Bourdain the Ubiquitous

By Karen

In late October, I traveled to Lisbon to make a 13-day transatlantic crossing to Miami on Royal Caribbean’s ship, Vision of the Seas. My plan was to get away from it ALL — job, litterboxes, useless Congress (and Obama), never-ending disasters, premature Christmas (that one didn’t work out at all, the Caribbean was already decorated). I just wanted to reboot.

But one thing I couldn’t leave behind — Anthony Bourdain. He was EVERYWHERE.

Not that I complain. Long-time readers know Cats Working has a history with Tony & Assoc. And other travelers with only a passing interest wouldn’t have even noticed how he dogged their every step (through no fault of his own, I must add — he has people for that now).

Bourdain has certainly hit critical mass, and then some. The Richmond, Newark, Miami, and Atlanta airports all had their big-screen TVs tuned to CNN.

They might as well have been showing the Cartoon Network, but let me not digress.

During every commercial break (they’re numerous) were Parts Unknown commercials and outtakes, especially for the season finale in Detroit.

In United’s and Delta’s in-flight magazines, I found his caricature and mentions in several places.

I caught him on TV at my hotel in Lisbon.

In my cabin on the ship, in mid-freaking-ocean, I channel-surfed to a rerun of No Res on ship’s TV where he visited St. Vincent and Bequia in the Grenadines. This struck me as ironic, since Bourdain expresses only disdain for cruise travel.

So, I tell people I took this vacation alone, but Bourdain might as well have been in my suitcase.

In other news…

Thanks to my new DVR, I’ve been collecting all of A Cook’s Tour and I’m closing in on the last episode I need, “My Life as a Cook.” Sitting on the DVR yet to be watched is Tony’s first episode ever, “A Taste of Tokyo.”

I’m actually enjoying A Cook’s Tour more than Parts Unknown because it’s pre-jaded Tony. At times, he reacts to strange dishes like Andrew Zimmern used to, before Zimmern anointed himself mini-Bourdain.

Today, there seems to be nothing revolting enough to make Tony turn a hair. The thrill is gone.

If you follow Tony on Twitter, you know he’s taken up Brazilian jiu jitsu with his wife and daughter, and recently earned his first stripe on his white belt.

Personally, if I had a husband, and he were on the cusp of geezerhood, and he told me he was taking up wrestling, I’d brain him with a skillet.

In case you’re interested, Gothamist did a nice job of covering some new ground with Tony and his relationship with movies, before he appeared on Dec. 11 with filmmaker Albert Maysles at the Society for Ethical Culture in NYC.

And mark your calendar. Season 2 of Tony’s cooking competition, The Taste, begins Jan. 2. Nigella Lawson and Ludo Lefebvre are back, and they’ve replaced Brian Malarkey with Marcus Samuelsson as a judge.

I’m just relieved they didn’t recruit that bald bastard from Master Chef, so I’ll check it out, with fingers crossed that it’s improved.

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14 Responses to Bourdain the Ubiquitous

  1. MorganLF says:

    My my. I have had the opposite experience. I have YET to see a Parts Unknown. It airs during the most densely populated night of supreme TV viewing. Head to head with Showtime , and HBO series. Some of the most riveting entertainment ever. I cant see how he gets ratings.

    As much as I love Tony, I cant ever get to that show and I cant find it on demand. I feel soo neglectful!

    As for Twitter I get to it occasionally but zone out on the ju jitsu…

    He’s still one smart guy and as a fellow movie wonk I enjoyed the article. I’ve seen Gimme Shelter countless times starting when I was a sophomore in high school, we’s go to the Plaza Theater in New York and dance in the aisles!

    Anyway I’ll watch the Taste, I love Marcus Samuelsson.

  2. catsworking says:

    Morgan, you are so right about Sunday night. I don’t think I saw a Season 2 epi of Parts Unknown “live” because there was so much else. I was also addicted to “The Paradise” on Masterpiece. And after a weeks-long catch-up marathon, I’m now totally hooked on The Good Wife, which I think also comes on at 9 Sunday. But Homeland trumped everything. (I’m still not believing what happened to Brody really happened.)

    In fact, I’m still sitting on the last 4 episodes of Parts Unknown that aired while I was gone. Saving them for a mini Bourdain marathon over the holidays.

    Once I capture that ever-elusive last episode of Cook’s Tour, I think I can safely claim that I have seen EVERY episode of EVERY show Bourdain has ever starred in. Even that execrable The Taste.

    My DVR picked up a few episodes of the new season of Mind of Chef, but they were meh. I can’t even tell you who I watched, and there was minimal Bourdain. And I don’t know what happened to the show. Either I just caught the tail end of it, or I canceled the DVR recording instruction deliberately.

