Editors Note: This post is the first “official”  So Good post by Cary, So Good’s newest contributor.   Cary is probably well known to any regular readers as he has been an active commenter since So Good launched in August of 2007.  He was also in the same sketch comedy group as me in college, for whatever that’s worth.  He will be posting here at So Good from time to time.  You can read his two previous guest posts HERE and HERE. Enjoy his official debut post:

1. Guy Fieri

Show and Premise: Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  Guy Fieri (pronounced with extra Italian emphasis) showcases awesome eateries all over the U.S.  Great premise.

My Problem: My brother loves this guy, but anyone could do his job.  Here’s an idea: Why don’t we pluck Andy Rooney off of his old person’s couch.  You know, that ancient guy who wears glasses and is SALTY AS FUCK.  Let’s bring him to awesome diners, drive-ins and dives all over the country.  This would make insanely great television.  Who doesn’t want to see an old man muttering and trying to eat giant burgers while trying to suppress his “quiet” racism when forced to eat Mexican food?

Instead, we have a Van’s Warped Tour reject wandering around eating things.  This is considered entertainment.  His food criticism is terrifying.  This is probably the part of the show that makes me want to put my skinny white fist right through screen the most.  “Awesome.”  “Wow.  Wow.”  “This is great.”  “This is awesome.”  Thanks Guy, thank you for your insight.

My Solution: Shoot Guy Fieri out of a canon into outer space.  Replace him with either Rooney or a morbidly obese 14-year-old.

2. Mario Batali

Show and premise: Molto Mario and Iron Chef America.  Alright, I know that the show was canceled in 2004.  But it was done for a reason.  I loves me some Iron Chef, but tend to gravitate towards the classic version with AWFUL voice-over work.

My Problem: Pompous, terrible sense of humor, and the real nail in the coffin: He makes me agree with Mo Rocca.  I hate Mo Rocca, but apparently we both hate the fact that Mario wears Crocs.  I dislike Crocs footwear more than Mario, so it’s a deadly combination.

Let’s not forget his descriptions of food.  When creating a simple lasagna, you get this crammed into your ear-hole: “This is no simple ricotta.  No, this is prepared in the Southern-most tip of a’Italy, where the women were without proper cheese cloths.  In order to separate the curds from the whey, they would…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…Look, I like to learn about regional cooking, but not by a guy so in love with his own voice.  This problem is especially evident in Iron Chef, where it takes him approximately 4/5’s of the show to present his first two dishes.  He’s essentially the David Foster Wallace of cooking with no endearing qualities.

My solution: Put him on a PBS show with the actress-wife of epic fail Coldplay singer Chris Martin.  That way no…oh, they already did.  FANTASTIC.

3. Sandra Lee/Rachael Ray

Show and Premise: Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade Cooking/ 30 Minute Whatevs.  Anyone can cook when they don’t have to try!

My problem: Let’s keep this short and sweet.  They don’t want you to try.  They do this under the guise of helping people who don’t have time to cook.  They actively promote laziness.  No, don’t learn the proper technique of cooking!  Get everything pre-made, respect no tradition.  Spit on the memory of Julia Child.  Is this the new American tradition of cooking?  Will mom’s pass these half-assed recipes down through generations?  I shudder at the thought.

My Solution: Shoot them out of canons facing each other.

4. Andrew Zimmern

Show and Premise: Bizarre Foods.  He goes all over the world eating strange food.

My Problem: This show is essentially Fear Factor with no underwater cages.  Zimmern is like a cruel American caricature, a fat, bald, jolly tourist with khaki shorts and salmon golf t-shirts.  His show is an unfortunate victim of reality show over-exposure syndrome.  How many times can I watch an American talking about how weird things are everywhere else?

Also, Andrew, speaking to foreigners isn’t the same as talking to people with hearing aids; LOUD and SLOW is patronizing.  Especially when the show is painfully half-scripted.  Honestly, it’s a less interesting version of Man Vs. Wild with Bear Grylls.  That being said, I would kill to see Andrew Zimmern jump into glacial pools and drink his own urine (less bacteria when it’s fresh, kids)!

My Solution: Never mind.  Just keep sending him out there.  It’s just so embarrassing.

5. Marc Summers

Show and Premise: Unwrapped.  Summers narrates over informative stock footage of candy factories.

