given how often the Small Name, Big Ego trope crops up on this show, it's rare that a chef who can back up their bragging comes along. But when they do, their performance in the competition makes their boasting hard to dispute. Examples include Season 5 winner Danny, Season 9 winner Paul, and Season 6 runner-up Kevin. It helps that these three mostly lack the attitude problems that come with big egos.
  • Better on DVD: The DVD version of Hell's Kitchen is uncensored, and doesn't have the dramatic cut to ad breaks and recaps that often happen at the end of a challenge or before Chef Ramsay decides who is leaving.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Season 11's Zach's Flip Personality, Grant Banks. Shows up out of nowhere in one episode, and is never heard from again afterwards.
    • In Season 4, Corey and Louross are talked up about having an attraction towards one another, and mere moments later it is completely brushed off.
    • During one dinner service in Season 10, Royce gets an earful from Chef Ramsay due to his performance on garnishes. Cue to Royce crying in a hilariously melodramatic manner, and tearfully apologizing to Ramsay for not cooking his mash right. Then it cuts back to the dinner service as if nothing happened and Royce isn't shown being emotional about it for the rest of the episode.
    • Episode 10 of Season 13 has a music video of Sterling suddenly pop up right in the middle of dinner service.
  • Catharsis Factor: As the main page mentions, one of the big parts of the show's appeal is seeing the usual stupid, attention-starved Jerkasses who usually plague reality TV being punished for their behaviour and competent, mature and intelligent chefs being rewarded.
  • Critical Research Failure: In Season 13, Chef Ramsay telling the contestants that Aaron was the only chef to ever quit Hell's Kitchen. Clearly, Chef Ramsay forgot Joy from Season 12, Gina from Season 11, Andrew from Season 7, Joseph from Season 6 and Jeff from Season 1. You could surmise that he was talking about people quitting in the exact manner that Aaron did, namely getting nominated in the usual manner and then just flat-out admitting that Ramsay should send him home... except that someone else (namely Simone) did the exact same thing only the season beforehand.
  • Designated Hero: In-universe, Chef Gordon Ramsay has come off as this. While he is a nice guy who wants to help the contestants shine out their talents and is a Jerkass Woobie who has to put up with a lot of incompetence in every season, some of the stuff he says to people tends to go too far. Such examples include fat shaming the overweight contestants such as Robert Hesse and Raj Brandston, and has gotten into arguments with several of the customers and ends up needlessly insulting them such as calling a woman a dog and telling another woman to get her breasts of his hotplate.
  • Designated Villain: In-universe example with Virginia from Season 2, who was despised by Keith and Heather for what they saw as blatant favoritism from Ramsay and targeted by Sara's sabotage.
    • Another in-universe example is Season 10's Barbie. Thanks to Kimmie, Tiffany, and Robyn, the red team always blames Barbie for their mistakes.
  • Faux Symbolism: Jason's penis-shaped lobster dish in Season 7.
    • See also J's lobster tapas dish in Season 5.
    • And Ariel's grilled squid stuffed with lobster claw in Season 15.
  • Genius Bonus: Sometimes it's helpful to have some culinary knowledge when watching this show, to truly appreciate how much some of the contestants are screwing up.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • A lot of seasons in general are like this since the show's rewards usually aren't as glamorous as initially pictured. Some winners only work at the restaurants promised for a short time. Unless you are Christina Wilson.
    • A particularly sad example occurs when you rewatch Season 2, because of Rachel. After winning a helicopter ride to a restaurant, remarked that riding a helicopter was something she had to mark off her "100 Things To Do Before I Die List." Once in a confessional, she stated about herself "Rachel...you...are...pitiful! Rachel, you suck!" And then, after being eliminated: "You don’t quit having a dream, because one night... (breaks down and cries)" This becomes extremely chilling when you learn what happened to her the year after Season 2 aired.
    • A lot of fans joked about Season 3's Aaron having some sort of health problem (ex. diabetes) due to his weight. Cut to November 30, 2010, and it was announced that Aaron had passed away due to "health complications from diabetes."
    • Carol from Season 5 expressing shock over her team winning, even though her potatoes were terrible. She thought to herself that she was the luckiest person in the world. She was eliminated that very night, even though she was on the winning team.
    • Robert telling Lacey that if she won Season 5, he would hang up his jacket and become a crack whore. A lot less of a funny comment when you realize that Robert had drug problems in the past.
    • Speaking of Robert, Season 6's infamous "Bicycle Punishment" becomes less funny when you realize that it may have made his health problems worse.
    • Arguably the entirety of Season 7, since the winner, Holli, was unable to take the job at the Savoy in London due to visa problems.
    • The winner of Season 11, Ja'Nel, not getting the restaurant due to allegedly failing a drug test.
    • Joy stating that she never quits in an early Season 12 episode is harder to watch after her infamous Rage Quit in Episode 18.
    • In Season 20 (Young Guns), The first reward given was dinner with three of the previous Winners, including Michelle from Season 17 (All Stars), who had quit the year before the episode aired due to stress and abuse from the job and concerns over COVID-19.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Season 3's Julia states that she never went to culinary art school but she was willing to learn. On her elimination night, Ramsay stated that he would send her to culinary school.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Although it first aired in June 2006, Season 2 contains a contestant named Sara who looks very similar to Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin was elected governor in December 2006, but it's hard not to view it as a No Celebrities Were Harmed parody.
