|Dweezil and Lisa: No, really -- don't stay. Please go!|
|January 18, 2004|
Okay, I admit it -- I was slamming this show before it even premiered. I mean, what do two musicians know about cooking? It would be one thing if they did a take-off on Rachel Ray's $40 a Day as they do their concert tours. In fact, that would actually be interesting. What do they eat in some potentially small town when they've been on stage all night? Do you get your handlers to order in for you while you're on stage in case all the restaurants are closed later that night? Do they have favorite take-out in various cities?
But this? Watching them order in restaurants and make dumb comments? Watching Dweezil hit a golf ball and Lisa shop? Not really cooking or food. It's more like a stilted version of The Best Of hosted by two somewhat famous people.
Lisa's voice-over in the beginning and throughout the entire show is as flat as a bad chord in "Stay." She's too twee for words as she talks about what they're going to do in this show -- Dweezil will play golf, she will shop, they'll both play along with Emily Sailers at her restaurant, and they're going to learn about food and wine. Lisa mentions that there's "the best" coconut cake in the works for Dweezil's birthday, "But don't tell him -- it's a surprise!" Lisa ends her intro as though we were all sitting on the carpet watching Sesame Street.
Dweezil then introduces himself as "a guitar player who loves golf" (shots of the aforementioned guitar/golf playing), but he's also "obsessed" with tomato sauce. Lisa then takes back center stage -- something she'll be doing a lot of in this show -- and announces that she's "happiest" when she's "writing and singing songs and sneaking some bacon into [her] vegetarian diet." Of all animals to choose to be a vegetarian hypocrite about, she has to pick the smartest? I respect vegetarians but I don't respect that. Especially since she never explains the deviation. "Music is our business but our passion is food," they split up the sentence and say together. They're going to visit "five-dollar to five-star restaurants" across the country, and they are starting in Atlanta.
If you couldn't tell from the voice-overs who the real star of this show is, just check out the show's title. Their names are scripted completely different. "Dweezil" is written smaller and with a lower-case "d" and in fairly non-descript typewriter font. The "Lisa" underneath is much larger, and in that overly cute, overly curly font.
The Atlanta episode opens up with a Morning Zoo-ish interview/recital Lisa and Dweezil gave at a radio station. Okay, it was more Lisa than Dweezil as she sings "Stay" and Dweezil accompanies her. The shots of her singing are interspersed with the two of them sitting down to be interviewed by the djs. "You want me to sit next to you?" Lisa asks one of the radio personalities breathily. "Yeah, because I like you," he says. "Oooh," Lisa breathes, "That's what I heard." Suddenly we're on Cinemax? Lisa and Dweezil admit that they are a couple, and the Lisa Fan tells Dweezil he's a very lucky guy. Dweezil will allow that Lisa is "cool" but Lisa does him one better by saying she's "a peach." Because they're in Georgia -- see? This is followed by a discussion that while fruit in California is "actually good," the peaches in Georgia aren't so great. More shots of Lisa now finishing her song. While they're still in the soundbooth, the Lisa Fan says into his mike, "That's music when you take a sexy girl with a guitar and with those sexy glasses and she has lipgloss on and she's begging you to stay -- that is music!" Lisa VOs that after their radio visit she "really needed some coffee." I'd think after that radio visit she'd really need a shower! In the car, Lisa reiterates to Dweezil that needs coffee because she really needs to wake up as they have a long day in front of them. "I think you're addicted to coffee," Dweezil announces as though this is something unique and singular to say. Lisa chortles like he just dropped the bon mot of the season.
Next, they visit Emily Saliers' restaruant, Watershed. They talk about why Emily opened her restaurant -- mainly, that she likes food a lot -- and Emily promises to teach them about wine. However, Dweezil has his reservations about this because he doesn't want to become "pretentious about it." He really doesn't want to swirl it around in his glass because that's just "not [his] style." Lisa interjects that SHE likes swirling -- I'm SO not surprised by that.
They sample some breakfast foods, and as the three of them happen to have their guitars on their laps, they all play together. Lisa and Emily sing, Dweezil just provides support. Again.
Walking up to an indoor farmer's market, Lisa says that she's heard they've "got good stuff in there." Dweezil wonders what she's heard about. "Good fruits," Lisa says, swinging her hips and sticking out her dinners as she walks, holding Dweezil's hand. They admire the wares. "Cornbread, bananners," Lisa points out. Seriously, are we on PBS? She just said "bananners." What's next? "Pasghetti"? Lisa looooves watermelon. And then, for some reason I can't fathom, they wander into the meat area where "vegetarian" Lisa makes faces and whimpering noises. "Your favorite -- all kinds of pork," Dweezil says. "See, this is why I can't eat meat," she says. Except bacon. Actually, that is why I presume Dweezil pointed out the pork because he knows she likes bacon. I'm pretty sure he was being serious. Lisa VOs "As I'm a vegetarian, this is not my favorite part of the market. I mean, I will eat the occasional tiny piece of bacon, but this was on a whole other level." The hypocrisy in that statement is so staggering, I don't even know what to say.
