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'Hell's Kitchen' packed with dysfunction during family episode

Guest blogger John-John Williams IV reports:

With Gordon Ramsay at the helm, last night's family-themed Hell's Kitchen made the Walker family from ABC's Brothers & Sisters look normal.

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The episode picked up from last week's elimination. Ramsay was still launching verbal assaults on some of the hopefuls who messed up. Ben – the chef who undercooked the salmon last week – still had Ramsay steaming.

"I got myself a chewing," Ben on his way back to the contestants' home.

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Just when the chefs were getting ready for bed, Ramsay announced that they needed to come back to the kitchen and clean it up. Corey – the petty chef who had her elimination nominations vetoed by Ramsay a few weeks back – further annoyed her teammates when she simply left them to clean.

The next day, Ramsay announced that the night's dinner service would have a family theme. In preparation for the night's meal, Ramsay told the two teams – toward the beginning of the season the contestants are always split by gender – that they needed to make as much fresh pasta as possible in 20 minutes.

Who knew that making spaghetti could be so nerve-racking? It was actually a lot harder than it sounds. Each team had to form, cut, and flour fresh spaghetti. The pasta had to meet Ramsay's standards, meaning it had to be perfectly formed.

The girls won and Jen emerged as the leader of the group. She kept them motivated by keeping them on task and shouting words of encouragement.

As their reward, the girls got to go to the Santa Monica Pier Amusement Park in a Hummer limo. Meanwhile, the guys were mad at Craig,  who messed up -- again. Their punishment involved them prepping the night's dinner service for both teams.

Poor Ben literally had to shovel horse crap. (Remember, it was family night. There was a mini amusement park, with pony rides, set up outside the restaurant.)

Ramsay said the menu was the easiest in the history of the show. And while pasta, chicken wings, hamburgers, potato skins, onion rings and chowder might not sound too hard, it gave some contestants a world of trouble.

Vanessa seemed like she was crying from the beginning of the episode. Her ego had already suffered a huge blow last week when she faltered — again. This week, Vanessa wanted to redeem herself. There was no such luck when disaster struck on her appetizer station.

The girls were getting into a good rhythm until Vanessa started a small stove fire and burned herself. Understandably, the tears started flowing as Vanessa received medical attention for her burn. She was subsequently taken to the hospital. (At the end of the episode, she returned and informed her teammates that she was going to visit a plastic surgeon because of her injuries.) With or without Vanessa, the women excelled.

The men, on the other hand, stumbled big time. Matt -- who always looks like he is going to cry -- served up raw, bloody chicken wings. Later, he overcooked hamburgers. (Talk about Goldilocks and the three bears …)

At one point, the guys – Ben and Bobby -- started congratulating themselves. Ramsay screamed at them for their premature celebration. He then informed them that the girls were in fact serving more meals. As the men began to scramble to keep up, Craig screwed up the pasta. He got orders wrong, he refused help from other contestants, and at one point he yelled at Ramsay. (Big mistake!)

"It was embarrassing," Ramsay told the men after their debacle.

Ramsay honed in on Ben.

"Maybe you shouldn't have quit your day job so early," Ramsay said to Ben.

Ramsay selected Bobby as the best male competitor. He was charged with selecting the two teammates for elimination, and he went with Craig and Matt.

"He's like a broken compass in the kitchen," Bobby said of Craig. "No mater what station he's in, he's lost."

Ramsay threw another curve ball when he announced that he was going to add Ben to the mix of possible departees.

"I am really seriously disappointed with you," he said to Ben. "I'd be embarrassed if I were in your shoes." Ben vowed to do better: "I'm going to give you 100 percent," he said.

"I'm going to give you 125 percent," Matt countered.

"I don't know percentages, but I'll do better than that," Craig pitifully chipped in. (Can you believe this guy?)

Ramsay wasn't buying it. He sent Craig packing.

"Craig was a bad cook with an even worse attitude," Ramsay said.

Ramsay had a few words for Matt and Ben.

“You two are barely here,” Ramsay said. “Get both your acts together.”

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