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Joan Cusack On the Travel Channel

anyone seen her new show where she goes to various countries (I believe all european) and samples the cuisine there? I am wondering if this is research for her new Julia Child movie.

Anyways I watched the france episode a few days ago and found her to be slightly annoying yet somewhat enjoyable (if that is at all possible). Basically, I couldn't decide if I liked her or not

Also the foie gras with the gingerbread looked absolutely divine

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  1. I can't watch her. Don't know if it's the voice, the attitude, or what...I find her unpleasant in some undefinable way. Isn't it funny how we humans react to one another?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Hungry Celeste

      Keep with it. I am a reformed Joan Cusack hater. Ooh, I HATED her, with a physical reaction whenever she appeared in a movie. I mean my skin CRAWLED.

      Then, one day, I think it was in "High Fidelity", she just clicked, and I realized that I was hatin' her on autopilot, but I was in fact enjoying her performance very much. I've been forced to reevaluate, and now, I think she's fantastic and hilarious. I can't wait to see her show.

    2. Julia Child movie? She will be playing the lady who writes the Julie/Julia blog? Or is there gonna be a movie actually about Julia Child? (Who would play Julia Child, I wonder?)

      2 Replies
      1. re: blue room

        Joan is playing Julia Child in the movie about her life.

        1. re: melly

          Well how dumb do I feel? Since the Julie/Julia blog became a book, I figured maybe they were making a movie too. Did NOT know about the Joan Cusack movie about J. Child. How wonderful! She had a rich rich life, interesting life.
          (On her gravestone is written "Bon Appetit".)
          I loved "My Life in France."
          While looking up Joan Cusack just now I happened to see it's her birthday today (Oct. 11)
          Actually, I DID see a suggestion somewhere of a Julie/Julia movie--something like a "Bridget's Diary" treatment of the book.

      2. oh my gosh, i was so mortified by the way she behaved in front of the frenchmen... what an embarrassment!

        she typifies the american that europeans and other foreigners hate... loud, annoying, ignorant (not that SHE is ignorant, but in their view, she may be perceived that way)

        i like joan cusack in general... i think she is sweet and honest, but not cut out to represent us when she is on that show.

        1. is it just me or does anyone else find it really weird that she didn't say "bonjour" or "merci". She kept saying hello and thankyou. I thought everyone knew how to say those two things in french? Then again I could be nitpicking

          also, she scrunches up her face an awful lot when she talks

          2 Replies
          1. re: bitsubeats

            YES!! At least when Tony Bourdain goes to a foreign country he gives them a hello/goodbye/thank you in the native language.

            That "quirk" of Joan's aside...I love her and have since she played the scoliosis kid with the brace in 16 candles. She's great...Broadcast News...a classic.

            1. re: masha bousha

              Doesn't make her any good on this show though.


          2. Her voice and the way she kept saying hello,hello drove me crazy,but I will keep watching for the food. She was really embaressing dealing with the french chef.

            1. She was much cuter with a few more pounds on her - she looks anorexic, and her face looks like it ought to have been buried by a house flying in from Kansas. But the real issue is that she came off as such a ditz. This whole mode of having an ignorant hostess that is shown the secrets of life (or great cooking, or whatever), is just annoying and irritating. A knowledgable foodie or chef would ask more meaningful questions.

              1. I found it unbearable to watch also. It's painfully obvious, to me, that she wouldn't know a Cornichon from a deli pickle if someone had a gun to her head. Judging from her reaction to things such as when she was in the bakery and had to knead the dough.........she didn't have a clue what was going on.
                If you have a show like that, put on a host or hostess that actually knows cooking and food.

                1 Reply
                1. I find it endlessly amazing that someone who is preparing to do a series of programs in other countries can't take the time to learn how to say (at least) 'hello', 'thank you' and 'goodbye' in the language of the country. And why not a sincere thank you for the privilege of visiting these great culinary institutions? Sheesh!

                  1. I have loved Joan in her films, but couldn't stand her in this show.

                    1. okay, saw the new episode in portugal, and she hasn't improved much... oh, the humanity!!!

                      1. Okay, I tried to watch some of this show last night while flipping back and forth with other stuff.
                        I really didn't care for it. It was very bland and here personality/voice was that of a nincompoop. I'm not sure this show has much of a chance.


                        1. I posted before that I didn't like her but I caught the last portion of the show last night when she was in Portugal (I was channel surfing). The Portuguese chef that she was visiting the home of had this look on his face that said "This woman is a such a fool" every time that she opened her mouth. She made this big deal about eating blood sausage during the dinner and again he had the look on his face. I would have told her "to either eat it or shut the heck up, you fool".

