We at Eater spend a lot of time thinking about food, so when it appears on our TV screen, we take special interest. If you’re looking to stream some non-food TV that happens to be — at least tangentially — about food this weekend, here’s what we recommend.
Terrace House: Tokyo, Episode 11 (available to stream on Netflix)
Terrace House, the Japanese version of The Real World, has had a long history of food-related misdemeanors and crimes, but the most recent one entails broccoli, pasta water, and egg. Ruka, one of the housemates of the Tokyo house, is a complete enigma of a human being and maybe the most naive person to ever grace Terrace House (or the world?). In an attempt to cook broccoli pasta carbonara, he cracks an egg into the pasta water with the pasta, then adds broccoli. It seems he read the ingredient list, skipped the instructions, and simply winged it. Nothing matters, you know?!
In Netflix’s latest batch of episodes (Netflix US runs a couple of months behind Japan), Ruka attempts broccoli pasta carbonara again. I gasped when I saw he was making pasta FROM SCRATCH and squealed when he presented something that not only looked edible, but delicious! His housemates were (understandably) pleasantly shocked and I got very emotional. It’s rare when you see such dramatic growth. I imagine this is what parents feel when they see their children walk for the first time. — Pelin Keskin, Eater associate producer
Community (available to stream on Hulu and Netflix)
In 2009, when Community first aired, I was actually taking classes at a community college. Yet, somehow I’ve made it this long without watching this series created by Dan Harmon and featuring some of the current era’s most memorable actors (See: Donald Glover, Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, and Ken Jeong). The first season hinges on narcissistic student Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) starting classes at a Greendale Community College, where he’s pursuing his bachelor’s degree in an attempt to reclaim his suspended law license. Winger joins a Spanish 101 study group (remember when people still gathered in groups?) to incessantly hit on Britta Perry (played by Jacobs). But as the show evolves, episodes become more unhinged, playing into pop culture tropes observed by TV and movie obsessed student Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi). After a while, it becomes easier to view this show as sort of a live-action version of Harmon’s later work Rick and Morty, but with a slightly less noxious fandom attached. This is particularly encapsulated in episodes like Season 2’s “Epidemiology,” in which the whole student body is transformed into zombies after eating expired military rations. Season 2 also features an excellent example of weird TV sponcon in “Basic Rocket Science,” where the study group gets trapped inside a Kentucky Fried Chicken-branded space flight simulator. — Brenna Houck, Eater.com reporter and Eater Detroit editor
Killing Eve (Season 3, Episode 1, available to stream on BBC America)
Killing Eve, a BBC show that for two seasons has been about feminism, fucking, and fighting, has added a fourth “f” to its roster: food. When we reunite with the show’s titular “Eve” (Sandra Oh), we watch her shopping the aisles of an Asian grocery, grabbing ramen cups and snacks from shelves that seem preposterously well-stocked to my pandemic-warped eyes. The multitudes the store holds are intoxicating. We then discover that since we last saw her — left for dead by Villanelle (Jodie Comer), an assassin with whom she is/was mutually obsessed — Eve’s fled her job at MI5 for a gig as a dumpling chef at an Asian restaurant, a perfect place, perhaps, for an Asian American woman to make herself invisible in a city like London. As audience members, we get to watch her deftly pinch pot sticker after pot sticker as she eavesdrops on her relationship-impaired colleagues (once a spy, always a spy, perhaps), a rote activity that probably has a lot more in common with tradecraft than most espionage-based thrillers would have us believe. It’s a nice job for a perfectionist like Eve, one that’ll do well enough until (one assumes) Villanelle returns to her life and again throws it into chaos. — Eve Batey, senior editor, Eater SF
Difficult People (Season 1, Episode 5, available on Hulu)
Much of this criminally short-lived sitcom starring comedians Billy Eichner (Billy on the Street) and Julie Klausner takes place in a restaurant where a struggling-artist version of Billy works to pay the bills. But this episode stands out for its art-imitating-life plot: Julie, who has “the palate of a seven-year-old” stops by Billy’s place of employment to eat, but finds the menu too fancy for her liking (“everything on [the] menu has some kind of chutney or jus on it,” Julie complains).
