For years I managed to avoid the lure of reality television programs entirely. But that changed when I watched a few episodes of the Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible with a friend of mine. I’m not sure why THIS show in particular caught my interest—after all, the formula is one that’s repeated in other series like Bar Rescue and Kitchen Nightmares. In some ways, it’s like that long-running staple column in Ladies’ Home Journal, “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” “Chef Robert Irvine has 2 days and $10,000 to do the impossible!”—save a failing restaurant.
For me, I suspect it comes down to the sheer likableness of Mr. Irvine himself, who combines tough love with just plain tough but still isn’t afraid to show a little tenderness now and then. And after the many obstacles and not inconsiderable tears that ensue, it’s a lot of fun to see the transformation at the end. Yes, I realize that everything doesn’t actually take place in just a couple days and that some of those restaurants aren’t ultimately successful. In fact, the New York Times ran an interesting piece on this back in 2012, and the show’s Web site also allows you to follow up. But why should a little reality get in the way of enjoyment?
If you don’t enjoy typos in your catalog, get rid of Restara*. It shouldn’t be an impossible task, because there’s only one in OhioLINK and 48 English-language instances in WorldCat.
(Chef Robert Irvine, from Wikimedia Commons)