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Travel Shows Were Boring as Fuck, Then Came Anthony Bourdain: New at Reason

The late travel host changed television—and my life.

Once upon a time, travel shows were stodgy as fuck. Television tourism was populated with pleasant, proper people who strolled the Champs-Élysées or the beaches of Rio to show you how to do pleasant, proper, prepackaged things.

Until the 1990s, travel shows were mostly about watching a trusted host sniffing his way through fine wineries, meandering through Baroque Period museums, lounging around four-star hotels, and indulging in the sensual pleasures of eating familiar fare with the right fork at the right restaurant, and always with the right kind of people.

Then came Anthony Bourdain. He began every show with a parental advisory warning and was 10 times snarkier than all the other hosts put together. His punk nonchalance stuck out like a middle finger to every travel show that went before him. He savaged rival chefs by name and held in righteous contempt every culinary fad and pompous ideology that stood in the way of pure food enjoyment.

I liked him immediately.

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