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The Supersizers: Regency

supersizers
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a man in possession of historical foodstuffs must be in want of someone willing to eat wine-soaked rarebit at 10pm. That means another Supersizers, because nothing looks as good for sore eyes as two Brits trussed up in chokingly-hot layers and poking at various potted meats, am I right?

This week, the Regency! The producers make Giles and Sue siblings, which means they act like marrieds anyway. Featuring the loss of their fortunes, repeatedly!



You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. (Sue. Giles happens to be present.)


VITAL STATS

Era: Regency
Chef Grade: Rosemary Shrager, A cheffing, even in the midst of defeat by aspic.
Best Guest: Either Village Lady, or everyone at the Vicarious Embarrassment Holiday Party and Ball.
Best Food Moment: Parmesan ice cream!
Worst Food Moment: Cheese with live maggots in it, judging by the way Giles flaps his arms.
Equality Now!: Sue can't hold property! She'd better get her ass married.
Worst Thing Giles Says: Somehow, in an episode that includes him reading from a literal prostitute guidebook, the thing he can't let go of is the size of George IV.
Best Sue Thing: Sue's marriage mission to the pub, armed with her looks and the language of the fan.
Moment Giles is Most in Love with Sue: Driving a sports car with her. He's easy to please.
Most Random Moment: Sue goes through a Regency beauty ritual that leaves her in tears.
ASPIC. Yep.
Quote of the Week: "Jane Austen probably licked those eyes."



To Kellynch!Collapse )

The Supersizers: Elizabethan

roaring 20s
Oh, is it time for Sue and Giles to suit up in period garb and pretend to be married as they eat and/or get completely plastered? It is? Don’t mind if I do!

Welcome back to Supersizers, a BBC show that aired in 1905ish, which I'm recapping because look at it. Today, it's the age of Elizabeth I: Giles is a posturing newmoney, Sue plays a damn fine lute, and they can’t wait to slap her in men’s clothes and eat chicken on the street until they almost throw up.



Huzzah.

VITAL STATS

Era: Elizabethan
Chef Grade: Paul Merrett, A cheffing; has a crush on Sue, like everyone who meets Sue, and a good attitude about how to handle cloves.
Best Guest: It’s kind of a sedate guest week. We'll see.
Best Food Moment: This week’s dinner party features live-frog pie!
Worst Food Moment: Pretty much anything expected to travel was not super appetizing back now.
Equality Now!: Sue learns the lute from a songbook written by a young lady who gives up the art when she marries.
Worst Thing Giles Says: Giles talks about Tahitian "whoremongering." Classy.
Best Sue Thing: Sue learns the lute in a hurry! Everyone’s impressed!
Moment Giles is Most in Love with Sue: On the heels of the Seventies, he’s still pretty smitten; he literally eats from her hand. Twice.
Most Random Moment: The two of them kitted out, trying to cook breakfast in a camper as it speeds to Fancy Party.
ASPIC. Yes! It looks like an enormous booger, no joke.
Quote of the Week: Sue, holding up a half-chewed pig tail - "Sorry, I'm being really rude, does anyone else want some?"

Enter the heyday of the dry sucket.Collapse )

The Supersizers: Seventies

supersizers
The Supersizers are back! Their travels through time have brought them to a place where Sue can wear trousers (that's good!) and has to cook (that's less good, but kind of hilarious). Join them for an episode where they're more married than ever, attempt to eat everything in a candy store, make a series of amazing faces, and spit out almost as much food as they did in the Restoration! Good job, The Seventies.



Let's get groovy.

VITAL STATS

Era: Seventies
Chef Grade: Mark Hix, B cheffing – a nice gent but made way too sad by things like Ritz crackers, clearly unaware he got the easy week.
Best Guest:Swinger Geoff Ross.
Best Food Moment: Sue fends off an army of 6-year-old girls for the right to eat the chocolate sponge of her youth.
Worst Food Moment: The Croute Forestier is pretty dismal.
Equality Now!: Sue has to do the cooking. She also has a part-time job!
Worst Thing Giles Says: "I like to wake up with a big stripper."
Best Sue Thing: Sue in a candy store goes just about how you'd expect.
Moment Giles is Most in Love with Sue: Every single moment. I've seen actual married couples less married than these two in this episode.
Most Random Moment: In an attempt to show calorie-burning, they make Giles play tennis, ride a bouncy ball, and accidentally skateboard himself in the family jewels.
ASPIC. You bet! And they serve it to others! Rude.
Quote of the Week: Giles, for once! Regarding a candy watch he's slid on, falling rapidly into and out of character: "It's a digital watch!...What's that? it's 1972!"

