I don’t know if you know this about me, but I have a terrible time relaxing at night. I typically work late 4 nights per week, and by the time I get home, I should really be thinking about winding down and going to bed. But there are a million reasons why I can’t and/or don’t:
- I have been working for the last 12+ hours, and I need some fun
- I am anxious about tomorrow
- Those computer-based puzzle games aren’t going to play themselves
I stall. I watch some TV, play the afore-mentioned games (Fantasy Mosaics 3 is my current fave), and try to unwind with limited success. I work on my blog posts, but at some point I have to cut that off, too, or I get too engrossed and suddenly it’s 3 AM.
So I’ve started trying to find TV shows that relax me, shows that engage me just enough without pissing me off or tempting me to binge-watch. HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” and “Flip or Flop” work pretty well, as does “Property Brothers.” But cooking/food/travel shows rarely make the list. Enter “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having.” It was a Netflix documentary series suggestion, and they’ve been pretty good lately, so I gave it a try. The premise is simple; TV show creator Phil Rosenthal (“Everybody Loves Raymond”), perhaps the most genial guy in the world, travels the globe trying new foods and generally having an adorable, dorky time. I know there are a ton of shows featuring food critics or chefs doing the same thing, but Phil’s a fan, not an expert, and that makes him much more entertaining to watch. And his ability to charm people is practically a superpower. He’s this sweet, sentimental, goofy, good-natured, dad-body guy with a ridiculously expressive face who loves food more than anyone you’ve ever met, and he’s a complete treat to watch.
“The show’s genesis goes back to ‘Raymond’ when Rosenthal and Ray Romano, the show’s star, took a family trip to Italy together. As Rosenthal recalls, “It was wonderful because he was transformed,” Rosenthal says of their pasta, pizza and molto gelato fest. Eventually, the character Raymond and his family went to Italy on a two part episode of “Raymond.” Rosenthal got the idea that he would one day like to do a show where he got the viewer as excited about travel and food as he is. Fifteen years later, PBS agreed.” –Forbes.com
Every show includes a Skype session with his hilariously prosaic New York Jewish parents, and then Phil, with that incredibly rubbery face, tries every food anyone shoves his way. Word to the wise: you may not want to watch it while you’re eating.
Here’s his Italy episode. Mangia bene!
EPILOGUE: Someone pointed me toward the documentary he made about being asked to produce a Russian version of “Raymond.” I’ve only watched the trailer so far, but it’s so funny, I had to clap my hand over my mouth so I didn’t disturb anyone. And it’s on Netflix!!!