First the loud theme music. Was it Talkin’ Heads? He’d come on to wild applause in his totally black clothing, smiling. He’d describe with his Gringo accent what he was making. And he’d demonstrate to the overhead camera. The food was nutritious and simple and clean, and he touted how healthy and virile and lovable it made him. Just look at me, he said with a smile. You can see how this kind of food has made me irresistible, deliciously macho, delectable. Brother, I do very well with this food. You will do well with it, too. Of course, it helped grow his audience that his smiling young assistants were beautiful, barely clothed and frequently revealed cleavage to the overhead camera. The show was a complete success of sorts. It was growing a loyal audience.
In the middle of its first season, he was going to make some Nutella flavored crème brulee. He said a desert like this was an aphrodesiac. He would test it on the staff after the show and report back. The tall, blonde assistant with the green eyes brought him an already lit blowtorch. And then something unexpected happened. There was an explosion and a fire broke out. Apparently, the blowtorch ignited gas that was silently leaking from the stove. There was a bright flash and a loud boom, and ingredients flew all over the room. The cameras shook but kept on shooting. Miguel, that was the host’s name, got cream and Nutella and eggs and ashes all over him. Plates sailed across the room; pots crashed from the sky. The brunette assistant’s blouse fell open and she screamed. Fire began to engulf the set. The producers and camera operators and technicians all rushed to put out the fire. The cameras continued to roll. The show came to an end in chaos.
The next day the crème brulee, the explosion, the assistant’s breasts, Miguel, the entire calamity were all over the news. He was going at last to receive his 15 minutes. He had apparently arrived. “Well,” he told one of the many interviewers, “The show will continue. Of course, it will. And I’m sure we’ll have more surprises this week. Be sure to join us, tune in.” He looked in the camera, winked and smiled.
More surprises indeed. It was obvious. The show had been transformed. Its title remained the same. But everyone began to call it “Kitchen Disaster.” And its audience mushroomed. Every show began as before, Miguel with his Gringo accent, the beautiful assistants smiling and handing him things, a healthy recipe that would render the cook irresistible, a magnet for love. Irresistible like Miguel. And then in every show a different surprise, a different disaster, an unanticipated, new calamity. Fires, explosions, floods. Loss of power and darkness. Sprinklers turning on without warning. Smoke alarms. Leaking pipes. The police. Burning food. Flaming frying pans. The fire department. Alcohol fires. Grease splattering. The seven plagues. Clothing falling off. Screaming assistants. Every show with the same, iconic ending, the cameras rolling, the staff trying to quell the emergency. And Miguel’s laughter.
The show had a long, successful run. The number of possible disasters was enormous, and the staff was inspired in creating new ones. But then one Saturday evening in summer, Miguel just didn’t show up. Nobody knew where he was. And the show had to be canceled. They showed a Julia Child rerun in its place. But nobody could find Miguel. How could the show continue tonight or next week without its star? The station put out a statement that Miguel was gone and the show would not return. Again, the show was in the news. Some people said it was another publicity stunt and that, of course, Miguel would reappear to benefit from the free publicity. But he never returned. And he was never found. Eventually the show and Miguel passed into obscurity.
n/t to Ian for the prompt