November 23, 2002

Good Eats Watch

A couple of years ago, the TV show "Good Eats" did a Thanksgiving special called "Romancing the Bird", all about how to prepare turkey. It was a good show. A week later, "Good Eats" was "preempted" by a "documentary" about the making of "Romancing the Bird". (The "documentary" was in fact just an episode of "Good Eats" in disguise.) A young filmmaker, Blair McGuffin, and her crew had supposedly been following Alton Brown and his crew about during the making of "Romancing the Bird", but it was after shooting was finished that the real drama began: it started to snow. Within hours a full inch of snow had fallen and the city of Atlanta, Georgia was paralyzed. There was no way for the "Good Eats" crew to disperse to their homes. There followed a week of isolation, dread, and....lots of turkey leftovers.

It's one of their best shows, and when they re-ran it this past Wednesday night we had the opportunity to analyze it a little. The highlight of the show is when AB's cooking equipment lady, "W" (think James Bond) is revealed to be...a cyborg. "C'mon," says AB. "Nobody living could possibly talk like that." Apparently they use W to store all of the data from their past shows; as AB speaks he's got her hooked up to a PalmPilot and a folding PalmPilot keyboard.

Then there's the "Big Brother" like moment when, late at night, Blair McGuffin tearfully confesses to the camera how hungry she is (they've been on short rations) and how guilty she feels at lifting the key to the 'fridge. About that point the amorous and revolting Cousin Ray sneaks up behind her and the camera fades out.

Then, finally, there's the name: "Blair McGuffin". "Blair", of course, from another noted "documentary", "The Blair Witch Project". But then there's that word "McGuffin". In film, "McGuffin" is the name for the device or plot element that drives the logic of the plot. And, in the context of this episode of "Good Eats", that's Blair McGuffin in a nutshell.

Posted by Will Duquette at November 23, 2002 07:50 PM

Sean said:

Big Brother like moment? It was an obvious direct reference to the Blair Witch Project.. "I'm SO hungry! I love you mom and dad."