Don't Feed Melissa After Midnight: The Gremlin Goes Home on Hell's Kitchen

Okay, question time: what the hell happened to Hell's Kitchen's Melissa?

The 29-year-old line cook from New York seemed like one of the few contenders when this season of Hell's Kitchen began, but over the course of the last few episodes she has literally devolved before our eyes into an extra from the set of ABC's new comedy Cavemen and forgotten every single cooking skill she ever had.

Sure, the pressure is high in the kitchen and Gordon Ramsay certainly doesn't make it any easier for his contestants; after all, this isn't real life but a FOX reality series. But at the same time, I really do not understand what happened to Melissa, who Ramsay not so lovingly referred to as a "Gremlin" in this week's episode.

After her dismal performance last week in which she turned into a messy cavewoman (complete with some sort of odd facial scar?), with her wild hair in her face during cooking (and, I'm sure, dropping into the food as well), I thought for sure she was getting the boot, but instead Ramsay pulled a switcheroo (helped, I'm sure, by the fact that a recent episode had two chefs go home, thanks to Aaron's illness) and had her join the men on the blue team (much to their chagrin). I'm not quite sure why she, over some others, earned a second chance, but Ramsay decided to liven some things up by forcing her on the blue team.

I do have to say that the guys were very welcoming and encouraging of their new teammate, considering how abysmally she had been performing recently in the kitchen. Given the fact that she is a line cook, I am just stunned at how poorly Melissa does on the line, delivering sub-par food every single time and just making idiotic mistakes, like giving Ramsay paper-thin scallops or overcooking the rice for the risotto. Don't even get me started on that piece of trash duck breast from last week.

So what exactly happened? How does one devolve from a competent, if certainly not gifted, cook to someone who should be altogether barred from setting foot in a kitchen? Is lack of sleep to blame for the way in which she's transformed into, well, a Gremlin? What do you think?

Next time on Hell's Kitchen, the contestants are tasked with transforming leftovers into delicious (well, delicious, for Hell's Kitchen) meals in 30 minutes, with the winners getting the opportunity to get their revenge on Ramsay during a paintball outing. Ouch.

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Jace is an LA-based television development and acquisitions exec who watches way too much television for his own good and would love a TiVo for every room in the house. (He’s halfway there.) His blog, Televisionary, can be found at televisionaryblog.com.