My Strange Relationship with Bar Rescue and Cable TV


I had intended this week to write a post about my favorite comfort shows. However, not having a computer for the past few weeks, has left me with no shows to comfort me. I have to write something. I’m sure there is something on cable that will catch my eye.

Scrolling through the TV menu on a Sunday afternoon this blog pretty much wrote itself. The early channels are a mixed bag of God shows and football, not for me unfortunately. TLC offers up every type of wedding show you could possibly imagine. Say Yes to the Dress, Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta, Say Yes to the Dress Bridesmaids, Bridal Wars, Four Weddings, Four Weddings Canada, The Brides of Beverly Hills, I could go on and on. These shows all focus on how crazy brides are and how your wedding day is the most important day of your life so if you mess it up your life is pretty much over. How do I know this? When I was getting married I was completely hooked on ALL of them. Moving on to the History channel they are offering up a marathon of a show called Counting Cars. This could be interesting, especially if it’s on the History channel. I click on the menu for more information: “Counting CarsSharron Rides Again” The crew build a motorcycle for a woman who lost one of her legs”. It could be interesting but something in the description reminds me of a bad episode of Police Woman so I move on. CMT is showing something called Mom’s a Medium, nope. There is a show called Ghost Hunters on OLN, I’m skeptical but I’ll read the synopsis. “Ghost Hunters – Hoover Dammed, Nevada’s Boulder City hospital is investigated”, sounds too scary. My usual go to The Food Network is disappointedly showing a marathon of Guys Grocery Games, now I’ll generally watch any show that involves cooking and competition but anything hosted by Guy Fieri is a deal breaker. I could check out the news on CNN but to be honest (and this is embarrassing) I’d rather stick my head in the sand a few months longer as to not add Isis and ebola to my list of phobias. I have car crashes and home invasions to concentrate on right now. On to E! which is showing #Rich Kids of Beverly Hills, just, no. The W Network has a Will and Grace Marathon on. I used to watch it back in the day, let’s see what we got. “Will and Grace – My Fair Maid-y: While Grace is pulling her hair out over a showcase that will be attended by critics, Will hires a maid”. I’m sorry I just can’t. I have very fond memories of hilarious banter between Eric MCormack and Debra Messing and Megan Mullully remains one of my favorite comedic actress ever, but I just can’t bring myself to click “enter”. Without having seen the episode, can I just ask, can’t Will do a little house cleaning? Now this is a TV blog but I must give a shout out to TMC showing “Cool Hand Luke”, Slice for showing “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and AMC for showing “Tree of Life” (however on my most attentive day watching a two and a half hour movie with commercials might be a strain).

I finally settle on Bar Rescue. I recall my fellow blogger Raph quite enjoying the show and it has elements of competition and makeovers so it just might be the show for me!

Bar Rescue is your run of the mill reality show where no nonsense host, John Taffer is called in to a failing bar to use “Bar Science” to “turn money pits into money makers.” As he snarls sternly into the camera during the opening, “I don’t embrace excuses, I embrace solutions.” He uses hidden camera’s and spies to asses the struggling bars problems before aggressively confronting the bar owner about all the things he or she is doing wrong. In this episode the stakes are high. A retired father has poured all of his savings (over $30,000) into a bar he bought for his children who are running it into the ground.

Bar Rescue was a very strange viewing experience for me in that there were some pretty terrible moments, but there were also some pretty neat moments and I actually learned a lot.

Terrible Stuff first: The announcer is unbearable. He dramatically emphasizes every other word as he says things like, “Boston is drenched in a rum soaked history,” or “They’re trying to keep this seaside bar from washing ashore.” Also, every time he mentions any figure at all, the number flashes across the screen intrusively. The show has a tendency to treat its audience as though they are incapable of figuring anything out on their own. They also treat them as though they have no short term memory. As funny/disgusting as it is, I have no desire to see the bartender drink a shot out of his boot 5 times! Another image the show bombards us with is, in my opinion. Very inappropriate. The family’s cousin Lenny use to work in the kitchen and tragically took his own life. Not only does the show mention this over and over and over, but every time his name is mentioned a picture of him fades slowly from colour to black and white. Bar Rescue squeezes every ounce of drama it can from this tragedy. The family has closed down Lenny’s kitchen and it is filmed as though it were an abandoned concentration camp. Then John Taffer forces the family down to the kitchen and yells at them for creating a “dark memoriam”. It’s horrifying.

Neat Stuff: I chose to add this to the neat category because it made me laugh. Continuing with the shows flair for the dramatic, John Taffer describes every problem as though he were going to battle using terms like, “glass crisis,” “production war” or “Shannon just blew you away.” The other really neat thing about the show is I learned alot. I scoffed a little at the term “bar science” but that’s exactly what Taffer uses to turn things around. Here are the fun facts I learned:

  • Over pouring a Blue Hurricane with too much whisky, turns the drink green
  • Guests will remain at a bar 52 minutes longer if it sells food
  • You can calculate the beverage cost by dividing the cost of the product used by the product sold. An ideal beverage cost is 21%
  • If you shape a pizza in a new and interesting way (even if there is less of it) the customer will pay more. This is called the science of perceived value.
  • Florescent lighting fatigues the eye and causes customers to stay 40% less time

I also really loved the makeover of the space. They gave it a really cool and subtle nautical theme. My favorite part was switching out the rickety mechanical bull for a mechanical whale.

In the end Libads doubled their drink sales and brought in $4,601 a month in food sales. Looks like retirement is looking bright for Mr. Demelo!

As for me and cable TV the future is not so bright. I can’t wait to get my computer back. I have episodes of Project Runway, In Treatment and The Sopranos waiting for me.

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