The classic Sopranos pattern: big events in the penultimate episode, final episode sets up the next season. But the finale was richly entertaining in itself…
Is it just my imagination, or does the Draper marriage resemble the Soprano marriage in a lot of ways? Discuss.
*Infant care=too much daytime teevee=stupid questions
Last winter my fiancee got me to start watching Top Chef, which was my introduction to so-called Reality TV. I confess I really enjoyed it, despite the obviously stagey aspects of the whole thing (and I picked up a few cooking tips in the bargain).
Last night we stumbled onto the finale of a version called Top Chef Masters (as Steve Allen pointed out, imitation is the sincerest form of television), which involved a contest between various well-known chefs. The three finalists were a French guy cooking French food, and Italian-American cooking the food first fed to him by his mother, a native of Calabria, and guy named Rick Bayless whose speciality is the Mexican food he first encountered when visiting Oaxaca as a 14-year-old.
Bayless kept going on about how he saw his mission as introducing Americans to a level of sophistication in Mexican cuisine that is still hard to find in this country. That’s all fine and good, but it struck me that in a country where the actual cooking in high-end restaurants is dominated by Latin Americans in general, and Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in particular, the “celebrity chef” doing the Mexican cooking against his French and Italian-American competitors was a very WASPy-seeming fellow. Nothing wrong with that of course — it’s not like you have to be a member of an ethnic group to be a great cook in that genre — but it also reminded me of the point Anthony Bourdain makes in Kitchen Confidential that almost none of the thousands of superbly skilled Mexican and Ecuadorian and Peruvian etc, cooks manning the lines ever seem to end up as head chefs or sous chefs at the fancy places they work, let alone with TV shows on the Food Network.
Update: Just to be clear, I’m not knocking Bayless, who came across on the show as a guy who was eager to educate people about how much great food there is in Mexico, and how sophisticated the various regional cuisines are (Bourdain also makes this point well in Kitchen Confidential).
Captured the zeitgeist, or something. If you don’t want spoilers, don’t click the comments.
My five favorite series finales:
Star Trek: The Next Generation*
*Penned by Ron Moore
**This refers to Limbo, the season 7 finale, and pretends that the misconceived season 8 never happened.
BSG open thread. Consider this a spoiler free-fire zone; enter at your own risk.
Ezra is right; Entourage works best when things go well. I don’t know that I agree that this season has been problematic, because of course success after hardship is so much sweeter… I also don’t know that the success was improbable, given that Martin Scorsese has seen fit to give Leo Dicaprio three consecutive leads, and that Vincent Chase reminds me a lot of Leo.
“Originally the Galactica motion picture (for overseas distribution) was filmed with dialog explaining that the Cylons were creatures,” Probert confirmed. “They were blind and created helmet scanners to see. That explains the helmets. Then, since their suits could also allow them to survive in space, I provided a back-mounted support system. Also, after several viewings of Star Wars, I didn’t want these bad guys dropping their weapons like the Stormtroopers did, so I included an arm-mounted weapon on their right wristband. The giant hockey gloves that were added made those pretty useless and the Cylons ended up carrying (and dropping) guns after all.”
“The living Cylons were changed to robots for the TV series because of an hourly body-count limitation for prime-time television. There was, however, no limit to how many robots could be ‘killed’ per hour so they became robots and dialog was revised to explain it all.”
Today, with the growing strength of the Robot Lobby in Hollywood and in Congress, the logic would probably be reversed. Soon, I doubt that we’ll be able to kill any robots on screen without facing charges of anti-robot bias.
This is kind of interesting. Like Harry, I certainly wouldn’t have chosen Hugh Laurie as having one of the four worst American accents by a British actor on TV. It’s true that he’s just a bit off, but I guess that the fact that the character is more than a bit “off” helps obscure the shortcomings. I do wonder about the methodology; really, why should a British audience be polled on whether British actors can carry off an American accent? Doesn’t the converse (Americans evaluating the accuracy of various British accents) sound absurd? I’m also at a loss as to how we should interpret the inclusion of Ian McShane’s turn as Al Swearingen at number 5.
While on the subject, one British actor who manages some fantastic accent work is Jamie Bamber (Apollo on BSG). This is particularly surprising given the fact that Bamber isn’t, otherwise, much of an actor; whatever his shortcomings, he can certainly nail “late American fratboy” .