Virgin Suicide

Skin Dives, Las Vegas Gambles, and Chef Jamie Oliver Gets Naked, Emotionally

Instead of focusing on the internal bickering between staff members like DiSpirito's reality show The Restaurant (currently in reruns on Bravo), Jamie's Kitchen concentrates on Oliver's struggle to turn a bunch of feckless kids into professionals. Although it's never clear how pure-hearted his intentions are, Oliver quickly realizes he's committed himself to more than a publicity stunt. The auditions are like a foodie version of American Idol—Oliver and his judges must pick candidates from a torrent of culinary duds who barely recognize anything beyond spaghetti Bolognese. Most have never held a job and many have personal or financial problems to overcome: Michelle is a single mom, Dwayne's a dropout, and the desperately eager Michael Pizzi ("Peasey") has attention deficit disorder; all of them let Oliver down again and again. It's impossible not to feel sorry for the emotionally naked chef: you can practically see the ulcer budding in his guts, the follicles turning gray beneath his scalp. As the restaurant's building costs spiral out of control, his wife—who just gave birth—is livid about the excessive amount of time he's devoting to these troubled kids.

Am I blue?: Wilde and Catrona show some Skin.
photo: Anthony Mandler/Fox
Am I blue?: Wilde and Catrona show some Skin.


Mondays at 9 on Fox

Las Vegas
Mondays at 9 on NBC

Jamie's Kitchen
Marathon Sunday, October 19, at 6 and 11 p.m., and Saturday, October 25, at 3 p.m.
Food Network

Like most reality shows, Jamie's Kitchen doctors as much as documents. It spends hardly any time with the seven trainees who ace the program—depressingly enough, mostly middle-class unemployed kids—and concentrates on the turbulent truants, who have poor Jamie racing around London in a desperate attempt to get them back on track. Despite all the chaos, the restaurant opens and remains successful to this day. But its very name—Fifteen—carries a sad reminder of the eight trainees who didn't make it to opening day.

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