It's just so difficult for me to find a television comedy that really stimulates my interest, my intellect and my funny bone. Face it, we live in a world where "Arrested Development" can't find an audience but "King of Queens" stays on for nearly a decade. But such is life. It just seems that, more often than not, when a new comedy hits the air--if it doesn't perform immediately, it's gone. I credit FOX for sticking with "Arrested" as long as it did and NBC for nurturing "The Office" into a hit--but those are rare examples! I mention "Arrested Development" specifically for a reason. While FOX was trying to save that show, it introduced another high profile (and highly advertised) comedy based on the escapades of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain called "Kitchen Confidential." However, when ratings expectations were not met in its initial airings--"Kitchen" was dumped with only 13 episodes made (many to never see the light of day, until now).
It's really a shame, too. While I won't contend that "Kitchen Confidential" was brilliant, it was a show I felt had real potential to evolve into greatness. Breezy and sexy, particularly for network TV, "Kitchen" succeeded as a bawdy workplace romp. Turning Anthony Bourdain into a fictional character named Jack Bourdain, the show gave us a glimpse into a world where chefs have become rock stars. With rivalries, groupies, and big egos--this comedy explored territory that seemed fresh. Relying on real humor and not encumbered with a laugh track, "Kitchen" wasn't perfect--but it was different. Maybe that was its curse, its ultimate downfall.
Heading up everything as Jack was Bradley Cooper. So unnecessary in "Alias," Cooper proved himself a real star here! Charismatic and commanding, he played Jack as a likable dog. Surrounded by an able supporting cast including Nicholas Brendon ("Buffy"), John Francis Daley ("Freaks & Geeks"--dead before its time), Bonnie Somerville ("Grosse Point"--also killed too soon), Jamie King, and Frank Langella--this was an appealing lineup. The characters became more defined as the show progressed, but everyone contributed to the spirit of the proceedings--it was well balanced and witty. But we'll never know what was to become of them. In a bit of irony, one of the episodes was nominated by the Writer's Guild for Best Writing In An Episodic Comedy. So check it out for something a bit different. It's a show I think might have found an audience in a different time and/or a different place. You could do a lot worse--just flip on your TV now. KGHarris, 04/07.