Tuesday 9pm, Fox
Between “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Kitchen Nightmares,” and this new show, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has become the ruddy, heavily creased face of the Fox Network. Logic dictates that we should be sick of him, and yet he’s undeniably charming when not screaming at incompetents and calling them “donkey.” His latest reality endeavor eschews already-established chefs and instead tries to suss out the next great undiscovered culinary genius. It’s basically “American Idol” in a kitchen, with moms and farmers and firefighters competing in a series of food challenges and getting picked off one by one by Ramsay and the judges. America can’t make the call, obviously, since it can’t taste the food.
Thursday 10pm, MTV
Last summer America “fell in love” with a bunch of assholes who spent their time in a shared Jersey beach house drinking, fighting, tanning, working out, drinking, styling their hair, fighting, hooking up and fighting some more. People inexplicably found their antics amusing, even charming. I pondered the benefits of forced sterilization. Since the actual Jersey Shore was a frigid wasteland (as opposed to the moral wasteland it usually is) when the new season was filmed, half of Season 2 was shot in Florida, which kind of makes the title as pointless as the show. If you liked the first season, expect more of the same, except even more obnoxious, because now these dirtbags know they’re famous. Appalling.
“On the Road with Austin & Santino”
Thursday 10:30pm, Lifetime
This new series, immediately preceded by the 90-minute premiere of the third season of “Project Runway” to air in the past 12 months (Jeez, Heidi Klum!), features the odd-couple pairing of former “PR” faves Austin Scarlett (S1) and Santino Rice (S2) as they invade small-town America to give makeovers to women needing a change in their lives. I can see how the impish Scarlett might be perfect for this, although I remember him being something of a delicate flower who might get the vapors from working with, say, a lady truck driver. But Santino? Seriously? His outfits were almost never flattering to women (remember the bizarre boob placements in his Bryant Park collection, the hellish lederhosen-inspired lingerie, or the superglued catsuit?), and we’re talking stick-figure models at that point. How is he going to dress a real woman with curves?