The promotional material for Fox's new "Hotel Hell" reality series promises to show host Gordon Ramsay ("Hell's Kitchen," "Kitchen Nightmares," "MasterChef") traveling across the United States offering help to problem hotels, inns and B&Bs. And in the process, they say, Ramsay will sleep in hotel beds covered in "shocking stains," shower in moldy bathrooms and eat crappy room service.
I'm looking forward to seeing all that, but the premiere episode, debuting tonight at 8, doesn't really have any of the big gross-out moments I had braced myself for (Gordon doesn't even unpack his black light to look for mystery stains!).
What the episode does have is plenty of gross incompetence and stunning displays of unethical behavior from the arrogant owners of the Juniper Hill Inn in Windsor, Vermont.
And somehow, that ends up being just as interesting.
The gorgeous "luxury" hotel, full of expensive-looking antiques, is losing $200,000 a year and promising immediate financial ruin for the owners. Halfway through the first episode (the second part airs Tuesday night at 8), the only thing that makes you care one bit if the business survives to sundown is the dedicated staff, who stay on there despite sometimes not even getting paid.
There is something so incredibly satisfying about watching the volatile Ramsay rip these horrible bosses a new one -- sometimes right in front of their beleagured employees. And they so deserve it.
"Hotel Hell" is classic Ramsay Television: hot-headed Brit screaming at incompetents, punctuated by The Most Dramatic Theme Music Ever Composed. If you like Ramsay's other shows, this one won't disappoint.