    • In Season 5, after Lacey once again survived elimination, Robert stated that Lacey's luck was going to run out, and Ramsay would eliminate her. Sure enough in the next episode, Lacey would do such a terrible job on meat that Ramsay would eliminate her mid-service.
    • In Season 8, Melissa criticized Sabrina for screwing up on the meat station since cooking meat was a basic thing. The very next episode, Melissa overcooked two dozen fillets at the same time, and the very next episode, she wrecked the entire supply of her team's (she was moved to the blue team) scallops!.
    • In Season 12, when one of the contestants mentions wanting to get married, members of the red team and sous chef Andi have a discussion about how working as a chef eats up a lot of time, leaving little room for anything else. This conversation leads to that contestant getting nominated, on the theory that wanting to get married shows a lack of devotion to the career. Three seasons later, in Season 15, Andi got married.
    • In Season 15, Jackie says, "Of course I knew. I'm psychic." to a girl in a restaurant. That person was Millie Brown.
    • In Season 17, a crying Elise, angry at Michelle for nominating her for the Cook for Your Life challenge, tells her that she'd "better get used to this face", to which Michelle responds "Your crying face?" Michelle ends up winning the season, with Elise once again crying upon witnessing her rival's success.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Chef Ramsay often called Ben from Season 5 fat. He wasn't actually that much overweight, and by the time he returned for a service in Season 9, he was skinnier. His teammate Robert, however...
  • Iron Woobie: Multiple.
    • Season 4's Christina was frequently targeted just because her teammates didn't like her, regardless of how well she did each service. Despite that, she remained a solid chef throughout the competition and didn't fall into the trap of eliminating someone she didn't like personally, which eventually helped her win that season.
    • Jon in Season 11 did very well in almost every challenge... but the rest of the blue team, with the sole exception of Anthony before his collapse, were so terrible that he wasn't able to enjoy any of the rewards because they lost all but two challenges. Nevertheless, Jon took it all in stride, and managed to win the second individual challenge after black jackets were given. Unfortunately, he came up just short of making it to the finale, but he became the first male contestant that Ramsay allowed to keep his jacket, and today, he works at Gordon Ramsay Steak in Las Vegas under Season 10 winner Christina.
      • It got so bad, even Ramsay took to being less critical of the very few mistakes Jon did make, yelling at him maybe twice the entire season. In fairness, those mistakes only came due to the team's failures weighing down on Jon, likely the reason Ramsay was more lenient.
    • Season 12's Scott didn't have it easy. He was actually a decent cook for the most part (before the black jackets anyway). But he got very little respect from both of the teams, since he tied Elise for the most nominations in the show's history, whether he deserved it or not. Frequently, he was around as The Scapegoat. The most jarring examples came from Joy, who would frequently shift the blame to him, simply because she refused to nominate her friend Kashia (even if she had made far worse mistakes). Aside from one isolated incident where he lost his cool at Chef Ramsay, he simply rolled with it and didn't let it affect his cooking. This is good, considering that the shit he went through only sweetened his eventual victory.
    • Season 15's Manda. Most of her team ignored or talked down to her, Frank treated her like shit, she had little self-confidence, and she obviously missed her kids a LOT... but she kept trying without pause and moreover kept an optimistic, upbeat attitude right up to her elimination.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!:
    • One of the most common complaints is that the "Battle-of-the-Sexes" gimmick has been really played out being done for 16 straight seasons after the 1st season was the only one starting with mixed teams. It's why it's considered such a waste that after finally bringing back starting mixed teams for the Rookies vs. Veterans season, they quickly go back to Men vs. Women just a few episodes later.
    • The lack of competent male chefs on the show starts to get tiresome in some of the later seasons, which is exemplified by the fact that there was seven straight female winners from Seasons 13-19.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • It's easy to assume that Ramsay's just a bitter, foul-tempered asshole. When you see what he has to put up with from some of the contestants, he becomes a lot more sympathetic.
    • Keith from Season 2. Despite an obvious struggle with positive encouragement— one Chef Ramsay frequently tried to mitigate— he couldn't quite get past his attitude. When not chosen to be one of the finalists, he mouthed off and accused Ramsay of simply choosing Virginia because he "had a hard-on" for her. You could see all respect Chef had for Keith instantly dashed.
    • Matt from Season 4 was arguably this. He was an ass a lot of the time, but he was downright hated and alienated by his blue team. He pleaded to Chef Ramsay to be switched to red and became a lot happier (and somewhat more competent) when he was finally acknowledged. He did deserve some of the ire from his teammates given his incompetence, but he was pitiful at the very least.
    • Robert from Season 5. He was a bit of an ass sometimes. But dropping out of the competition due to health complications right when you visit the restaurant you get when you win stings badly. And even after all his devotion, he skipped out on his wedding in order to compete on the show so he could secure a good future for himself and his wife. He did get a second chance in Season 6, but sadly he suffered Badass Decay. Then he went to the hospital because his health problems arose again. When he finally got back, he got a cold welcome from his team who had bonded without him around and felt like he hurt the team dynamic. He got eliminated that very night.
    • This is pretty much Andrea from Season 5's reaction after she has a turn running the pass.
