A Brand New Addiction – No Reservations

Tony Bourdain, No Reservations
If Adelphia Cable’s business model is built such that they make a fatter profit the less someone taps into their resources, then they are making a bankroll off of me. I pay them that ridiculous fifty some odd dollars per month, and utilize but one channel – in my area, it’s 55. In yours, who knows what the number is on your little “rented” box (I never quite understood that little business model), but we all know it as the Food Network.

*sigh* I have a love-hate relationship with the all-food-all-the-time channel. Turning it on is probably one of the first five things I do within twenty seconds of walking in my front door. And yet, there will be hours that will go by when the channel is on, but it’s on mute. I’m not even paying attention, but I’m afraid to turn the tv off for fear of missing that one minute that something worthwhile flashes across the screen. I would probably surrender my little Cuisinart food processor before disconnecting myself from TV foodland, and yet…all I ever do is rant about how ridiculous some of the shows are, how much I dislike some of the celebri-chefs, how all the good shows are either gone or aired at some ridiculous time like 4 am on a Wednesday, how there are chefs whose heads are just too big, figuratively and literally, how it’s just so…oh, lots of things. Yet I can’t tear myself away. It’s like a very bad addiction. No, not like a very bad addiction; it is a very bad addiction.

Some people go into group therapy to get over their addictions. Others quit cold turkey and just sweat it out through the withdrawal symptoms. Chew gum. Wear a patch. Maybe they work, but the best way to get over an addiction, I have found, is with…another addiction. Yes, I have a new addiction. It’s not as bad as shooting up daily with 55, but still, I fiend for it. Once, maybe twice a week if it’s a bad one, I take 70. It’s the Travel Channel, and I am quite enamored of Tony Bourdain’s show, No Reservations.

I adore Tony Bourdain, his books like Kitchen Confidential and A Cook’s Tour, his old show on the other channel (see? I can call it the “other” channel now – who needs therapy now?), so it’s not surprising that I love this new show, No Reservations. It’s better. It’s funnier. It’s a little less PG, still with *bleeps*, but a lot more of them. Tony is allowed to be his badass hard-rocking, smoking, swearing, tattooed smart-ass self and I love it like I love the sting before the high. No Reservations wouldn’t be what it is without him, but the show isn’t an arrogant, me! me! me!, self-glorifying exhibition of Tony Bourdain. The show really is about the food in each of these places he visits, without being at all like Debbie Does Dallas on $40/day. I can watch the show with non-food-fiend friends because Tony is entertaining and if you don’t care about the food, you won’t necessarily care now, but at least you’ll laugh. And while Ms. Perkie Von Perkington can make me want to swear off SF forever, Tony makes New Jersey interesting. Ok, so maybe that’s because he ate Korean food. :)

Something I am 110% unqualified to opine about is the way the show is put together, but obviously, being ignorant has never stopped me before. I don’t know the technical term – editing, maybe? But the show is very fast and very flash-y. Not flashy, like gaudy, but flash-y, like there are flashes of images that sometimes have nothing to do with anything, but in sequence, they so perfectly tell the story. In a way, it’s exactly like the ways words shoot out of Tony’s mouth. Fast and sharp and totally addicting.

I can’t wait until Monday night. Good thing the re-run of the previous week airs on Sunday night, otherwise I might start hyperventilating, or even worse, resort to *gasp* Sandra Lee.

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  • Rachael

    Don’t you dream they had a per channel option? I would cancel everything and just have three or four networks.

  • sarah

    EXACTLY, rachael. that would be perfect. in fact, i wonder if they could make more money that way by getting those people who won’t get cable because it’s just too much $$$ for channels they would never watch.

    i think i would keep food tv, travel, all the regular broadcast channels only because they show all the college football games ;) and a secret little side addiction: animal planet. i don’t watch ANYTHING else on that channel except the dog shows. for some reason, i am absolutely mesmerized when the eukanuba best in show comes on. LOL!

  • Max


    I too am a fan of “No Reservations”. As someone who considers Rachael Ray a way too perky manifestation of the Antichrist (C’mon– everything CANNOT be that amazing!), and therfore an unreliable judge of what is truly great and what is just mediocre–I find Mr. Bourdain’s raised on punk rock cynicism (although he needs to expand his punk rock T-shirt repertoire beyond the Dead Boys and the Ramones) and dark humor (consider his impromptu riff on Rocco whats his name in the Paris episode)to be a nice antidote. He made Iceland seem inviting to me in spite of the repellent sounding food. And in every episode I’ve seen so far, I’ve learned something of interest, which really should be the point of shows like these. Thankfully they’re airing new episodes–the first 4 were getting way too much airplay.

  • e d b m

    sarah, besides my laptop, food network is on within the first minute i step into my apt. there’s something comforting about having FN on. The thing is i’m usually not watching it when i’m in the kitchen. i’ll occasionally peek my head out from the kitchen when i hear that obnoxious ‘yummm” from rachael.

    as for tony bourdain, he is a true bad-ass MF. he will eat anything and everything, and if you’ve read his book Kitchen Confidential, will develop a true respect for him as a chef and writer. i love that he trashes on other celebrity chefs.

    you guys are paying $55 for cable? is that because of digital cable, movie channels or internet? hehe… my basic basic basic adelphia cable is only $13!

  • Anonymous

    so maybe you could start your own business … like a one woman marketing consulting firm for the local restaurant industry?

    Good luck with whatever you choose to do.

    Anon #1

  • Sarah Lou

    I can’t wait to get this show in Canada. I have been a fan of Anthony Bourdain’s books and other shows for many years now. I was all too sad to hear that Canada would have to wait. We have FoodTV which is the Canadian equivalent to The Food Network in the US. Our shows are based out of Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver etc. What irks me is that we still get Rachel Ray!

  • Anonymous

    Agreed on Tony, and I also have wondered why Giada didn’t just collapse sometime from that ginormous head. I have little use for the FoodTV aside from Alton and Mario.

  • elmomonster

    To the chagrin of my roommates, I am also a Tony Bourdain nut. The TiVo box (which by the way, isn’t mine) is filled to the brim with A Cook’s Tour and No Reservations episodes. I do, however, like A Cook’s Tour a little better because it’s all about the food and there isn’t as much of the superflous stuff.

  • Erielle

    Sometimes I eat raw bacon and I used to think that was gross until I started watching Tony Bourdain and all the crazy stuff he eats. Now I don’t think it’s gross to eat raw bacon even though my friends do.

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