Writer-producer Phil Rosenthal travels across the world, partaking in activities with locals in this travel show. The only thing he asks for in return is that someone feed him. Rosenthal, the creator of the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, returns with season three of Somebody Feed Phil. In this five-part season, he visits Marrakesh, Chicago, London, Seoul and Montreal. In each episode, Phil explores the city, often accompanied by family (his brother Richard is the director) and friends, and has a video call with family members back home.
The show skims the surface of food cultures
The first episode is filmed in Marrakesh, which was one of stops in David Chang’s Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner as well. Everywhere he goes, Rosenthal takes with him an almost childlike enthusiasm. To be sure, Rosenthal offers no new insight into the food cultures of these places. It’s hardly new to eat hot dogs in Chicago or fish and chips in London. In Montreal, Rosenthal spends time in the room where Lenon and his wife Yoko Ono had their Bed-In protest against the Vietnam War. Yet the series is charming thanks to Rosenthal’s screen presence and his self deprecating humour.
Rosenthal is a cheery presence
Rosenthal loves to eat, but he’s not an expert and he doesn’t pretend to be one. The series is more about Rosenthal’s experiences than a portrait of the city itself. He throws himself amidst people and experiences. For instance, Rosenthal hesitates but goes ahead to sample san-nakji, freshly-severed still-spasming raw octopus tentacles in a Seoul market.
In every episode, Rosenthal speaks to his family in the US over a video call. These interludes are heartwarming and amusing as Rosenthal senior likes to crack a dad joke or two.
WATCH OR NOT
This show is not a deep look at the history of a dish or cooking technique like Gordon Ramsay’s Unchartered or an anthropological view of food like Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. Somebody Feed Phil is food travel lite. It’s fun, full of humour and delivers the vicarious pleasure of the best travel shows.
Creator: Philip Rosenthal, Richard Rosenthal
Cast: Phil Rosenthal
Seasons: 3 (2018-2020)
Streaming on: Netflix