Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Kitchen Confidential the Show, Reviewed

I watched the premiere with my husband and a friend. They hadn't read the Kitchen Confidential book. I gave them the quick and dirty synopsis: It's a wacky new sitcom about the staff in a restaurant.

So we watched, and commented.

Husband: "It's esoteric. It's like Molly Dodd. There's no laugh track."

Friend: "Who is he talking to?"

Me: "Those are the waiters and waitresses."

Towards the end...

Friend: "Ew!"

Husband: "If he really cut off his finger, wouldn't he be in shock instead of picking up girls?"

When the episode was over and there was a commercial for a wacky new sitcom about the staff in a law firm, husband and friend gave me this gingerly look like, "Ehhh...didn't care for it, but I know you like it so I won't hurt your feelings."

Overall, I thought it stayed true to the spirit of the book, but I could see why someone who hadn't read it wouldn't care for the show. I felt I couldn't connect with any of the characters. There are too many of them being introduced at once, just long enough to do one quick, outrageous cartoony thing before the story moves on. With the book, by the time characters are being introduced, the author has had a chance to establish his narrative voice. And even then, I had to flip back every so often and ask myself, "Who was that one again?"

This is one of those shows that will either find its pace and audience in the next two or three weeks, or it will show up years from now in one of those "Remember this?" specials.

Oh, and my husband recognized Frank Langella as the restaurant owner before I did; Langella is now stout with thinning white hair, but still handsome and distinguished. Nearly thirty years ago, he played the sexiest Dracula ever. At that time, it was Langella who would have played the Bad Boy Chef. . .and the Bad Boy everything else. Time swings on.

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