Even Dweezil is weirded out by the tripe and pigs' feet they see. Lisa asks if it looks good to him. Dweezil answers as though he's perma-stoned, "No, I wouldn't wanna eat most of those things -- it's weird, it's almost like visiting a morgue." Of course, if he were stoned all the intestines, tails, and stomachs might actually look tasty. Lisa comments that her stomach is "really put to the test" when they venture into another part of the market. Dweezil points at a sign that says "This is rabbit country," and he reads it aloud for us. I'm surprised he didn't sound it out. And speaking of one of these things just doesn't belong here -- why is Lisa even GOING into the meat section if she can't handle it? They see a lot of fish and Lisa seems relieved that her VO of "Did he say 'rabbit'? As in Bugs Bunny? The Easter Bunny? Peter Rabbit?" hasn't come to pass. Lisa? Those are all fake rabbits. Besides, you eat Porky Pig and Wilbur (That's SOME pig!) and the Three Little Pigs. The fish monger points out the rabbits and Lisa makes more faces. Her voice over says, "Check please!" Dweezil thanks the counter guy and they leave with Lisa VOing "Well, that was one skinned hare too many!" They leave with peanuts and watermelon. Lisa VOs, "They can keep their livestock." Except the bacon, right?
They go back to Emily's restaurant so she can teach them about wine. She explains about aerating and smelling and then tasting. Dweezil still doesn't think he would ever be comfortable snorting the wine in a restaurant. Lisa tells him, "It's a whole sensory experience."
Lisa spends a lot of time in this show informing Dweezil of things or trumping or correcting his last comment with another of her own. For instance, Dweezil will say, "That was good food," and Lisa will trump, "That was REALLY good food." As the only instance, it would seem innocuous, but it's not the only instance.
Dweezil drinks his wine, pinky up, and Mr. Howells what he thinks of the wine. Emily leans in and says that no one crooks their pinky like that. "I do by accident," Lisa announces. No one pays much attention. "Is it bad to drink out of a styrofoam cup?" Dweezil wonders. "Well, styrofoam's just bad," the environmentally-friendly Emily tells him. Dweezil agrees. Lisa obviously doesn't get it because she adds, "Styrofoam's weird." Huh? Luckily, Lisa's post-production VO covers up her initial ignorance by announcing that styrofoam cups "are out of the question for any beverage." They have lunch with Emily, where Lisa VO elaborates that she had a pimento cheese sandwich. Because she's vegetarian. Who eats bacon. But only "tiny" pieces of bacon. So that makes everything okay.
Emily's chef (Scott Peacock, author of The Gift of Southern Cooking: Recipes and Revelations from Two Great American Cooks with Edna Lewis) teaches them how to make his famous carrot cake. Now, an advance review of this show said that the chef gets really irritated when Dweezil does something to ruin the cake, and I was totally looking forward to that -- unfortunately, it didn't happen. At one point, Dweezil is sifting flour, cinnamon, and cocoa powder together and he knocks off an idle hand sifter. Chef announces he ruined everything. But clearly as they are only at the stage of sifting ingredients, it was all just a joke. Chef Peacock then explains the importance of fresh carrots, "These are nice, firm -- you know, you don't want flaccid carrots." Lisa "ews" over this and confirms that "flaccid" is when they feel "like a finger -- or something else," she says, pulling a face at Dweezil. Oh, isn't she so cute with her risqué comment! Ugh. Sometimes Lisa's voice borders on babytalk. It's quite disgusting. Oh, and Lisa hates it when people say "PEE-can" instead of "Pea-CAHN." I can't tell you how happy I am to know that.
While Dweezil golfs, Lisa goes on a video-sped-up (thank god) shopping spree for his birthday. Is there cooking? Is there eating? Is there even food besides that shellacked plate of french toast she actually ends up giving him as part of his birthday present? No. There isn't.
We do get to watch pastry chef Christian Balbierer of the Bluepointe restaurant frost and decorate Dweezil's special cake. I sincerely feel that they could have cut out the stupid shopping and golf scene in order to show how Chef Balbierer uses transfer sheets to create the chocolate decorations. We only see them as a finished result so where's the learning -- the information? I also would have liked it if they'd allow him to go more into how he makes the ribbon candy decoration, shapes it on a tube, and pulls it effortlessly off. That's food, that's cooking! Isn't that what this network is supposed to be all about?
As they prepare for the concert, we get to see Lisa in her natural habitat. She has several different ways of saying how she doesn't like the lights and wants a certain sort of shadow on her face. She's also announces that it's freezing on stage and wants to bring the space heater from the dressing room out. I get the feeling she's sort of high maintenance in all aspects of her life.
Backstage, Lisa gives Dweezil his presents. She gives him two pairs of pants and a shirt and then he unwraps the shellacked plate of french toast. Dweezil's not sure how to react to it, even though Lisa's VO as he unwraps it is, "He seems to like the clothes I got him, but there's one thing besides his guitar that Dweezil can't live without." Reportedly, Dweezil loves breakfast foods but he's still sort of perplexed by the present. He asks if she got it at a diner. "I got it from a store," Lisa simps. "A store that sells shellacked food?" Dweezil asks. Heh. Lisa babytalks back a made-up name of the store "Shellacky Jackson," I think it was. "The petrified french toast is a big hit," Lisa confides in us. I think it was more like the petrified french toast was a random hit but whatever.
