Friday, March 10, 2006

Buffets on TV and in the Movies

Last week's episode of Las Vegas featured a storyline around the new buffet opened at the fictional casino in the show - The Montecido. The story involved a finger found in the shrimp cocktail. Gross, but it could happen! Around the story, the corporate operations manager is upset about how much everyone is eating at the buffet - and how they are sure to lose money. One quick scene to illustrate this is an obese family of four devouring everything in front of them. (A common site to many of us who frequent these restaurants.)

A long time back on one of the popular police shows, the squad was called to come to a local buffet, where a diner pulled a chair up to the buffet table and started to eat directly from the serving trays. The detectives responded and were confronted by an obese man who insisted that he paid for all he can eat and he was going to do that right at the steam table. As I recall there was quite a struggle to get him away.

There is a very funny scene in National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation where Clark and Cousin Eddie go to the casino buffet. They are moving along the serving line and there are two trays - one blue goop and one yellow goop. Cousin Eddie makes a comment about chicken and the server behind the counter looks at the two trays and says that signs are mixed up - the blue is not the chicken, the yellow is the chicken! A following scene shows them eating and Eddie brings out plastic bags and starts filling them from his plate.

The buffet never really shines in the movies or on television. It is used to show people stuffing themselves or is illustrated of low class dining. They never show a really nice restaurant as a buffet - which we know there are. The buffet generally is depicted as the depths of dining out - not even fast food gets as low a play as buffets. Sadly this is the association. Then again with some of the things that are actually seen at buffets this is not so far off the mark. (If only more people with read and follow the rules, we could really change this image!)

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