I get a serious case of déjà vu when I watch Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares on Fox and then switch to watch Robert Irvine's Restaurant Impossible on Food Network. I know that shows often copy each other--take, for example, toddlers, make-up and pageants and you have about thirteen shows--but these two shows are identical.
If you haven't watched either of these two doppelganger fixer-upper shows, both are hosted by two world-renowned British chefs. The men are called in to an American restaurant that is in dire straits because of its decor, owners and cuisine. Usually, the restaurants' owners yodel some variation of the theme of "You, Robert Irvine or Gordon Ramsay, are my last hope!"
Ramsay and Irvine visit the restaurant and whine about the terrible decor, and, oddly, almost always mention the smell of the carpets. They ask the chefs to create a number of the restaurants' dishes. Ramsay always hates all of the dishes, saying that things are raw, or sloppy or terrible. Irvine usually has one dish that he likes on the menu, but we'll come to that snappy alternative later.
Ramsay often gets to the bottom of some deep-seated issue between cooks and owners or between owners that he diagnoses as the root of the restaurants' problems. Irvine's twist is to have a cook-off between himself and the restaurant's chef who cooks the single dish that Irvine liked. They then have a blind taste test using potential patrons. This is a good twist because it gives the chefs a little bit of dignity that at least they're doing something right.
Ramsay completely recreates the menu himself, and recreates the restaurant's decpr. He doesn't give the restaurant owners any say in either decision, but I've never seen a chef get mad that Ramsay taken over their creativity. Irvine redoes the restaurant himself, but he gives the chefs more say in the new menu.
Irvine is a sweeter guy, and his show is better, but I'm also addicted to Ramsay's show because of the cliffhanger commercials and ominous music.
I suppose Ramsay's show is the original, though, because he premiered it in Britain in 2004. His American show was also first; it's been on the air since 2007. Irvine's show just began this year. It's rather strange that Food Network can make a show that is nearly identical to one already on the air--I'm surprised that Ramsay hasn't sued yet.
Do you watch either of these shows?