So, when Billy’s boss leaves town for a few days, the duo convert the restaurant into a pop-up named the Children’s Menu, serving items that would belong on a kids’ menu someplace like Applebee’s. The pair set about marking up chicken tenders and fish sticks and peddling it to food blogs. And because Difficult People is set in New York, home to many people with poor taste but lots of money, crowds lap it up. It’s a fun skewering of a side of the food world that values creatively bankrupt novelty above all else. Looking at you, “cereal bars” and Museum of Ice Cream. — Tim Forster, editor, Eater Montreal
Lodge 49 (available to purchase on Amazon Prime)
I‘m not surprised Lodge 49 was cancelled after two seasons on AMC last fall; I’m delighted it aired at all. This shaggy dog show stars Wyatt Russell (the waggish spawn of Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell) as Dud, an adrift surfer in recession-hit Long Beach, who finds connection through a fraternal lodge along the lines of the Freemasons. Meanwhile his sister Liz (Sonya Cassidy) works at a shitty Hooters knockoff called Shamroxx, run by a ghoulish regional corporate conglomerate, Omni Capital. These days, I’m reminded of Liz’s Season 2 story arc: She’s made manager of Omni’s replacement for Shamroxx, a stupid new steakhouse concept called Higher Steaks. When the restaurant struggles, the way Liz sticks up for her colleagues, who are some of the show’s best minor characters, is an inspiring rebuke of winner-takes-all capitalism — no surprise, as the whole show is basically a socialist document. Ironically it’s not streaming for free, but Lodge 49 is special and well worth buying to watch. — Caleb Pershan, Eater.com reporter
Frasier, Season 1, Episode 3 (available to stream on Hulu)
I know I’m incredibly late getting into Fraiser (most of my coworkers are obsessed with it), but it’s been about a week now and I’m already halfway through the second season. I can’t get enough of it. While Frasier’s advice to his listeners can be a little “meh,” it’s absolutely delightful to watch the main characters give each other therapy through their conversations. And watching each episode unfold feels like much needed therapy right now.
I could go on and on about all the episodes I love, but “Dinner at Eight” is my absolute favorite. Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) and his brother Niles (David Hyde Pierce) decide to take their father Martin (John Mahoney) out to dinner as a way to spend more quality time with him. When the restaurant loses their reservation, they decide to visit a steakhouse at Martin’s suggestion. His pitch: “You can get a steak this thick for $8.95.”
The Timber Mill is nothing like the trendy, pretentious restaurants Frasier and Niles frequent and the duration of the entire meal is a culinary culture clash. For example, when the beef trolley arrives and everyone at the table has to pick their cut of steak, Frasier asks, “How much extra would I have to pay to get one from the refrigerator?”
It’s absolutely heartbreaking to watch Martin get more and more aggravated as Frasier and Niles make ridiculously elaborate orders (a petite filet mignon “very lean, not so lean that it lacks flavor but not so fat that it leaves drippings on the plate”), poke fun at the restaurant, and give the servers a hard time. That’s why it’s so satisfying to watch Martin skewer Frasier and Niles for their snobbery, leaving them to eat the rest of their dinner alone under the scornful eyes of the Timber Mill’s servers as “Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs” plays in the background. — Esra Erol, senior social media manager, Eater
Real Housewives of New York, Season 8, Episodes 6 & 7 (available to stream on Hulu)
In times of uncertainty, we seek comfort in consistency: The sun will rise in the east, the tides will ebb and flow, and rich women will scream at each other for our enjoyment on Bravo. Recently, I’ve been rewatching old episodes of Real Housewives of New York and am currently in the midst of its landmark eighth season (“Please don’t let it be about Tom.” “It’s about Tom”). Practically every episode is a hit, but “Tipsying Point” and “Air Your Dirty Laundry” conveniently double as a lesson in the booze business. When jack of all trades/master of none Sonja Morgan announces that she’s releasing a signature prosecco called Tipsy Girl, she faces the wrath of Bethenny Frankel, founder of the Skinny Girl brand. As even the most casual Housewives watcher will tell you, Bethenny is famously protective of her business and turns vicious at any perceived attack on it. “I thought the alcohol was a great idea. I really looked up to what you did and I thought it would be a great way for me to get ahead,” Sonja blubbers to Bethenny in her Skinny Girl brand-blazoned office. It’s because of this episode, and this fight in particular, that I know what a “cheater brand” is.
By the way, I’ve tried Tipsy Girl prosecco and it’s... not the worst wine I’ve had. — Madeleine Davies, Eater.com daily editor