My Problem: That he is completely and utterly insane.  His show is like the films you watched in Technology class in Middle School.  Clean, precise, full of boring, boring information.  Oh god.  It’s just so creepy and lifeless.  The only thing besides a Mark Summers voice-over that will make me change the channel faster is Real Housewives of Orange County.  And that should tell you something.

My Solution: Make Mark Summers take a bunch of peyote and wander around in the desert.  That should really make the show interesting.

Dishonorable Mention: Anthony Bourdain

Show and Premise: Eternally hip No Reservations

My Problem: Let’s make it clear that I have no problem with Bourdain The Writer.  He’s great at his craft, and I’ve read one and a half of his books.  However, his show is bizarrely formulaic for being anti-celebrity chef in its scabrous nature.  How his show reads:

1. Tony shows up in city or country.  Comments on how he can/can’t drink/smoke.
2. Tony voices his pre-determined opinion.  He knows it’s going to be great/doubts the locale’s greatness.
3. Tony eats a ton of food, but usually saves his more orgasmic reactions for meat.  Which is understandable (I guess?).
4. Tony gets too drunk/complains about how one of his shoots is boring
5. In the last scene, Tony eats a traditional peasants’ food, and reminds everyone that we’ve lost our way.  Talks about how he is “truly happy,” and how that is a rare thing.

Again, great writer, hilarious guy, show is getting stale like no one’s business.

Hope this sparks some debate.  I left out Bobby Flay because he’d be too easy.

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17 Responses

  1. Krisse

    I’ve always wondered why Guy Fieri keeps getting more and more time on the air when he kinda sucks balls at what he does.

    I have to admit though, I like Marc Summers…he’s so squeaky clean and dorky that he’s the only person who can make the corny jokes he does without making me want to put my fist through the TV.

  2. RB

    Rachael Ray and Sandra Lee are NOT at all alike – Sandra Lee cooks the way you described, with disgusting ingredients and no concern for technique. Rachael Ray – annoying as she may be – is merely promoting a way to get good, real food on the table in a hurry. Not necessarily as a substitute for a lovingly prepared heirloom recipe, but as a substitute for fast food or takeout. The most processed ingredients I’ve ever seen her use (aside from desserts) are boxed stock, canned tomatoes, frozen vegetables, and dried pasta – items which even the most dedicated chefs can agree have their place in a home kitchen. She certainly doesn’t promote laziness, not the way she chops at warp speed, and if you watch her closely you’ll find that her technique is actually pretty spot on. I know that I’m coming across as a shill for RR, but honestly I’m not even that big a fan of hers – it just really smarts to see her lumped into the same category as Sandra Lee, who is, I agree, spitting on the great American culinary tradition.

  3. Bob

    THANK GOD someone agrees with me about Guy Fieri. Beginning with the way he pronounces his name. At least Mario Batali has some sort of reason to pronounce his name in pedantic Italian, although he should probably give that up too. Guy Fieri just comes off as an idiot who wants to sound more important by giving his name “flair.” One of my friends is a manager at a shop that was on his show recently, so we got to meet him, and the guy is incessantly arrogant, although I can’t imagine a reason why.

  4. Jimbo

    I saw Bourdain on your list, and was thinking, “What the Fuck!” Then of course I read what you wrote and couldn’t agree more. I love the dude, but your description of No Reservations is spot-fucking-on. Of course I didn’t really realize it until now, so now the show might be ruined forever for me – ay, I just watch clips on Youtube anyway so what the fuck do I really care?

  5. Amy

    Oh no you didn’t.
    I was with you man, I was there behind you the whole post…until the end.
    Until the time when you mocked the love of my life Bobby Flay. Have you ever watched throwdown? Appreciated the staged confrontations and the barely recognizable food.
    If you had you would NEVER say that about Mr. Flay.
    Take it back.

  6. The Pumpernickel

    Did you know that Marc Summers suffers from a debilitating case of obsessive compulsive disorder? Which is hilarious when you think about how dirty people got on the Nickelodeon shows he hosted back in the day (What Would You Do and Family Double Dare).

    You know he just went home at night and scrubbed his hands for 3 hours, repeating “Must get clean, must get clean,” over and over.

