Reality Really Bites

Restaurant to be set for new reality show: Sneak preview

No doubt that's the prequel to the sequel, but I'm going to save producers the trouble of setting "Reality Bites -- The Next Course" here in Miami. How? By scripting the six New York episodes, of course. They're fairly predictable:

Episode 1, "Location, Location, Location ... and Location": The restaurateurs scout locations and eventually choose one. But a stubborn landlord refuses to give on contractual points, so they go on looking. The second location falls through because of a bad bank deal. The third is no good because someone flushed baby alligators down the toilet and into the sewage system. The fourth, they proclaim, on the site of what was formerly about a hundred other failed, high-end bistros, is perfect, especially after the three-million-dollar renovation they put it through.

Episode 2, "It's All in the Details": The chef writes the menu in a language few can actually understand, the restaurateur weeds through 400 applications for about 30 staff positions, the investors do a walk-through while talking on cell phones before they become illegal, the PR folks send out premature press releases, and the cops stop by for their payoffs so that liquor violations will be permanently overlooked.

Episode 3, "Training Day": Half the staff forgets to show up for a dry run. The other half is hung over.

Episode 4, "Big Opening Night": The most famous episode-to-be, also known as the Velvet Rope, which gets wrapped around a food critic's throat by an irate waiter, who was fired from another position after being implicated in a bad review. Subplots focus on the partygoers, who wonder, "Isn't this supposed to be a restaurant opening? Where the hell's the food? And has anybody taken note of the entrances and exits?"

Episode 5, "Critics Come A-Calling": Unbeknownst to the critics, the tables are miked so the kitchen can identify potential reviewers. And because they do know they're possibly being filmed, the critics are supposed to disguise themselves somehow. But some of them conveniently "forget" in order to get their mugs on TV. The result is a massive, citywide exposé. One critic is even caught on tape, accepting a case of wine in the alley in exchange for a good write-up. Oh, the scandal!

Episode 6, "The Revelation": Apparently the whole series was a ruse in order to get the nation's most evil restaurant critics fired before they cracked any more eggshell egos. The French government sponsored the entire undertaking, which explains the subliminal propaganda -- "Paris Rules," "We Refuse Responsibility for the French Fry," and "Buy More Expensive Burgundy" -- you can only see when you play the tapes in slow motion.

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