Let’s Cut Anthony Bourdain Some Slack

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain’s recent No Reservations episodes in Romania and Hawaii have suffered from negative buzz. The criticism seems to come mostly from natives, and I don’t get it.

Granted, Tony’s first mistake in Romania was inviting Zamir, but I’d guess Zamir burned his bridge this time with his over-the-top drunken boorishness. Maybe he’s gained enough notoriety through No Res to score his own show, roaming the globe as the Ugly Russian.

Romania’s people were warm, generous, and friendly, in spite of Zamir and their ridiculous government, which demanded 10 euros per square meter where Bourdain thought he already had clearance to film.

He responded in classic style by telling the anonymous bureaucrats, “We’ll be happy to protect Romania from the scourge of tourism,” before walking away.

Yes, it was a weird episode. Tony wore some fake blood and a fake knife through his head to attend a nightmarish Halloween party at the gimmicky House of Dracula Hotel with fellow guests – from Nevada – while looking suitably annoyed. I had fun watching.

In Hawaii, he went all-out to make it the must-see state. His closing comments were even charitable toward the silly-looking American tourists he usually mocks. He showed us everything from wild surf to desolate lava fields. He sampled dishes that were some of his best food porn yet. He even dropped $3K on the local economy by buying a “vintage” Hawaiian shirt.

The streets and restaurants he visited seemed real, not glam or mobbed with cruise ship passengers. He even enthused over disgusting Spam in everything from chili to frittatas to sushi.

OK, so maybe he skipped the locals’ hot spots and favorite food, but he was a goodwill ambassador in both places, giving his viewers lots of possibilities to chew when we plan our vacations.

As far as I’m concerned, Anthony Bourdain could be instructive and entertaining if he stood in a phone booth for an hour.

3 Responses to Let’s Cut Anthony Bourdain Some Slack

  1. Connie says:

    I love watching those shows. I really like them. I think he only has one show left, the cooking one. I have it recorded, I must go watch it. I thought the $3,000 shirt was a little too much to pay. Do you really think he paid that or was it just for tv?

  2. catsworking says:

    The shirt was definitely a rip-off, especially when he got to the register and they said, “Oops! Our mistake. It’s not $2K, it’s $3K.” I believe he paid it, but it wasn’t the smartest thing he’s ever done. Surely, he knows from his world travels that he should have walked away and let the haggling begin. He probably could have gotten it for the $2K he was first quoted.

  3. faustianbargain says:

    remember how he walked away like a petulant child when they tried to charge him 10 euros/sq.ft in romania? different reaction when he is getting ripped off in hawaii, wasnt it? sheepishly plonked down the 3k, didnt he? i suppose its easy to bully people of a poor nation.

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