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Jul 20, 2008 10:19 PM

Dinner: Impossible! Presented by The No-New-Ideas Food Network

I didn't think the idea behind this show was all that original the first time around, but somehow, it seemed to fit the personality of the first -- what was his name? you know, that Brit braggart who didn't always tell the truth -- host. But the Mission Impossible theme seems to be something that the powers-that-be at the FN are enamored of, so I'm wondering... Is someone in power at FN the writer/producer or otherwise connected with the original MI network series? I mean, even Bobby Flay has had it foisted on him in his Throwdown show. Don't get me wrong. I DID like the original "Mission: Impossible." Watched it regularly. But I thought it was too gimmicky for a really interesting show about food. Top that with that what's-his'name guy as its host, and it really washed it for me.

So WHY WHY WHY are they saddling Iron Chef Michael Symon with such an albatross? I really like this guy. His food chops are terrific, and I'd listen to a half hour show of him just laughing. He's contagious!

And I think he has earned better.

And deserves better.

SHAME on Food Networ!.

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    1. Uh, he asked for the job. Geez.

      And the show was good. As much as I do like Robert Irvine -- and I don't care if he blew up the freaking Effiel Tower -- liked his personality and his food and the show.

      That said, I think Symon did a cool job. Chocolate and bacon, yum!!!

      9 Replies
      1. re: HarryK

        I've had caramelized bacon and it is indeed good, but at what point do we stop? mmm type II diabetes.

        although I was impressed by the Maria d' Sangria.

        1. re: hill food

          >>No-New-Ideas Food Network

          What an excellent moniker for this formerly good channel.

          I feel so embarrassed for Alton Brown. I wonder why he doesn't have the dignity to leave?

          1. re: dolores

            I guess he likes the pay check.

            1. re: dolores

              I too feel embarrassed when I watch Alton Brown's silly histrionics on Good Eats. He can be brilliant, but I won't watch this show unless he's cooking something I'm really interesred in. If you cut out the sketches, he could cook twice as much.

              1. re: James Cristinian

                The silly histrionics is what originally drew me to the show in the first place. I think it is an essential part of the charm of the show, that they don't take themselves too seriously, I guess that is part of the DIY ethos of some of the earlier cable shows.

                To your point, I do think Alton has a tendency to overdo a lot of the funny stuff, so much so that it can get painful watching it. I think someone needs to be his editorial sounding board at all times, just so he doesn't verge off the path too terribly much.

                1. re: James Cristinian

                  I strongly disagree. I think that is what makes Alton entertaining, plus you learn something just about every episode.

                  He seems like he enjoys what he does, is having fun, and the cooking is always interesting. The food science additives are indeed interesting.

                  Huge fan of Alton here.

                  1. re: James Cristinian

                    Aww, come on. In Alton Brown's heart of hearts he's still an actor, and you KNOW how those guys love to play dress up! '-)

                    1. re: James Cristinian

                      I couldn't agree more.

                      With its obnoxious sound effects and annoying sketches, "Good Eats" is completely unwatchable. I don't care how much Alton Brown knows about food; his show sucks.

                2. re: HarryK

                  okay by the end of it i was dying to try chocolate covered, almond dipped bacon myself.
                  actually everything they made looked yummy. but (and i LOVE symon and his restaurants having lived in cleveland) gourmet street food was really up his alley.
                  i'm sure just getting the hang of the show was hard enough.
                  a bit gimmicky for me, but fun and in the end impressive looking food. i like that they looked like they were genuinely enjoying themselves. i'd watch again just to see what they make. :)

                3. I like the idea of taking an expert out of their environment and then watch them do their magic. It really shows what they are made of and it is interesting to see how their minds work. Having said that, I think they ran through most of the creative situastions they could put the hosts in after the first season with Robert Irvine. Now they are kind of grasping at straws. I also think that they are overdoing the dramtic music and the dramtic teasers before the commercials because they are so starved for show ideas. I have no problems with Symon wanting to do this, its kind of fun and adrenaline pumping for someone like him.

                  What I really would like to see is some of these people working a regular shift, a la Bourdain and Ripert on No Reservations. Put Flay in a line as sushi chef, or putting RR on the grill all night long.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Phaedrus

                    "Put Flay in a line as sushi chef, or putting RR on the grill all night long."
                    Or how about having Sandra Lee cook using real (as in NOT pre-prepared) ingredients - think she'd know what to do with an onion that wasn't already chopped? Or how to make an angel food cake from scratch in which she had to fill the whole with real cooked apple slices instead of canned pie filling? ;-)

                  2. I didn't like last night's ep at all. Irvine seemed tailor made for the show, I normally really like Symon but it seemed too "ace of cakes" too me. I don't think that his more subdued nature really worked well. I didn't like the extra focus on his assistants. I didn't really like watching them goof around on the bikes and such. A lot of the dialog seemed a lot more scripted/fake to me than with Irvine.

