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In the Weeds, Tom Vitale


I’ve read many books about Bourdain, and they keep upping themselves. This is most revealing. From one of Tony’s closest confidantes and producers – Tom Vitale. He should switch professions because his writing is honest, and magically flows on almost every page. He’s excruciatingly honest about Tony. Tony was, at times, a pompous, overbearing, grumpy, American tourist who complained at every moment he was off-camera when shooting on-location. The film crew tramples the “leave no trace” motto… nope, not in their mission statement. Tony was difficult to be around… the ‘Signs you are in a cult’ chapter says it all.. and it worked, Is that what it takes nowadays to make an impactful series? The people they filmed, the things they saw, health, safety… only had value in the context of the show. Tony common techniques within the production team – he recruited informants, disseminated fake information, stoked inter-team rivalries, pitting director against director, camera against camera, to motivate everyone to do their best work. A show full of gluttonous overdone production costs leaving in their wake footprint – the exact opposite of my ethos in my filmmaking. So to be sad and disappointed in their lack of care for many of the cultures can’t be understated. Tony was thought of as a demigod by the crew at times, and by himself. A demanding egoist and many times a complete jerk. The kind of traveller you wretch inward with awkward facial expressions and sharing heads at the all the pompous attitude… ie a complete jerk masquerading as an adventure traveller. The show far from reflecting the reality of their experiences. Eye-opening, revealing, and an authentic look at reality TV and Tony – not the host and revered celebrity, but the man. Tony was a person lonely and depressed, and trying to come to terms with himself. And unfortunately the actions had both positive and negative effects on the square world and the ones in his real world.

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