"Kitchen Confidential": episode 1x04 "F@#% the French"
(Yes, I know the title changed, but I like this one better)

Staring: Bradley Cooper, Bonnie Sommerville, Owain Yeoman, John Cho, John F. Daley, Nicholas Brendon and Jaime King
Guest staring: Michael Vartan

Three years ago, Michael Vaughn and Will Tippin met in an episode of "Alias" but anyone with functioning eyesight could tell that Michael Vartan and Bradley Cooper had actually been friends for quite a while already. They spent an entire season doing scenes that were supposed to be awkward for the characters but kind of weren't because they looked just a little too comfortable around each other and there's probably several yards of film somewhere consisting entirely of outtakes wherein they totally dissolved into fits of giggling for reasons only they would understand. Then, Bradley went off to do half a season of the undeservedly short-lived "Jack and Bobby" and finally got a lead role in a show on the FOX network, whose president has apparently grown bored recently and taken to canceling shows for the fun of it. Seriously, that is the only way I can explain some of the bone-headed scheduling that's been going on lately. "
Oddball comedy about lawyers, eh? Let's not advertise for it at all, put it in the most competitive time slot of the week against 'Lost' and only let it run for two weeks before pulling the plug. Y'know, just so people don't think we're trying to revive 'Ally McBeal' or something. Oooo...a 'Sex in the City' style show set in a restaurant kitchen. Hmm...I know, let's show it for a couple weeks then take it off the air for three months (or until the audience has completely forgotten about it, whichever comes first) and then not advertise it at all when it comes back just to make sure nobody watches it before we remove it permanently. What? The ratings went up slightly anyway? Crap, pull it now, before anyone notices!"

"Oddball comedy about lawyers, eh? Let's not advertise for it at all, put it in the most competitive time slot of the week against 'Lost' and only let it run for two weeks before pulling the plug. Y'know, just so people don't think we're trying to revive 'Ally McBeal' or something.

Seriously, can somebody explain to me how this show was canceled and "Stacked" is still on the air? Is it because they're comparing the ratings based on the shows following them? "Confidential" is followed by "Prison Break" while "Stacked" is followed by...um...by...hang on a second, it'll come to me...[stares blankly at the screen for five minutes before running to consult the TV Guide] "Trading Spouses"?! If you'll excuse me, I have to go throw up now.

Meanwhile, Michael finally loosened up a whole hell of a lot and then took a few too many hockey pucks to the head and opted to do an Aussie/American
horror movie instead of sticking around for what was already rumored to be the last season of "Alias". At least that's the impression I'm getting. But hey, maybe I'll be surprised and the movie will be nominated for an Academy Award in 2007. Oh, who am I kidding? That would be both a miracle and a sign of the Apocalypse. And before anybody yells at me, I'm not saying he's a bad actor. I'm saying from what I've heard of the movie so far, it sounds like a combination of "Lake Placid" and Standard Hollywood Disaster Movie Plot #3. Yes, I will probably see it anyway. No, that does not make me a hypocrite. I would watch Michael Vartan play hockey, which is really saying something because I hate sports and I would normally rather watch mold grow than see a bunch of guys with no teeth beat each other with sticks.

Wow. That was a long and bitter rant. Sorry about that. Anyway, long story short (too late), before Michael left for the land of the most dangerous reptiles in the world, he made a guest appearance on "Kitchen Confidential" wherein he and Bradley spent the majority of their scenes visibly trying not to laugh at each other. In other words, we've basically come full circle. Good lord, am I really on page two already? Okay, on with the recap!

Swishy opening credits that don't give any names and basically only feature Jack Bourdain (Bradley) sauntering through the kitchen of the show's restaurant, Nolita, and end on a bra hanging from the rack of pots and pans which...can't be sanitary but sets up the show perfectly.

Jack's voice over of Hey, This Show is Based on a Book: "you'd think there's a million restaurants in New York City, but it's actually a very small world. And the people in the top kitchens, well, we all know each other." We see Jack and Vartan (whose character name is Michel because the person coming up with names is not very creative) sitting at the bar of Nolita, laughing and chatting and even though we can't hear what they're saying thanks to Jack's Voice Over of Rambling Philosophy it's clear that they're kissing each other's asses. JVO finally shuts up so Jack can ask "so how do you French guys get all the women? I mean, granted, you're all very pretty..." Ha! Clearly he has not met my uncle of the jacked up teeth. Oh, who am I
kidding. He's still good looking. "But you have this attitude, you know, you don't bathe." Look out, incoming clichés! Michael Vartan does a disservice to his heritage by arguing "no, we bathe. We bathe in love, we bathe in wine...no, I'm joking, we don't bathe." I stop the tape and laugh for about five minutes straight because he is speaking in a ridiculously overdone French accent that is freaking hilarious. Seriously. I missed about half the dialogue of this scene the first time I saw it because I was so busy laughing at his accent. I'll try to pay attention this time. Snort.

Michel says the rack of lamb is amazing and Jack says naw, shucks, it's nothing. Michel insists, throwing in a few adjectives that may or may not be in English, and asks what makes it so sweet. Jack refuses to give up his restaurant's secret recipe. Michel needles him barely at all and Jack caves in and says it's vanilla. See, this is why Vaughn was the field agent and Will was the analyst. If Will had been captured on a mission, classified intel would have run amok! "Get out," Michel says. "I can't, I work here," Jack replies, which inexplicably causes them and Michel's unnamed associates to laugh hysterically. Yep, lots of ass kissing going on here.

