The Late Reviewer: Netflix’s Somebody Feed Phil

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November 23, 2018- by Steven E. Greer

As I have mentioned before, I cut the cable TV cord more than a month ago and have been trying to find content on the streaming apps, to no avail. There have been a few non-fiction limited series that I found to be watchable. Netflix’s Somebody Feed Phil is one of them.

The host, Phil Rosenthal, is the creator of the hit show Everybody Loves Raymond. I believe he intentionally created Feed Phil to be the opposite of the CNN Anthony Bourdain food-travel show, Parts Unknown. Unlike Bourdain, who is as depressing to watch as he was to himself, Phil is a comedian trying to love life and make friends.

I started watching the most recent episodes of Season 2 first. They are well produced with the right amount of information on the city as well as food porn. However, when I finally got to the first few episodes of Season 1, I noticed that they were poorly produced.

For the New Orleans segment of Season 1, they ignored all of the good Cajun restaurants and instead tried to give attention to upstart chefs that were simply unworthy. They featured the restaurant Turkey and the Wolf, run by untrained millennial stoners Mason Hereford and Lauren Holton. They cook what they describe as higher quality versions of white trash food. For examples, their taco is supposed to resemble a Taco Bell Doritos taco. They also make a vegetarian Ruben sandwich.

A viewer can tell that Phil was doing his best to pretend to like the food. Why was Turkey and the Wolf chosen for this New Orleans Segment?

Then, the New Orleans segment spent 15-minutes highlighting an Israeli cuisine restaurant, Shaya, that the producers claim is the “hottest new restaurant in the city” Nothing about this restaurant exemplifies New Orleans, and that is likely why the producers chose it. They were trying too hard to be different.

Then, the New Orleans segment spent half of the hour focusing on social issues related to the black Tremé region that was hit hard after Hurricane Katrina and the Civil Rights movement. It was clearly an effort to add diversity into the series and conform to Hollywood PC, but they show jumped the shark in doing so. This content should have been featured because it is part of New Orleans, but it should have been done in the context of the fun food-travel show.

I got curious and looked up the list of producers per segment. Sure enough, the producers for the early segments I did not like were fired. Abigail Harper, Anna Bowers, and Samantha Feltus were not employed for Season 2. I am guessing that TV veteran Phil Rosenthal spotted what I spotted and made changes.

This is important because, based on the content I have reviewed recently, it is the rare example of a #MeToo era Hollywood TV production spotting problems and fixing them.

However, this one show is not enough to keep me as a customer. I cancelled my Netflix streaming package and am back to just the Blue-ray discs for big Hollywood films.

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