eater.com – Welcome to the first long weekend of 2018. I’ve got a few TV recommendations as well as a roundup of the week’s entertainment news, but first, it’s time to take a deep dive into an unusual new show that’s making its debut today.
Somebody Feed Phil is too cute by half
Phil Rosenthal, the creator of Everybody Loves Raymond, is the star of this new food-centric travel series on Netflix that’s basically a rebranded version of his James Beard Award-winning PBS endeavor I’ll Have What Phil’s Having. I really wanted to like this program, but while watching the first few episodes, there were a handful of issues that I just couldn’t quite get past. Here they are, in no particular order:
1) It’s unclear why Rosenthal is hosting this show in the first place. Phil obviously likes to eat and travel — who doesn’t? — but he seems to know as much about the places he visits as any tourist armed with a Rick Steves guide. Unlike his fellow middle-aged white guy travel hosts Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern, Rosenthal doesn’t have any kitchen experience or deep historical expertise to draw from. He really just calls it like he sees it. Which brings us to the next problem with this show…
2) His observations are non-observations. “In New Orleans you can hear world-class jazz played every night of the week,” Phil remarks in the Louisiana episode. “You can’t go to Vietnam and not try their two most famous exports: pho and banh mi,” he mentions at the start of the Ho Chi Minh City trip. “When you cook with beef fat and garlic, it tastes amazing,” Phil later muses. None of these are hot takes, or even… takes, really. Rosenthal seems perfectly content to state the obvious wherever he goes.
3) The theme song is annoying: This dopey ditty, from the band Lake Street Drive, sounds like it should accompany shots of a family getting ready for school and work at the start of a mid-’90s TGIF sitcom. It’s nice that Netflix gives you the option to skip ahead and start 20 seconds after the opening credits.
Welp I tend to wanna watch things with bad reviews just to see if it is truly the huge car wreck that the critics make it out to be. I’ll have to add this to the binge list.