  7. shatraw

    that’s CONTRIBUTOR, youppi. not poster.

    also, the unmentioned bobby flay is a moron who never met a dish he wouldn’t incorporate southwestern blue corn tortilla chips into. never.

    guy fieri should be disregarded merely for his association with TGIFridays or applebees. or is it chili’s?

    buffalo wildwings anyone?

  8. HeH8Me

    Guy Fieri is a joke. Check out the reviews of his two craphole restaurants Johnny Garlic’s and Tex Wasabi. If you’re going to name a restaurant Johnny Garlic, you would think garlic would be a theme, you’d be wrong. Fuk Fieri, fuk batali, zimmern. What?!?!, no mention of Giada’s boobfest? Don’t mess with Giada.

  9. Nick

    Most of these are pretty spot on.

    My only issue would be with Batali. Yes. He is totally pompous, but the dude can cook like nobody’s business. Also, read “Heat”. He sounds like an absolute party. If there was one chef I could spend a night out on the town with I would want it to be Mario.

    Shoes are super annoying though.

    I can’t believe Guy Fieri has a NY Times Bestselling cookbook. What. The. Hell?

  10. Lana

    Spot on about Fieri. I met him twice, and he is incredibly stuck up! He was rude and dismissive to the point of being cruel, and even worse, blew off a meeting several people had worked hard to set up – with no apologies for being over 2 hours late. Gawd.

    Somebody PLEASE shoot this man into space, if for no other reason that to shrink his over-inflated ego.

    Nick, we’ve got to remember that Fieri’s book is NOT full of *his* recipes, it’s full of DDD recipes. Those indie restaurants totally rock, so I get that it’s a popular book. It just irks me that Fieri thinks it’s because of him. Freakin’ ‘tard, I’m tellin’ ya.

  11. RhondaB

    I agree with most of your assessments, but I gotta stick up for Sandra Lee on this one point: The girl knows how to incorporate “cocktail time” into every meal. Of course you’d want to get the cooking out of the way if you’d spent the afternoon whipping up a tablescape and redecorating your kitchen and the ice in your cocktails was melting!

  12. Brian

    That’s what most annoys me about Fieri. He always overreacts to the food he’s eating. “That is MONEY!”

    You would think he hasn’t had a meal in days the way he swoons over some of the dishes he eats. Everything he eats just happens to be the best _______ he’s ever had.

    I saw a D, DI & Dives DVD set in Target the other day. Do people actually buy that?

  13. Cary

    Thanks for the feedback. And…

    1. Bobby Flay is a joke. “Throwdown” is a show designed to watch him fail, b/c apparently people hate watching Bobby Flay succeed. I mean, the guy should be able to make RICE. HE DOESN’T KNOW HOW TO MAKE RICE. GAAAHHH. Southwestern my buttocks.

    2. I’m surprised more people didn’t smite me down for Mario Batali. That book is supposed to be great. Just chop the ponytail and do your whole show shlammered, Mario. Do us all a favor.

    3. I’m glad we can all agree that Guy Fieri is a bag of tools.

    4. And as much as I love cocktails and drinks, I abhor tablescapes. My spell-checker does not recognize “tablescape.” It is not a word. Incorporating giant alcoholic drinks into a meal should not be deal-sealer. Can’t wait for Sandra’s recently out-of-rehab nephew to show up to one of these gatherings, drink everything, vomit on the Whole Foods-prepared chicken, and destroy the table and tablescape when he falls through it. This should be a slap-stick scene with requisite Benny Hill theme music included.

    What I’m saying is that without the alcohol, you have an awful half-assed meal on a goddamn tablescape.

    Sorry, I’m tired and it’s Saturday morning.

    Someone make me a 30-minute meal. Stat.

  14. Brian

    I’m not a fan of Bobby Flay. He comes across as arrogant to me. I mean, how arrogant do you have to be to create a show where your goal is to out do someone who has perfected their recipe over decades?

    Bobby brings his big head over to Pink’s and thinks he can make a better hot dog than the family that’s been making them for 70 years. Okay, I know he won, but still!

    Sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Pink, you’ve been making hot dogs for 70 years but Bobby only needed a day to overtake you.

  15. elswinger

    Mario’s uncle is the greatest Salami maker in Seattle and his restaurant, Salumi, is one of the best places here.

    The only things I like about Sandra Lee is that she always seems to make giant alcoholic beverages with each meal, which means she gets drunk, which makes her even sexier.


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