Lisa sings. She sings. She forgets the lyrics to a song that someone requested online. An audience member helps her out. Lisa then brings Dweezil out and she announces his birthday. A handler brings out a cake that is SO not the cake they were making earlier. This one has way more writing and it's rectangular, not circular. Even though Lisa says they made enough cake to serve their two hundred concert fans, that's not enough of an explanation. Just like wedding cakes, when you make one beautiful centerpiecy one but want to feed ten times the amount of that, the baker usually just makes sheet cakes of the same filling and frosting. I know for a fact that rectangular cake with Dweezil's candles would not have served two hundred people. Nor would combining that one with the original circular one. I just don't get it. Dweezil puffs out his candles and turns his attention to playing back-up for Lisa. Some more and again.
Later that night, Lisa and Dweezil go to the "world's largest drive-in restaurant, The Varsity." Dweezil's VO gives us some details and history of the drive-in: it can accommodate six hundred cars and eight hundred people inside and was founded in 1928. Dweezil orders a chili cheese dog, and as he orders, Lisa leans way over his lap so that the guy taking the order has a chance to recognize her. Or at the very least, look straight down her cleavage. He doesn't do either. Cue Lisa's VO to remind us that she doesn't eat meat, "Though it's great for hot dogs and hamburgers, there's even something on the menu for us vegetarians." "Us vegetarians" who eat bacon, right? She orders a grilled cheese with fries and a small Coke. She repeats that she wants a small Coke and adds, "It's good for digestion." As we see some still snapshots of Dweezil and Lisa in the car a sampled "It's good for -- It's good for digestion," plays. The hell? Coke good for digestion? It wouldn't be at all coincidental that they're in Atlanta and maybe Coke paid them a lot to have their name mentioned five times would it? Didn't think so. Lisa wonders if Dweezil can believe that they're so hungry. Dweezil agrees that "it's weird." They eat. At the end, Dweezil doesn't think they should have fried things for "at least a couple of weeks." "Well, let's say after we leave Atlanta, no more fried stuff," Lisa corrects him. Dweezil grudgingly acquiesces.
The next day, Dweezil and Lisa meet up with their friends and their kid and go to Gladys Knight's Chicken and Waffles. In the car, Lisa yawns over their late night and comments, "I can't believe we're hungry again." Well, it IS time for breakfast. You know, I think Lisa is one of those people who doesn't like people to know that she eats, so she feels the need to comment again and again that either she can't believe she ate so much or she can't believe that they're hungry. As though it's really, really abnormal. This is a food show -- you're hungry. Deal with it. "Yeah, I know -- that's, uh, that's remarkable," Dweezil says. I really think that half the time he just doesn't know how to react when she says stupid things like that. Essentially, that means he never knows how to react.
At the restaurant, Lisa VOs that "Chicken and Waffles has become a staple of soul food cuisine since being popularized during the Harlem renaissance in the twenties." Now, does she mean that the restaurant was popularized during the Harlem renaissance, or that soul food became popularized during the Harlem renaissance? Maybe she literally means that chicken (lower case "c") and waffles (lower case "w") are the things that became popularized. It's just not clear. Anyway, Dweezil "goes straight for the classic: the Midnight Train, which is four fried chicken wings and a waffle." Lisa opts for "another Southern delicacy," salmon croquettes and macaroni and cheese. So she's a vegetarian who makes allowances for bacon AND fish? Glark doesn't do that. As Lisa's VO illustrates all the other dishes they ordered -- collard greens, fried-green tomatoes, fried corn, and smothered chicken -- she opines that "Gladys Knight's soul food is certainly some of the best we've ever had, which is why I just couldn't resist stealing some of Dweezil's waffle!" First of all, RUDE. I mean, I'm married and when I want some of Dr. Mathra's food, I ASK FOR IT! She's clearly one of those chicks who thinks nothing they ever do is offensive or annoying because they're Just. So. Cute! Lisa apologizes that she just stole his "best bite." Dweezil's all, "That's fine -- I was fixing to have it but you know, it's perfect for you" in a somewhat sarcastic tone. By the look on Lisa's face either she didn't pick up on his meaning or she did and doesn't care. She just chews a smile and nods along with her eyes big and wide.
They say goodbye to their friends and walk to the car. "Did you have a good birthday? Did you have a good show?" Lisa asks, jutting out her chest and coming dangerously close to cutsy baby-talk again. "I did, thank you," and "It was good -- we had a lot of good food," is how Dweezil answers her fishing. "A lot of REALLY good food," Lisa trumps him before perkily deciding that she's going to drive.
During a shot of Atlanta, Lisa VOs that they are full and heading back to L.A. but they'll see us next time.
The upshot is, I don't need to watch a show about a couple eating out and going to farmer's markets while petting and tweaking each other. I get enough of that at home. Come back to me when this show is actually about food.