I fear it’s the beginning of the end of Anthony Bourdain as we know him. He’s not-so-slowly morphing into Ward Cleaver* and he seems to be enjoying it.
His earring is long gone, replaced by a shiny new wedding band. Now he says his beloved thumb ring lies at the bottom of the Bosporus in Turkey because it has “outlived its usefulness.”
The only vow to change he hasn’t kept is to hang up his leather jacket.
To top it off, this week he’s phoning in a new episode of No Reservations from home base in New York, visiting ethnic restaurants in Manhattan’s surrounding boroughs. He was probably home in time every night to tuck in Ariane, and it must have felt good. Real good.
Lately, he’s been providing a lot of uncharacteristic glimpses into his personal life. I think he’s trying to prepare us for his retirement from TV by showing us he’s found an even better gig — husband and father.
But first, it looks like the Travel Channel intends to have Bourdain, Samantha Brown, Andrew Zimmern, and some other guy shilling a new Chase Sapphire credit card. They’ve been easing Bourdain into endorsements with an ad claiming he uses Bing.com to make all his travel plans.
The buzz says that the Chase ads will be “interstitial.” Webster’s definition of that word makes absolutely no sense to me in this context, but it sounds like they may make Tony whip out a Chase Sapphire card to pay for things on the show.
I can see Brown and Zimmern effortlessly working it into their schtick, particularly Brown, who loves to shop. But somehow I can’t see Tony complying without some snarky comment, or at least a face. When has he ever paid for anything on NR, except that vintage Hawaiian shirt?
All these clues make me think Season 6 of No Reservations will be Bourdain’s last before he goes into perpetual rerun syndication. If it’s true that he and Ottavia are expecting another child (just a rumor!), I see his career headed toward writing, with occasional guest appearances here and there.
I’m OK with that. I’ll read anything he cares to publish for the rest of his life.
It’s been interesting to watch Bourdain’s evolution since his book, Kitchen Confidential, brought him fame, but our bad boy is growing up fast and we’ve got to be willing to let him move on.
On other fronts…
TV Junkie has proclaimed the Montana episode of NR “pure crap.”
Cats Working reader Adele tipped me off to Zimmern’s new show, Bizarre World, and Pressdemocrat makes a perceptive point about the title. I’ve only seen a clip from the premier episode in Cuba, but I think the show will cement Zimmern’s image as the quintessential Ugly American.
Tony’s producers, Zero Point Zero, are spreading their wings. Chris Collins and Lydia Tenaglia are also directing/producing Gourmet’s Adventures with Ruth for WGBH in Boston for PBS. Perhaps they also see the end of No Res in sight?
And to keep Bourdain from getting a swelled head, The Faster Times shares how he has come to loathe Tony. He’d rather watch Adam Richman eat against the clock. Go figure.
* Ward Cleaver was America’s image of the perfect dad in the TV sitcom, Leave it to Beaver, which ran from 1957-63. Ward wore a suit and tie every day to an undisclosed high-paying occupation, while his stay-at-home wife June vacuumed the house wearing high heels and pearls, and neither of them ever yelled at or hit their two sons, Wallace and Theodore.