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My Review of Hell’s Kitchen, Season 7

3 Jun

June 3, 2010

Congratulations Shirley Hemphill!

What's Happening!

Shirley Hemphill made her triumphant return to television last night playing “Nilka” on the FOX Television police drama “Hell’s Kitchen.”

On the show, chef Gordon Ramsey stars as “Gordon Bosley,” the curmudgeonly head chef of Hell’s Kitchen and Police Academy. Shirley plays one of sixteen contestants randomly picked by the mysterious “Charlie,” who is never seen. The Hell’s Kitchen Angels receive all of their orders by telephone.

Each week, the rookies must master a different aspect of kitchen police work. This week, each was assigned the task of  creating their signature dishes while continuing surveillance of a suspected drug dealer.

“Hell’s Kitchen” is a triumphant return to the small screen for Ms. Hemphill, whose last TV work, “What’s Happening NOW!” (an National Organization of Women-themed reworking of the 1970’s “What’s Happening!”) ended in 1988.

“What’s Happening” was the high-water mark of Ms. Hemphill’s career. Playing a waitress who just happened to also be named Shirley, she traded barbs and insults with such colorful characters as “Raj,” “Rerun,” and “Mamma.”

A working standup comedienne, Ms. Hemphill has entertained hundreds and, despite her death on December 10th, 1999, should entertain hundreds more on “Hell’s Kitchen” until her inevitable dismissal in what will surely be just a few scant weeks.


Shirley Hemphill as "Nilka"

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