Selected TV Programs 電視節目




 1. Iron Chef and Iron Chef America

Book Photo

Book Photo

Shown on: Food Network

When the local cable company upgraded my cable TV subscription from the barebone basic to the standard level without my consent, I was really upset with this type of coerced customer service (though I myself had thought of upgrading). However, as a result, I began to watch programs on CNN and Food Network. The cooking battles of Iron Chef and Iron Chef America always make me switch channels as soon as the weather report on the 10 PM local news is over. Now, I watch either program nearly every weekday (depending on which one they show). The original conception of turning an athletic stadium into a kitchen stadium was really brilliant.

Besides the fact that I am always interested in healthy competition, there are two other reasons for being attracted to the Iron Chef programs. The first reason is the creativity of the chefs. Their culinary creativity really opens my eyes to world-class cuisine. These chefs (both the iron chefs and challengers) really have the capability of pushing the limits in trying different combinations and cooking methods with various ingredients. Further, being a person with her artistic skills yet to be developed, I can slowly learn to appreciate the aesthetic aspect of food plating. The second reason for being so interested in these shows is the fact that, I can learn to appreciate food through listening to the comments of the judges. Food appreciation involves various facets, such as aroma, the combination of different flavors, and the integration of different textures, etc. Learning from them really gives me some directions on how to improve my own cooking at home.

I particularly like to see Iron Chef Chen Kenichi on the show. He is the only original iron chef on the Japanese show and yet he is always so humble. If you pay attention to his facial expression after (winning) a battle, you will always notice his funny look.




 2. 中國式離婚

Chinese Divorce

主演:陳道明、蔣雯麗

《中國式離婚》是一套中國大陸的電視劇。內容反映當代中國社會的家庭問題。男主 角是一名出色的外科醫生宋建平(陳道明飾),他跟當小學中文老師的太太林小楓 (蔣雯麗飾)育有一名六歲的兒子宋林當。他們本過著小康的美滿生活,可惜最後 因種種原因而離婚收場。有文章說「中國式」離婚的特徵就是沒有第三者導致的離 異。

就以宋、林二人感情的轉變為題,起初比較緊張的是建平,他不怕肉麻地為小楓大 唱情歌、半夜推醒已熟睡的妻子,問她還愛自己否等;但劇情到後半部時,不願意 回家、千方百計要離婚的反而是他。

不久前讀過兩篇對此劇觀後感的文章,一篇盡說主角們的離婚是宋建平的不對,對 妻子的感受、憂慮完全漠視;另一篇則認為林小楓是罪魁禍首。我認為該劇的中心 思想並不是要對其中任何一方提出控訴,它祗是把一些現實的問題和前因後果敘述 出來,讓觀眾自己去體會。它更以主角們的故事去代表中國社會在轉型時的狀況: 國營、私營機構之重大差別、妻憑夫貴後又不能適應等等。

對我來說,建平和小楓也不是壞人,祗是在做人處世上都是平凡的人,做事的方法 有對亦有錯,又處在一個危機重重的環境中。在此劇開場時,小楓因認為建平待在 國營醫院中沒有出息,其收入不能供兒子上重點小學及栽培他的音樂才華,便用人 身攻擊的方法去激勵丈夫轉到中外合資的醫院去,侮辱對方是個非常錯誤的辦法。 從建平在國營醫院中的表現,亦可看出他比較弱的一面,他做手術的功夫是一流的, 亦不辭勞苦地加時巡視病房,一絲不苟,唯獨做研究、發表文章就總是拖拖拉拉的。 他那敦厚的個性導致被女同士肖莉用旁門左道奪去了升為正高(即教授)的機會。 我認為這點不是他的錯,因為做人敦厚比升職更重要。

後來建平轉到合資醫院,收入大為改善。由於他的真材實料,深得上司的信任,還 升級成為副院長。這時小楓因不能好好兼顧家庭和事業,未跟建平商量過便自行辭 去教職,當一個全職的家庭婦女,這的確是她無私的行為,可惜這帶來另一個更嚴 重的問題,就是她日漸因為當家庭主婦而自卑起來。她因這因自卑而不肯參加建平 同士娟子的婚禮,丈夫因在席間喝醉酒而亂了性子,抱著肖莉跳舞又吻她的面頰, 被錄影下來了。這次意外是建平在男女關係上最大的錯誤,他從此就立心戒酒。有 時他也隨便撒個白色的謊言,明明不在辦公室,又在電話中對妻子說是如此等。

建平開始對小楓起極大的反感是在她一天打很多個電話到醫院查巡開始,這樣兩個 人的相處自然惡化。小楓亦會在晚上對建平訓話,他就一夜不能睡覺,翌日還要上 班。而且她常常講話不到幾句就借題發揮、舊事重題、大發脾氣、弄到家無寧日, 這樣小題大做是小楓的不對。建平因為和妻子的感情變淡,對房事自然不感興趣, 祗能找個同行的朋友勉強開醫生証明,說他患上了不舉的毛病。到後來,建平放棄 了跟妻子溝通去解決問題,反而用治標不治本的捷徑–在暗地裡鼓勵小楓去跟別的 男士進行「網戀」,她得到愛情的滋潤時,自然心情好轉,天下太平,但這是建平 在處理問題時的失敗。

這劇的劇情十分細膩,而且其中很多地方的相連性很高,令整個故事很緊湊。編劇 亦用了很多其他人物來對比小楓的遭遇。楓母對丈夫曾經不忠的包容,令他們的婚 姻足以維持下去,是小楓把小事化大之作風的強烈對比;娟子在懷孕約六個月時發 現丈夫不忠,捉姦在床,又沒有在當地的娘家可歸,唯有坐在小楓的家門口,邊哭 邊等小楓回來,這跟小楓那杯弓蛇影式地懷疑丈夫不忠、動不動就回娘家的行為也 成一強烈對比。

劇中演員們的表現當然是出色的。陳道明先生(明叔)和蔣雯麗小姐的確不愧是大 明星,演甚麼就像甚麼。我亦覺飾演楓母的演員呂中女士有很典雅及祥和的氣質。




 3. Restaurant: Impossible

Restaurant Impossible

Host: Robert Irvine

I like to watch episodes of the reality show, Restaurant: Impossible, on Food Network. Each episode is about rescuing a struggling restaurant in two days. The host, Mr. Robert Irvine, is an experienced chef and restaurateur. In each episode, he goes into a failing restaurant, tastes the dishes, analyzes the issues, and turns it around by redesigning the menu, tackling management issues, and having a crew to renovate the dining room.

I treat each episode as a business case study in the real world. Business issues are usually the lack of good cooking, a dirty and/or out-of-date dining room, and occasionally, a very dirty kitchen and food handling practices that violate health codes and regulations. Management issues can include cost control and personnel issues, the lack of leadership, and conflict among different restaurant owners, etc. Robert is a man with a can-do attitude. I always enjoy watching Robert analyze the issues and resolve them. It is also fun watching Robert teach the chef and cooks how to cook new dishes. Watching the design and renovation crew re-doing the dining room teaches me something about interior decoration. The most exciting part is seeing the newly decorated dining room and the guests enjoying their meals towards the end of the show. Fans can read updates about the episodes on the Foodnetwork.com website.

Overall, this show is educational and I highly recommend it.

Written: October 16, 2012




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