Do you want something in a tin?Collapse )

The Supersizers: Victorian

roaring 20s
The Supersizers are back with a jaunt to the Victorian era, in which outfits are four feet across and food is all over the map. Everyone's in the groove now. Thrill to Sue Perkins and that guy she allows to hang out with her! Marvel at her green bicycle outfit! Have some mixed feelings about some of their setups! Enjoy them upstaging a table of professional entertainers because they're just That Couple by now! It's an exclamatory episode all around.



Also I guess we'll eat squirrels.

VITAL STATS

Era: Victorian
Chef Grade: Sophie Grigson, A+ cheffing and an extra + for the calf's head
Best Guest: Pub denizen and wine expert Colin Deane.
Best Food Moment: Christmas dinner or the squirrels, depending on how you define "best."
Worst Food Moment: That calf's head.
Equality Now!: Sue receives instructions on minimizing her opinions on anything ever.
Worst Thing Giles Says: "We gave India education and engineering in return for tea and curry." (Actual thing.)
Best Sue Thing: This entire episode. She's gotten into the swing of things.
Moment Giles is Most in Love with Sue: Someone hands them mistletoe, and it goes downhill from there.
Most Random Moment: Giles fulfills his Masculinity Olympics quota with some fisticuffs.
ASPIC. There is a lot of jelly, but this week is aspic-free!
Quote of the Week: "Sully these lily-white hands with the devil's own work?"

No more Victorian snacks.Collapse )

The Supersizers: Wartime

supersizers
Welcome back! After the unqualified success that was pointing a camera at Giles and Sue as they ate stuff, the BBC snapped them up for twelve more episodes chronicling a spotty and hilarious history of food. This week, it's Wartime, as Sue and Giles go back to the home front and make do and mend, do their best to entertain GIs, and only occasionally inform people nearby what's going on.



Note: The comparatively dull pilot got away with a normal amount of screencaps. That is...not the case here.

VITAL STATS

Era: Wartime (the 1940s)

Chef Grade: Allegra McEvedy, A++ cheffing

Best Guest: The American GIs who appear with their manners booklet in hand and a can of pineapple in their bag, and are amazing sports through a truly surreal teatime.

Best Food Moment: Sue eating a lamb chop inside a cupboard. We'll get there.

Worst Food Moment: Sue eating unseasoned, watery nettle-and-snail stew...

Equality Now!: ...while Giles has a Churchill feast underground.

Worst Thing Giles Says: Pretty sure everything he says in the Churchill bunker is dudebro nonsense, but he also draws a non-Sue naked woman to lie down next to in the Tube, and I think that takes the cake this week!

Best Sue Thing: I realized while recapping how hard these are going to be. She makes a lot of faces. Either the snails she names, or her GI makeup routine, I suppose.

Moment Giles is Most in Love with Sue: A quiet moment when she says something mildly fond and he totally loses his ability to even; this is no small feat in an episode that also features him licking a gravy stocking off her leg.

Most Random Moment: If you think the producers are not punishing Giles, you have not seen him take flights of stairs at night so he can sit on a roof in the dark and eat Spam.

ASPIC. Actually, I don't remember any! Hard to make it out of nettles, I guess.

Quote of the Week: Courtesy of an American soldier reading from a 1942 guide to the British - "The British don't know how to make a good cup of coffee. You don't know how to make a good cup of tea. It's an even swap."

To victory?Collapse )

The Supersizers: Edwardian

roaring 20s


(Technically this is "Edwardian Supersize Me," because if this show loved anything more than getting its hosts drunk it was renaming the show every two weeks, but we're going to try and hold things together. There are enough confusing things later.)

Welcome to the Supersizers rewatch! We begin at the beginning, with the pilot that brought together Giles Coren, restaurant critic and perpetually awkward man of general questionability, and Sue Perkins, commentator-at-large who is probably dressed by snarky animated bluebirds every morning. Giles is sort of in love with her, which is his most redeeming feature. (Sue is also demonstrably fond of him, which keeps it from being creeptown.)

While each episode is delightful in its own way, there's definitely a structure in place: visit a doctor for a cursory "this is what the past does to you" frame story (spoiler: the past was often unhealthy but sometimes healthy, news at 11), 'live in' a house typical of the era, slap on semi-functional period garb, invite people over for awkward and/or amazing times, deal with cursed aspic at least once. So, we'll intro each episode with a rubric, hit the major meals, and enjoy extremely fuzzy screencaps of special moments between two champion eaters.



VITAL STATS

Era: Edwardian

Chef Grade: Sophie Grigson, A+ cheffing

Best Guest: Simon Berry, wine merchant from a line of wine merchants since 1698, much more chill about wine than I would be given that family pressure.

