Another reality program has descended upon Washington, hoping to make-over one more of our struggling businesses/institutions for the amusement of a television audience. The only difference this time is that the crews were invited by Michelle Obama.
“Restaurant: Impossible,” hosted by Food Network’s favorite resume padder Robert Irvine, is tasked with remaking Horton’s Kids, a Ward 8 organization that empowers neighborhood children by, among other things, providing after-school meals. The first lady asks Irvine to create a dining room, rebuild a kitchen and plant a garden — all in two days.
You’ll get to see the process condensed down to an hour at 10 p.m. Wednesday on Food Network.
One can only hope Irvine will be more successful than Jon Taffer’s facelift of Silver Spring’s once-and-future Piratz Tavern. Taffer and his “Bar Rescue” crew visited the grog-heavy pub in February and deemed it a place for scurvy misfits, not serious diners. The Spike TV host opted for a radical makeover, transforming the pirate playland into the Corporate Bar and Grill.
The Dilbert-esque theme lasted just over a week before the owners made the concept walk the plank.
Clearly, Irvine has no similar grand designs for Horton’s Kids; his task is more straightforward. The question is whether his renovations will be made on the cheap — essentially burdening the nonprofit with inferior equipment in the name of feel-good TV — or built to last. For the sake of Horton’s Kids, here’s hoping it is the latter.
Regardless, you have to hand it to the first lady for finding ways to use pop-culture TV to promote her various agendas, whether childhood obesity on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” support for military families on Nickelodeon’s “iCarly” or healthful eating on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.”