I like both of these shows. Sound Opinions fits in the classic Chicago mold of having two critics, one fat and one thin, debate about their reviews. Of the two, Greg Kot is the one whose opinions I respect more (much like if Ebert and Siskel split, 9 times out of 10 I agreed with Ebert). Jim DeRogatis is an annoyingly personal critic, fond of ad hominem attacks such as when he disagrees with Kot shouting “You fell for it!” I also hate their slogan “The World’s only Rock and Roll talk show” because it is blatantly false. What the hell has Rockline been for the last 25 years? Overall though, I like it and I learn stuff and I enjoy catching it on Sunday nights.
Check Please is interesting. We like to watch it even though there is little chance of us eating at most of the restaurants they feature. I hate “trendy” places, which is at least 50% of the nominated restaurants on the show. Last night a woman described a restaurant as a “great place to see and be seen.” Well, there is no one I want to see and no one I want to be seen by, so that’s pretty unimportant to me. I seldom eat at $30 a person restaurants full of yuppies. Despite that, I enjoy watching this show. What I really like is the interpersonal dynamic. I try to figure out which psuedo-hipsters are going to hate which restaurants. My game is to figure out in the first minute which people will hate the suggestions of which people. I have noticed a strong tendency for urban hipster types to hate the restaurants of the non-urban hipster types, and this is pretty much independent of what the restaurant serves. The first restaurant I’ve seen on there that I really feel compelled to try is Army and Lou’s on the south side. I know it seems weird to leave the south and immediately have a hankering for the southern cooking restaurants, but I love this kind of food.
We haven’t really been here long enough to have too many rituals, but I find this is a great way to mark the demarcation of the end of one week and the beginning of another. All hail WTTW!