|Index||10 reviews in total|
I first heard Mario Batali mention this show during an appearance on Good Morning America and was intrigued (thank goodness GMA keeps me current!) I missed the first episode but was able to catch the second episode and cannot wait for the rest of the series! The country is beautiful, as I knew it would be, the food looks fantastic and so interesting, and the conversation seems to flow so easily and comfortably between everyone on this show. I guess this qualifies as more of a travel show than a reality show, but it seems to be mostly unscripted, to me anyway. There's a bit of history involved, mostly relayed to the others by Mario Batali, and the speaking of Spanish and interjections of everyday phrases make it a great way to brush up on your conversational Spanish. Even if you are not planning a trip to Spain in the near future this is a great one-hour escape of a show which leaves you inspired to cook more lovely meals at home and completely addicted as you wait for future episodes!
I love this show not as a a cooking show. The cooking is a waste and I
can't believe that they could put a cookbook out. That said I love the
light and beauty of Spain besides where in the world can you go to
lovely places and eat a metre long churros and I am not talking about
horrible fast-food places.
The cast are likable and it has a pleasant conversational tone to them. The joy of this series is that it is not commercialised and though it is shot on a shoestring is very well photographed. It is interesting that the cast would come and go over the episodes to catch up with their lives. Claudia Bassols is a gorgeous and holds her own against GP (as Mario Batali likes to call her) It shows why Spain is at the forefront of the best restaurants in the world and I want to kidnap Frank Gehry and put him to work transforming the Sydney great locations but crap architecture.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Having just watched the series, I have to say I love it. It's about
food, about travel, about friends. It appeals because it's the dream
trip we always wished to take with our best friends. Yes, there are
famous people in this journey--but the interaction is at a level that
is imaginable for real people. OK, we won't be renting the cars that
they have...but the witty reparte is attainable--and the food is there
in Spain to be enjoyed.
The scenario--Mario Batali and Mark Bittman (NYT food columnist) want to film a foodie roadtrip through Spain. Gwyneth Paltrow hears about the idea and signs on--star power gains a film crew and they search for a fourth for balance. Polylingual actress Claudia Bassols joins in and they are set out (to quote the oft repeated theme)on the road.
If you want a clearly organized guide to sights and scenery--this may not be your guide. On the other hand, if you live for the surreptitious joys of discovery, then you might love it. This series is about discovering the what you don't expect at the next turn and enjoying the joy of it all...While others are negative about Gwyneth's participation--I think she adds a good sense of discovery. It is refreshing to find the famous willing to live outside their boxes, to be open to the unexpected.
I so hope there will be a sequel in another country--Batali's enthusiasm is balanced by Bittman's acerbic wit and the more grounded sensibilities of Paltrow and Bassols. Can they take on Italy? France? India? Chile? Time will tell.
This entire show premise seemed very promising. Take a world-renown chef in Batali, a food writer in Bittman, a local celebrity in Bassols, and then... for some reason, let's toss in Gwenneth Paltrow. From the first episode it becomes painfully clear that Paltrow is really the flat tire of the group. Anytime she isn't with the other three, there is an ease and flow to the series that is quite enjoyable if only it were cut down a bit more to focus on the food and not so much on their idle banter. Batali is great, as usually. Bittman is tough to like as first, but he really grows on you. Bassols is lovely and if her acting chops can stand up to her looks and flair for life, I'm sure she'll start getting more rolls after this. And that's the real problem in that when you put Bassols next to Paltrow and watch Claudia downing the food and drinking the wine, Gwenneth comes across as even less enjoyable while she pecks at her food and sips her wine, apparently fearing weight gain, as she alludes to in the first 10 minutes of the first episode. It makes one wonder as to why she's even running around Spain in the first place with three people who are thoroughly enjoying it?
Watching a very obese Mario Batali made me want to diet, not eat. It
was worse when he hit on Claudia all the time and made her obviously
uncomfortable. It seemed like Paltrow was very extraneous-just there
for star power. She had several segments (it seemed like one in each
show) with Mario where she whined about her life. The interplay with
these gorgeous women really detracted from what Mario did well in his
Italian series-which is really good research and explanations of the
local specialties. There was one bit in Asturias where it was just the
guys and it seemed better due to the focus on what he's good at.
Cinematography was reasonably good. But this is off my DVR.
This show was completely ruined by lack of writing and a terrible
chemistry between the four hosts. None of them were worth anything, at
least not together. I usually like Mario Batali but he seemed too
star-struck trying to impress the two women. The NYT guy was just awful
throughout. He had nothing to say and came across mostly as a whiny
idiot. The Spanish girl was beautiful but all she ever did was say "Qué
bueno" as she ate something. None of them seemed to mesh with the
Spanish people they met along the way; it was as if they were just the
hired help for the four stars. In the episode about paella they didn't
even make a paella; it was arroz a banda.
Four hosts were just too many even though they often split into pairs. They should have focused more on the food and less on themselves. Next time get some people who know what they are talking about and leave the vegetarian (Paltrow) at home.
Even if your don't like Spain (a place I was never particularly interested in) or the gourmet scene (I cannot stand "foodies") or any of the hosts (I find Gwyneth Paltrow terribly irritating) you will still enjoy "Spain: on the road again". I saw one episode on PBS and knew I had to see the others. I got ahold of the DVD, a beautiful 4-disc set, in the way DVD's should be offered, with none of the double sided or cliplock crap! I've been enjoying it all week. Mario Bitali, whos show I never really watched before, is an extremely intelligent man, and a wonderful host, guiding us through the cultural and culinary delights of Spain. Mark Bittman provides comic relief and other insights. Mario and Mark really must do more series of "on the road again", perhaps with different companions every time?
I was intrigued at first that Gwenyth is in a food show, not that I am particularly fond of her. After watching one episode, I was so bored and was not even a bit excited by the food they talked about. I love food channels, don't get me wrong. However, this show is so not inspiring and the presentation of the food was neither appetizing nor interesting. I was rather disappointed. Thought if they spend that much money to hire some big names, at least they will give this whole show a bit more thoughts. Most of time they just stood there and asked the chefs some irrelevant questions. Sometimes it seems like a road trip for the rich and famous but nothing interesting to talk about. What a let down....
If you like hearing Willie Nelson singing "On the Road Again," you will
like this show. That song plays over and over until you want to kill
The real problem with this series is that it is badly produced. The conversation consists mostly of, "MMMM.. that's good" and other insipid remarks. Only Mario occasionally makes sense. Bittman adds nothing to the proceedings and is an altogether unattractive personality. The women were also worthless.
However, if you like looking at scenery and watching other people eat, this is the show for you. Perhaps better with the sound turned off.
Please give us Gwyneth with Gok Wan on the road, Rick Steves, Charley
Boorman even Tom Parker Bowles.
Chalky would be rolling over in pet heaven if Rick Stein ever put this to air. Oh give us Jamie Oliver in his VW Combie, even Gwyneth with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall or Gordon 'potty mouth' Ramsey, Willie Nelson or Keith Flloyd would do.
Two Mercs, some occasional scenery, the Comic Book Guy and Glenn Quagmire - a 'Green Eggs and Ham' cooking show this does not make.
Perhaps a dubbed Japanese version by Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai may improve things.
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