Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dottore Gus Watches TV: Whites

Chef's apprentice Skoose (background) in a typically helpful moment. (Source: BBC)
There is a moment in the fourth episode of the BBC series Whites where Chef Roland White (played by British stand-up comic Alan Davies) realizes that he's committed to a deplorable lie about a degenerative disease (that his house manager's father suffers from) in order to save his restaurant from closure. Chef White's face sinks into a resting-rut-face of self-loathing for manipulating a food inspector into giving himself and the restaurant a pass despite the many code violations he has accrued during the inspection.

White is a wholly unsympathetic character: a narcissistic chef who whenever given the chance makes the wrong decision. His hubris has lead him to flail at the helm of the flagging White House Hotel kitchen, held up by a supporting cast of characters; mainly his sous chef Bib (Darren Boyd) and maitre d'hotel Caroline (Katherine Parkinson). A recurring cast of likable and thoroughly dislikable fuck-ups populates the "Whites" universe, perhaps the most interesting of which is the stage (chef's apprentice) Skoose played by Stephen Wight.

Skoose is a younger and even more immoral reflection of Chef White, more than willing to achieve his goals, no matter how petty, through malice and deception. Yet the character is not without heart. It takes time to warm up to Skoose. Sadly we only really get to see his softer side during the series finale.

This is the show that Fox should have made based loosely on Tony Bourdain's autobiography "Kitchen Confidential." Instead they, like Chef White, decided to go for safety over risk and produced utter rubbish which disappeared without fanfare among legions of other sweeps week mid-season premiers.

(13 episodes of Kitchen Confidential were produced but only four episodes aired, starting in September of 2005. Whites only had one series, with 6 hour long episodes.)

Whites is streaming exclusively on Hulu and Hulu Plus.