Things to Do on Doomsday

November 2, 2007

Given that a good many of our correspondents 362033461_4a2b699dee.jpgare patriots of and partisans for Chicago, that Somber city, and given our penchant for providing transport tips in all corners of the developed and developing world (when in Shonan try the awesome Safege style monorail, but it might be best to delay your trip to India for a few years, until that country finally takes part in the monorail revolution), it really is quite surprising that we’ve spoken so little about the horrible state of the CTA (excepting their vigilant pursuit of Dr. …butwithawhimper). As I mentioned the other day, new CTA chief Ron Huberman has shifted priorities, and significant progress has been made on the slow-zone problems (things are certainly better than they were back in March). Whilst track conditions may be improving, the CTA funding crisis goes from bad to worse. The CTA decided to accept the state’s bailout money earlier this year, removing the sense of urgency that had lawmakers on the verge of passing legislation. Or not passing legislation. Since no elected representative in Illinois can be called a leader, and no one can agree on anything (yes, that article is from May, but it’s not like anything has changed). With doomsday scheduled for Sunday, the CTA once again decided to spare their riders and take state cash, this time pushing Doomsday off until New Year’s Eve, giving law-makers two more months to do nothing. Two thoughts: where is Joe Biden when you need him, and whither penny rides?

But since everyone has New Year’s off anyway, and no-one, therefore, has to worry about missing the job or class they won’t be able to get to, YS is here to humbly suggest that shut-in former commuters kick back and relax with the two best TV shows of the season: Kitchen Nightmares and Dirty Sexy Money.

Before you, o wise and humble reader, rush in to say “Nay! Those two shows are practically the same program!” please allow me a brief defense as to why I have decided to name these sister programs the best shows on TV. Unlike last year, when Studio 60 and 30 Rock battled things out, any and all resemblances between KN and DSM are purely coincidental, rather than a nefarious network plot to advertise SNL an additional 90 minutes a week. As such, they probably deserve to be taken on their own merits, like dueling volcano or Capote movies, but for purposes of this review, they won’t be.

Heroes and anti-heroes: Both shows have heroes that could be considered anti-heroes or vice-versa. Gordon Ramsay speaks loudly and carries a big stick, while Peter Krause’s Casey McCall always looks as if he’s discovered Brenda in an uncomfortable situation. Gordon curses and badgers poor, overwhelmed restauranteurs, while Krause tries to play both sides as he searches for the man who killed his father. Both are caught between what they know is right (not to sleep with Karen Darling, and not to serve rancid food) and forces determined to act against them. Though at times it seems the odds are stacked, both usually manage to come out on top (although it remains to be seen how long Peter Krause’s wife will put up with a) being ignored and b) being a non-character).

Villains: Since the producers of Dirty Sexy Money seem to have realized that Donald Southerland is too likable to be the villain, a new villain has had to be created: the debonair Blair Underwood as Simon Elder. Elder appears to be following in the footsteps of all great noir villains and is endeavoring to re-build manhattan in his own image, replete with new public transport and energy efficient high-rises. For shame. Meanwhile, Gordon Ramsey wages war weekly against the scourge of mismanagement. Sadly, both villains are rather formulaic.

Luxury Locales: It’s hard to beat the posh digs of the darlings for visual opulence, but Gordon surely tries with his weekly makeovers of horrible restaurants. At the very least, a Darling would step foot inside.

Blonde Bombshells: With the youngest darling played by that girl from the O.C. who was also on Entourage, Dirty Sexy Money has enough blonde ambition to give Madonna the shakes. Of course, Gordon’s no slouch either, and he’s determined to do away once and for all with the dumb blonde stereotype.

As of now, it’s too close to call a winner, other than John Q. Wednesday-Night-TV-Watcher. The only loser? Russians, who’ll probably have to wait years until someone remakes either of these shows for them (ala the Nanny).

2 Responses to “Things to Do on Doomsday”

  1. Foxfan Says:

    Gordon Ramsay makes a great villain… very entertaining in Kitchen Nightmares

  2. dailysalad Says:

    A finer diner-antagonist has never been

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