It’s easy to criticise Jamie Oliver. (Bleary-eyed, turnip-faced, lisping wanker.) His TV persona ranges from angry social reformer to wanky road trip student with as much cutting edge as an egg cup. He’s a brand. He’s on plates and mugs and salt pots. He’s everywhere. He’s on your pasta sauce jar and he’s probably shagging your girlfriend. No wonder he always looks so tired. If you can actually see his eyes, which are sinking like sad blue Smarties into his increasingly lardy cookie dough face, they’re practically BLEEDING with fatigue. What’s he doing? Why is he doing it? Can’t he just give it a rest for a bit?
Talking of sleep, Jamie’s Great Britain nearly sent me into a coma. It was a slow, earnest look at the diversity of British cuisine, with a few recipes thrown in. There were facts, tenuously linked. Rhubarb is from China, so let’s cook it with a Chinese man who looks like he’d rather be somewhere else! We like hummous – here’s an Iranian guy in Leeds who makes something that maybe one day will be as popular as hummous! Jamie made up his own gentle fusion recipes and it rolled past like a tranquillised horse falling slowly to the ground.
There was also the usual tedious insistence on cooking outside, which is starting to look odd. In this episode, he cooked in a field with a dog looking at him, then on a wall and then on some steps, which were outside a house which would have surely contained a kitchen.
OK, so some of the usual hateful ingredients were there – in the form of a decommissioned army vehicle converted into a kitchen on wheels ‘cum’ mobile pub. It was called ‘A Cock in Cider’ (GEDDIT). Hilarious, in the kind of way it’s hilarious to refer to your wife as ‘er indoors’ or ‘the breadknife’. Hilarious like an apron with a sausage on it where your knob should be. FUCKING RIB TICKLING. There was also the usual tedious insistence on cooking outside, which is starting to look odd. In this episode, he cooked in a field with a dog looking at him, then on a wall and then on some steps, which were outside a house which would have surely contained a kitchen. There was some crap innuendo involving an electric mixer. But then it was back to earnest conversations about hops and the origin of fish and chips, like some Schools and Colleges programme from 1983.
30 minutes of this and I was longing for a dose of his comedy Italian friend Gino Ginelli, or a gaggle of dickhead faux pals with surfboards eating monkfish kebabs on a beach. Come on, Gino – say ‘Mamma Mia’ and squeeze his fat cheeks! Get in your camper van and get a bunch of middle class kids called Tigerbalm and Honeysuckle to help you make cupcakes! Annoy the shit out of me! Let me know I’m alive!
But it all seemed so tired and uninspired. The food looked great, but Jamie seemed uneasy – like a man in the midst of an identity crisis. Who is he? A political campaigner or a gap year twat with a comedy mobile pub? An intelligent expert in his field or a chirpy Mockney with a disposable barbeque? While he decides, I would suggest one thing. Go to bed, Jamie. At least go and lie down and have a wank or something. And don’t worry - while you’re gone, we’ll just get a takeaway.
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