Mimi, Nolita's head waitress, appears and says she needs to talk to Jack. Jack tries to weasel out of talking to her but Michel protests that he must not make his "girlfriend" wait. This launches a flurry of denial from Jack and Mimi, including his hilariously delusional claim of "*she* wants to, but I'm not..." Mimi drags Jack away and Michel mutters something I can't make out but I'm guessing was along the lines of "damn she's hot" and whistles.

Mimi takes Jack only a few feet away and chews him out for comping five entrees. Jack says, yeah, but these are the chefs from "Maison Valentine" across the street, so, you know, deal. Wait a minute. Michael's character is named Valentine? So basically he's playing another character named Michael V.? Oy. Jack then goes on a tangent to say that he and Michel are like brothers and don't they look alike? Only in the sense that you both have brown hair, in which case I would like to introduce myself as your long lost sister. Hi, Brad! "
It's like we worked together before or something," Jack concludes. I laugh so hard I nearly hurt myself. It took me a couple of hours to make the connection between the "don't we look alike" comment and the horrible bleaching incident of 2001, at which point I laughed some more and my mother became convinced that I had totally lost my mind. At any rate, nice one, writers! Although given the nature of this show, I am somewhat surprised (albeit grateful) that you guys didn't make a crack about "the time [Jack and Michel] both spent in Sydney".

Mimi interrupts Jack's babbling to point out that if they don't pay, she doesn't get a tip and does he think she's made of money? Jack says well, seeing as how her dad owns the restaurant, yes, actually, "money and bitterness." Then he turns and asks if the chefs Valentine want dessert. Mimi glares at his back and stomps off as Jack begins

describing one of the desserts. He barely gets two words out before Michel, practically wiping drool from his chin, grabs him by the arm, nods to the plate on the table and says "and I thought I was jealous of this rack." Excuse me while I go vomit. Jack laughs and says he doesn't want to go there because "to tame that attitude you need a whip and a wooden chair." I get distracted as my mind goes off on a tangent involving Michel and a pair of handcuffs. Oh, wait. I already wrote that fanfic. Three times, if I remember correctly. Never mind. Sorry. Michel chuckles and tells the guy across from him that he needs him to go to his office and get a couple things... Everybody laughs again and Michel kisses the top of Jack's head and pats him on the back. I'm betting somewhere there's an outtake wherein Michael went for Bradley's lips just to mess with him a little. Or maybe that's just wishful thinking. Anyway.

JVO says in the chef business, when another restaurant pays you a compliment, you return the favor. So we cut to the usual suspects of Nolita sitting at a table in what is presumably Maison Valentine which has more subtle lighting and brick and wine bottles and a picture of the Eiffel Tower and damn I really like this set. It has a more homey feel to it than Nolita. Of course, that's probably partly because the majority of my house is decorated with a French store fronts theme and partly because Nolita's décor makes it almost indistinguishable from a hospital operating room. JVO bullshits that "we're like a community. We all want *everyone* to do well...as long as we do better." Uh-huh. Generic Asian Guy (his name is Teddy, but I don't care) notes that they're serving everything with frisee, which is an "awkward" lettuce and like "eating somebody's afro." For some odd reason, this quote makes it to the memorable sound bytes section of Entertainment Weekly. Jack says come on, guys, be nice, then looks around and adds "this place blows." A guy whose name I found out is Seth but who I like to call Back-up Jack has been shoving bread in his mouth throughout this exchange, his expression growing vaguely orgasmic. He tells them they *have* to try this bread and shoves pieces into Jack and GAG's mouths. Everybody gapes and mumbles in awe and BJ declares it the "best bread ever made."

As BJ scampers off to find the guy who made the bread, the waitress - Babette - arrives. She also has a thick French accent, but it's not quite as comical. She is also dressed like a French maid. Oy the clichés. The Brit, whose name is apparently Steven (the show was off the air so damn long I forgot all the characters' names...damn you, Fox), leers at her and asks "tell me, as a French person, how do you feel about being...temporarily occupied." I pause the tape, find a trash can to throw up in and am able to continue recapping.

Steven leers at her and asks "tell me, as a French person, how do you feel about being...temporarily occupied." I pause the tape, find a trash can to throw up in and am able to continue recapping.

BJ, meanwhile, is creeping down a set of dark, creepy stairs left over from a horror movie set in search of the "bread guy". Where the hell is this? Is Michel keeping the guy in a dungeon? And how the hell was BJ able to just waltz right on in? I...forget it. BJ says he's a fellow baker and that's about as far as he gets before a guy who looks like he just escaped from a mental institution appears behind him. BJ yelps, startled. "Don't. Scream," Creepy Guy warns. This of course prompts BJ to scream like a little girl and run for his life.

Back in the restaurant, Jack asks what Babette would recommend from the menu. She says they have a new item: rack of lamb with rattatoui and something I can't understand. Let me guess - there's vanilla in it? The Nolita crew goggles at her and then notices Michel standing in the door to the kitchen. Michel sort of sneers at them and makes a hasty retreat.