    • Suzanne from Season 6 was somewhat pitiful. She was alienated from her team and tried to be a better team player halfway through. But her efforts to be accepted were continuously rejected by everybody. She was widely hated by all the contestants, and they often said it right to her face. Still, she was an annoying Smug Snake who continuously tried to take control and throw other people under the bus and often came off as a suck-up even after she tried to be nicer.
    • Arguably, Season 12's Ralph. Sure, he was quite a jerk sometimes. But suffering from a lack of sleep due to Gabriel's snoring, trying to do well in the next service, then doing so badly he was eliminated (with Gabriel lying about the nominees and nominating Ralph instead of himself as well) made him seem a bit sympathetic.
    • Sade from Season 13 can be ruthless, a sore loser and a bit of a bitch to her teammates, but she's been in seven punishments in a row. Even her teammates comment that she can be allowed to yell a bit.
    • Meghan from Season 14 may qualify; she's harsh and sometimes outright rude, although she picks on Michelle slightly less than the others, but she's been through a ridiculous amount of punishments despite being far and away the best chef on the roster thanks to her team's incompetence.
    • Trev from Season 8 and Season 18 (Rookies vs. Veterans). While rude and snarky at times, it's not hard to sympathize with him when he gets constantly shit on by his teammates in both seasons, and getting yelled at by Sous Chefs for minor mistakes. Season 18 (Rookies vs. Veterans) makes it worse as he made it to 7th place yet only went on one reward trip all season, and felt very ashamed of his poor performance on the Blind Taste Test, not helping that his team abandoned him afterwards.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: The number one reason people watch Hell's Kitchen in the first place has to be for Chef Ramsay yelling at other chefs who screw up.
  • Les Yay: Implied to have occurred with Heather and Rachel in Season 2, although Heather subsequently clarified that there was only ever a bit of good-natured flirting between the two and that Rachel had a long-term girlfriend, meaning that nothing would have happened anyway. Many fans suspected this was also the case with Bonnie and Jen in Season 3, although it ended up being disproved in the season finale when Bonnie pretty much confirmed that she was heterosexual.
    • Ho Yay, on the other hand, has been averted so far. While there's actually been six gay male chefs on the show note  (so far as is known), there's never been more than one per season, yet.
  • Memetic Badass: Chef Ramsay.
    • Dave, winner of Season 6, also qualifies due to winning the competition single-handed. His status among fans is legendary.
    • Sous Chef Scott.
    • In spite of his lacking cooking skills, Season 8's Raj has jokingly become this within the fandom.
    • Jon, who placed third in Season 11, for being the only member of that season's blue team with his head screwed on right and for possibly being one of the best contestants in Hell's Kitchen period, so much so that Gordon outright hired him.
    • In spite of being a Base-Breaking Character, Ray from Season 11 has become this.
  • Narm: Antonia's migraine and abrupt departure from the show right before the first dinner service in Season 8; she reacts so intensely that it's hard to take it seriously. It certainly doesn't help that the Signature Dish she made just prior was one of the worst in the show's history, leading some to speculate that she faked her migraine to leave the show out of embarrassment.
  • Narm Charm: The narration and sound effects can be hilariously over-the-top at times.
  • Nausea Fuel:
    • Three words: Matt's Exotic Tartare.note  Probably the first dish in the series where Ramsay actually vomited rather than just spitting it out.
    • Antonia's signature dish provoked another literal regurgitation from Ramsay in Season 8. Only this time he decided to share the pain by getting the other contestants to taste it. They didn't like it any more than he did, and Vinny and Nona also came close to throwing up. It was so bad, Ramsay used it as the tiebreaker against the red team.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Season 3's Tiffany was an okay chef. However, she'll be forever remembered for her utter dislike of fan-favorite Julia, for being one of "Hell's bitches," and for how she complained that Julia "works in a fuckin' Waffle House."
    • Season 3's Jen was the most consistent female chef of her season, but she'll forever be remembered as the chef who tried to serve pasta from the bin after running out.
    • Most of the time, Season 4's Rosann wasn't too bad (personality-wise). But she'll forever be remembered for joining Corey and Jen in constantly trying to throw Christina under the bus, and actually managing to throw Shayna under it.
    • Season 5's Ben telling Danny "You couldn't cook my cock!"
    • Season 5's Giovanni's last service.
    • Season 6's Joseph and his unprovoked confrontation with Chef Ramsay, during which he threatened the man to his face and was immediately pushed out for it. Also, four words: "I'm not no bitch!"
    • Season 8's Russell will be known as the only runner-up to not take his loss with grace and even threatening his brigade with blacklisting them. It became an In-Universe example when he came back in Season 10 for the Runner-Up service, as the show presented more of his negative clips than the other runner-ups after him.
    • Season 10's Kimmie would like to remind you that "she's from the South."
    • Season 11's Blue Team will always be known for being one of the worst batches of chefs the show ever produced. With the exception of Jon and Anthony, this team of male chefs was so bad that they only managed to win a single cooking Challenge before Ramsay started sending girls over to the Blue Team.
    • Did you know that Season 11's Danielle has never worked in a brigade before?
    • Season 12's Jason pretty much destroyed any chance he had of the fans rooting for him to win when he blew up at Sandra after the red team were sent in to bail the blue team out of a terrible service. Aside from that, he was shown not to have that much of a problem with women, got along well with Rochelle and Melanie and respected Joy as a contender, but the image of him as a raging misogynist was just too firmly planted in the minds of the show's fans. It even resulted in some accusations about the nature of his relationship with his girlfriend when she showed up in the penultimate episode.
