a tad disappointing

when i mentioned spain, on the road again previously, i knew it had the potential of either being a breezy look at food and spain through the eyes of chef, writer, and actresses, focusing primarily on food, or simply another vehicle to promote celebrity.  unfortunately i’m thinking it is the latter.

omar and i positioned the rabbit-ears just right last night and managed to watch most of it, though the fuzziness made the subtitles non-existent (no fear, my spanish-speaking husband filled me in).

there was indeed some interesting discussion about food, but i was surprised at how much time was spent talking about totally irrelevant (when it comes to spain and food) aspects of these peoples’ lives.  or the time talking about simply how they are famous.  odd, to say the least.  but the question that kept popping up was, “why do they think that i care about this?”  

this afternoon i listened to the first interview on mars hill audio journal volume 92.  ken myers interviewed jake halpern on the ecosystem of celebrity.  a good discussion and in light of last night’s confusion over what i was watching, the following words of ken myers’ struck a chord:

Some writers have explained our desire either for becoming famous or simply being close to famous people, as an expression of frustration with the anonymity and loneliness brought on by bureaucratized and urbanized life.

Others have suggested that the cult of celebrity…is an important mechanism for social solidarity in a secularized culture. If we don’t all worship and honor the same god at least we can find some sense of unity in our shared ecstasy over the same screen goddess or guitar hero.

or in this case you could add celebrity-status chef and journalist.  spain and the food are the side-show here.    

too bad.  the scenes about food were good, though nothing extraordinary.  and i know, i’m probably reading way too much into this and giving cultural commentary when i ought to be laughing all this off.  but i’m not sure i can take 10 or so episodes of this.


11 thoughts on “a tad disappointing

  1. ah, i wondered about that. celebrity-ness. how “nice.”

    it’s funny, kate, the lead up to this has–obviously–been great. consider that only minutes after i posted a”protest” on my blog that my local pbs station was not airing the special in september, a rep FROM THAT STATION found my blog and made a post on it assuring me that there were going to air the series, only in october. i laughed. and i hope that their attention to my “outrage” meant that the special was truly going to be worth my time.

    now, i’m not so sure. i’ll get back to you–after october 9, when it first airs here.


  2. of course only you know if you’re way into this show, but consider:

    the hype about this show was meant to raise our excitement

    1. the show was featured on oprah
    2. the show was featured in people magazine, twice
    3. the show has a blog, with the first post being by the Great One himself
    4. the show’s promoters sent reminder emails as to its airtimes across the country

    so…this was no lydia’s italy-type lead-up.

    i think you’re disappointment is justified. 🙂

  3. joey – the whole interview was good. i’ll lend it to you sometime.

    kel – and i found it interesting that on oprah, the first twenty to thirty minutes were about gwyneth’s life and primarily her workout. they even sent cameras to her house to film her during her two-hour daily workout…weird. for an hour supposedly devoted to spain…not so much about spain.

  4. yeah, and the feeling i got at least from all the lead-ins to the series (because i haven’t actually seen any of it yet 😉 ) is that it’s all about the chow-hounding. now, not to say that you can’t workout and chow (i do) but strange that the workout would be the focus of an interview about traipsing around spain EATING anything and everything…

    most food shows don’t want viewers to be thinking about how much they will need to work out later if they were to consume the goodies or, for that matter, how much one of the hosts works out in general when they are watching the show!

    interesting, indeed.

  5. Bummer. I had hoped it would be a good series. If the food isn’t the spotlight, they are missing the main point. Great Spanish food has been around (and will continue to be) much longer than any of the celebrities.
    I love your strawberry banner, btw.

  6. The first episode is free on iTunes, so I just watched it. I totally see what you mean, but if our local PBS programmer had any sense, I’d prob. watch it. I loved the scenery most of all.

  7. oh man! i watched the show…and it was oh-kay…but i felt like i was watching a sophisticated soap-opera for those that love to travel. there wasn’t much REALLY about food.

    i kept watching because i like G.P. i like her sense of humor. and i kind of liked to pretend i was there.

    but that NY times guy really irritates me. when they were talking with the young guy in la mancha and he’s talking about the “world’s best onions are from here” and the NYT guy was so snarky and gave a little social commentary about how “people are so ego-ridden about their own geographical location”…etc etc. i bet claudia wanted to toss him outta the car (she did give a disdainful look a few times). see…soap opera.

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