House of Food, Episode 2: The New Guy + The New Show

The cast of House of Food
The cast of House of Food

Remember last week when we reviewed the first episode of the new MTV show, House of Food? This week we're also going to review the first episode of the new MTV show, House of Food because it, too, was an entirely new show.

In between the first and second episodes, the entire cast and their giant suitcases that were packed for a lengthy stay went home and then came back again. They also ditched the last house because it wasn't glamorous enough for young aspiring chefs and moved into an entirely new, even bigger house in the Hollywood Hills. All of this happened for no reason and it was never explained. Like on Roseanne when they just changed Beckys for no reason and we weren't supposed to wonder why. 
See also: House of Food, Episode 1: Meeting the Cast and a Meat Cupcake

The cast arrives again, just like last week, only this time in van cabs instead of black SUVs. As the last car pulls up, the audience is supposed to be anxious to see whether or not it is Amanda coming back or if she decided to throw in the towel. It isn't her but instead new cast member Harrison, Ben Affleck's third cousin twice removed. He struts through the house wearing in shades, a flannel shirt and Timberlands trying to make friends. Will says, "He's greasy. I feel bad." And then, "He reminds me of marinara sauce - greasy red and full of flavor." And then "Harrison - what kind of dumb name is that?" So, yeah, Will doesn't like him.

But guess who does? The button in Lorena's brain that sounds, "HOTTIE ALERT!!!" was pushed and could not be hidden from the cameras.

After the cast members drink white wine and swim in a pool that has "Hollywood" spelled out in tiles (like all homes in Hollywood do) mentor Chris Nirschel shows up to pump up the cast and tell them things they already know like, "only one of you can win." It seems the only reason he's actually there is to tell everyone that Harrison is going to cook his Personality on a Plate for the whole house that night. Chris, I hope you don't live far away because that was maybe a waste of a drive down Sunset at 4 p.m.

The audience is treated to watching Harrison cook veal with pasta and red sauce while wearing a white tank top and basketball shorts. They seem to enjoy it - except for Suki and Will, who won't even try it because they don't eat any veal that's been prepared by a tank top.

The next morning the cast is surprised by the arrival of ... Amanda! She's back! She's back? Why a day late? Does MTV likes surprises? Did her plane get in late? Is everything just a disorganized shit show?

Lorena and Harrison sit in her bedroom, flirting and looking at notes together. He touches her burns and she holds a whisk, until they sneak off to make out. Late into the night Harrison walks out in his underwear and Lorena bids adieu in her jammie pants.

The next morning the cast pulls up in front of a diner for their lesson. Chefs Brendan Collins, Brooke Williamson and Casey Lane come up with a curriculum that begins with learning how to cook simple food while putting the focus on consistency, speed and working together as a team. They need to "gel" with their teammates.

After a quick lesson in what the grill station, saute station, fry station and window stations are, the three chefs demonstrate the importance of communication when working in the kitchen. They skillfully and seamlessly put out an order of food. The kids can't believe that fancy chefs can also cook club sandwiches and burgers.

The students give it a whirl and don't do too badly. They're told that this was dress rehearsal for the next day, when they'll be cooking in teams of four during the lunch rush. Harrison gets to choose his team because he's new and it's the MTV rules. He chooses Brian, Gillian and Suki, and not the girl who saw him in his underpants the night before. The leftovers are  Amanda, Jake (who has yet to speak in this episode), Lorena and Will. Before they leave, chef Brennan gives them some words of encouragement, "Tomorrow's going to suck. You're all going to suck." Blech, what is happening? 

Back at home, pathological liar Harrison asserts that he and Lorena didn't kiss even though everyone knows they did. He gets really fake upset and goes to confront Lorena about the kiss and wonders why there's so much drama. This non-drama is so contrived and boring that we become nostalgic for some good ol' Puck, Pedro, peanut butter drama. (Sorry, current MTV target audience: You missed out on the '90s.)

On to the challenge. Team Harrison, Suki, Gillian and Brian vs. Team Lorena, William, Jake and Amanda will be judged on consistency, speed and, yes, teamwork. Both teams get one hour to cook for a full lunch crowd. The goal is 12-minute average ticket times and the best average wins. (So actually they're not judged on consistency of food, just speed.)

Team Harrison, Suki, Gillian and Brian suffered from soggy fries and crappy eggs but averaged 16-minute ticket times.

Team Lorena, Will, Jake and Amanda didn't average anything because everyone was forced to stop cooking after the wait becomes unbearable, dirty pans pile up on the range and a pair of tongs that dropped on the floor are picked back up again to be used without first washing them.

The professional chefs cannot believe the students didn't learn anything in their 15-minute lesson and the one practice they had the day before, and order them to "go home and think about where they want to be." How about on a show that actually focuses more on learning, cooking,and the L.A. food scene and less on how giant their house is and who kissed whom?

Whatever happened to this show between last week and this week was apparently a big order. Maybe too big. I'm sending it back


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