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: JNUNZMAN

                            For all this talk about the host, did anyone learn anything about the food? For example, I'd like a list of the ingredients of this Portuguese Cozido. It was more elaborate than most of the versions that I have found on the web.


                          2. I was embarrassed for her when I watched her interact with the owner of the famous Poilane bakery. She is the type who speaks LOUDER to foreigners, which really bothers me

                            1 Reply
                            1. comparing Bourdain and Cusak is absurd! clearly the Travel Channel is thinking that they will get the run over of Bourdain viewers. obviously they are asleep at the wheel as the two audiences are so distinctly different types of food consumers. I'm a fan of her so I've watched. working in the travel industry I can say that she is reflecting the demographic of a American traveling to Europe which is consider, to most Americans, as a trip of a lifetime. (only 11% of Americans have a passport--that will soon change) it is irresponsible of the Travel Channel not have Joan exhibit good travel manners.

                              is it obvious that I find this show banal?

                              1. I saw the episode of her in Portugal, the production looks great, but she is difficult to watch. Bourdain's show is the best.

                                1. the portugual show was great UNTIl she made faces concerning the pig's ear the the blood sausage. I hate when people do that. That is incredibly insulting to the cook/country.

                                  She kind of reminds me of that bald guy on the other travel channel show - bizarre asian food (one time show). He is constantly making faces and assumptions before he tries anything.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: bitsubeats

                                    But, the bald guy at least ate all of the really foul sounding stuff that most people wouldn't even entertain....even foodies!! A pigs ear and blood sausage is mild compared to a beating frogs heart or bat!!

                                    1. re: JNUNZMAN

                                      And he loves all of it. It's like the weirder it is, the more he likes it.


                                  2. I love Joan Cusack in movies, but this show is an utter embarrassment. What's with the little quizzes and fun facts before the commercial break? "What country borders Portugal?" And it's multiple choice?! Do people who were watching Bourdain a half-hour ago need a prompt for that? I'm sure there are some who find her facial tics and quirkiness endearing, but I think it's truly unfortunate that she seems to have done no homework on her subjects and, as others have mentioned, has failed to master even the most basic words and phrases. You can watch the whole show and learn nothing except that Joan's mom is "adorable." Awww..... Give me more Tony!!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: meredithg

                                      we should give joan's mom the show and give joan the boot.

                                      I think I overheard her mom say something along the lines of "stop talking and eat your food" when they were sitting down to the delicious portuguese feast

                                      if you don't know what country borders portugual you have a problem and shouldn't even be watching the travel channel

                                    2. I saw Joan's show for the first time last night (Spain episode) and enjoyed it. It's true that she was grimacing and gesticulating awful lot, but I got used to it after my initial annoyance - it was comforting to know that even an actor of her caliber can feel uncomfortable in front of the camera. The show has a populist touch to it, but not everyone who watches the show works in food industry and not everyone lives in cosmopolitan areas, and there are a lot of people in this country who cannot cook (many more think they can). She came out sincere and down to earth on the show (like displaying shock on her face when seeing a little kid at the dinner having wine - she probably acted it out, but that's how most American Moms would've reacted). I like Bourdain's show and share his NY-centric observations, but I still enjoyed Joan' show.

                                      And why do Americans insist on saying 'thanks' 'hi's in local language? Especially to someone fluent in English - I find it unnecessary and awkward if not a bit insulting. If you can't master few day to day phrases and couple of full sentences, 'merci' and 'bonjour' just sound banal. Joan did say couple of 'gracias' on her Spain show though. Wonder if someone read this thread?

                                      Joan was very well received in Spain, I thought, everyone seemed to like her and one family even offered their services as movie extras.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: welle

                                        Why are Bourdain's observations NY Centric? Do NY people enjoy all the animal innards and strange foods and places he eats and observes any more than the rest of the country? Maybe it's just a NY intellectual thing...

                                        Appearing to be an idiot is no great show of sincerity - unless of course, you are sincerely an idiot. Any attempt to say anything in the local language is a way of showing that you're willing to come half-way (or at least take a step) towards the direction of learning about a new culture and language. Acting as if people that didn't understand you are deaf, is not the way to earn your host's respect.

                                        I don't necessarily believe that the show is "non-chowhoundish". This is a big tent and people that like this show are as welcome as, say, the people who like to watch Rachel Ray. But the negative remarks from the majority (at least the vocal ones) seems to indicate that most people here feel that the show could be a lot better, and that much of it has to do with the terribly unsophisticated way that the hostess is asking questions and acting towards her hosts.

                                        1. re: applehome

                                          Anthony Bourdain has a lot of NY references and comparisons in his show. His show is not about eating 'animal innards and strange foods' and it's not even about food in general. Food just happens to be a part of his experiences, and many of his observations I can see where they come from. His reaction, for example, of being taken aghaust at the Vegas strip was the exact the same reaction I had on my recent (very first) trip to the sin city.

