“A rope course? Does it look like I’m in gymnastics?” -Chef Robyn
It’s only two episodes into the five-part series within a series that is the Food Network’s Camp Cutthroat and already the cooking competition show feels like it’s running out of material. Though the title of the second episode is borrowed from the popular summer camp movie and Netflix series, “Wet Hot American Sabotage” is bland reality television at best that does little to deliver on the premise or capitalize on the summer camp buzz Wet Hot American Summer has created.
Another trio of former winners from Cutthroat Kitchen prepare a pancake breakfast in the first round and the two that advance also get to prepare a steak dinner in second round of the episode. The auctioned off challenges this time around include moving a pile of wood, fishing ingredients out of the lake with a pool skimmer and collecting inflatables on the lake with a paddle boat. Wind, a low ropes course and dodge balls are also auctioned off as “sabotages” as host Alton Brown overhypes them.
As in the first episode, the contestants show their culinary skill by managing to prepare presentable meals in the face of these challenges and obstacles that are auctioned off to the highest bidder. They do get the benefit of cooking on a grill this episode instead of a campfire though, which seems to defeat the purpose of the show. Ultimately, the judge decides who moves on using his criteria of presentation, taste and proximity to the dish they are supposed to be cooking.
More so than even the first episode, the competition feels overly staged and the chefs cliched and wooden as characters (no lie: one of the chefs yells “there’s no crying in cooking” in this episode). The only thing that could probably make this show better at this point is if there was some way for viewers to actually eat the meals the campers are preparing because this episode was a chore to get through from the word go. Maybe giving five episodes to the concept wasn’t such a good idea, after all.