    Did you, by chance, watch Masters of Sex? Wow! LOVED IT!

    I’m wondering how Mad Men, with its last season pathetically stretched to 2015 like that’s not a total buzz-kill, will ever hope to compete.

    And soon up for that Sunday slot is Downton Abbey.

    You’re right. Bourdain’s ratings in the face of all the competition are kind of amazing.

  3. Zappa's mom says:

    Dear CW

    My dear Zappa was put to sleep this morning.He was diagnosed with cancer in October when a large intestinal tumor was discovered. He was on a daily steroid for a few weeks which allowed him to be a normal,happy kitty for a short time. In this last week,he deteriorated to a frail,bony shadow of his big,beautiful former self.

    When his ashes are returned to me,I will put him at the foot of the St Francis statue in my mother’s garden. I think that she would have liked that.

    Donna
    Zappa’s mom

  4. catsworking says:

    Oh, Donna!! This is such a shock. I am SO sorry to hear you’ve lost Zappa. In fact, all the kitties are sitting here in stunned disbelief. Zappa has been their friend for such a long time, he will be sorely missed.

    I know you gave him a good long life and helped him pass at the right time as easily as possible. I like to think he’s now frolicking at the Rainbow Bridge with my Fred and Yul and Adele’s (the human) Alice, healthy, happy, and without a care in the world, just waiting for us all to join them again.

    Cats Working will never forget that we had the honor of knowing the fabulous Zappa.

  5. adele says:

    Donna, Dorothy and I have suffered the loss of our own dear Alice, this year, and our hearts go out to you on the loss of Zappa. I know he had a fabulous life with you, but that makes his passing no less hard. Dorothy is requesting that I download some music of his namesake, so that we can have a mini-memorial concert. She thinks Zappa must have particularly enjoyed “Yellow Snow,” because it puts dogs in kind of a bad light..

    Even though her heart will always belong to Yul, I know Alice is just loving cavorting with such charming males.

  6. adele says:

    With regard to Bourdain the Ubiquitous, Sunday nights are way too crowded, since i’m retired; my routine is to catch whatever HBO show at 8 Central time, Masters of Sex at 9, Homeland at 10, and if I can stay awake, Parts Unknown at 11. If I can’t stay awake, I catch Parts Unknown and The Good Wife on On Demand on Monday night — HBO, and Showtime are kind of winding up, but Downton Abbey looms. Sunday is, the most intense TV night I’ve ever encountered.

    Karen, I think Damien Lewis is really done with Homeland, and I hope that next season will have a little more logic to it. Masters of Sex was unexpectedly fabulous.. I think I’m done with Showtime until Californication, but who knows?,

  7. catsworking says:

    After I wrote that, I was Googling around and saw there’s a pretty large segment of Homeland fans who don’t believe he’s really dead. The thought occurred to me on the first shot of him hanging. He seemed to be doing that stiff neck move they say can keep you from strangling.

    I’m a Showtime diehard. I watch Nurse Jackie. I began a House of Lies marathon last night. It’s only 2 seasons of 30-minute episodes, so it won’t take me long to catch up. Adele, if you like Californication, I think you would like House of Lies. I’m enjoying all the vicious digs at corporate America.

    I was also a big fan of The Borgias . It turned me on to Jeremy Irons. How have I missed him all these years?

    I adored The Tudors (was that HBO?), and followed Jonathan Rhys Meyers to Dracula on NBC. I wasn’t going to go there because I didn’t think he was physically right for the part (nor was he for Henry VIII), but somehow he manages to pull it off and they’re doing a good job of honoring classic vampire etiquette. Nobody sparkles. In fact, they’re ripping off Dark Shadows by having Dracula take injections to “cure” him.

    While I have free HBO, I may revisit True Blood if it’s available. I abandoned early on (although I’ve read at least 10 of the books). The recent live fiasco called The Sound of Music with Stephen Moyer as Von Trapp got me thinking. I thought he was fine (how hard is it to play a stiff?), but Carrie Underwood as Maria — dreadful. I couldn’t blame Moyer for being unable to muster up any chemistry with her. I actually laughed out loud when he suddenly up and proposed to her. It came out of nowhere.

    That sorry remake just reinforced for me what a perfect jewel the film was. There are a few classic musicals committed beautifully to film that were so perfectly cast, NOBODY should ever try again. They are: The Sound of Music, The Music Man, The King and I, and My Fair Lady.

    Clearly, I am watching WAY too much TV these days.

  8. MorganLF says:

    Donna Zappa’s mom…just so sorry RIP you salty old dude!