Cut to Steven at his post in the Nolita kitchen sometime later, sharpening a big ass knife with a scary look on his face. Jack bitches about how he welcomed Michel into his "home" and the bastard goes and steals his entrée. Jack says he knows this is a "kill or be killed" business but couldn't Michel have at least had the decency to stab him in the chest and not the back? "I mean, how does this guy walk around with stones that big?" Steven looks up from his knife sharpening to assure Jack that that shouldn't be a "long term problem for him." Giggle. GAG snatches the knife from him, saying that knife is *not* for castrating. Then he hands Steven an even scarier looking knife and says "try this." Snort. Jack, the steam practically spewing from his ears, declares that the only thing this "hack" has is good bread and *their* lamb dish. Jim the Goodie Two Shoes Rookie wanders over to throw in his two cents and say it's kind of flattering to know that Michel liked it enough to steal it, right? Jack tells him to go into the storage closet and not come out until he is no longer a "rip roaring idiot." Jim scoots off with his tail between his legs and Jack picks up a rolling pin, announcing "Gentlemen. It's time to blah di blee blee pig." Okay, I know Michael has the barely-comprehensible accent but what is Bradley's excuse?

Mimi blocks the guys' path out the door and announces that she will not let them drag her father's restaurant through the "muck". "Oh, so what're we supposed to do, just bend over," Jack asks. I have a reply to that, but I promised myself I wouldn't make any slash jokes in this recap. Mimi says no, she'll talk to Michel. "This is a business situation. It needs to be resolved in a *rational* *manner*." Yeah, right.

So the next thing we see is Mimi, in what is presumably Michel's office, saying "...and the co-opting of our menu items technically constitutes tortious interference." Honey? English is clearly not his native language. You might want to ease up on the fancy legal jargon. Just a thought. Not that it matters because Michel is clearly not listening since the effort of staring at her
generous cleavage is demanding all of his attention. And he admits as much: "Mmm...I'm sorry, I was just focusing on your breasts." She rolls her eyes as he hilariously adds "wait, wait, wait...[sigh] [drags his eyes up to her face]. Okay, please continue." Mimi slaps him and announces that she will be filing a sexual harassment lawsuit against him by morning. Or she just says "oh my GOD. You are the biggest pig." Really? What was your first clue? He apologizes and says she's right it's just that he gets so "nervous" around her because she's so "fiery and strong and with so much spirit." Mimi, instead of waking up and smelling the steaming pile of BULLSHIT, just smiles shyly and blushes. Dipstick. Her smile falters, however, as he adds "and again: the breasts." Snerk.

Back at Nolita, sometime later. Mimi swaggers in, a dreamy look in her eyes and pinches Jimmy's cheeks like she's his Aunt Carol or something. Oh boy. Jack, hands on his hips, says "it's been, like, two hours. Where've you been?" Jack, are you blind? The woman practically has a flashing neon sign over her head that reads I JUST GOT LAID! She takes a deep breath and announces that it smells *wonderful* in here and are they using fresher garlic? Jack finally gets a freaking clue and, with a disgusted look on his face, deduces "you slept with him!" Technically, I wouldn't call it *sleeping*, Jack. Mimi says yep, and she and Tanya the other ditzbrain waitress squeal and bump hips. "How could you," Jack demands, getting up in her face. She says I know, it's not like me, but "I did do it. Part of me wants to do it again. Part of me did do it again. HAAAA!"

Cut to Jack et al sitting around the bar after closing. "So," Jack declares as this hilariously comical battle music plays in the background. "It's official: we're at war." Jim asks what the hell they're talking about. Jack says Michel and his lackeys have attacked them. Twice. Steven adds that they "poked our head waitress." "Yeah, but didn't she enjoy it," Jim points out. Ah, the voice of reason. I love you, Jim. "That's not the point," GAG barks angrily. "If he is willing to have sex with Mimi there is not telling how low he will go." Actually, I think that may be about as low as he can get. BJ tearfully says they sent her on a "diplomatic mission" and Michel sent her back "sullied and defiled." "And satisfied," Jim snarks. Dear Jim, I love you. Sincerely, Diandra. Jack tells him to go to his "idiot hole" and Jim stomps off. Steven announces that they're been given an excuse to beat the ever loving shit out of those French bastards so what're they waiting for? Jack says screw that, they're going to "grab the beating heart out of their restaurant" and then "show it to them." Okay, I just spent the last few minutes staring at the computer screen while my muse started mentally composing the most disturbing fan fiction scenario I've ever come up with regarding how Jack might get back at Michel. Needless to say, there was slash involved and it may not have been entirely consensual. If you'll excuse me I need to go light some candles and say a few Hail Mary's.


Waitress Tanya is on the phone, saying "so that's 5,000 lobsters for Ivana Tinkle...and the name on the buzzer is Phil McCrackin?" Looks like Bart Simpson has found a new victim.

Next day. Jack enters the kitchen and introduces the crew to "Adam", the creepy bread guy from Maison Valentine, who he just poached. BJ looks like he may have peed himself a little and ducks behind Steven for protection as Jack and GAG high five each other. GAG goes to high five Adam who just sneers and says "I am separate from you. My space will be respected." Then he marches off, presumably to his new dungeon. So how is it that this purportedly fantastic bread is being made by the only non-French employee of Maison Valentine? Huh? "Ten-one that guy has a necklace made of ears," GAG says. Heh.