                                          "Negative remarks from majority" majority who? Just this post, which is just a piece of an obscure 'Food Media..' board, which is in turn just a part of this website though of a growing community, still I believe not the majority of this country. All I was trying to say that just a displeasure of elite few doesn't make the show bad.

                                          I only wrote that I just like the only episode that I happened to see, she may have appeared an idiot on previous episodes, but the one I saw was pretty watchable. I also think Joan's show is also meant to be more than just a food show - hers focuses on family, at least that's what I understood from the only episode I saw.

                                          1. re: welle

                                            I've watched three episodes so far. It's not a great show, but through the magic of TiVo, I can fast forward through the boring and/or annoying parts.

                                            It's not so much Joan's lack of sophistication and polish that gets me, in fact, I think I agree w/ the poster who said it's interesting to see a famous actor be uncomfortable in front of the camera. I do wish she had another descriptive besides "it's so light!".

                                            It's that constant babble about being a busy Mom, no time to cook, know we need to slow down and have dinner together, how wonderful it is your family works together, blah blah blah, we get it, it's the theme of your show, shut up and eat.

                                            The best part for me is the when she is kidding around with her camera crew, when she's not really "doing the show", she's absolutely hilarious. It's like a different person breaks out. I just think she's VERY uncomfortable around her Euro hosts.

                                            I also thought it was funny that one poster said she looked anorexic. When I watched the third show I was thinking "wow, she's already put on some belly".

                                      2. I have given up on this show, I watched litterally 5 mins of the episode and turned it off. ):

                                        when she starts going to asia, middle east, or south america, then I will start watching again. The travel show hosts always go to europe, let's see some more "exotic" locales!

                                        no offense to europe or anything (:

                                        1. Just last night I caught Joan in "Addams Family Values" as Debbie the maneater...equal parts freakish Marilyn wanna-be and fake-chirpy grifter. She is always so good. I think it's because she is fearless and vulnerable, sometimes simultaneously. Even in small parts, she can radiate warmth and magnetic weirdness. Like her role in Working Girl, where she wore that leonine hairdo and haute punk makeup, and still managed to be winesome ("howld awl cawls, Miss McGill?")

                                          But my heart sank as I watched the rerun of the France Local Flavors show tonight. I'll be very small right off and say that the intro voice-over about "Gothic architecture" of Paris while the Hotel de Ville was being shown made me roll my eyes, as did Joan's calling the bread at Poilaine "artesian" rather than artisan.

                                          She seemed so uncomfortable in front of the camera that it made me squirm too. And I also agree that most of the French (males anyway) treated her like a crazy woman. In my experience, at least in France, enjoying something like dazzlingly prepared and displayed food requires seriousness, rather than broad munching and eye rolling (do we really need all those tight shots of poor Joan, chewing away?)

                                          Here is where Joan might take a page from Bourdain's book. He doesn't go on and on about what he eats. He lets us watch what it does to him, which is a brave choice, particularly in front of the camera. But then, he is a rock star, and Joan, as she keeps insisting, is a Mom now. (After Joan's show came yet another reality show with "Moms" testing their mettle whitewater rafting in Africa. And they were having a LOT more fun than our Joan).

                                          1. throw her ass in cambodia or some other random country (not european) and have her eat some street food, if this happens then I will gladly watch the show.

                                            the travel channel should pay me to tour europe and meet/greet all these people and then enjoy their delicious food. I would appreciate it more and would never turn my nose up or make a rude comment about something I have never tried before. Hell, i'll do it for free

                                            1. I like Joan but not in this venue. I would think someone would be more of a fit to play Julia Child,,,maybe John Goodman OR Rosie O'Donnell.

                                              1. ROSIE???

                                                This is who you want representing your country in that genre??

                                                No way.

                                                Now Goodman would probably be a good choice.

                                                If you like the show and don't like Joan, try Travels and Traditions with Burt Wolfe. I think it's more like what they should have.


                                                1. I really disliked the show on France but really enjoyed this series of comments. Because I learned I'm not alone. Haven't watched it since because I really felt uncomfortable:

                                                  Tall, anorexic famous (and typical) American woman visits the most expensive elite places in Paris and oohs and ahs because everything's "so light." Of course, she likes light because she won't touch anything that might put on weight.

                                                  1. This show is a real stinker! Her behaviour typifies the obnoxious American stereotype.

                                                    1. ...are you kidding? I am from Chicago and still find her accent excruciating. Can anyone really be amazed by every nuance of every thing? This woman might be fit to teach kindergarten. Please take her off of the air…