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Sep 25, 2007 08:52 AM

Bourdain - No Reservations - Tuscany

Worst episode yet. The first half hour was painful to watch. What was with that director guy - I didn't get it - just poor acting or just a bad/boring idea? The whole staged idea of cooking a bad meal seemed so contrived and poorly acted - basically just to get a dig on Jamie Oliver and the like? When they actually got to the food, it turned around, but is Tuscany that boring that they have had to come up with these ill-conceived concepts for filler, or are they just out of ideas?

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  1. Definitely agree............very tacky episode. I wondered afterward why I sat thru the mess. It was toooo , well, just tooooooooo. If that director has illusions of being the new Fellini, he should definitely get another day job. If that had been the first episode of NR I had ever seen, it certainly would have been the last. Surely made AB look hokey.

    1 Reply
    1. re: diobahn

      I have to agree and I am a huge fan of Bourdain and the show. That was plain silly and not at all inspiring.

    2. Only saw the second half (which I liked). Came home at about the point when they went to the butcher. Guess I can delete from TIVO w/out watching the rest! The part I saw impressed me in that it seemed that Bourdain was able to revive his love of cooking. I've had the sense for some time that his love of cooking fell victim to the restaurant burnout, and (if I'm right), it was good to see the joy he felt in preparing that meal. I just wish I'd been there to taste it. If ever I wanted to reach right into the TV and grab some of the grub, it was last night.

      1. Worst. Episode. Ever. Though the stuff at Dario Cecchini's shop was great. They should have subtitled the plaque by the door: "R.I.P. Bistecca Fiorentina, died before its time."

        I don't think the first meal was staged. I think Bourdain seriously had no idea how intolerant Italians are about creativity in classic dishes. The Roman woman badmouthing his pasta made me laugh so hard I had to rewind (but I lived in Rome and รจ una schifezza" loses something in translation). I'm sure the dish was delicious.

        Way too much of that stuff with Vincenzo Tripodo. Those bits were so awful I thought he was a character played by an actor. I suppose the self-parody is to some extent intentional.

        I suspect they did come up short of solid material and were padding. From Bourdain's voiceover it sounded like they planned to shoot some meat processing but got burned by a Potemkin ranch set up by the government to perpetuate the myth of Tuscan beef. (Buford reported in "Heat" that Cecchini imports his beef.) I worked as a production assistant on a food-related documentary TV series and had a lot of experiences like that.

        Some relevent comments by Buford in this interview:

        7 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Lazy, silly, and a disaster unfolding minute by minute. Might be that Tuscany is so domesticated and so overrun that there's nothing more you can say or show that would not be a tired trope (ah, the uncomplicated winemaker dinners under the pergola!), unless it was to puncture some myths. B looked unconvinced, and well he should have been if he was trying to juice some fresh passion and surprise from so packaged a place. The awful director schtick began to evoke horrid flashbacks of Rooney-Batali. At one point, I was so bored that I was tempted to start counting the minutes wasted by this director sideshow.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            I think Tripodo was part of an earlier episode in Sicily, a couple of years ago - not something that stuck in my memory, as this one will not.

            Maybe that's the issue - Tony had nothing new to add, so they tried to make something different out of it. Too bad - even in restating what others have said, the food demands more respect. It didn't seem to bother him last week that RR had been in the Low Country before him - he made a joke out of it and moved on.

            Bummer of a way to end the season - hope the next one (in January) starts out with a bang.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I'm 99% sure "Vincenzo Tripodo", was an actor playing the part, I reccognize the face(usually without facial hair), and look at that last name..Tripodo...????, in the thing movie cameras used to sit on...a joke i'm sure, the show was a little odd, but the second half was really good, damn i'd give my left...uhhh eye to have eaten that last meal!

              1. re: jword2001

                Guess i was wrong, just searched the name...he's a director...shows what i know....

                  1. re: jword2001

                    Even if he's not an actor, I felt like the whole "fulfilling the director's vision" part was totally set-up and not authentic. I generally love the show, but every once and a while--when they are lacking content--they get too twee.

                    Too bad about this episode because the actual food segments were really interesting.

                  2. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Per Wikipedia entry of No Reservations under notable guests

                    "Bourdain's wife Ottavia Busia, who is a native of Italy, appeared anonymously on the Season 3 Tuscany episode, as one of the disgruntled diners eating the food he prepares"

                  3. totally agree, in fact I mentioned it on another post. (where i declared my love for the tall man) but this episode just killed me. AB cant act... so the whole scene when his guests hated his food. ARGH. makes me a little nuts. oh well.. i love the show.. i guess you win some ...

                    the butcher part was good though. (barring the stupid effects added in for melodrama)


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: coconutgoddess

                      Maybe it was a bit of a setup, maybe Bourdain knew they wouldn't like it, but I think that Roman woman was just being herself. And even if Bourdain was expecting them to reject it (which I doubt), he was clearly started at the vehemence of her reaction, which is entirely true to life.

                    2. Yes, in general it was awful. I am interested, however, in the roadside joint where they stopped for lunch. We'll be driving around in that general area in a few months - was that a chain of some kind? I didn't catch the name and don't know if I can bear sitting through that episode again.

                      3 Replies
                        1. re: Betty

                          Did anyone notice that on the wall, behind AB, was a sign for Samual Adams Beer? It flashed by rather quickly.

                          1. re: bkhuna

                            I saw that as well. I guess it's an import to them.