Sometime later...I guess. I'm really not at all clear on the timelines of this show. Jack is giving the "battle plan" to his "troops" while the war music parades across the soundtrack again. He tells them to be on their toes and look out for large pizza deliveries and bogus phone orders...y'know, the usual frat boy pranks. Meanwhile, Waitress Tanya is on the phone, saying "so that's 5,000 lobsters for Ivana Tinkle...and the name on the buzzer is Phil McCrackin?" Looks like Bart Simpson has found a new victim. Jack rips the phone from her hand and hangs up.

Mimi enters and tries to scoot past Jack unnoticed. It doesn't work and he demands to know where she's been. "Oh, I had a...uhh...doctor's appointment," she splutters. "For this...*thing* with my toe. I may have, uh... Frangelitis, which is a disease of the toe." Yeah, Mimi, that might have worked better if A) it wasn't so lame and B) you didn't look like you had shoved your head in a working blender before stumbling into the restaurant. "You did it again," Jack concludes. Wow, Jack, that's brilliant. It's a wonder you didn't become a detective. "Has it occurred to you that he's using you to get to me," Jack asks. "Oh, get over yourself, he doesn't even *like* you," she replies. In my head. Jack says she's "endangering" them and it can't happen again. "Are you forbidding me," she asks, shocked. "Wow...that's hot. I didn't think the sex'd get any hotter but it JUST DID!" Then
she cackles merrily and skips off to go write in her diary about how "dreamy" Michel is. Or something like that.

Later, the flamingly gay Nolita waiter flourishes into the kitchen and says "summon the freak! We need more bread!" Steven and GAG high five and Jack says that what is more satisfying than the fact that his patrons are happy and stuffing themselves full of orgasm-inducing bread is the knowledge that Michel's patrons are currently miserable. His cellphone rings and he answers, still chuckling. "Right now? Okay." He hangs up, says "gimme five" and goes out into the back alley, lighting up a cigarette the moment he steps into the fresh air. Michel is already there, surrounded in his own cloud of smoke. "So you have taken my baker," he observes. Jack says uh-huh and gloats. Michel gets in his face and asks if he didn't think that was a bit "excessive". "Excesseeeeeeve?" Jack mocks. "Uh, you raided my menu." Michel asks why Jack is so "threatened" by him. "Is it because maybe you see in me what you hate in yourself." Apparently he moonlights as a psychologist. "Oh, no, I don't have an annoying filthy Frenchman in me," Jack deadpans. Michel laughs and says "everybody's got an annoying filthy Frenchman in them, Jack, ask your girlfriend." Ackkpptt. Okay, A) that was terrible and B) I am jabbing myself in the arm with my pen so hard in an effort to keep from making a joke about Michel offering to prove it to Jack that I'm practically drawing blood. And I basically just made the joke anyway, didn't I? So I gave myself ink poisoning for nothing. Lovely.

Jack starts to protest - again - that she is not his girlfriend and then gives up and demands that Michel take the lamb off his menu. Michel says send back the freakshow baker and we'll talk about it. Jack laughs for a moment and then turns serious and says no. I have to hand it to Bradley, he has pretty good comic timing. And while I'm complimenting people, I should say that while Michael's ability to pull off a British accent seems to have deteriorated over the years, he more than makes up for it with everything else. The last time I heard him speaking with a French accent ("Alias"), not only did it warble all over the place but he sounded like he was attempting to swallow his own tongue. His accent here may be overdone, but it doesn't falter throughout. Trust me, I was listening for it. In fact, it is so flawless that the woman summarizing the episode for Entertainment Weekly seemed to be under the impression that this is Michael Vartan's normal voice. If that's the case then she must have fallen on her head when she was a child because *nobody* talks like that other than cartoon characters and James Bond villains.

Michel says okay, then "I guess it is, how you say, on?" Jack takes a drag off his cigarette, blows smoke in his face and says, in a mockingly fake accent "mon ami, it eez to-tah-lee 'ow 'u say...*on*."

Michel: It ezz on.
Jack: Yes, I said that.
Michel: Okay.
Jack: Yeah.
[Diandra dissolves into a fit of giggles]

I should point out that there is approximately two

inches of space between their faces (well, it would be three if it weren't for Michael's nose) and they both look like they're trying *really* hard not to laugh and just barely succeeding. I'm sure there's about a mile of film somewhere wherein they totally lost it and had to do several retakes. Jack saunters back inside. Michel takes a drag from his cigarette and shouts the following brilliant comeback at his retreating figure: "Your cuisine is ca-ca!" Snort. If you'll excuse me while I watch this scene about ten more times and giggle like a loon because that was the funniest damn thing I've seen in a while.

Back in the kitchen, Jim tells Jack that something must be wrong with the computer because he's got orders for "ten toilet burgers, a monkey nipple salad, two fart cakes...I'm sorry, *three* fart cakes and a fish penis and moose rectum lasagna with supper butt cheese and pineapple salsa." Well, it's obvious you've been hacked by a seventh grader. Tanya enters, practically in tears and says Mrs. Tinkle just arrived and demanded to know where her lobsters are. "Apparently this happens to her a lot," she whimpers. Ha!

Commercials. I would rent Cinderella Man, but I feel like I should really watch the other twenty Rocky movies first and I just...don't want to.

