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We have a new addiction, a family-wide addiction. It may come as no surprise to you that the title of said addiction is watching Restaurant Impossible. That’s because it’s right there in the title of this blog. And there’s even a picture with it directly above this paragraph for those of you that are slow on the uptake. I was going to title it ‘Guilty Family Viewing Pleasure’ but then I realised that I hate saying anything is a ‘Guilty Pleasure’. Why should you feel guilty about something that brings you pleasure just because you think others will deem your taste somehow inferior? Taste is subjective after all, no one person’s taste is any better than anybody else’s in my opinion.

This addiction came about because i was looking for something to fill the void left by Gordon Ramsay, another proponent of this type of show. However we got turned off from him due to the heavily scripted nature of his shows. So I was drawn towards Restaurant Impossible, another heavily scripted show, with another English chef, but at least the host, Robert Irvine, actually appears to care about the people he’s helping.

The show’s USP is that chef Robert will fix the restaurant’s food problems, repair splintered relationships, give the owner a new backbone, and get it back looking ship-shape on the design front, all in two days and for ‘ten thousand dollars’ (I’m putting the price in inverted commas as it’s just impossible (HA!) to do what he does to these places for that amount, if you factor all the man hours and equipment-hiring into it. But hey, I’m not here to pick holes.)

As a family we love it (my son has gone off it a tad though, and now prefers to read or colour) and it has become something of a ritual. Cook our meals, get everybody settled in front of the television and off we go. We all question the title of it though. Even my daughter, after a mere two season’s worth of viewing, pointed out that it should be called ‘Restaurant Possible’.

We especially like it when Robert smashes things with a sledgehammer, which he does A LOT. He does this a lot because he looks like the Incredible Hulk decided to stop being angry and went to cooking school. He’s all bulging muscles in a tight black polo top (always tight, always black) and what better way to show off said muscles than by smashing things up?

We also love how he helps these financially struggling restaurants by making them prepare nearly everything on the menu for him, only to then spit it all out and throw it on the floor. Still, as long as he’s paying for it, eh?

We are on season six now (Robert’s hair is grey, as opposed to the jet black he started with, although I suspect he does occasionally dye it)  and he is beginning to exhibit signs of the overt focus on emotional drama that turned us off Ramsay’s shows. The nadir of Gordon’s series for us was when he took a family into a church and used the confessional booths to get to the bottom of their issues, placing himself in the role of the priest. Robert hasn’t sunk that low yet, and I’m hoping he never does. Otherwise it will be a swift turn off and I will be back hunting for the next thing for us all to watch together.

For the moment though, Robert and his bulging muscles are keeping us all entertained, even though his Restaurant Impossible ‘missions’ never seem to fail.

That’s only on the show though, in real life, following the broadcast of the episode, the majority of these restaurants do actually show that they are fallible as the majority of them have closed within months (many, bizarrely, after having been hit by a truck, like there is some sort of serial-restaurant-killing truck driver out there). In fact we have a ritual where we all vote on whether or not we think the restaurant is still viable. We take a vote and then I toddle off and dig up the answer.

It’s usually closed, which is why we all generally vote ‘closed’.

Hey, he’s only a man at the end of the day. Nobody can work miracles with two days and ten grand, and as long as Robert keeps understanding that he’s not a miracle worker, I think we’ll all keep watching*


(*even though one of his oft repeated mantras is ‘This place needs a miracle’)