why Marcela didn’t say goodbye

I recently wrote about Marcela Valladolid’s departure from The Kitchen on Food Network. I wrote that I was sad to see her leave and that I was disappointed that she did not have the opportunity to say goodbye.

The Kitchen logoMarcela writes all about this in a deeply personal and touching blog post. After telling us that her reasons for leaving are, in the words of former co-host Sunny Anderson, nunya business, Marcela tells us a lot. She tells us that the original decision not to say goodbye was hers. She goes on to say that she regretted that and that she wished she had pushed for the opportunity to tell her fans she was leaving the show.

She also describes what led her to leave. Marcela tells us that the recipes presented on the show do not reflect who she is or her cooking style. She describes how the monthly trips to the East Coast to tape the show were wearing her down. She writes about family, and moving from San Diego to Los Angeles, merging two households into one.

You might want to read the blog entry for yourself. But have a Kleenex nearby when you do.

our Roku

Terry and I knew that we were going to have to shell out for the CBS All Access streaming service after watching the one and only episode of Star Trek: Discovery broadcast on CBS television. Sitting at my computer to watch the show did not seem like an appealing idea. Ultimately we decided to buy a Roku device to plug into our smart TV. The problem is that Roku supports a lot of streaming services, so restraint is required.

Roku packageCBS All Access is a given.  In addition to Star Trek we can watch Stephen Colbert on demand, which is really cool. He is, after all, a favorite of those who can’t stand that guy with orange hair who lives in the White House, and I openly cast my lot with that group.

Then there’s Hulu which seductively offered a free one month trial. We’re keeping it. I have gone back to season one of The Mindy Project, and I am hooked. We can watch previous seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm and new episodes of Saturday Night Live as well.

The base Roku service offers movies from Fandango at a $1.99 and up rental rate. There’s quite a catalog there.

I guess we’ve been sucked into the world of streaming TV.

we will miss Marcela

As long as it has been on the air, The Kitchen on Food Network has been hosted by Marcela Valladolid, Geoffrey Zakarian, Jeff Mauro, Katie Lee, and Sunny Anderson. It is a program that Terry and I thoroughly enjoy. We have missed only a few episodes. We didn’t catch on in time to see Season 1, Episode 1, and perhaps we missed a couple of episodes when we were moving. That’s it.

Late last week Marcela announced on Instagram (@chefmarcela) that Saturday’s show would be her last. Terry and I were both sad, as we loved her presence on the program. She brought a Latina flavor that was otherwise lacking.

The sad thing is that they did not even say goodbye to her on Saturday. The show was certainly taped several weeks ago, and perhaps she made the decision after the taping. Unlike the other hosts she is West Coast-based, and with three kids the decision to stop flying to the East Coast for taping is understandable.

She will no doubt continue her social media presence, but we will miss her on The Kitchen.

Star Trek: Discovery

Terry and I are delighted. We have Star Trek on television again. Sort of.

CBS has brought the new series Star Trek: Discovery to the online pay service CBS All Access. Smart folks that they are, the people at CBS put only the first episode on the broadcast network. Sort of like drug dealers: the first one is free then you have to pay after that. They had Terry and me hooked.

Star Trek DiscoveryThe question was how to access CBS All Access. Neither our smart TV nor either of our two Blu-ray boxes (the second being attached to a dumb flat screen in the bedroom) has that as an available service. I thought we could sit in my office and watch the show on my computer, but the longer I considered the idea the sillier it seemed. Finally we decided to buy a Roku box (much more on Roku another time) which we attached to the smart TV in our Great Room.

The series takes place ten years before the original Star Trek, though the uniforms somewhat resemble those on Enterprise, which was set fifty years before the original series. That’s OK. If what we are told is correct the series remains true to the Star Trek timeline, unlike the current movie series that totally mucks up the space-time continuum.

It’s Star Trek on television honoring the timeline. Terry and I are happy to pay a few dollars a month for that.

Bobby and Damaris 

I have recently been rather critical of the Food Network and its programming. More travel and competition shows, fewer cooking shows. So I have to say that I am pleased to see a new show that I really enjoy.

The Bobby and Damaris Show logoIt’s The Bobby and Damaris Show with, as you might expect, Bobby Flay and Damaris Phillips. They talk, they interact, and they cook. No annoying superfluous plot line as on many Food Network shows. And the second episode included a visit from Ina Garten. Delightful!

I would certainly like to see more programs like this on Food Network.

we will be fine without

I have written about the limited number of households that are able to see the Dodgers on television. And I have written about how we could have chosen the provider that offers the Dodgers, but we didn’t, for a variety of reasons.

Dodgers yard bannerI have therefore not been able to listen to Dodger broadcaster Joe Davis. Joe did the majority of road games for the Dodgers on television last year. This year he will be doing the majority of games, period on TV. This due, of course, to the retirement of Vin Scully. Charter Communications, operating under the Spectrum brand, broadcasts the Dodger games and owns the distribution rights. They decided to allow KTLA channel 5 to broadcast ten games in April and May, mostly to convince viewers to drop their provider and switch to Spectrum. So I got hear Joe Davis a few times during the past week.

I agree with Los Angeles Times baseball writer Bill Shaikin who stated, “Davis delivers a clean broadcast.” True, as far as it goes. But Shaikin goes on to write:

quoteAnd yet, we couldn’t help thinking there was something generic about it all. Scully was the last master of the one-man booth. He talked to us, not to a broadcast partner, regaling us with stories of ice skating with Jackie Robinson, and the history of beards, and did you know that Uggla was Swedish for owl?

Absolutely. Davis is not Scully. He shouldn’t and he won’t try to be. As Shaikin pointed out, Davis works will with color commentator and Dodger pitching great Orel Hershiser. But the two have very similar voices, and it was sometimes hard to tell who was talking, although if it was a game call it was obviously Davis.

Shaikin wrote, “The Dodgers broadcast sounded good Monday, and at the same time it sounded just like that of every other team.” Exactly. (Except for the Giants. They have Jon Miller on the radio and Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow on television.)

Terry and I will be fine without the Dodgers on TV. We can listen to Charlie Steiner and Rick Monday on the radio, and I personally think that they are the more enjoyable team to listen to.

That will work.

an actor’s perspective 

I recently watched a pair of episodes from Dick Cavett’s PBS series in 1981 in which he interviewed Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. It was a real delight.

One thing Matthau said caught my attention. He said that he refused to do theater where there was sound amplification. He said that he and Lemmon turned down an offer to do a play at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion in the Los Angeles Music Center because it had sound amplification. Instead they did the same play at the nearby Mark Taper Forum for one-tenth the money because there was no amplification.

Theater DistrictWhen I was attending Pitzer College in Claremont I would come home to Hemet to see plays performed by the Hemet High theater class. They put on some good shows, and, as I recall there was no amplification. I remember a great performance of Stop the World I want to Get Off. The lack of amplification was also true for the Four College Players in Claremont and the Pomona College theater department.

Theater today is a much different animal. Terry and I have seen Phantom of the Opera in both San Francisco and San Jose. We saw the original Chorus Line on the San Francisco Peninsula and the wonderful revival in San Francisco. We saw Rent and Wicked in San Jose.

All of those shows relied on a complex array of wireless microphone. The theater community has been unhappy because the FCC has been considering changing the regulations around wireless microphones, and they say the changes would require heavier, more unwieldy microphones. I hope that doesn’t happen.

The bottom line is this: I admire Matthau’s integrity in 1981, but Terry and I loved all of the theater experiences I have mentioned.

Live theater is a mode of entertainment to be respected, enjoyed, and savored. Sound amplification does not diminish the experience.