  9. MorganLF says:

    Karen ..
    masters of Sex is the f’n goods! Just love it, since I don’t DV R ..I rely on.”on demand”otherwise there is too much product and my head will explode!

    Ok sooooo…
    HOMELAND.. Brody ,,, I freaked. Did that really happen???

    That show is the SHIT! Can’t wait for next season . and Boardwalk Empire? How amazing is Steve Buscemi.?

    Then there is Magic City on Starz …..wowwza. Angelica Hustons brother plays one of the evil east characters on TV…Ben Diamond the butcher..just wonderful. Game of Thrones? Don’t ask, I am trying to find a way to inject it into my veins.

    Then there is Mad Men…jaysus I love me some Tony but …not on a Sunday….never on a Sunday… Sunday is my day of rest. (Old movie reference..can anyone identify? Adele.. I know you know it..Melina Mercuri… )

    Am I weird.

  10. catsworking says:

    Morgan, I caught the first episode or 2 of Boardwalk Empire, then dropped it for some reason, although I like Steve Buscemi. Now that I’m going from one binge to the next because Comcast On Demand and Streampix are so good, if that whole series is available, I may try it again. I love Kelly MacDonald from way back in a film she did with Bill Nighy called The Girl in the Café.

    I think I get Starz at the moment. Magic City, huh? will check into that.

    I was so bummed after they killed Brody, I really can’t see how Homeland can continue, nor how Carrie can keep the baby and still be compelling. I DO NOT want to see her doing the working mommy thing. But I’m reading online that now that Saul’s a free agent and an idiot senator is running the CIA, there’s potential to ratchet things again up quite a bit.

    OK, now you’ve done it. I’ve got the theme from Never On Sunday running through my head and it won’t leave. I am so susceptible to ear worms, there’s NEVER a moment when some song isn’t playing in my brain.

  11. adele says:

    I’ve been humming “Never On Sunday,” too. Dorothy is looking at me quite quizzically.

    Karen, Kelly MacDonald was also Maggie Smith’s lady’s maid in Gosford Park, a film that I watch over and over again.It took me a few episodes to get in to Boardwalk Empire, but I’m hooked; there are some wonderful performances, including Buscemi’s, and I thought this past season was particularly stellar.

    Morgan, sorry to tell you, but Magic City wasn’t renewed by Starz, so two seasons is all we get. I liked it, too; it was very atmospheric; Danny Huston was one of the great villains, and I find Jeffrey Dean Morgan adorable. Karen, I think it’s worth catching up on — very diverting.

    I thought the first season of Homeland was one of the best things on TV — ever, and I wondered how they’d go on. I felt that this season was pretty preposterous, what with the Carrie’s crazy — no, she’s in on the plot stuff, and given all the meds she was given in the hospital, it will be a miracle if that baby isn’t born with fins or something. I love Damian Lewis, but it was really a stretch to keep him around. I’m hoping that next season, Carrie and Saul will work together somehow,and go on to new cases. I agree, Carrie isn’t mommy material, so I wonder what will happen with that poor kid.

  12. catsworking says:

    In addition to all the meds, I think Carrie has been drinking while pregnant. I wondered if she was supposed to be trying to screw up the baby. I did read that Brody’s wife and daughter won’t be back “as regulars,” whatever that means. Why would they be back at all?

    Adele, you’re right. Brody was, literally and figuratively, at the end of his rope. There really was no new heights for him to scale, plot-wise.

    I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Gosford Park. I can’t remember anything about it. But it’s something I must have seen at some point.

  13. adele says:

    Gosford Park is set in an English country house in the 1930′s, with Helen Mirren, Eileen Atkins, Kristen Scott Thomas, Maggie Smith, Clive Owen, Emily Watson and many others, whose names I forget. It was directed by Robert Altman and written by Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey. If you haven’t seen it, do — I think I can safely predict that you’ll like it.

  14. MorganLF says:

    I wil watch Gosford Park any time it’s on. Just wonderful and my introduction the the luscious Clive Owen who i have been fettishizing for years. God he’s intense and lovely. It’s actually the blueprint for Downton Abbey, and Maggie Smith plays the same character, cause she is that character.

    Kelly MC Donald was also In Trainspotting a movie I didn’t like, in spite of what Bourdain thinks.

    NO MORE MAJIC CITY????? Fuckers! It was THE most diverting is the word Adele. Just the clothes and furniture and Jeffery Dean Morgan in that character was delicious. Tailored suits, French cuffs slicked and barbered he was the ultimate he man. I lived in Coral Gables in this time period and my mom and dad dressed up like that. I just loved it. Now I’m bummed.

    No predictions for Homeland except that Saul has to be a major player he and Carrie are the show.

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