Episode 28 – Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives


This episode: Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, Season 22, Eps. 2-6, 8.  Watch it on Hulu.

Next episode: Maury, “Greatest Hits” according to the Nosey app curators.  Watch it on Nosey.

A dramatic reversal on this episode on 42 Minutes of Reality as JS has a nice time and Mike grumbles about the terrible show he had to watch.  However, once the grievances are out of the way, we dig into the concept and structure, as per usual, and discuss our impressions of the show’s flamboyant and boisterous host, Guy Fieri, and his overall place in the constellation of ‘foodie’ cultural politics.

We then jump off into the ‘meatier’ portion of the discussion (sorry – was channeling the ‘dad jokes’ from this show’s host) as we delve into what this show has to say about the relationship between food and social class, the evolution of our relationship to food in the ‘industrial’ era of food production, and what constitutes ‘authenticity’ when it comes to the creation of dishes.  Finally, we get down the usual topics of authenticity (as it pertains to the show’s production) and appeal, which is lost on Mike, but which must exist as this has gone on for a billion and a half seasons already.  (Also, we announce the results of our listener’s choice – note the placement of the apostrophe – poll!)

Show Notes and Links

1:06 / Back to the usual Internet recording setup (our Foxy Ladies episode and ‘Fox Bros Bar-B-Q’)

2:14 / Introducing this month’s show (our Hell’s Satans episode)

3:30 / Mike takes his seat on the “complain train” and JS luxuriates in the payback for all the terrible shows Mike made him sit through (the usual lowlights get a mention)

3:58 / The concept and structure of the show

7:24 / Our impressions of the host, Guy Fieri, and his rise from show contestant to show host

9:50 / Guy’s background in cooking and restaurant management, lack of chef ‘pedigree’ or Michelin stars

10:38 / Guy Fieri as an icon of the populist ‘everyman’ (Mike mentions the late and lamented – at least by him – The Opposition with Jordan Klepper: the specific segment is here, coverage of the scathing NYT review of his Times Square restaurant)

12:12 / Cultural politics of food – haute cuisine vs. ‘real food for real people’ and the relation of food to politics (Obama’s Dijon mustard ‘gaffe’, John Kerry’s cheesesteak)

13:19 / Mike tells some stories about his lack of appreciation for fancy food (Little Caesars Pizza)

15:18 / Why JS picked the show – interest in the relationship between food culture and social class

17:10 / We thought the first two episodes (in Italy) of this season cut against the grain of the rest of the show

18:48 / The flak that Fieri has received (Mike’s take: over-the-top, but he’s kind of grating. JS’s take: LEAVE GUY FIERI ALONE!)

20:46 / Revisiting the dichotomy of success vs. failure in reality TV (Kitchen Nightmares, Horatio Alger)

22:40 / This show is lacking in narrative entirely, which was a problem for Mike, but not necessarily for JS

23:30 / Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives as advertisement (Mike mentions the late Billy Mays)

25:20 / This show did suffer due to the format we watched it in – not a show recommended for binge-watching

26:11 / Introducing this episode’s article: “Southern Barbeque: Fabricated Authenticity in the American South” from Kaitland M. Byrd’s 2017 dissertation “Culture on a Plate: The Social Construction of Authenticity in Food Culture

28:24 / Authenticity rooted in nostalgia and tradition, defined in opposition to the ‘industrial’ food system – emphasis on ‘fresh and local’ and ‘from scratch’

31:58 / The evolution in prestige of ‘industrialized’ food and how ‘fresh and local’ unifies the different ideologies of foodie culture (JS mentions tomatoes and Mike mentions Butterball turkeys)

35:11 / This show also taps into the appeal of the underdog ‘mom-and-pop establishment’ vs. the corporate ‘chain restaurant’

36:01 / ‘Authentic’ versus ‘Fusion’ paradigms – issues of demographic change, marketing, and cultural appropriation

40:24 / Transitioning to the authenticity of the show

41:51 / JS makes the distinction between ‘inauthentic’ and ‘authentic, but produced’

42:31 / How the tapings work and how that impacts the authenticity of the show

44:23 / Why this show fell short for Mike and how it could have been more interesting (Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown)

46:40 / JS gives the positive case for the show’s appeal and we discuss the role of gender in said appeal (The Great British Bake-Off)

48:25 / The segment on KC’s Steakhouse: another appeal to tradition in the show

49:34 / Our poll results – congratulations to our one voter!

51:36 / The usual stuff: contact us, rate/review, and subscribe

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