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It's double the trouble for Gordon Ramsay on 'Hotel Hell'

Season 2 | Episode 5 | “Calumet Inn” | Aired Aug 18, 2014

When I was a little girl, I used to love to play all kinds of pretend: dress shop owner, flower store owner, toy store owner and, yes, even hotel owner. It was easy—all it took to run a successful “business” was some construction paper, crayons and a binder that made me seem important.

The latest episode of Hotel Hell sends Gordon Ramsay to Pipestone, Minnesota, to check up on the failing Calumet Inn, which is run by two spoiled sisters playing a very real-life version of the make-believe of my youth. (Psst—I think I was better at it.)


Even Gordon Ramsay agrees with me when he tells us: “This is not like playing hotel. This is real.”

Sisters Rina and Vanda Smrkovski were given the historic Calumet Inn by their daddy (Jim). In just nine short months, have they managed to run it into the ground by:

A) Sleeping until the afternoon (3 p.m.!) and not working even when they are awake
B) Running away from the hotel when things get hard—and staying away for three months (that’d be Rina)
C) Crying when things get hard (Rina again)
D) Having their mommy enable them (even though they are 29 and 32)
E) Blaming their staff for everything wrong with the hotel and making their general manager work menial jobs
F) Denying and deflecting any and all responsibility
G) All of the above?

I think by now you know what the correct answer is.

Ramsay arrives by the rear entrance (insert inappropriate joke here), and in one of my all-time favorite Hotel Hell moments, equates the experience of walking down the dark, dungeon-like hallway to a 1985 Spielberg classic:

Ramsay: I feel like a Goonie! Hey, you guyyyyys!!

General Manager Mandy greets our honorary Goonie at the front desk—after serving some customers their food in the dining room—and he is appalled that she wears so many unnecessary hats. Mandy is quickly forgotten, however (but only for a moment), because the sisters are excited to show Ramsay to his room—the “Melody of Love” suite. Don’t ask.

Bottom line? It’s no “melody”—it’s total discord. The décor is dated, the hot tub is oddly placed at the end of the bed (in the room), there’s no “wardrobe” (a closet to you and me, but in Ramsay’s world we’re all British, so just go with it), the headboard is covered in white dust, and there are mold specks in the mini-fridge. You know, the usual hell.

The restaurant doesn’t prove to be any more melodic. When the sweet waitress (Jocelyn) brings out the broccoli/cauliflower soup, both Ramsay and Jocelyn vomit a little bit in their mouth just by smelling it. When they actually dare to taste it, their reactions are enough to make me vomit in my mouth too. I mean, sure, it could be because I think pureed broccoli tastes like vomit to begin with, but I’m still siding with my man Ramsay. Vanda admits that the food they serve—in her hotel—sucks. It’s all Chef Jen’s fault.

Of course it is.

You know what this means, my Hotel Hellions? Intervention.

Ramsay calls Jen (the chef), Jocelyn (the head waitress), Mandy (the GM who isn’t allowed to do any GM-type jobs) and Rina and Vanda (the “Real Hotel Owners of Pipestone”—not really, but can’t you just see them starring on that show?) together for a powwow—Hotel Hell style.

If you’ve watched HH (or Kitchen Nightmares), you know how this goes: Everyone blames each other, Ramsay defends the hard workers, the belligerent owners are defensive, nothing gets solved and someone walks away in a huff. This time it’s our man Ramsay, who is fed up with the sisters’ spoiled attitudes. “This isn’t about you!” he shouts. I cheer.

As usual, people have heard about Ramsay’s visit (which he tells us Every. Single. Episode.) and are flocking to the Calumet Inn in hopes of getting their five seconds of fame complaining about something on camera. The restaurant is busy (which is unusual), the kitchen staff is running ragged and Rina is upstairs crying to her mommy (Rita). Rita admits that Rina always runs away when things get hard, and Ramsay tells her to GET A GRIP AND FACE THE MUSIC before stalking away.

Later, Ramsay meets with GM-who-doesn’t-get-to-be-GM Mandy and commends her hard work by saying she’s the only shining light at the hotel. Awww. And then it’s time for intervention No. 2. Let’s break it down in a three-word recap:

Ramsay compliments Mandy.
Mandy hates sisters.
Vanda doesn’t care!
Rina just cries!
Sisters “burned out.”
Staff flips out.
Mandy loses it …
“I’m [bleeping] done!”
“You stupid [bleep]!”
Mandy walks out.
Ramsay very proud.

After Mandy’s abrupt, very colorful departure, the staff loses it and starts a riot. OK, not exactly, but let’s just say that if I were Rina or Vanda, I’d be dead-bolting my doors and shoving a chair under the doorknob every night. Ramsay tells the sisters that if they were his daughters, he’d kick them out. I totally believe him. Sure, he must be gone a lot, what with practically running the FOX network single-handedly and having to judge MasterChefs and quiet Nightmares and get people out of all sorts of Hell. But I don’t doubt that he’s a great, firm, authoritative dad.

After discovering the Calumet Inn has no fitness center (Ramsay almost walked downtown in his bathrobe, but decided against it—if he’d just had on his Speedo, I’ll bet he’d have done it) and having the sisters listen to disgruntled guests complain about the usual Hotel Hell–type of infractions, Ramsay has a final come-to-Jesus talk with the girls. Vanda admits they’re not capable of running the hotel, but Rina (surprisingly dry-eyed) thinks they can succeed. Ramsay? Not so much. “I will [bleep] myself asking you to run my dog up a hill, let alone a hotel.” (I’ve rewound that part like five times and I still cannot figure out what was bleeped. Any takers?)

There’s only one person who can save this hotel: Mandy, the recently unemployed GM.

Ramsay goes to Mandy’s house and offers her complete control to come back, while further complimenting her on her mad GM skillz. She’s understandably hesitant. “DON’T DO IT, MANDY” I shout.  “DON’T BE SWAYED BY THOSE BLUE EYES AND THAT SEDUCTIVE ACCENT!” She has to think about it. If he’d have been in his blue Speedo, she’d totally have caved.

Ramsay has a “proper chat” with “mum Rita” and not only discovers she cooks a mean Thai spread (that she cooks for her spoiled adult daughters seven days a week), but that she’s enabling them in other ways as well. “You want to teach them responsibility?” he asks. “Buy them a fucking goldfish.” Bam.

Later, the sisters admit they aren’t happy at the hotel and frankly, neither one of them wants to run it. Rina breaks down when Ramsay tells her to get the hell out (OK, he doesn’t say it that harshly, but you know it’s what he was thinking) and tells him that she’s wanted to leave so badly for so long, but has just been afraid to say it.

Dr. Gordon Ramsay—once again saving hotels and lives.

With the decision made to let Mandy return as a true general manager, and for Rina and Vanda to go do “creative things” in Minneapolis (God forbid it’s designing notebook covers), the Calumet Inn gets the 24-hour Hotel Hell makeover: The rooms are now bright, clean and complete with narrow “wardrobes” that will house at least three hanging items; there is a privacy curtain around the hot tub; the restaurant has a shortened menu with mommy Rita’s Thai selections incorporated into it; and one of the rooms has been reconfigured into a small fitness center.

Everyone is happy with the new hotel, but happier when Ramsay shoos Rina and Vanda out the door ASAP after the relaunch, with baggies of goldfish to (try to) take care of.

I’m gonna go out on a limb and predict the new Calumet Inn (under the care of Mandy) will long outlive those fish.

Hotel Hell airs Mondays at 9/8C on FOX.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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