JVO returns to needlessly inform us that everything is done on computers nowdays - including restaurant orders - and "if the system crashes, you'd better know how to work around it." Ah, problem #5,620 with modern America: nobody does. Jack, reading an order slip, flags down the Flamingly Gay Waiter and asks what a "rod sniffer" is. "My boyfriend," FGW does...not...say. "Red snapper," he says defensively. Jack crumples the slip and throws it at him, announcing to the wait staff that his new rule is "if I can't read it, I don't make it." If my employers had that rule I and about a dozen customers would be screwed. Then again, I just work at a small, family owned Chinese take-out place in a Twin Cities suburb, not a fancy (read: expensive) high-class restaurant in New York City.

Cut to Mimi out at one of the tables, explaining that she's going to have to charge the customer's credit card via the "old school" method. Then she sticks the card in the slider thingy (Yeah, I have no idea what it's called. When our cash register broke down I had to use a calculator and then reprogrammed the register myself) and the handle flies right off, accompanied by a man yelping in pain from off camera. She flusters, smiles and points out the line where they add the tip.

Meanwhile, Tanya is also apologizing for the technological problems, but she says she has a system for remembering who all the people waiting to be seated are. With a bright smile plastered to her face, she recites: "Awkward first date, icky guy with mistress, couple about to break up and girls night out." How about "Never coming here again"? Did you

Jack, reading an order slip, flags down the Flamingly Gay Waiter and asks what a "rod sniffer" is. "My boyfriend," FGW does...not...say.

remember them?

After hours battle planing. Part the second. "So it appears that Michel is slightly more capable than I assumed." Slightly? Jack, he brought your entire restaurant to it's knees with one childish prank. I'd say he deserves a bit more credit than that. GAG agrees with me, except he replaces the words "childish prank" with "mouse and keyboard". Jack says so what do you want us to do about it? Cry uncle and let him win? GAG says yeah, that sounds like a good plan. Heh. "Where's your sense of honor," Jack asks accusingly. Well, Jack, I'm thinking *yours* went out the window right around the time you stole Michel's baker at the crack of dawn. Honor my ass. GAG says they didn't get involved in this business for honor anyway. "We do it for food, money and sex. We screw up the first one, the other two vanish. That terrifies me. I am out of this war." I love him. And is it just me or is Jack less protagonistic and more obnoxious than usual in this episode? BJ taunts GAG as he storms off with a few 'yeah, just walk away's until a knife flies into the column next to his head. Steven tells BJ not to worry about that because "[GAG]'s breasts just get tender this time of the month." Oh, whatever you pig.

Later, Mimi is heading out the door when Jack sidelines her and asks if she's going to see her "boyfriend". "You're just jealous," she sneers. "Yes, but if he's hot for you then clearly I'm not his type," Jack replies. Yeah, I gave up trying to resist the slash jokes. Actually, he says maybe he's upset because she's driving her father's restaurant into the ground just so she can "play bury the baguette." Thank you, Jack. I will never again be able to eat French bread. Where did I put that trash can? Mimi says for his information she hates Michel for what he did to them and it is so over between them, you hear? OVER!

And we cut to Mimi making out frantically with Michel. I take it those classes on being more firm and assertive aren't working out for her then? She says something about how she feels really bad about this but it's hard to understand the actual words since they're mostly muffled by his lips. He says she can save the guilt for later and they fall sideways out of frame.

Meanwhile, Michel's head waitress Babette strikes a dramatic pose in the doorway to Jack's office, cigarette smoke curling thickly around her (my lord, do any of these people *not* smoke?) and announces that her boyfriend is boinking Jack's girlfriend. Jack instinctively regurgitates the same old "she's not my girlfriend" routine. Oh, let it go. Babette, like everyone else, is sick of this argument and says "we should be having intercourse by now." Well, let's not beat around the bush or anything. Jack protests feebly as she plops herself in his lap and shoves her tongue in his mouth. He, of course, doesn't do anything further to stop her.

Next day. Jack, who doesn't look nearly as "look at me, I had sex!" as Mimi, tells BJ he thinks the stolen baker is "phoning it in" and he wants BJ to go "lean on him". After a couple of viewings I've decided that either Jack did finally turn down Babette's offer or the writers completely forgot about that scene in the rewrites because he doesn't look at *all* like a man who got lucky last night. BJ flails and says he has to drink to even get up the courage to look at the guy and he's drunk right now, come to think of it and DON'T MAKE ME GO IN THE DUNGEON WITH THE CREEPY GUY. Jack just says suck it up and do it anyway.

Steven runs in and plops some sort of machine component on the counter, yelling "game, set, match,

Tanya the Twit asks if it's a robot heart. Yes, honey, he ripped it out of Michel's chest. Turns out Michel actually died several years ago and has been kept alive via Rambaldi technology.

Nolita!" Everyone gets excited and applauds and pats him on the back. Tanya the Twit asks if it's a robot heart. Yes, honey, he ripped it out of Michel's chest. Turns out Michel actually died several years ago and has been kept alive via
Rambaldi technology. NO YOU IDIOT. Steven patiently explains that it's a freon compressor, which he removed from Michel's freezer at three A.M., destroying about a week's worth of food. Jack asks if he left a "calling card" so Michel knows it was them. Well, duh, Jack, who else would it be? I mean, unless he's got another rivalry going with the British pub down the street, I'm thinking any pranks are going to be presumed the work of Nolita until proven otherwise. We get a flashback of Steven peeing in the middle of Maison Valentine anyway. Ew.