    • Season 14's Meghan proved herself to be a great chef. However, her Sore Loser moment after the Blue Team won their first Challenge (second, actually, if you count the Signature Dish) against her team was pretty painful to watch. The reason it sticks out is that her Red Team started out winning multiple cooking Challenges in a row, which she got to have fun on vacation rewards multiple times. Yet after the Blue Team finally wins one, Meghan had the audacity to spend her first actual punishment whining and complaining the whole time as if she was sick and tired of losing, which clearly hasn't been the case. In the end, it really ends up coming off like an Out-of-Character Moment considering that there were barely any other times that she acted like this. It also softens the blow that she's hit quite hard with Laser-Guided Karma afterwards by losing the following eight Challenges. Thus, turning her into more of a Jerkass Woobie.
      • To be fair, her reaction is less about the Challenge loss itself and more about her frustration with her team in general. At that point, the Red Team had lost four out of five dinner services (and had been kicked out of the kitchen in all four cases) and she was frequently having to bail out certain teammates (Sarah in particular) for making stupid mistakes. At the start of the episode, she has the unenviable task of tutoring Sarah in basic culinary skills. The subsequent Challenge loss and resulting punishment is simply the final straw for her. It doesn't help that during the punishment, the rest of the Red Team are cracking jokes, giving her the impression that they aren't taking things seriously.
    • Season 15's Frank's sexist comments about female marines in his elimination statement (which actually got him fired).
    • Season 16's Blue Team will always be remembered as the most toxic and incompetent group of men the show's ever put together, with only Devin, Aaron and maybe Koop being considered likable and good chefs.
      • Koop overall had his moments, but he'll always be known as the guy who treats servers horribly due to his "bitch servers" comment regarding them being the ones to clean up the broken ostrich eggs.
    • Jared's return in All Stars after placing 4th in Season 15 reduced him to either the guy who talks about kissing his sister a lot or the guy who lied about a cut and got eliminated. His long run in Season 15 where he was arguably the most focused of the male to this is because in Season 17 (All Stars) he began to say things such as "You know how I feel about ties, it's like kissing your sister. You don't win, you don't lose, it's just fucking awkward." The All Stars tied a lot in challenges, and so he would keep saying it. The lying about a cut to get out of service reduced what was once a strong competitor in his original season to a pathetic quitter. Even Season 15's youtube comments mention his future run in Season 17 (All Stars).
    • Jen in Season 18 (Rookies vs. Veterans) for accusing Ramsey of sabotaging her garnishes. Also, "You're trying to clown me up here, chef".
  • Nightmare Fuel: Joseph's infamous meltdown from Season 6. There's nothing particularly scary about the scene... that is, until he throws off his jacket in a fit of anger and steps up close to Gordon. The eerie part about it is the fact that the producers cut out the music completely until Joseph leaves the building. Considering the situation at hand (Joseph threatening Gordon to a fistfight, with the latter responding back to him in his raspy Tranquil Fury voice, while the other contestants stare in shock from behind), it makes it the single most unsettling moment in Hell's Kitchen history.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Andrew of Season 7. The sound effects Lampshade it; thankfully, he left the show in the second episode.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: After Season 1's Jeff quit, he got into a physical fight with Chef Ramsay and ended up being injured. Sadly, the cameras weren't around. Urban Legend has it that a similar thing happened to Season 6's Joseph.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Season 8's Antonia. She quit the show on doctor's orders after suffering a severe migraine after the opening signature dish challenge. That said, her signature dish was the Mardi Gras Gumbo, so her extremely short stint on the show was a very memorable one.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: The Season 17 (All Stars) finale was very much this. While the season was already hated for the controversial eliminations of chefs like Van and Jennifer, Nick's elimination solidified this as he was eliminated in the final tasting challenge. It even got to the extent that a rumor started to circulate that the final judge and CEO of Caeser's Entertainment Group, Mark Frissora, intentionally gave him a low score as he wasn't comfortable having an LGBT head chef at the restaurant.
  • Padding: Season 10 is extremely guilty of this. The usual events that unfold during each episode in previous seasons - the post-elimination cooldown, the reward challenge, the reward/punishment, the dinner service, etc. - get stretched out into two installments, and it shows. The extra time doesn't really give more insight into the groups and exists only to produce more episodes. The only exception to this was the opening episodes, and the episode that aired before the MLB All-Star Game (the latter making the Padding all the more obvious).
    • Season 11 brings padding back in spades, now stretching out the elimination segments so that viewers have to wait until next week just to see who is getting kicked out. The biggest moment is during the Final 5, where it took 3 episodes, 2 challenges, and 2 services to eliminate Susan, who is not really a standout chef compared to her competitors.
    • Averted for the most part in Season 12, which only had two cliffhangers (though only one was for an elimination challenge, while the other was just to see who won a challenge).
