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October 9, 2015

Kitchen Confidential: French Fight

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Dec 5th 2005 11:23PM

Kitchen ConfidentialWell I think it's safe to say that at this point I understand why this show is being canceled. It just isn't very funny. It's got a great cast, it's had great guest stars (John Larroquette previously and Michael Vartan tonight), and it's even produced by Darren Star. "Mr. All I do is Make Hit TV Shows" was due for another flop and his "order is up." Get that? Sneakin' in some crazy kitchen lingo on you.

As I mentioned, Michael Vartan guest starred tonight for a mini-reunion with his fellow Alias alum. Vartan plays a rival French chef who runs a small bistro around the corner. A feud breaks out between Vartan and Jack when Vartan steals a lamb dish off of Nolita's menu. To make matters worse, Vartan starts sleeping with Mimi whenever he gets a chance. The entire episode lays out an elaborate tit-for-tat campaign between the two chefs as they each try to "take-out" the other... oh god, I did it again. Jack steals the bread-maker from the French bistro because he apparently bakes the most amazing baguette ever. At one point Jack, Seth, Steven, and Teddy form an angry mob of sorts but instead of pitchforks and torches they have rolling pins and filet knives.

The back and forth continues until Vartan hacks into Nolita's computer system and places these delectable items on the menu: toilet burgers, monkey nipple salad, fart cakes, and fish penis & moose rectum lasagna with super butt cheese. Scrumptious, no? Steven steals the Freon cylinder from the bistro's refrigerator and this in turn leads to Nolita losing power - so Jack cooks by candlelight. In the end, it's Jim who comes through by simply making a call to immigration services. Turns out the frog chef had been a little lax on paying his taxes... so he got deported.

As I said, this was fun to see two former Alias stars but it still couldn't save the show. I'll tell you what I do like - the theme song. I've searched high and low and all I've found out is that it's sung by the lead singer of a band called Reed. Does anyone else have any more info on the tune?

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While previous installments have been tepid, last night's was pretty funny. I like when people go balls-to-the-wall out there, and this was exactly that. They had the same opportunity with the John Larroquette episode, but it fizzled out. This one didn't disappoint.

December 06 2005 at 5:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You guys must like King of Queens.

December 06 2005 at 1:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'd have to agree that the series wasnt that funny, but last night I was laughing lots.

December 06 2005 at 12:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I enjoy the show and think it could/would have worked well as a sitcom, or even as a very dark hour-long dramedy. Bourdain's book is a whole lot edgier, and I liked the fact that "French Fight" got a little closer to that, but there's just too much cozy schmaltz in there for the traditional sitcom audience -- ironic, given the show's pairing with Arrested Development. I'll go on record as saying that I *despise* the theme tune -- it's catchy, but plays to the same cuddly vibe that undermined the show. If they'd made the whole thing far nastier, more violent, and trimmed the heartwarming moments to an absolute minimum, it could really have worked.

December 06 2005 at 12:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would have liked to have seen this on HBO, and being a drama instead of an attempted comedy. Mind you, I haven't read the book that this is based on, so I can't really comment too much on the premise. Disappointing because I was hoping it would go well for Bradley Cooper. I'm yet to watch an episode of Alias, but was impressed by his work in Jack and Bobby, and that one episode of Law and Order (I forget which one). The premise is still good, though it's sad that the execution was really sub-par. No surprise about its cancellation.

December 06 2005 at 2:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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