Overrated/Underrated: David Chang’s ‘Ugly Delicious,’ and so what if Oscar ratings are down?
“Ugly Delicious” on Netflix: Just when it seemed television had exhausted various ways to build a show around the genius chef, the genre finds new ground in the hands of Momofuku czar David Chang. Assisted by writer and longtime collaborator Peter Meehan, Chang’s documentary series is less about his food and any luxurious plates of far-flung delicacies and more a thoughtful look at what how and why various cuisines continue to evolve. Of particular note is a taco-centric episode that’s required viewing for anyone in need of a boost in civic pride about the pleasures of L.A.
Dedekind Cut’s “Tahoe”: A welcome new voice in the typically slow-moving field of ambient music who first made his reputation producing hip-hop records for Inspectah Deck and Joey Badass, the Sacramento-born Lee Bannon shows a knack for building an immersive atmosphere on his first album with the indie label Kranky. Songs like “Virtues” occupy a similarly lush head space as some music by Brian Eno, while others swirl together distant chants, nature sounds and keyboards to craft instrumental epics suitable for the album’s title, like the haunting “MMXIX” and “Hollow Earth.”
The Oscars’ ratings “problem”: Some hand-wringing and presidential Twitter-gloating was in order as last Sunday’s telecast hit a ratings low with “only” 26.5 million viewers. While this will lead to calls for more popular movies to be nominated — and the blockbuster “Black Panther” should be remembered in 2019 — critical praise and popularity don’t often meet. Certainly, the industry needs to work on diversity in its voices, but otherwise Hollywood should just relax. Maybe the mistake was thinking so many millions of people should care about the Oscars in the first place.
“The Bachelor” outrage: Recovering from a ratings slump that seemed to point to the end of the surprisingly durable quasi-reality franchise, the latest season of “The Bachelor” upset its fan base (while upping its ratings in the process) with some bad behavior by the man in question, Arie Luyendyk Jr. While the absurd appearance of a bunch of billboards in L.A. and Minnesota should tidily put an end to any serious attempts at future “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”-inspired displays of outrage, it’s a dark day when the realization hits that a person who grew famous from reality TV could betray our trust.
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