    • Throughout the series, there are Commercial Break Cliffhanger moments, where the first minute after coming back, the same scene from before is shown, followed by the outcome, which usually wastes about 3-4 minutes of screen time. Fortunately, these are cut out of the DVD versions.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: The show received a PC game adaptation which is considerably milder than the show. Ramsay looks very odd (Spoony's description is that he looks like he's made of Play-Doh) and doesn't swear or even really raise his voice unless you deliberately screw up repeatedly. There is no competition factor, and seating people is one of the challenges. The game isn't really bad, per se — as Spoony points out, it would be pretty decent for an iOS app or a free flash game — but it isn't worth the $30 asking price.
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Gloria, the red team's sous chef in Seasons 4 and 5, was nowhere near as popular as her predecessor Maryann, mostly because Maryann had shown she could kick ass as well as Chef Ramsay and Scott, whereas Gloria seemed to spend most of her time on the show standing by the pass and looking as if she'd rather be elsewhere. The red team's subsequent sous chefs, Heather, Andi, and Christina, have mostly averted this; Heather and Christina already had a lot of fans from their original appearances on the show, and Andi gained a lot of respect when she helped Chef Ramsay and Scott rescue a service that the red team had screwed up royally. It probably doesn't hurt that Andi is among the best-looking sous chefs to appear on the red team, at least on the outside. For the most part, she is quiet...
    • Many also see the new maître d, James, for Seasons 8-10, as this in comparison to Jean-Philippe, as most of the time he doesn't seem to have a grasp of what's going on and he comes across as rather bland and is nowhere near as funny or charming as JP was. Marino seems to be an aversion as his more comedic personality has given him a couple of fans.
      • James is even considered this in-universe. Season 8's Emily was very disappointed when he showed up and called his accent "unsexy".
    • Season 11's new male sous chef, James, is also seen as this by many, as he has generally little presence (at times you may even forget he's there) and just doesn't have the inherent badass attitude, authority, and presence that sous chef Scott has and fans love. As time went on, however, he became liked by the fans due to his reliability with the other chefs. The next blue team sous chef, Aaron, had even fewer fans due to just lacking presence in the kitchen (and screentime). However, the most recent blue team sous chef, Jocky, has averted this due to actually showing strong leadership and also for being much different from the other male sous chefs in the show, and Jason/Jay already had fans from his original season.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Andrew from Season 1. Sure, he started out as a massive prick to his team, but as soon as he realized that his attitude would get him nowhere, he tried to improve himself, albeit without success. However, his final service where he not only worked through a sliced thumb, but helped Dewberry when he was feeling faint from the heat and also managed to recover his station gained him a lot of fans, and nowadays, he's looked at more positively.
    • Bobby from Season 4. In the first service of that season, he was assigned to be the Blue Team's captain, and screwed up royally, to the extent that Ramsay took the captain's badge off him and gave it to Louross halfway through the service. The only real reason he survived elimination that week was because he was put up against Dominic, who was probably the worst chef ever to have appeared on the show up until that point. In the following weeks, though, he improved, and was named the Best of the Worst in the fourth service. After that, he became one of the more liked chefs from that season's bunch, to the point where many fans were genuinely upset when he got kicked off the show in favor of Jen.
    • Corey in Season 4 as well. At first, she talked down to her teammates, used her good looks to manipulate the blue team (this only worked with Jason, ironically enough), and nominated Christina and Jen early on for strategic reasons even though they were strong chefs. By the halfway point, she figured out that she needed to be more pleasant, and even put aside her differences with Christina to help her and Petrozza get rid of Jen, who by that point did deserve to go home.
    • Ben from Season 5 could be this. While he received a mixed reaction due to his cockiness in the start, Ben showed that behind all his bravado, he genuinely cared about his team. Him being one of Danny's biggest supporters and eventually helping him win helped tremendously.
    • Season 9's Elise may be the Scrappy Queen, but she did redeem herself when she became Paul's first pick (second overall) and was easily the hardest-working member of his team. She even worked with her Arch-Enemy Carrie without either of them coming to blows. Say what you will about her behavior throughout the season while she was competing, but she really did help Paul out big time. However, it's fully subverted when she came back for All Stars, coming to a full boil during the finale where Nick constantly berates her for hinting at sabotaging Michelle's service, and crying her eyes out when Michelle eventually wins.
    • Barbie from Season 10. In the beginning, the fans could not stand her passive-aggressive demeanor as much as her teammates. However, once the red team turned increasingly dysfunctional, Barbie decided that she'd be better off keeping her mouth shut and just focusing on the cooking. This proved to be a wise move since it kept Barbie away from the excessive drama that befell her teammates, while she improved her abilities in the kitchen. This was most notable when Barbie picked up Tiffany's slack during prep and dinner service later, despite Tiffany blaming her failures on Barbie, and also very notable a little later on when she had a great service alongside her teammates and then was ordered by Ramsay to take over the blue team's meat station, where she led the team into finishing their service by cooking and communicating flawlessly. As a result, the fans warmed up to Barbie considerably. But again, like Elise above, it ultimately became subverted in All-Stars.
    • Dan from Season 11 might have become this. Known for being a complete jerk with bad ego problems throughout his run at the season, he still kept those traits for the final service, to the point that Mary was stuck with him on her team and had to throw him out early. However, at the end when it was revealed that Ja'Nel won, he shows a true Pet the Dog moment by hugging the sobbing Mary, apologizes to her and promises to make it up to her one day.
