One of my mind-numbing summer TV shows kicked off this week, so I thought I’d take this momentous occasion to talk about some of my favorite “guilty pleasures.” I classify them as “guilty pleasures” because a lot of people would be ashamed to admit they like them, but I don’t really care. Here goes:
Hell’s Kitchen/Kitchen Nightmares/The F Word: A lot of people don’t like Gordon Ramsay; in fact, a lot of people despise him. Sure, he’s loud and obnoxious, he can be rude, and he can employ profanity in ways that can make sailors blush. What I love about Chef Ramsay is the fact that he doesn’t hesitate to tell things like they are, but the coolest thing about him is his passion for food. Hell’s Kitchen kicked off its sixth or seventh season this week (I’ve lost count), and it’s still fun to watch these young punk chef-wannabes bow up in front of the confessional camera but wilt in his presence. Kitchen Nightmares is good; I prefer the UK version to the US one. But Gordon Ramsay’s best show is The F Word on BBC America (the F word is food, silly); there’s where you can see his true passion for food, and I guarantee you’ll gain respect for him with one episode.
The Carpenters: Make fun all you want; I can take it. My mom got me hooked on their music when I was just a little kid. They’re the prototype for vanilla flavored, 70’s AM radio pop music, and they’re nothing wrong with a little vanilla once in a while. But if you dig beyond the surface of their music, there’s amazing stuff there: Karen’s beautiful alto, especially suited for heart-breaking love songs; impeccable arrangements, mostly done by Richard and Karen themselves; smart, if sappy, songwriting; those thick, multi-tracked harmonies. The Carpenters are most decidedly underrated as musicians, arrangers, and producers.
Vince Flynn’s novels: Vince Flynn writes thrillers that are gory, profanity-laden, and adrenaline-pumping. His protagonist, Mitch Rapp, makes Jack Bauer look subdued. They’re not for everyone, and they’re sure not for the faint of heart. But I love ’em, and I appreciate how Flynn doesn’t pull punches about the terrorist threats we face here in America.
Imported Mexican Coca-Cola: They’re made with real sugar, not corn syrup, just like we used to drink when we were kids. Need I say more?
The Carol Burnett Show: Still timelessly funny, I look for reruns of Carol Burnett anytime I can, and I’m dying to find DVD’s of the show without having to subscribe to that service they offer on the infomercials. I defy anyone to find anything currently on television that’s as funny time and time again as The Carol Burnett Show was.
I could go on and on, but you’re probably bored to death if you made it this far, so I won’t… What are your favorite “guilty pleasures”?