                    If that's how this show is going to be, I probably won't watch it - a lot of the stuff that "made" the old incarnation for me seems to have disappeared.

                    15 Replies
                    1. re: jgg13

                      I didn't like the show with Irvine, and I don't like it with Symon either. I'm not really into watching catering challenges. But I have to agree with you that Irvine seemed more appropriate for this type of show. And the narrator was terrible -- his pace was way too slow. Dragged the show down.

                      1. re: Miss Needle

                        I thought Symon *was* the narrator? Irvine always did it for himself.

                        1. re: jgg13

                          I didn't realize that Irvine did that for himself. Then those are two strikes against Symon!

                          I do like him in Iron Chef America. But I don't think he's the right fit for this show.

                          For those of you who are Irvine fans, he's got a blog now.


                          1. re: Miss Needle

                            Interesting little lovefest going on there. Not one bad comment? I guess there will always be supporters in full, which everyone commenting on that blog are; half-and-half support (believing parts of both arguments to be true), and those that just won't believe him, regardless. It seems none of those people either have posted or aren't allowed to have their potentially negative posts show up. ::::shrug::::

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              Yeah, I caught that as well. Definitely a strictly moderated blog. I have a lot of respect for bloggers who allow both points of view to be displayed (but have no problems if they choose not to air hurtful, verbally abusive, non-constructive ones).

                              Irvine's actions support the whole musclehead theory about guys who bulk up having low self esteem.

                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                I agree re: bloggers who allow both sides to be aired in the comments section. This one most definitely does not.

                                And it definitely seems like he (RI) needs the fan stroking. I'm sure it sucked for him to have to had gone through all that earlier this year, but you reap what you sow. He was most definitely partly to blame for his own situation, and yet seems to be happy to have TFN take the brunt of his fans' negativity vs. saying "I lied, I was wrong; I'm moving on."

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  I think Irvine needs to look at Rocco DiSpirito's example of rebuilding his career. Yes, Rocco is still thought of by some as a loser (I don't think the Bertolli connection helped). But I've been impressed by some of his blogging he's done for Top Chef. He knows how to poke fun of himself, analyze the show very thoughtfully, be humble and gracious. I think his work on Top Chef has been very instrumental to him trying to reestablish his credibility.

                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                    Agreed on the Rocco rebuild. While I was not a fan of the Bertolli pasta ads, his ability to discuss the episodes and write (really well!) about them, as well as be able to poke fun at himself and the earlier situation(s) he had gotten into notched him a few rungs on the respect ladder.

                                    And I agree with jlafler - it's an "illusion" of being open on RI's blog when it's obviously not.

                                    It shall be interesting to see what new show RI has in the works. Rumors have been the Travel Network a la Bourdain?

                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                    "He was most definitely partly to blame for his own situation..."

                                    I don't understand how you consider Robert Irvine "partly to blame." He's the one who blatently lied about his accomplishments, and in my book that makes him 100% responsible for his situation.

                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                      Yes, I'm aware of that. He lied. I'm using his blog as his reasoning that TFN were the big, bad wolves who chased him down after they "discovered" he had lied.

                                      They could have nipped it in the bud a helluva lot earlier, but they didn't. I can't believe they weren't aware of it earlier than they claim to be. Thus, in my mind, they are to blame as well. He started it, they exacerbated it.

                                      Believe me - the LAST thing I'm doing is defending Irvine! If he had said "I lied, I was wrong" that might have garnered some sympathy. He hasn't - he seems willing to lay the blame on TFN.

                                  3. re: Miss Needle

                                    It's the illusion of interactivity and openness that bugs me. It's his site, and it's his marketing tool; of course he doesn't want any negative comments. But it would be more honest just to disable the comments. Cheaper and easier, too. I guess they figure that illusion of interaction is worth something.

                                    1. re: jlafler

                                      I totally agree with it being more honest to just disable it if he can't deal with any criticisms being posted. And I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of these comments were generated by his PR folks.

                                    2. re: Miss Needle

                                      Low self esteem! I thought it was because he has a small ....

                                      OK, never mind.

                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                        But doesn't a small _______ (fill in the blank) lead to low self esteem in most males in this society? ; )

                                    3. re: LindaWhit

                                      So Irvine can now point to his blog and say see 'every likes me'? His ego got him in to this mess. Wonder if if will happen a second time.

                            2. I turned it off after about 5 minutes, not because it was bad, but because I found it completely boring. I hadn't watched the show in a while and just tuned in this time because I thought that with a new protagonist it might be fresh.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: jlafler

                                Agreed. I like Symon so I gave it a chance, but its relation to the prior Dinner Impossible implosion makes it hard to give it a fresh look.

                                It's kind of like the rock bands that go back on tour with a replacement of a key original... Pink Floyd, Queen, etc. They are making the same music but it just doesn't work for me because you end up comparing the before and after.

                                Sometimes you just gotta let things die and move on. Symon deserves a fresh show with a fresh premise.