Heart hurting right now? "Somebody Feed Phil," season three, will soothe your aching soul
Updated: Jun 1
America's in pain right now. Reeling. Raw.
A vicious virus has swept away over 100,000 precious souls. Mobs of angry people are setting fires in the streets of several cities. And our crude, narcissistic, race baiting, snake oil salesman of a president would rather fan the flames than acknowledge the despair that fuels them.
We need a miracle. Or at least a break. And...
Well, okay, this is Phil Rosenthal's face when he tastes something really delicious:
That is also Phil's face when he meets someone really "delicious." Or sees, does, feels something wonderful.
Which seems to happen every five minutes or so on Somebody Feed Phil, his Netflix tour de force which just returned for a third season just when we all need some love. And serious food porn.
Hugs the world with those eyes, Phil does. With good reason. He's lived a wonderful life.
He was raised by doting parents with whom he shares every adventure. He created Everybody Loves Raymond, one of the most popular TV comedies of all time. And he has a loving brother, a delightful wife, beautiful children and famous and not-so-famous friends all over the world who absolutely adore him.
Everyone who meets this man adores him. In fact, right at the beginning of the second episode, filmed in my Sweet Home Chicago, (I'm a Bronzeville baby), there's a moving moment that illustrates this beautifully.
Happens at Jim's one of Chicago's favorite "hole in the wall" hotdog stands. This is no ordinary greasy spoon, though. People make pilgrimages to this place. A Black motorcycle club from Indiana is getting their grub on when Phil arrives.
And as Phil and his guest, Julia Sweeney (AKA "Pat" from SNL), are trying to decide which dog to try, a big guy named Tony steps up to steer them to a local favorite. Followed, soon after, by another guy who offers to pay for whatever Phil and Julia finally choose.
"That's how we do it in Chicago, baby," he tells them.
Absolute truth. You ask a Chicagoan for directions, they'll tell you how to get where you want to go, but insist that you come home and have dinner with the family before you go.
Of course, after graciously declining the offer because "this is big TV money here," Phil picks up the tab for everybody.
That's how Phil does it. Everywhere.
And from the first shot of Buckingham Fountain in full froth, to the moment when he tears up over a very special gospel song he hears at good old Ebenezer Baptist--he visits my beloved Bronzeville twice--he paints a soul stirring and remarkably insightful portrait of a city that is far too often defined solely by its crime statistics.
I sobbed through the entire episode. I did. I couldn't help it.
I'm watching this happy guy gliding down the Chicago River in one of the water taxis my daughter adores so much--best way to see the breathtakingly beautiful Chicago architecture--and the tears won't stop.
He's hitting me where I lived. But he's telling me things even I didn't know.
Look, do your heart a favor. Turn off CNN and MSNBC and binge this show today.
Let it lift you up and show you the best we can be.
And thanks again, Phil. We needed this.