One of the most shocking, disgusting, difficult-to-avert-your-eyes-from parts of both episodes was...you guessed it: the dreaded black light semen stain detector! Aaaahhh! Millions of viewers (and quite a few folks on Twitter) looked on in horror as Gordon revealed giant, splotchy stains on beds in both hotels. The kind of stains that literally make you never want to sleep in a hotel ever again.
How we managed to overcome our trauma long enough to fall asleep was, to say the least, a miracle. Now, onto the rest of the episodes.
Each episode takes the usual twists and turns, with Gordon going downstairs to try a meal at each inn's restaurant. At the River Rock Inn, he ends up complaining, "I feel like I'm eating a f*cking flip-flop with mayonnaise!" which is probably about the worst thing a chef could ever hear. Later on, at Roosevelt Inn, he promptly starts banging his head against the table when he realizes the innkeeper, John Hough (the Sherlock Holmes guy) can't even boil an egg properly, despite advertising himself on a local billboard as a "gourmet chef."
The dining room at River Rock Inn.
In the first episode, it was easy to feel bad for River Rock Inn owner, Kenny Pisciotta: he's lonely and unmarried, he's dragged his brother and mother tens of thousands of dollars into debt, and his staff think he's a "spirit sucker" (that's a term one of the employees actually uses).
To save the enterprise, Gordon brings in two special guests: Ramesh Sadhwani, VP of Hotel Operations at Caesars Palace, and a "Hollywood stylist" named Barbie (the whole Barbie-Ken joke got a few chuckles). Ramesh sets up an impromptu staff training session, while Barbie goes to work giving Kenny a much-needed makeover. In fact, his new look is so bangin' that Gordon decides to take him out on the town and introduce him to some girls.
Yes, Gordon Ramsay becomes innkeeper Kenny's bonified wingman, and Kenny loves him for it. By the end of the episode, with the hotel transformed (linens replaced, WiFi re-installed, staff re-invigorated, and rooms redecorated), Kenny even has the number of a pretty brunette who's dining in his inn. Way to go, Kenny boy.
In the second episode, Gordon quickly reveals his frustration with Roosevelt Inn owner John for making everything a joke and not taking his $1.1 million worth of debt seriously. Plus, John only seems interested in playing dress up and hosting murder mystery theme nights. Worse still, it's clear that his wife, Tina, has been dragged into this without even wanting to own a hotel in the first place.
So many problems, so little time!
Yet, Gordon ascertains exactly what needs to be done, and in an effort to get through to the always-carefree John, Gordon calls him "a f*cking joke." John storms out of the room but seems to have taken Gordon's words to heart. By the time Gordon gets Tina to confess to John how miserable she is, things start to change.
Our favorite scene by far was watching Gordon sit in the marriage counselor seat, getting John and Tina to kiss and make up and vow to "let Tina have her share of the dream." Which is actually going to be harder than it sounds, considering Tina never even wanted to own the hotel in the first place.
Afterwards, the rooms get a quick, but effective makeover (adios ugly tassled nightstand lamps!) and Gordon convinces a local wedding planner to feed some business into the refreshed hotel. Everyone's smiling (including John, but for the right reasons this time), the old schoolhouse-hotel is looking fab, and the wedding guests seem to be enjoying their roast beef in the inn's ballroom.
Next season, we sure hope to see more of Gordon Ramsay's Dr. Love side shine through, though we'll also just be happy to hear him scream the f-word at a few more bewildered hotel owners. Hopefully, the wait won't be too hell-ish.
[Photo: Jesse Tinsley / Spokesman-Review; River Rock Inn]