Last night, Andrew Zimmern’s latest TV project Border Check aired as a pilot on the Travel Chanel. On this show, it seems, the things Zimm will do for television are finally not hinged upon consuming strange delicacies. Instead, the host gets into nearly Bourdainish hijinks while traversing the U.S.-Mexico border (if picked up, future episodes will explore other border zones).
Since long-time Bourdain team Zero Point Zero is behind the show, the concept makes sense, and we’re already into the strange cross of odd cultural vignettes with jovial Zimmern-ity we saw in the premiere. For instance: while we’re sure that this massage from a sobador, or a Mexican street masseuse, is actually quite relaxing, it looks frightening and invasive:
On the other hand, here’s a bit of cultural cross-pollination: the perfect Caesar salad can be found in Tijuana, where it was invented at the Hotel Caesar (even if we’ll ding Lorena Garcia for making that claim endlessly).
The stylistic mashup is slightly jarring: to use a metaphor, what if Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas replaced Raoul Duke with Santa Claus? That’s what this show feels like. If Travel gives Border Check a summer slot to compete with CNN’s Sunday night food-personality-on-the-road show Parts Unknown, we’ll have to get over it and stay tuned.
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