Snap Judgments: 'Kitchen Confidential' and 'Out of Practice'

94152__kitchen_lOf last night’s sitcom series premieres, I’d say Fox’s Kitchen Confidential looks strong from the get-go, while CBS’ Out of Practice needs work.

 Kitchen seems miraculously to have translated the sensibility of Anthony Bourdain’s restaurant tell-all into sitcom form, retaining the author’s furious pace, grown-up content, gonzo humor (a bit about a chopped fingertip was handled with relative aplomb), high aspirations, and brazen self-confidence.

I liked Alias alum Bradley Cooper (left, with Frank Langella) as the swaggering chef modeled on the author; in fact, I think strong casting (coupled with strong writing) will be this show’s saving grace. I’m a little worried about Jaime King as a stereotypical dumb blonde who ”puts the ‘ho’ in ‘hostess,”’ as this show is too smart to stoop to such cliches. Also, it was unsettling to see Freaks and Geeks‘ John Francis Daley as a wide-eyed kitchen newbie, but only because he plays a nearly identical role in the upcoming film Waiting.)

As for Out of Practice, I was expecting more, given the show’s pedigree: writers from Frasier and a cast that includes such pros as Stockard Channing, Henry Winkler, and supposed show-killer Paula Marshall. A couple roles, though, have been oddly miscast, including the central character, 30-year-old marriage counselor Ben (Christopher Gorham, who looks about 14), and 32-year-old floozy receptionist Crystal (Jennifer Tilly, who can do floozy in her sleep but can’t really pass for 32 unless you squint).

Worse, the jokes, like the characters, resorted to easy stereotypes; Marshall’s Regina has been given no character trait besides lesbianism, while her brother Oliver (Ty Burrell) is a shallow plastic surgeon who thinks he’s a ladies’ man but isn’t. So far, only Ben, who’s the only non-doctor in his family, has a crumbling marriage, and spends too much time with his mom (Channing), has character issues that could play out for a long time, but he’s a straight man at the mercy of the rest of the more vivid cast, particularly the grandstanding Channing. Let’s hope the writing improves and fleshes out the rest of the characters, or else the show will peter out fast.

addCredit(“Kitchen Confidential:Michael Desmond/FOX”)


Comments (11 total) Add your comment
  • Wendy

    What about How I Met Your Mother? I thought the buzz was good but was pretty disappointed…too much hype?

  • H

    I liked Kitchen Confidential far better than How I Met Your Mother. Should have known, since Bradley Cooper is awesome. I always thought Sydney Bristow should have gone for Will instead of Vaughn.

  • Evangeline B.t

    Saw the pilot of Kitchen Confidential before it came out… I loved the cast. I’ve been a Bradley Cooper fan since Alias. I’m sure Kitchen Confidential will bring in some ‘Will Tippin’ fans.
    Neil Patrick Harris from How I Met Your Mother is hilarious!!! I couldn’t care much for the show, in general.
    “Suit up!” *flip cellphone shut*

  • brandonk

    I loved “How I Met Your Mother!” I didn’t watch the other two. “Arrested Development” was hilarious, as usual.

  • Angela

    Big fan of Bradley Cooper from his days on ‘Alias’ and was glad to see he’s doing more. He did a great job on ‘Kitchen Confidential’, but I hope the next episodes are funnier.

  • Lyssa

    I’m giving both “Kitchen Confidential” and “How I Met Your Mother” a couple of weeks to hook me. So far, both were enjoyable, but nothing that grabbed me right out of the gate. I think the last comedies to do that from the first episode I watched were “Scrubs” and “Arrested Development”

  • Jean

    I didn’t really like “how I met…” but have to agree that NPH was the funniest part of the show. Here’s to making “Suit up!” the new “Hug it out bitch.”

  • Kathryn

    I actually thought Jaime King was one of the best things about Kitchen – definitely the most likeable character.

  • Sean

    I finally feel like I have something to watch on Monday nights before football now with Arrested and Kitchen. I was really surprised with how much I liked Kitchen, the cast and writting are fantastic, except for the Jamie King character, I like her but she felt like a walking cliche (oops! crazy mix-up with the food critic) re-tool the character to fit in with the show a little better. Also I hope it doesnt become a typical sitcom love-hate relationship with the main guy and the bosses daughter, I hope if they dont find a way to do it fresh they just let it go.

  • Farah

    Kitchen Confidential has a ton of potential, the cast are charming, the lead is so cute and interesting. Bradley Cooper did a nice job in the 1st and 2nd eps and I think this is the first time I enjoy the lead character. It’s a new storyline, sharp wit, and no freaking laugh track! Plus Nicholas Brendon. *winks*
    How I Met Your Mother: I only watched the first episode and was not in the mood for the second one coz the storyline didn’t impress me, okay, a father telling his kids how he met their mother isn’t a subject that pull me in, plus I don’t remember I laughed at the first episode except twice … mostly at the Taxi driver. Anyway, I’ll give the second epiosde a second chance if my sister and cousin were willing to watch it with me.

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