    • In-Universe for Sterling. When he was on the show, the rest of the contestants were sick and tired of his positive attitude. When he was switched to the red team, the blue team was visibly relieved and the red team annoyed. By the time he was finally asked to leave, without even an elimination, after a terrible service, all the contestants looked crushed. When he returned for the finale, he was Bryant's second pick, and by far the most competent and hardworking cook on either team, picking up the slack after Bryant kicked Frank out of the kitchen for bombing both appetizers and garnish. Bryant called him his "rock" and had absolutely nothing but good things to say about him in the confessionals.
    • Santos from Season 13. He was initially disliked for conspiring with Steve and Aaron to sabotage their teammates, and his cockiness and arrogance. However, as the season progressed, and Aaron and Steve were eliminated, he eventually stopped his attempted sabotages and started admitting his mistakes.
    • Jackie from Season 15. During the season, she earned her teammates' dislike by incidents such as being called the cancer of the team by Sous Chef Christina for using an expletive on a sheet of prep notes, making fun of Ashley's breast implants for attempting to nominate her, and dumping a cigarette ashtray on Kristin. In the finale, she is Ariel's first pick and leads Ariel to victory by taking over both the meat and fish station after Dannie storms out of service due to getting flagged for overcooked pork.
    • Matt from Season 16. When he started, he looked to be an expy to Season 6's Joseph due to his arguing against both his teammates and Ramsay. But after talking with Ramsay after thinking about quitting, he improved his attitude and became more helpful to his teammates. However, it's completely subverted in his last two episodes, where he goes back to being a full-blown Scrappy, openly arguing with both his teammates and Chef Ramsay, and refusing to own up to his mistakes. In his exit interview, he even threatens to fight Chef Ramsay if he ever runs into him in the streets. Just like Joseph threatened to do.
    • Season 17 (All Stars) featured a few people being seen in a better light than their previous seasons such as; Giovanni (who mended the fences with Chef Ramsay after the infamous "dickface" screaming match that got him kicked out of Season 5), Benjamin (who isn't as critical or snobbish as he was during Season 7), Nick (who is a little less bitchier since Season 14, as well as arguably the most improved) and Robyn (who, while starting off the same as she did in Season 10, improved her attitude when she came on the blue team and has been getting a little more consistent each episode).
    • Season 18 (Rookies vs. Veterans) has seen this occur to two of the returning chefs: Roe (who has become more consistent and less abrasive since Season 13), and Trev (mostly for snarking about his predicaments as opposed to whining about them of Season 8).
    • Cody from Season 19 (Las Vegas) was initially disliked due to his perceived arrogance and not backing up his boasts. But after some failures, he got humbler, nicer, and became one of the nicest members of the blue team of that season. Even some detractors were won over when his Batman Gambit to get rid of Marc worked and some were angry that he didn't make it to the finale.
    • Season 20 (Young Guns) had Antonio who, similarly to Season 4's Bobby, tried to assert himself as a leader in the first service, but his leadership mostly just consisted of him saying "Bounce back, baby!" He toned down his ego quite a bit after moving to the red team, as well as becoming more consistent, leading to the fans warming up to him.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Elimination Challenges (Cook For Your Life Challenges and Black Jacket Challenges) have been a sore spot for fans as they're too similar to Masterchef (another Gordon Ramsay based cooking show), along with the fact that they caused the eliminations of consistent chefs at the wrong time (the most glaring examples include Season 17's Jennifer and Season 18's Kanae). The worst example was the Final Tasting Challenge in Season 17 (All Stars) as it completed screwed Nick over, despite the latter doing a lot better that season, and being one of the favorites to win.
  • Seasonal Rot: Quite a few examples in the show’s history.
    • Season 8 had some of the most inconsistent chefs to compete, there was more in-fighting than ever and contained the most hated runner-up (Russell, mostly for his toxic sore loser attitude). It doesn't help that it came off the heels of what fans called the Golden Age of the series (Seasons 4 to 7).
    • Season 11 is widely considered one of the worst seasons for its unnecessary cliffhangers between episodes, mostly uninteresting characters, and of course, the blue team, still considered one of the worst in Hell’s Kitchen history for losing most of the services and challenges. Doesn’t help that popular chefs such as Jon, Mary, and Anthony were ultimately snubbed by the season. Even worse, the winner, Ja’Nel, didn’t even get the position of Head Chef at Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill due to her testing positive for cocaine.
    • Season 13 is not as bad as the other two, but it's the most forgettable of the series as there were not a lot of memorable moments that stuck out. Plus, none of the chefs have distinct personalities that made them stand out (with the exception of Sterling). It also suffered from eventual winner La Tasha being so overwhelmingly better than all that season's other competitors that it all but removed any drama over who would win, making for an overall very forgettable season.
    • Season 15 featured noticeably lower-quality chefs than in previous seasons (only 4 chefs scored a 4 on the signature dish challenge and none scored a 5), coming off as jarring compared to seasons like 12 and 14 in particular. Doesn’t help that the season was also filled with shocking eliminations such as Hassan, Joe, and Jared, a constant emphasis on the drama with chefs like Jackie, Frank, Ashley, and Jared, and a winner (Ariel) that left a lot of fans divided. Even worse, every chef from this season to return to All Stars (Ashley, Jared, and Manda) got eliminated early enough to not return to the finale as a team player, only further adding to the low-performance quality of this season.
