The season six finale of CNN's award-winning travelogue Parts Unknown opens with the kinetic energy of a flipbook riffling through images of Charleston. "The south is not a monolith," host Anthony Bourdain declares over the shuffle. "There are pockets of weirdness, awesomeness, and then there's Charleston, where for some time now important things have been happening with food." The South Carolina city provides a fast-paced setting for the final fall episode that features Husk chef Sean Brock and Charleston transplant Bill Murray, among others.
"I did do a show here before and I'm still taking shit about it."
Sitting at the bar drinking shots of Jägermeister and Budweiser, Bourdain begins his trip by recounting to Brock the pitfalls of a previous Charleston excursion. "I did do a show here before and I'm still taking shit about it. Apparently I really fucked up the first time I came here because I made a number of errors apparently. None more egregious than going out, doing an oyster roast, and drinking champagne with my oysters." Such missteps will not be taken this trip. With Brock as his guide, the sardonic host is encouraged to embrace the lowbrow and discover the southern cuisine revival, starting with a trip to late-night drunken dining option — Waffle House.
Here, now, are the 25 best lines from Parts Unknown's Charleston episode:
1) Bourdain to Brock, referencing the Waffle House: "You're talking about it like it's some magical spiritual place." Brock: "No, it's beyond a magical spiritual place."
2) On the majesty of the Waffle House: "It is indeed marvelous. An irony-free zone where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts."
3) Peering at a laminated menu with reading glasses perched on his nose: "I am unbelievably, in spite of my world travels, new to the Waffle House and unfamiliar with its ways. The terminology for instance is new to me."
4) On the unusual Waffle House language: "I am already confused and enticed."
5) Brock to Bourdain on the Waffle House's food: "You don't come here expecting the French Laundry. You come here expecting something amazing." Bourdain, in response: "This is better than the French Laundry, man."
6) After eating a Waffle House pork chop: "Oh my god. The umami happening here."
7) On unusual translations: "You know what umami means in Japanese actually? The literal translation of umami?" Brock: "Orgasm." Bourdain: "No. Umami means in Japanese, literally it means, 'I will fuck you for a bite of that burger.'"
8) Bill Murray attempting to drive people away from Charleston: "There's a lot of insects. It's really, really hot in the summer, and the traffic is worse than it ever was."
9) On a particularly plentiful form of booze: "There will be bourbon."
10) On people eating at Chili's on the U.S. border with Mexico: "I really want to like pull up the car, get a tire iron, walk in, and just straighten some people out." Brock, in response: "Clean house. Road House-style."
11) On the wonders of Road House: "Such a great film. It's amazing. What else do you need to know? You could deconstruct this film forever. The more you watch it the more mysteries unfold." Murray, in response: "I've never seen anyone enjoy Road House more than I do..."
12) Questioning Anson Mills founder Glenn Roberts on what it feels like to discover Carolina Gold rice: "When you had your first forkful of proper rice, is there an instinct to go out and bludgeon the rest of the world into understanding what you had just come to understand?"
13) On seeking out the proper hunting outfit: "I need the finest in turkey killing couture. I want to be ninja-like. I want to look cool."
14) On wearing camouflage as going-out attire: "I'm bringing that look to New York."
15) On showing off his Charleston style: "I'm going in a Waffle House wearing this."
16) In an Arnold Schwarzenegger voice: "This is your last day on Earth Mr. Turkey. You will die now. Prepare to meet your maker."
17) On his chances of successfully taking down a turkey: "The likelihood of me shooting even the stupidest animal on camera are about the same as Donald Trump being gracious to anybody or Adam Sandler making a good movie. Basically, a magical unicorn is going to land in front of me and shower me in candy and Vicodins before I shoot a freakin' turkey on camera."
18) On how he got out of hunting: "That shot you heard was me shooting a producer in the calf and telling him to hobble over to the Piggly Wiggly for a frozen gobbler before he bleeds out."
19) On a special side dish: "I do love bright orange mac-and-cheese, as you know."
20) On Charleston's character: "It's one of those weird distinctly American mutations, kind of like rock and roll or jazz or blues."
21) On Scott's Pit Cook B.B.Q.: "This isn't a craft. It's a calling."
22) On eating white bread with barbecue: "This is what everybody always gets wrong in New York. They serve cornbread with barbecue, which of course falls into crumbles."'
23) While fishing with Brock: "So how am I doing in the learning to be a redneck department? I'm not wearing shoes."
24) Recalling on his favorite meal with Brock: "I love that Waffle House man. I tell you, I like your restaurant and all, I guess you're some kind of good chef but that Waffle House — that is a phenomenon."
25) On a baitfish that refuse to get on the hook: "It's like one of those anal seeking... fish in the Amazon that swim up your dick hole. Nice try buddy."