"But doesn't this just make them do something worse to us," Tanya asks. Wow. The Ditz is the only one thinking logically. That can't be a good thing. GAG says exactly, but then Jack always was fond of escalating shit. Then he psychoanalyses Jack (pretty accurately, in my opinion) as having an addictive personality and, after giving up booze and drugs, has turned to conflict as his addiction of choice. And gambling. But mostly conflict. This week. Tune in next week, though, when Jack battles his gambling addiction and...oh, wait. Never mind. Jack mockingly asks if he's worked on that speech with his therapist. GAG: "we polished it together, yes. It was meant for my father BUT IT ALSO APPLIES TO YOU." Hah! Seriously, I love him. Jack says "I know exactly when to stop: when he stops." So, in other words, the fifth of never. And in a scene transition that makes my head crash violently into the nearest hard surface, he adds "when he's finished, I'm finished."

Cut to Michel's office, where he sits up on the couch and grunts "I am finished." Charming. So, other than the fact that he's hot and he speaks French...what does Mimi see in him, exactly? Also, why is he still wearing his shirt? Mimi sits up next to him, zipping up the front of her dress, and says "finally." I...actually have nothing to say to that. She says she has to get ready for dinner service, what about him? He says actually he has a freezer full of rotten food and a carpet that smells like piss so no, they're going to be closed tonight. Aren't they in his office? Is it not in the restaurant or are we flashing back and forth in time? I mean, if Mimi left Nolita last night and Steven stole the compressor several hours later and now she's talking about getting ready for dinner...I guess we're supposed to assume they've been going at it all night and well into the day, but then if they were in the next room how did they not hear Steven ripping apart the freezer? Were they being that loud? And why are they both still wearing clothes? Am I over analyzing this?

Sigh. Sometime later...I guess. The timelines on this thing are so jacked up that I'm beginning to think I should just not mention them at all if I want to keep what little is left of my sanity. Steven saunters into Nolita's kitchen and announces that it's 9 P.M. and there's no sign of Michel, probably because all the timeline shifting has trapped him in a wormhole somewhere. "It's official surrender guys. I've gotta say, up to this point, I didn't actually believe he was French." This is the point when my remote control crashes into the television screen. Where the hell did this shit about the French always surrendering come from anyway? Could at least one television writer try picking up a history book once in a while? Thank you. Jack smugly says "hey [GAG], see this? This is me stopping." Then he blathers on some more about his new status as a man of "reason" and "peace" and then, of course, the power goes out. "Dog fondler," Jim blurts, followed closely by Steven's "sodding Frenchman" and Jack's "that sonofabitch I'll KILL 'IM!" How are you guys so sure it's him? I mean, he didn't seem to leave a "calling card" like a cigarette butt smeared with Babette's lipstick or the words "Yankee swine" spray painted

How are you guys so sure it's him? I mean, he didn't seem to leave a "calling card" like a cigarette butt smeared with Babette's lipstick or the words "Yankee swine" spray painted next to the breaker box or anything. It could be that British pub down the street again. Damn Brits.

next to the breaker box or anything. It could be that British pub down the street again. Damn Brits.

"Wow," GAG's silhouette gloats from the almost total darkness. "Complete catastrophe. What a surprise! Somebody pinch me... OW! Damnit Jim!" "What," Jim asks innocently. SNORT. God, I love these guys. DAMN YOU, FOX! Tanya stumbles into the kitchen and whimpers that she's afraid of the dark and would someone hold her? What a useless cliché of a woman. Of course, the guys scramble frantically at that, which leads to the following exchange:

[BJ grabs "Tanya"]
Steven: Okay, does that *feel* like Tanya to you?
GAG: How would he know what Tanya feels like?
BJ: That is hurtful, it is dark, and you are being hurtful.

Snort. Jack checks the stove, which lights and announces that they still have gas so they're still in business. Yeah, but how much business do you think you're going to get? I mean, mood lighting is one thing, but people generally like to see what they're eating, you know, so they don't put a live spider in their mouth or something. Jack orders Jim to get the candles and BJ to go get the creepy baker so they can make some bread.

So of course, BJ now has to go into the horror movie dungeon in total darkness. Water drips loudly and some Hitchcock-like music warbles all over the soundtrack. BJ falls head over keister down the stairs with a hilariously girly scream and whimpers "oh, my knee!" We switch to a view of him through the creepy baker's (presumably) night vision goggles as BJ reminds him that his name is "Seth" and he's creepy baker's supervisor. Why does the guy have night vision goggles? Screw the necklace made of ears, I'm thinking this guy smears himself in peanut butter and runs around the house naked at least once a week. You know, just because. He taps BJ on the cheek with a loaf of bread (at least I hope that's what it is) and BJ squeals and turns to run, knocking himself out on a metal support beam with a loud CLANG. Hee.

