In my opinion, as a longstanding Good Eats fan, the 10th Anniversary show really bombed. There, I said it. At the first commercial break I turned it off and let the DVR record the rest for later viewing. In fact, I watched the This Old House Hour instead. I even managed to dig up an old picture on the internet of Alton Brown sponsoring Miller Lite to relive his first bomb.
OK, now that that's out of my system, how was the show. From its inception I thought the live show sounded like a lot of fun and would have loved to go. And from what I've heard from comments here, the live show was indeed a blast. But when I found out the 10th Anniversary TV special was just going to be the taping of the live show I started to wonder. The more I thought about it the less it sounded like a good idea and it was with trepidation that watched the show that may go down in history as the moment Alton Brown jumped the shark. Fortunately, the real Good Eats series should escape unscathed from this low moment. So, why was the show so bad?
There was not nearly enough Good Eats in the TV version. With so many great characters, costumes, and themes you'd think they could fill an entire hour just dedicated to these aspects. But no, instead we had to watch the little game show for which the premise was strange and the contestant lineup even stranger. The constant cuts to the crowd laughing also seemed a bit out of context for a Good Eats show. An anonymous fan said it reminded him/her of the 'creepy over-clapping of an Emeril Lagasse live show.' That sounds about right to me and one of the things that makes Good Eats stand apart. Good Eats is about the show and not centered around Alton; he just becomes part of it all. Finally, the ending fell a bit flat for the TV audience and it seemed odd that when the cast and family members came out at the end there wasn't a good shot of everybody just lots of silly string flying around. But it wasn't all bad.
There were a few things I liked. The first thing that comes to mind was seeing Alton's 'sister' Marsha in the act. I enjoyed the early shows with her and have been hoping AB writes her into a new episode soon. I also think Ted Allen was the perfect choice for a co-host. They looked like a geeky Dynamic Duo on stage and something worth working into a Good Eats epsiode. And, well, I guess that's all I can think of in terms of enjoyable moments.
Personally, I think Good Eats deserved a budget to put together a real 1 hour special in their own studio. Something akin to the Behind the Eats special which, while shot in a live theme, was filled with good writing and covered so much more about the show. Maybe next time Alton. The new Man Food show made up for it on Monday night.