I tend to enjoy watching a show called Bar Rescue, which is on the newly-renamed Paramount Network (formerly Spike TV). If you’ve never seen it, this bar expert Jon Taffer is called into failing bars, and revamps them. The show can get confrontational – actually, sometimes intensely so – though honestly, I prefer it when it’s not overly angry, and you like the owners of the bars he’s rescuing. (He’s a confrontational guy himself, though in fairness it’s often needed because many owners are not only so head-blocking stubborn, but have let their bars get run down to such serious levels that polite suggestions aren't the answer.)
Anyway, I just finished watching this week’s show that I had recorded. It was an L.A. bar and in the Valley, and as they showed the place from the outside, I thought, “Wait, that looks familiar, I think I may actually know that place…” And – yes! For the very first time since I've been watching the show, I've actually been in the bar they're rescuing.
It’s Paladino’s in Tarzana, which has been around since the '60s. I've only been there once, two years ago, but it was seedy enough to remember. My friend Jeff Melvoin, who I've mentioned here a few times -- the showrunner on such TV series as Designated Survivor, Army Wives, Alias and others -- is in a friendly band called The Mavens, which occasionally plays around town, and Paladino's is the first place I saw them. They only played there once, I believe. I could understand why. And the episode shows it, too.
Actually, the episode doesn't fully show that. Because when The Mavens played there, they packed the place. But most bands don't, and the bar is a near-empty cavern for most of the show.
Happily, it’s a fun episode, because the owners are good guys. Just totally clueless. Their day job is as medical research scientists. Because they are very decent folks and people who's work is pretty noble, researching a cure for cancer, Taffer likes them a lot. But he's utterly frustrated by them. So, it’s less confrontational than most, and a whole lot less yelling. But particularly enjoyable for that.
If you’re interested, it repeats next Sunday, April 1. Set the DVR. It’ll be on the Paramount Network, airing at 9PM Los Angeles time. The episode is titled ‘Weird Science.’
Here's a clip. It's fun watching Taffer's bewildered frustration build, trying to remain polite which is not his natural state. Around the 1:00-mark watch his expression as the two owners (John and Jonathan) debate the minutiae of whether someone got a pizza slice.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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