After closing. The power is still out. Jack congratulates the guys on their improvisation. "Now it's time to deliver the death blow." Nuh-uh, Steven snaps that it's "over". Did he and GAG have a personality switch just in the last few hours? "What," Jack says cluelessly, as if the concept of letting go and taking the higher road is totally foreign to him. Which is entirely possible. Steven says they're plotting by candlelight for God's sake. "They've plunged us into a Merchant Ivory film. I bloody hate those films!" I hate to sound like
Temperance Brennan over here, but I don't know what that means. "What are you saying," Jack asks. Seriously, Jack, do you need a translator or what? Steven says this is getting too "hardcore" even for him and he's backing out. "Well, I don't need you're help," Jack shouts after him as Steven storms from the restaurant. "I can fight my own battles! I'm a one man army!" Anyone else think he's sounding disturbingly like President Junior? Shut up, Jack. Wow. Déjà vu.

Shut up, Jack. Wow. Déjà vu.

Jack turns to Jim and says it's just the two of them now. Jim says yeah, about that... "I have objected to everything that you and Michel have done to each other. I was raised to believe that it is immoral to knowingly harm someone else, and that men shou ld not have wild, kinky sex with other men..." Oops, my muse got away from me again. Scratch that. "But above all, I believe in loyalty. So if you see fit to ask me to do something that goes totally against my principles... well, I would do it because I'm a spineless coward with no sense of self respect and I would probably jump off a bridge if everybody else was doing it." Okay, so that last part may have just been *implied*. "Cool," Jack interrupts, shoving a cloth bag into his hands. "Here's a sack full of rats. You know what to do with 'em." He stalks off as Jim freaks. Heh.

Commercials. Any guy who borrows a snow plow to drive to his girlfriend's house in the middle of the night on Christmas, waking her and getting her to come outside in the snow wearing only her pajamas just so he can propose to her is an overachiever. If that makes me unromantic, then so be it.

Nolita kitchen. Whenever the fuck. Steven demands to know where Jim is. Jack says he's doing what "you wusses" were too "scared" to do: "finishing off Michel". I just got the weirdest mental image...and I'm not the only one whose mind dipped into the gutter at that statement, apparently, as Steven retorts "Oh, isn't that Mimi's job?" They are interrupted by a shout from the alley and run out to find GAG hovering over Jim, who is laying bound, gagged and, by all appearances naked inside a dumpster filled with ice and fish. Jack rips his gag off and he whimpers "can you help me get the sardines out?" Oh, please tell me that doesn't mean what I think it means.

Jack's office. Jack drapes a blanket over Jim, who looks not unlike a newly released POW. "There were Frenchmen everywhere," he babbles, wide eyed. "And they were all smoking! And speaking with ridiculous accents!" Yeah, that last one was me. Sorry. "Oh, my god, I smell bad," Jim moans. "No, it's fine," Jack lies. Jim says he's sorry, really, he tried! Jack says no, *he's* sorry. "I let my ego and my passion just...get the better of me." Then he goes on a mini rant about how screwed up Michel must be to steal from his menu and stab him in the back like that. Really, Jack? Do you really want to go there? The point is..."I went too far. [GAG]'s therapist is right. It's over." Wow, that was big of him. Are you sure you don't need to lie

"There were Frenchmen everywhere," he babbles, wide eyed. "And they were all smoking! And speaking with ridiculous accents!" Yeah, that last one was me. Sorry.

down, Jack? Maybe take a nap? I mean, a revelation like that could take a lot out of a guy. He tells Jim to sleep it off, who says "okay" in a childish voice, all doe-eyed and I half expect him to call Jack "Daddy". Jack stops mid-exit to ask if he remembered to get rid of the rats. Jim, who is clearly not having a good day, says "Yeah, I got mugged on the way over there." Jim, if you're going to work for Jack you're going to need to develop a better sense of self preservation. Or at least take some self defense classes.

Elsewhere, Mimi is on the phone, obviously talking to Michel, ranting that he has gone too far and Jim is just an "innocent kid" damnit whyeeeee? "You and I are completely over," she spits. "You get that?" Michel ignores the question and asks if she's wearing a thong. Yeah. 'You are a bastard and I never want to see you again!' 'Uh-huh. So, what're you wearing?' Snort. "Yes," Mimi answers in a tiny voice, a hilarious look of self-disgust on her face. He asks what color it is and she spits "MichelIwillnothavesexwithyouonmyfather'sbusinessphone." Then she looks around the empty room, hisses "I'll be there in a minute", hangs up and scampers off. Either he's a freaking Don Juan in the bedroom or she has some major issues. I'm betting it's the latter by about fifteen to one.

Jack wanders into the wash room to find the rest of the guys sifting through a box of crowbars and mini blowtorches and hacksaws and various other tools, some of which don't seem to even belong in a restaurant. He demands to know what they're doing. Steven says they're just "preparing a little gift for Michel". What, a coffin? Seriously, don't you think beating him to within an inch of his life is a bit extreme, Steven? Jack snatches the hedge clippers of whatever they are from the dishwasher-slash-former gang member and/or prison inmate and says no, "it's over, okay? You see what they did to Jim?" GAG says yeah, that's the point. "We were against this when it was about your ego, but now they harmed Jim." "Jim is our friend," BJ pipes in. "We decide what harm comes to him." Heh. Jack starts to argue that Jim is fine and they should just concentrate on running the restaurant now when Jim himself wanders in behind them and says it's okay, they don't have to avenge him. Really. He holds up a cellphone and adds that he "took care of it." That can't be good.