    • Season 16 is the most one-sided season in the show’s history, with a red team that won EIGHT services out of twelve compared to a blue team that only won TWO services. As a result, any resemblance of competition became nonexistent as the women dominated the men for the entire season. To make matters worse, most of the male chefs of the season either had unstable attitudes note , lent themselves to drama note , both note , or were grossly incompetent note . The only thing that makes it a little better is having a likable winner; Ryan.
    • Season 17 (All Stars). Suffered due to the constant drama from Elise (who was arguably worse than in Season 9), and having one of the most dysfunctional red teams in recent history. However, some fans dislike this season due to several talented people getting eliminated too early, including Ben, Van, Giovanni, Nick, and Benjamin, with the last two in particular getting heavy backlash.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Originally, one of the greatest appeals of the show was that the main chef, Gordon Ramsay, was a Drill Sergeant Nasty, as opposed to the nice chefs that were common in the genre. Now, thanks to this show, such rough chefs are now the default, and it can be difficult for a new viewer to see what once made this show unique.
  • Sacred Cow: Petrozza from Season 4 definitely qualifies as this, as he's considered one of the kindest and best chefs to have ever competed on the show.
  • Squick
    • Matt from Season 4 accidentally cutting off the tip of his finger.
      • Again in Season 6, when Andy accidentally cut off the tips of his fingers.
      • Jay as well from Season 7.
      • Rochelle did the same thing in Season 12.
    • Also done in punishments, especially when contestants have to sort through dumpster trash or eat things like Balut (duck fetus) and lamb testicles.
    • A exotic meats challenge was introduced with several live examples of Foreign Cuisine. Snakes? Pretty standard. Iguana? Inspired. Rats? Some really are Reduced to Ratburgers. Tarantula? Nightmare Fuel.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The show's theme song, "Fire" by the Ohio Players, gets this when the show is rebroadcast outside of the US. It's also used on the DVD releases, as they apparently couldn't get the rights to use it on them.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: One of the show's biggest appeals is to see Chef Ramsay scream at The Scrappy for their performance and bad attitude. Usually, one or two make it pretty far. But a lot of them tend to be eliminated early.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • Jean-Philippe not returning to the show for Season 8 for some mysterious reason (being replaced with another guy with a similar accent) had several fans spouting this trope.
      • Unofficial word is that Jean-Philippe may eventually be back - he was called away to deal with a situation in one of Ramsay's restaurants in France. However, as of Season 9, James is still the maître d'.
      • Ramsay has now stated via his Twitter that JP will be back for Season 10.
      • Good news (really): JP is now back on the crew for Season 11, however, Blue Team Sous Chef Scott Leibfried is committed somewhere else, so he is replaced with James Avery.
    • While it's completely understandable as to why they got rid of it after the first 5 seasons due to being a waste of resources, there are a couple people out there that miss the interior restaurant designs for final service.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Season 2's winner, Heather, got to return as Ramsay's sous chef for the Red Team in Season 6. However, she was so Out of Focus with little to no dialogue or notable appearances outside of her introduction that you'd easily forget that she was there.
    • Every once in awhile, you'll see people wishing to see Season 5's Cha Ji-Hyun get another shot after she chose to leave the competition early due to twisting her ankle. Especially when her opening signature dish was amongst the best, and Ramsay's final words for Ji having missed potential written all over it.
    • One of the most universally agreed upon eliminations that people believe happened way too early was Season 15's Hassan Musselmani, who Ramsay chose to eliminate over Dannie in week 7. Hassan throughout the first 6 weeks had proven himself to be a powerhouse amongst the men. So much so that Ramsay felt that sending him to the Red Team would give the girls a spark. Instead, he ends up having his first bad performance of the season, which also happened to be his last since said performance resulted in his elimination. Thus, leaving many viewers confused as to why he deserved to go since he wasn't even given a second chance to try to make up for his bad week. One theory people have is that the reason he got kicked off despite his competency was that Ramsay was angry and embarrassed that Hassan put in a bad performance during a special event. Said event being previous sous chef Andi's wedding reception. By the time of the season finale, it's quite common to see the viewers claiming that Hassan should have been amongst the chefs brought back for the final service teams.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • With Season 17 being an All Stars season, one can't help but wonder why Season 3's Julia wasn't among the returning chefs given that, as stated upon her exit, Ramsay hoped she would return after graduating from culinary school and knock the competition out of the water. It could also extend to others as many seasons (1-4, 8, 11-13, and 16) did not have any representatives at all, leaving a number of people irritated that fan-favorites such as Season 4's Bobby, Season 11's Jon, and Season 12's Rochelle did not appear. In addition, the fact that only chefs who received black jackets in their first season were brought back left fans of Season 13's Sterling, Season 8's Vinny, and Season 10's Brian disappointed that they were not offered a second chance. This additionally prevented chefs who went home only because of injuries, like Season 5's Ji and Season 14's Bret, from trying again.
      • Addressed in Season 18 (Rookies vs. Veterans), which included the aforementioned Bret, three runner-ups, and representatives from Seasons 4, 8, 13, and 16.
    • Also from Season 17 (All Stars) is the 3-way finale that wasn't. The end of Episode 14 hypes up the finale of the season like it's going to be the first-ever final service between 3 chefs... only for that to not be the case in the final two episodes. The eliminations ended up just playing out normally where Nick was eliminated in 3rd place instead of being the head chef for a 3rd final service team.
