Thursday, February 19, 2015

Restaurant Impossible!: Zoog's Report Card

Back in November 2014, Food Channel's "Restaurant Impossible," hosted by Robert Irvine, undertook renovation and upgrade of Zoog's Caveman Café in Port Hadlock, Washington, ~ 15 minutes from my home.

As a retired Instructional Designer and videographer/producer, I was anxious to visit the location; to witness a multi-camera shoot, and meet Robert Irvine.

Thwarted on both counts.

The Food Channel made sure security was tight and the set "closed" to all but "credited press."

However, I did manage to cobble together and publish two articles:

•  Restaurant Impossible!
•  Restaurant Impossible!: Zoog's Relaunch.

Patrick Sullivan of the Port Townsend Leader recently published a detailed follow-up, which I euphemistically sub-titled "Report Card, " giving us a exceptional behind the scenes look at a "Restaurant Impossible" episode, shot here in our back yard. The emphasis is mine:
Reality TV shows are, by definition, a mixture of "reality" and "artistic license." The challenge for reality program producers is; how do we make something as mundane as digging a hole for gold exciting and suspenseful.

Some are more effective than others.

For me, the "law and order genre" are more accurate in their portrayal - the producer cannot stop the chase or arrest an yell for "Take 2!" On the other hand, as with Zoog's cited above, stretching and bending reality seems to be intrinsic in the creative process.

I find the most egregious reality programs are the "House Wife's of xx" series. How many of you remember your mom traipsing around the house in high high heels, boobs flapping, with a glass of designer wine in hand?

The only series worse than House Wives is Duck Dynasty, a gross waste of production time, effort and expense.

Years ago, my video production company got involved with members of the pioneer reality program, "Cops" whilst it was being filmed in Multnomah County, Oregon.

Our production company was in the midst of producing a series of Hazardous Materials training programs for First Responders, when we go involved with John Bunnell at the Multnomah County Sheriff's office.

In a conversation with his staff, the question arose, "what do you do with your clothing that becomes contaminated at a drug house bust? "We simply throw them away," was the common response.

After spending time with our producers and fire training officers, they quickly switched to wearing HAZMAT clothing and adopted appropriate decontamination processes!

For the most part, I've ceased watching the majority of "reality TV."

After all, how many crabs does it take to fill a vessel?

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