Ominous cut to Michel and Mimi sucking face on his couch. Mimi rips herself away from him and leaps to her feet, saying this is "wrong" and "I have to take a stand." Michel, whose remarkable understanding of the English language doesn't seem to cover this particular expression, takes this to mean she wants to do it against a door. Or maybe he just doesn't have enough brain cells firing at the moment for him to get her meaning, what with the blood rushing in the wrong direction. She grabs his arm as he starts to walk away and says no, "you've hurt my friend, you've hurt my father's business and...I've rewarded you with meaningless sex." Okay, back up a second. Her "friend"? Since when does she consider Jim - or any of the guys at Nolita for that matter - her "friend"? I may not remember much about the show since it was off the air for so long, but that just doesn't seem right. And is that a Mona Lisa *lamp* behind her head? I'm all for French-themed decor and everything, but that just seems *tacky*. Anyway.

She wants it to end right now. Michel protests (of course) and promises to call off the feud (too late) and please don't leave! "The truth is I have fallen for you," he says. COUGHBULLSHITCOUGH. Because she is an *idiot*, Mimi instantly melts and
admits that she thinks she's falling for him too. I think they're both confusing love with lust. Then Michel shows her his mother's ring and she makes a little gasping noise. Yeah, Mimi, you might want to check that thing for recording devices and avoid getting in a car with him for a while because the last time he did this, it got
pretty ugly. Before she can say anything, the doors burst open and a guy waves a gun at Michel and barks "INS!" Another guy cuffs Michel as Mimi splutters and protests that he was just "going for the ring", damnit. INS guy tells a confused Michel that he's under arrest (really?) and hauls him from the room as Mimi squeals that they were just "having a conversation".

Come to think of it, I'm starting to see a pattern with all the characters Michael Vartan has played who were either engaged or married. The last five (which is basically all of them) have been
killed in battle, traumatized by a deranged stalker, caught in a war between his fiancee and his nutjob of a mother, killed in a hail of bullets (maybe) and now arrested. I'm starting to wonder if he has some serious subconscious commitment issues.

Nolita. Jack and co. are sitting around the bar (again) when Mimi marches up to Jack and spits "you deported my boyfriend?!" Jack, half listening says "I deported what now?" Mimi snarls that they're sending Michel back to France. Jack laughingly says oh, come on, he has a visa. We don't deport people with visas. Mimi spits "yeah, we do - if they commit tax fraud!" and stomps off. Jack turns to Jim who says he didn't know about the tax fraud. I'm confused, what did he do, exactly? He must have called INS, right? What the hell did he tell them if it didn't have anything to do with the tax fraud? Jack says he can't believe Jim did this "I mean this is a man's life!" Oh, look who's all holier than thou suddenly. La fermme, Jacque. Jim sputters that he is a horrible, horrible person. Jack slings an arm around him and says "and that's what's going to make you a great chef someday." "Hnh?" Jim replies. My sentiments exactly.

So Jack is walking down the street, smoking as his voice over rambles that "like nature, the restaurant business is brutal. If you can fight, steal and kill, you'll live for a while." Yeesh. "But...a restaurant can only survive in the long term by bearing fruit." Flash of some horribly dinky "nouvelle cuisine" dishes being placed in front of some Nolita customers. I will never understand that. Why would you pay good money for something that is more "artistic" than "edible" and isn't even enough food to qualify as a kid's meal? Jack stops in front of Michel's closed restaurant. "And try not to cheat on your taxes," JVO adds as an afterthought. Gee, thank you for that lesson, oh wise writers. "He did take the lamb off the menu," Jack mutters to himself. "Huh." Then he shrugs and skips off. It's official. He has no conscience whatsoever.

Commercials. The weather girl on the local news announces that "arctic air" is headed for Minnesota. Joy. I've lived here all my life and I still can't figure out why anyone would choose to live here any time between November and April.

Prison visiting area. Jack and Michel are talking to each other on those closed-circuit telephones. "So, how's prison," Jack asks. "Anybody make you their bitch yet?" No, not really. I just wanted to say that. Hee. Michel congratulates Jack on his hollow victory. Jack apologetically says this went further than he ever meant it to. "No, maybe I deserve to have my life destroyed, I mean, I *did* make a meat dish in the same manner as you, eh?" says Pepe le Pew. Jack drops the niceties and says "you look great in that [prison jumpsuit]. I hope you enjoy it for the rest of your life." Michel says oh, don't worry, he'll get his revenge. Jack says yeah, well, seeing as how I'm looking at you through about five inches of bullet proof glass I'm thinking that's not very damn likely, but good luck! He hangs up. Michel doesn't move and watches with a smirk as Jack struggles to remove his hand from the receiver. Jack puts it back to his ear and asks if Michel is responsible for his hand being glued to the phone. "Ouay," Michel chirps brightly. "Oh, but, ah, not before I had the guard, how you say [blows a raspberry and points at the ceiling] hog it down." I have no idea what that means and I'm afraid to ask. He hangs up and is escorted away as Jack shouts after him "hey, what does that mean? Guard! What does that mean? I don't understand...You speak English? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?!"

Okay, I'll buy that Michel could have Mimi wrapped around his finger and be able to sweet talk her into doing just about anything. He's French; he has a way with women, I get it. But how the hell did he get the prison guard to do his bidding? What could he possibly have used to bribe the guy to...you know what? I don't think I want to know.

Good lord. 15 pages for a half-hour show? I really need to learn to write less.

Diandra Hollman