July 15th, 2007
|03:59 pm - Kitchen Confidential? More Like Bitchin' Confit, Dental!|
In discussions of Shows Killed Before Their Time, the same few tend to show up. Firefly. Wonderfalls. Freaks and Geeks. My So-Called Life. Et cetera. But few people bring up Kitchen Confidential, which lasted a whole four episodes paired with Arrested Development before Fox gave it the shaft (a few months before they gave Arrested Development the shaft, no less). And, like many shows in the Fox graveyard, it didn't deserve to die so soon. And now, thanks to the release of the DVDs, you can see the nine other episodes Fox kept from us. For only twenty measly bucks!
Kitchen Confidential is based on the book by bad-boy chef Anthony Bourdain, who becomes Jack Bourdain here, a man who's gone down the path of self-destruction and now has a chance for redemption when he's offered a job running the kitchen at Nolita, New York's hottest new restaurant serving Small Food in Big Plates. Because it's executive produced by Darren Star, there's an equal mix of food and sex. The obvious major strength of the show is its cast.
Bradley Cooper (Alias) is Jack Bourdain, and he's sort of what you'd expect Will to be if he were a head chef, but he's much cockier and slightly less adorable in the crushing-on-Syd sense. The ladies all think he's dreamy, but I think he has a fuzzy chest. Which you get to see a lot of, if you're into that sort of thing. Owain Yeoman (some stuff I've never seen, but, hey, it looks like he's going to be on The Sarah Connor Chronicles, good for him) is Steven Daedelus (and why they never make any sort of jokes about that name, I have no idea), the British souschef with a penchant for thievery and the black market (this is the kind of show where characters employ underhanded maneuvers to acquire mushrooms...no, ACTUAL MUSHROOMS). He's even cockier than Jack, at least when it comes his luck with the ladies. Nicholas Brendon (Buffy) is Seth the dessert man, and at first, he's just like Xander in the kitchen, but as the show progresses, he makes Seth a more distinct character. John Cho (Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle) is Teddy the seafood guy, whose running gag involves appointments with his therapist. John Francis Daley (Freaks and Geeks) is Jim the new guy, a sad, pathetic little man who is picked on by everyone but just wants to be the best chef he can be. He's just as awkward here as he was on F&G, and it works. Bonnie Somerville (guest spots on shows I have watched but don't remember her from) is Mimi, head waitress, who tries to be cooler than she actually is. Now that I think about it, she's sort of like what would happen if Monica Gellar ran a restaurant (and...didn't Monica work in a kitchen once?). Jaime King (Sin City) is Tanya, the adorably airheaded hostess with the best of intentions. The recurring characters also add to the mix.
Then you've got guest stars like John Larroquette! Michael Vartan! Morena Baccarin!
I really like shows with a great ensemble cast, where all the characters have individualized relationships with each other, creating all different sorts of chemistries. It's a workplace comedy in a very unusual workplace, one that's very appealing for foodies, as storylines often revolve around preparing specific dishes like yellowfin tuna or whatever. But it never gets technical in a way that keeps you from understanding what's going on; it's just a different sort of technobabble. The plots are a mix of cooking-based and character-based, and there are sometimes three plots in play at one time. It's a busy kitchen. In more ways than one.
The unaired episodes are actually better than the ones that aired, of course, because the show works into a nice groove and sets up some multi-episode arcs. It's a real shame it was cancelled because there was a lot of potential.
It's really funny, by the way. I feel like I should mention that, since it's a comedy. But I thought it was understood, since I wouldn't be recommending an unfunny comedy. I think it's more of an amusing comedy than a laugh-out-loud comedy, but that doesn't mean it's not good at what it does.
If you're looking for a nice little diversion and you have a fetish for cancelled-before-their-time shows, then go with Kitchen Confidential. It's only twenty bucks, guys! That's over four hours of replayable entertainment for the price of two movies. Make a reservation! See what's cooking! It's a recipe for laughter!
Current Mood: pleased
Current Music: Sufjan Stevens - All Good Naysayers, Speak Up! Or Forever Hold Your Peace!
Oh! I loved the first couple episodes of this show and was so depressed when it stopped being on. I will have to get the series! I love you!
Cimmy and Dan and I watched six episodes together, and even they enjoyed it!
|Date:||July 15th, 2007 11:23 pm (UTC)|| |
It was cancelled? I thought stupid NZ TV programmers just took it off the air mid-season. I'm gutted.