Best Food Moment: During the hotel-dinner-party finale, they whip out a silver duck press, squeeze the blood out of a duck, and use the blood as a sauce with which to cook another duck. "How it tastes does not matter so long as you have a sterling silver duck press for your guests to coo over": The Edwardians in a nutshell.

Worst Food Moment: Giles makes a bold play by drinking "beef tea" made from room-temperature raw beef juice; Sue wins, when she has a picnic for one that literally drives her to tears.

Equality Now!: While Sue cries into rice pudding, Giles downs a steak, sausages, bacon, and cheese toast in a chophouse. Flip-side, though, we also touch on the advent of the vegetarian restaurant as a hotbed of suffrage activity for women.

Worst Thing Giles Says: Nothing too bad, actually! (He's still on his best behavior.)

Best Sue Thing: Inquiring after a lady's embroidery in three languages, then passing out from boredom.

Moment Giles is Most in Love with Sue: Tie between helping her onto her stool during breakfast out (very Persuasion!), and playing hubby during their at-home dinner party.

Most Random Moment: Giles gets drunk and talks around the idea of handball for like thirty minutes.

ASPIC.: You bet! An enemy awakens.

Quote of the Week: "Can I have your slime?"

It's about soup, we're fine.Collapse )

Introducing: The Supersizers

supersizers
So, occasionally I really enjoy something that is both hilarious and kind of embarrassing all at once, and I want to walk through the entire thing with everyone in the world so we can all talk about it together. Previously, it was The Catherine Cookson Experience, in which I congratulated an innumerable cadre of character actors as they made their way through a variety of situations about love, social commentary, and wearing half a basketball strapped to your waist to indicate your illegitimate pregnancy. Many people found love and happiness! Some people actually found a quality script! Some people just had to spend several weeks shooting scenes in a cave. (...a cave, really?)

In a key twist, since I hadn't signed up for Netflix when I started this particular joyride, many of these priceless Cookson were screencapped directly from YouTube. This is something I might try to fix in the future; in the meantime, it turns out that developing any level of tolerance for that blurry nonsense was good news for the thing I want to share with you next!



Introducing, The Supersizers.

This show aired on the BBC in what was apparently 1792, never ever came out on DVD or to the States in any form ever, and finally made its way to YouTube, where I finally got hold of it, then spent so much time talking about it with other people that I realized it would honestly just save time to blog them instead of writing impossibly long emails six times. (It's also available on Hulu now, so clearly now's the time for a rewatch.)

What It's Supposed to Be: A social-commentary program about a pair of modern Brits who accept a series of challenges to go back in time and eat the food of different eras of Britain's history, making erudite commentary on cuisine, health, history, and society itself as they move through the banquets of the past.

What it Is: Delightful Sue Perkins and trying man-child Giles Coren get totally plastered while wearing historical garb and make a series of priceless faces as they stare at, then sometimes eat and make faces about, illuminating historical dishes, without passing out from how drunk they are because the producers supplied endless booze and that was a genius move. Featuring amazing reactions from various chefs, even more amazing reactions from various guests who clearly didn't know what they were in for, and occasional bouts of Giles being hopelessly in love with openly-gay Sue, who is mostly concerned with not passing out from being in whatever clothing she's trapped inside that week, and not being poisoned by tansy.

There is not a lot of cutting-edge political dissection in these episodes – attempts are made, but they're often too busy trying to explain the taste of garum, a Roman condiment made from fish leavings that ferment outside in a jar, that was apparently used liberally, which leads to some amazing faces. We are usually observing middle- to upper-class food options, and since I have an actual category for Worst Thing Giles Says every episode, it's definitely not a problem-free journey through time. However, it still ends up being pretty fun, both because these two have a chemistry that makes it interesting to watch them even when they are literally just chewing food, and because there's a slapdash feeling to the entire show that makes the obvious setups charming and the off-script shenanigans more entertaining.


(A promo for the Twenties episode, in which a teddy bear features heavily, Sue learns to Charleston, and Giles drinks from a centerpiece.)

This will hopefully not be as sporadic a task as Catherine Cookson was, but I think it's safe to say it will be an irregular series, full of fuzzy screencaps of truly questionable food. (The good news is, when you see it and think, "It can't look that bad in better resolution," you can just know whatever it is will look even less appetizing the better the resolution gets. The YouTube blur is a gift to you.

I'll be going in order of air, which means that the first of these we'll tackle is the hilarious and even-lower-budget-than-normal pilot episode, "Edwardian Supersize Me," where they are clearly mostly strangers still, and we haven't gotten to the part where they're spitballing each other with frozen fruit yet (that's The Fifties!). I hope you'll join me!

BOOKS








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