    • One complaint regarding Season 18 (Rookies vs. Veterans) is that Ramsay threw away the Rookies Vs. Veterans team format too early, and go back to the battle of the sexes four episodes in. It's especially jarring considering that it was the first time since Season 1 where the teams started in mixed genders.
  • Too Cool to Live: In a non-fatal example, Cha Ji-Hyun, due to her twisted ankle.
    • Averted with Dave, who went on despite his injuries, and won.
      • Also averted with Kevin, also from Season 6, who went on despite his injuries and made runner-up.
    • Jason in Season 9, who managed to impress Ramsay with tacos, appeared to be an all-around great chef and had a beard worthy of a Viking; unfortunately, he suffered the same fate as Season 8's Antonia. After he started to have trouble breathing in the prep for the first service, he was rushed to the hospital and never came back.
      • Thankfully, Jason came back in Season 12 and proved himself to be one of the strongest chefs on the blue team, finishing all the way in second place only behind Scott.
    • Bret from Season 14. Despite being one of the best chefs, if not the best chef, on the blue team that season, he had to withdraw around the halfway point after he slipped a disc after falling on his back during a reward.
      • Like Jason, he also got the opportunity to return in a future season, Season 18 (Rookies vs. Veterans), and continued proving he was indeed a strong chef, managing to place third.
  • Unpopular Popular Character:
    • Viewers liked Christina from Season 4 a lot more than the red team did.
    • Likewise, Season 10's Barbie, who drew near-universal hatred from the red team, was a favorite for viewers.
    • Scott from Season 12 started getting a lot of fans rallying around him as he became The Scapegoat of the season that other chefs blamed their own mistakes on, resulting in many unfair nominations, particularly by Joy who refused to ever nominate her friend, Kashia.
    • Season 13's Sterling seems to be heading in the same direction, with viewers liking him much more than his team does.
  • Vindicated by History: When it first aired, Season 10 wasn't liked by the fans due to the amount of Small Name, Big Ego chefs, multiple cliffhangers, and more drama than needed. However, as time went on, people started to see some of the season's more shining moments such as the first-ever perfect score on the Blind Taste Challenge, more of The Scrappy chefs getting their karma at certain points, and Christina, who many refer to as the most successful winner to date (indeed, many of the comments on Youtube refer to Season 10 as "Christina's origin story"). Plus, the number of cliffhangers was not as bad compared to Season 11.
  • Wangst: Lacey from Season 5, who had a tendency to start whining and crying after performing poorly, and would frequently complain about how her teammates hated her (in reality, it was this that was the cause of most of it).
    • Elise from Season 9 would immediately start to cry if her team lost a challenge, or if it looked like she might be eliminated. Because of this, you'd usually see her tear up at least once an episode. Ramsay immediately called her out on it, and her fellow contestants mocked her for doing so (unlike Lacey, however, she was often grumpy if things didn't go her way).
    • Season 12's Beth also. It seems as if she'd cry at any moment when things weren't going well. Every time she was up for elimination, she'd cry. This was usually limited to the Confessionals, however.
    • Season 14's Meghan spends her first Challenge punishment (second, actually, if you include the Red Team's loss at in the Signature Dish Challenge) whining and complaining as if it's the end of the world for her, which doesn't make any sense whatsoever when her Red Team had already won the past several Challenges, and all got to experience some fun and relaxation on the vacation rewards. At the very least, she gets better afterwards with many feeling that going on to lose the next 8 Challenges in a row really humbled her.
      • To be fair, her being in a bad mood isn't just about the Challenge loss and punishment. Rather, it's her being frustrated with the Red Team in general. At that point, they'd lost four out of five dinner services.
    • Season 19's Amber. She tended to get over-emotional and constantly think everyone was out to get her personally, even when she was given legitimate criticism she refused to own up to it. This was taken to its zenith once she was transferred to the blue team; she continually complained about wanting to go back to the red team, even when she ended up staying there longer than the red team. In the finale, when Jordan was chosen over her by Kori, she wouldn't stop nagging to Kori about it or in the confession cams when she was cooking for Mary Lou, and on top of that, she wasn't even Picked Last (Marc was, and even he didn't sulk about it). Needless to say, her teammates and viewers alike got tired of her whiny attitude real fast.
  • Win Back the Crowd:
    • After how poorly Season 11 went, many fans considered Season 12 a step forward due to fewer cliffhangers, chefs with better personalities, the teams being on equal footing in both challenges and services, and a winner that many considered one of the biggest underdogs in the entire series. It's still long with 20 episodes, but it did not abuse multi-part episodes as Season 11 did with three two-part episodes and one three-part episode.
    • Coming off the bland Season 13, Season 14 amazed fans for having the strongest chefs for the longest time (at least half of the chefs received more than 3 points on the Signature Dish Challenge), both teams having some strong consistency throughout the services, and arguably the strongest final two ever (Meghan and T).
    • Season 18 (Rookies vs. Veterans) managed to fix some of the problems that were plagued in Season 17 (All Stars). Less drama, more of the scrappier chefs getting eliminated (Jen and Scotley are prime examples), eliminations that made sense (except for Heather winning a black jacket over Kanae), and a winner that most agree deserved it (Ariel).
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