I loved the banter. So true to life.
Aw! Yeah, it was cancelled, even though all thirteen episodes were finished and ready to air. What the hell, right?
The banter is great, for sure.
Because it's executive produced by Darren Star, there's an equal mix of food and sex. The obvious major strength of the show is its cast.
And the equal mix of food and sex.
But really, Bradley Cooper's performance is brilliant. He's an unbelievable comic actor. I loved him as a sweet, nice guy on Alias, but as a hedonistic recovering jerk, he's riveting.
Hee, yes. Food and sex. And Bradley Cooper was great.
I downloaded the first three episodes, and liked it well enough, but I kinda forgot about it during the long gap before the 4th one aired. I'll probably pick up the DVDs sometime; hearing that the unaired episodes are better than the aired ones is pretty reminiscent of Wonderfalls
But--did you ever watch Grosse Pointe
? It was another Darren Star show that got the shaft too early. I don't think it had enough exposure to even garner much of a cult following, but it was freakin' hilarious, and the humor (more on the laugh-out-loud side, I think) holds up really well. I'd summarize the show for you here, but I already did it in the intro of that Wikipedia entry, so just read that if you're not familiar with the show. It's $15 at Buy.com
right now, and definitely worth it.
hearing that the unaired episodes are better than the aired ones is pretty reminiscent of Wonderfalls.
Yeah, by the time I got to the end, I realized that the ones that aired were a little...gimmicky, in a way. A little over-the-top, somewhat. Whereas the rest of them feel more grounded, but still funny and "hyperreal," as Darren Star describes it. If you liked the ones you saw, you'll definitely like the rest.
I've heard of Grosse Pointe, but I was never that interested since I never watched 90210, so I figured I really wouldn't get it. Profit is next on my list, however.
No. Although that scarf really brings out his vagina.
Damn that DVD took a while to come out. I loved that show. Hopefully the DVD is as cheap in Canada as it is in the U.S. and I'll pick it up!
|Date:||July 16th, 2007 02:50 am (UTC)|| |
I'm definitely buying it for my brother the chef. During the 8 seconds that it managed to stay on the air, I got my brother to watch an episode or two, and he said that, although in an actual kitchen (i.e., not on TV) every other word out of his mouth is profanity, it was pretty dead-on in portraying what it's like in a restaurant kitchen.
Ha, that's great. I did think it might play a little better on non-network TV, both for the language and the sex.
I watched this show when it was on, and was sad to see it go. I actually have it from Netflix right now; I've learned that half hour comedies are the best tech and preview week viewing for me, it's just enough time to disengage my brain without keeping me up too late.
I really enjoyed the humor and it is certainly warming up as it continues (I've got three episodes left).
would feeling conflicted towards anthony bordain interfere with me liking the show? because i have some intense feelings towards him for someone who doesn't even care about cooking that much.
Heh, I don't know, since I have no feelings toward Anthony Bourdain, really. I think some of his sensibilities are in the show, but it's all in good humorous fun.
The Cooper/Vartan episode alone is worth twenty dollars to me.
Twenty dollars for televised "Alias" reunion sex? I do!
Monica was a chef on Friends. I think at some point she had a catering business, then her own restaurant, maybe?
I have to go pick this show up now. The Vartan episode's plot is ridiculous, but I loved it, and I really thought this show had the potential to grow. That was an unfortunate rhyme, but you know what I mean.
Have you ever heard of a BBC series called Chef!, with Lenny Henry? The cooking parts are very much like this.
I've never heard of that, nope.
"French Fight" is ridiculous, but the breadmaker was apparently based on a real person. There is actually someone out there that crazy who makes delicious bread.
|Date:||July 16th, 2007 06:07 pm (UTC)|| |
i did <3 that show, the 2 episodes i saw.
I loved Kitchen Confidential. Thanks for the heads up!
|Date:||July 16th, 2007 09:28 pm (UTC)|| |
Your post inspired me to finish watching all the episodes, and MAN, why do alla the good shows always gotta get cancelled???
Jim & Tanya 4EVAH!!!!
Heeee! Wasn't it great? So very fun!
"Do you remember that conversation we had about how you liked chocolate soufflé?"
"Yeah, that was a good conversation."
Wow, that is pretty cool! I watched those early episodes, taping them because I didn't know whether to watch HIMYM or KC. I was sad when it was canceled, but psyched cause it meant no more double-taping.
Thanks for the update!