Brian Benjamin Dwyer
Anthony Bourdain - one of TV's greatest gifts
It was not until after the passing of Anthony Bourdain, that I became familiar with the man himself and this was all down to one company, Netflix. Netflix poked and prodded me to watch "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" and I am so glad they did. One excellent episode after the next. All told through the honest and dry witted Anthony or "Tony" as he's more commonly known. Parts Unknown indeed, Myanmar, Libya, Iran, Far West Texas. What he brought to these places was simply an open and curious mind and viewers, like myself, reaped the rewards.
It was sold as a foodie show but if you've seen an episode, you would know that food is second in line to the true reason behind the show - Anthony Bourdain's insatiable appetite to get to know a place and its people better. His dislike for certain places was unmistakable and his love for others was palpable. He clearly preferred the quiet corners to the central spotlight and so we all got to see much more interesting places than what normally gets rolled out with travel shows.
One of the more joyous parts of the show is Anthony's relationship with chef, Eric Ripert. Clearly these two guys adored each other. Two completely contrasting personalities and maybe that's why it worked so well. Eric, always a good sport, and Anthony desperately in need of his company even though he didn't always express it.
Seeing as it was after he died that I came to know this show, the melancholy was ever more noticeable than perhaps it would have been if I had discovered the show earlier. Nowhere is this more obvious than the beautiful final scene in the Seattle episode as it plays through each character from the episode before ending on Anthony Bourdain, quietly sitting at a bar, alone. Lost in his own thoughts. That scene certainly got me and I am sure that was not the original intent of the director.
I am so grateful to CNN for commissioning this show and I am so grateful to Mr Bourdain for showing us the people and places that are often left in darkness.
Thanks for reading.
Brian Benjamin Dwyer
Madra Mór Productions