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May 15, 2012 08:01 PM

AB No reservations [Finland episode]

Tonight was the worst! The beginning with the blood letting massage nauseating me.. There was really nothing on the show that would show an attraction to the country. The food was strange. Really a bad show in my opinion. It showed that the people were all the same. Bad show!

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  1. I once heard Jim Carrey say he went through a phase where he would go on stage and purposefully try to antagonize the audience. It was part of his attempt to get over fear of the audience. I think this is what AB is doing. It's working. I no longer tune in.


    7 Replies
    1. re: JuniorBalloon

      I'd also like to offer a different perspective from the OP. I agree this episode may not be a favorite. But there's a great deal of affection for the food and the Finnish people.

      And lots of humor. Obvious humor, but dry, mordant humor as well.

      Look how endearingly the show portrayed the great home cooking with the Finnish "grandmother" -- that scene is chock-full of affection.

      The same is true for the visit to the rockabilly gypsy bar -- full of affection for the gypsies, their dress, music and food.The reindeer restaurant scene had snide humor, but the food was well-received and beautifully presented.

      The episode starts off showing off the contrasts in the Finnish culture -- the harsh dark winter of Finland best enjoyed *inside* a kitschy brightly colored Polynesian tiki bar.

      The last scene is probably the funniest. Bourdain and Finland's version of Joey Ramone, bassist Sammy Yaffa, visit Bar Moska, owned by the famous Finnish film director Aki Kaurismaki.

      Aki explains: "We opened the Corona bar in Helsinki, and it was so popular there was no room for me and my wife. So we decided to open a Soviet bar where nobody came. Day-old sandwiches. Flat beer. Lousy service. Leonid Brezhnev speeches."

      I laughed. It's not everybody's type of humor, but it was funny to me.

      My take is that not every NR episode is supposed to be about cuisine we like or even an attractive culture. Especially if the cuisine or culture is one we don't know. Sure, this episode had -- with Bourdain's expected badass humor -- the scenes with the dirty sauna, the bloody cupping, and the beat-up cars racing on a "mirror ice" racetrack. Fun in Finland!

      I liken this episode to the one about Cleveland. Many thought it was a criticism of the Cleveland's urban decline but I saw tremendous affection towards the local food, the Germanic local butchers, the Cleveland people and AB's rock star sidekick -- in this case, the real Joey Ramone.

      You may not have liked the Finland episode (watch it again if you like to mine the sarcastic humor), but there's no denying how very sweet and appreciative Anthony Bourdain was of the Finnish people and their food.

      1. re: maria lorraine

        Agree. Loved that last scene in the Soviet bar, especially the day-old sandwiches and flat beer comment.

        1. re: linguafood

          Yes, that was a good example of Finnish humor!

        2. re: maria lorraine

          Oh wow, Sammy Yaffa was on? He's one of the nicest, coolest rockers around. I have to see it just for this and to see what all the fuss is about. And what's up with the anti-Scandi sentiment Sandylc? I know the food isn't usually as tantalizing as some but some mighty fine cities up there.

          1. re: maria lorraine

            that was marky ramone. joey's dead.

            1. re: maria lorraine

              I concur. And the spread of noshes at the Lappi restaurant looked awesome. Does reindeer taste like elk?

          2. It would be nice if the subject and/or text made it clear that this was the Finland episode.

            I find that his segments based on some local musician or radio host are less interesting.

            1. As much of an AB fan as I am, I also have to say that there was nothing in this show that I found interesting or redeeming of poor Finland. Boo, Anthony.

              1. I haven't seen it yet, but I had a feeling it would be bad. I love the show, but the Scandinavia episodes have always been blah.

                2 Replies
                  1. That blood-letting thing is called "cupping."


                    And as for the food being strange ... not to someone in Finland, it isn't. I suspect that the same could be said of many of the things we eat in the United States.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Just Visiting

                      Finland was my least favorite episode. The blood letting or "cupping" was gross. He should have gone ahead and done a colonic flush while he was at it.