Sep 18th 2007 By: John Anderson
Regular readers may recall Greg McElhatton's preview post
a few weeks back alerting us to Harvey Pekar's then upcoming appearance on No Reservations
, Anthony Boudain's excellent show on the Travel channel. For those unfamiliar with the Emmy-nominated series, each episode centers on a specific city or country, with Bourdain sharing insights on the local people, culture, sights and, most importantly, cuisine. It's powerfully addictive TV of the best kind and, if you'll pardon the expression, there are no empty calories.
Past episodes have been filmed in such exotic locales as Indonesia, Malaysia, Namibia and Iceland, but the episode focused on Cleveland featured something that none of those locales can boast: a special guest in the form of comics genius, Harvey Pekar. It's worth noting that when Bourdain has guests on his show, they're rarely on camera for more than a single segment (about 10 minutes), so that's what I was prepared for with Pekar's appearance. I'm happy to report, however, that I was very pleasantly surprised to find that Pekar (along with his inimitable cohort, Toby) were present for fully half of the hour-long episode, and their appearance made for some classic television.
The producers of the show were even clever enough to have commissioned Pekar and his frequent collaborator Gary Dumm to create an exclusive comic detailing the experience. Portions of the resulting comic were artfully interspersed throughout the episode (a la the American Splendor
movie) but, for those who missed the airing of the episode, I've got some good news. Not only did Pekar write a comic about the filming, but Bourdain wrote one as well (also illustrated by Dumm), and both are available for free on the Travel Channel Web site
. Bon apetit!