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Maybe I'm just jealous - A little less than a happy high — LiveJournal
Maybe I'm just jealous
In part through recommendation, in part through happy accident, we've started watching The Thirsty Traveler on Fine Living. I've mixed feelings. To be fair, it has been interesting and informative, and the host keeps having experiences of things I could see myself devoting my life to. On the other hand, because there is such a light gloss of any given topic, I'm left wondering just exactly what has been left out.

Part of the problem lies in the presentation. I get the impression that the host is relatively knowledgeable, but his approach to the show is a kind of cultivated ignorance. This can work, but I think it can be overdone. It's one thing to be fun and open to new experience, but from time to time, the host comes across as a obnoxious American tourist.

Another issue is that it feels like the show tries to do too much with any given episode. Tonight's thirty minute episode was about Belgian beer. Not a partcular kind, mind you, but ALL Belgian beer. This strikes me as the rough equivalent of using that time to "cover" the cheeses of France. (DeGaulle is reported to have said, "How can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred forty-six kinds of cheese?") He did have the good sense to make his way to Brasserie Caracole, but the bare treatment of Abbey ales, Lambics, and Wit left me thinking that any one of the styles could have generated enough material to fill entire episodes.

And where were the Flanders and Farmhouse style ales?
12 comments or Leave a comment
tarotchan From: tarotchan Date: March 29th, 2006 05:15 am (UTC) (Link)
He's better when he goes to smaller countries that do not have a HUGE awesome brewing history. Peru is interesting. But otherwise he annoys me.. cause well.. he's kinda vapid.
komos From: komos Date: March 29th, 2006 02:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think he's better when he goes to a particular region and focuses on one thing. The Champagne episode, for instance, was much better because he stayed with one producer long enough to give a feel for the process from beginning to end and still made the region worth visiting.
esmerel From: esmerel Date: March 29th, 2006 05:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Omigosh, I thought you knew about the show already, or I'd've pointed it out to you long ago!

I enjoy the show, what with the 'take a look at the culture' thing, but I do tend to feel that it's kind of short and glossy. And Kevin is kind of a dork. And he's Canadian, iirc =)

komos From: komos Date: March 29th, 2006 02:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've had access to cable for only a very short time.

The episodes I've seen seem to be a fairly mixed bag. I've found that I've enjoyed them much less when he tries to do too much with them. This may be more reflective of my depth-and-not-breadth proclivities, but I'd probably do it differently.

I happily stand corrected... North American tourist.
From: archer823 Date: March 29th, 2006 02:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
That episode was back in 2003, they can go back and do a specific episode on a style I guess ...

Here's the thing with The Thirsty Traveler. At the foremost, it's a travel show, not a show about cocktails and drinks. They play a real heavy 2nd fiddle, but it's still second fiddle to travel. I think it does a pretty damn good job given the constraints it has, most of the topics that he's done could be full fledged seasons if they wanted to.
komos From: komos Date: March 29th, 2006 02:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
But even as a travel show, the approach is uneven. I thought his treatment of champagne, focusing largely on a single producer and allowing for a couple of side trips, made for a much more compelling travel diary than the let's squeeze as many styles as we possibly can into one episode on Belgian beer episode. He didn't even allow enough time to show him tasting the lambic.

I think he does an ok job in some of his episodes, but others are a little lacking.
From: ex_cayetana730 Date: March 29th, 2006 02:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
But it's better than watching Flavor of Love, or whatever it's called. =p
komos From: komos Date: March 29th, 2006 02:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can't even imagine. I will say that I enjoy it a great deal more than Unwrapped, whose host I occasionally want to hit with a brick.
From: ex_cayetana730 Date: March 29th, 2006 03:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh goodness. I have to do a mad football-tackle leap to change the channel after Alton Brown so I don't have to hear one second of that awful awful show.

I was ok with him as the Double Dare host, but I was a child. And there was slime.
komos From: komos Date: March 29th, 2006 03:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm picturing you launched horizontally in mid-air, and I gotta say... the image is making me laugh.

I do it too. And slime makes everything better.
From: ex_cayetana730 Date: March 29th, 2006 03:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have a jetpack for this very purpose.
komos From: komos Date: March 29th, 2006 03:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're my hero.
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