Thank goodness for blogging. What would I do with shit like this otherwise?
Dressing For Dinner is a travel show that will take the viewer to exotic locations, both far-flung and close to home. What makes it unique is the fact that the Host, traveling with his manservant, Brooks, concludes each episode by ‘dressing for dinner.’
No matter where the host is — the Burmese jungle, the trackless expanse of the Navajo Nation, a caravanserai in Turkmenistan — he will, aided by his trusty manservant, don a dinner jacket, pressed slacks, polished shoes, cufflinks and shirt-studs and, after his manservant sets up a linen-covered card-table with silver-service and a framed picture of Noel Coward, will eat a meal that represents the culinary identity of the region he has visited.
Noel will be the presiding genius of the show. At a dicey border crossing in Guatemala, the host might ask “What would Noel do in this situation?’ In the headman’s house in a Sarawak village they might muse, “Would Noel approve of the menu for dinner?”
Although food figures in the show, and is not incidental, it is not a food show per se. It is a travel show with a concern for the people, culture, history and cuisine as well as a sense of humor about the culture clashes Western travelers always engage in but rarely acknowledge, at least not in themselves. Others are always the ugly Americans, the ugly Europeans. Others are tourists. We are always the humble, the hip. We connect in the most heart-felt, authentic way with the natives. We walk lightly on the earth. We are travelers.
The program pretends to a witty, distanced sophistication that will humorously clash with the preceding half-hour’s wide-eyed and often difficult and dirty travel, or, in the case of visits to places like Hedonism resort in Jamaica or the clubs of Ibiza, with the decidedly undignified nature of the destinations.
Picture for instance, a sailing trip on an Omani dhow from Muscat to Zanzibar. Imagine the difficulty the manservant will have setting up the card table with its once-white linen, once shining silver, its portrait of Noel Coward and the host will have donning his now-damp and wrinkled dinner jacket and attempting to sit down for a dinner of mussels, port and cigars only to find the dinner consisting of crusted-over rice and a mysterious jerky. Out of his native context, his vaunted (and largely contrived) cultural habits will appear comical and point up the inherent ridiculousness of our notions of ‘elegance’ and ‘sophistication.’ In certain cases, though, these self-same cultural habits might prove a bulwark against the vicissitudes of fortune on the road.
This show will appeal to the same higher-income, well educated viewer that enjoys many travel shows. But its tongue-in-cheek attitude will draw in viewers who enjoy more creative travel programs, like the BBC’s “Globe Trekker” and the Food Channel’s “A Cook’s Tour.” It will also draw in viewers of comedy, who watch Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and who watched HBO’s “Fishing with John.”
The first episode will be Iraq.
Global Wig-Out Productions © 2005