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Good Eats: Behind the Eats

Alton departs from his usual cooking show to give viewers a look behind the scenes at what goes into making an episode of Good Eats. Along the way we meet a number of the skilled folks how appear in front of and behind the camera to make it happen.

Episode Info  

Episode number: 9x22
Production Number: EA0922
Airdate: Saturday July 29th, 2006

Writer: Alton Brown

Bart HansardBart Hansard
As Various (archive footage)
Daniel PettrowDaniel Pettrow
As Various (archive footage)
John HerinaJohn Herina
As Elton Brown (archive footage)
Merrilyn CrouchMerrilyn Crouch
As Marsha Brown (archive footage)
Steve RooneySteve Rooney
As Various (archive footage)
Vickie EngVickie Eng
As W, herself


Alton opens at the Good Eats Operations Center (located on the outskirts of a town just like yours), where mailman Mel staggers in under a load of fan mail. Seems Mel’s getting just a little tired of carrying letters containing the same questions to the show, so Alton proposes to answer some of those questions, for the viewers... and for Mel...

Read the full recap
Episode Notes
  • AB’s real home kitchen appeared in one episode
  • The largest set ever built for Good Eats was the beach for “Squid Pro Quo.”
  • The food in the fridge may be fake but the food cooked on Good Eats is always real.
  • Okay, half an hour is not going to cut it. So stay tuned.
  • It takes an average of three days to shoot a Good Eats episode.

Script supervisor Katherine S. reads a newspaper whose headline is "Toxic Co-worker." Could she be making a comment about her boss? Or he about her? We may never know...

ArtistSong TitlePlayed When
Mike OldfieldTubular Bells (remix) 

Episode Quotes
(Mel, the mailman, enters Good Eats Central)
Alton: Hi, Mel, how ya doin’ today?
Mel: How do you think I’m doin’? I’m broken down, tired, and nearly crippled by the loads of fan mail that pour into this building everyday – all begging you to divulge the secrets behind this culinary circus o’ yours!!
Alton: Um, as you can see, Mel is grateful to have such an important job. Ah, but lately, we’ve become a little worried about him…
Mel: Well, look at this… it’s the 6,450th letter wondering if W is your wife!
Alton: Um, so, you know, we’ve decided that, uh, maybe it’s just time that we take a half an hour and give you folks a glimpse into how those of us who make Good Eats… make Good Eats!
Mel: Oh, here’s a good one – is that your kitchen! Mr. Brown? Can you guess how many of my vertebrae have been crushed to dust by me bearing that very same question to your door, day in and day out for six years?!?
Alton: Gee, I don’t know, Mel… (sotto voce) You can see our dilemma, can’t you?
Mel: (tossing letters angrily) How do you get the camera in the oven? Is Auntie Puddin’ your mom? Was that meatball real? (collapses, sobbing)

Alton: Wanna know what goes into a Good Eats episode? Well, I’ll tell you – there’s a recipe. A secret recipe that I keep stashed here just in case I forget the ingredients myself...

Alton: I like to say that I get my ideas because two weeks before starting the writing process I go off my medication… (forced laugh) yeah, that’s not really a very good answer... The truth is, to get my ideas I generally read all the research over and over, and then I sit in a room and go like this... (He adopts a mindless stare.) ... for like, ten to twelve hours a day.

Alton: I do think that camaraderie is an important ingredient on the Good Eats set. This is especially true of location work, where very often a large number of highly paid technicians stand around and do nothing but drink coffee while they’re waiting for somebody to put up a light or move a car or something like that.

Alton: On an average location day, you’ll get up bright and early, lug a bunch of equipment, rewrite your script a few times, then do some shooting, then do some fishing. You’ll watch TV, then you’ll rehearse with your actors, shoot some more, fish some more, watch some more TV, do some cooking in a place where cooking really shouldn’t be done, watch some more TV, then maybe throw a party and go home. See, it’s easy, and anyone can do it!

Alton: You see, the Good Eats kitchen, well, it’s more than a place. You know, it’s kind of like the car on Knight Rider – it’s a character itself, and it’s a character that’s full of secrets.

Alton: (discovering the property master throwing darts at his picture) So… this is how you spend your time…

Alton: Todd, here, this is our... he’s been the lead propsman now for how many years?
Todd: Ah, since the pilot.
Alton: Since the pilot, so it’s... seven years.
Todd: Seven years.
Alton: But they’re Alton years, which is like dog years. Working with me has... he looks young, but he’s a broken old man, which is why we got him this rocking chair. (Moving to another part of the prop room.) Paul has been the second propsman ever since... ever since... when did you come on? Season two. We got him as part of a work release program from a correctional facility.

Alton: Whenever you see a hand bringing me things and whatnot, you might be reminded of Thing on the Addams Family, for those of you like me that are old enough to remember that. Unfortunately, Thing passed away not long after the Addams Family completed production. He wasn’t able to get work, became addicted to finger food, eventually died. But he had a son, before that, Thing Jr. We’ve been lucky enough to secure Thing Jr. for several seasons.

Alton: Another element of the Good Eats recipe? Top-notch experts.

Alton: If you ask me, a great majority of the food and cooking programs on today could be improved with the cunning use of costumes.

Alton: Ever notice how the cooking on Good Eats seems... carefree and easy? Well, that’s got nothing to do with my skills as a chef. What it has to do with is my staff of crafty culinarians. What to crafty culinarians do? Just about everything that doesn’t happen to the food on camera.

Alton: My mom was the only kitchen staff that I had on the pilot episode. And not only did she do it all by herself, she’d just had surgery!

Alton: As you can see, family is pretty gosh darned important to me. Problem is that I don’t have that many family members that will actually... take my calls. So when I need extra family, sometimes I just invent them using, that’s right, skilled thespians!

Alton: Well, I hope that we have answered any burning questions that you folks have about Good Eats. As you can see, we’re just a happy little band of Americans making a straightforward, humble cooking show. Sure, we joke around a little but in the end, it’s all about the food.

Cultural References
The commentary by the property master and his assistant: “backdrop $350, sand $600, time on a cooking show: priceless” is a take-off on a series of credit card ads from the late 1990s through the 2000s.

Knight Rider (1982) featured David Hasselhoff playing against a car with a computerized brain. K.I.T.T., or the “Knight Industries Two Thousand” was created to help Hasselhoff’s character Michael Knight correct injustice. Voiced by William Daniels, the machine qualified as a character.

Director of photography Marion L. calls his multifunction remote his "precious." Evidently he regards it in much the same way Gollum regarded the One Ring in J.R.R. Tolkein’s epic, “The Lord of the Rings.” One must hope that the remote does not do to Marion what the ring did to Gollum!

Alton compares his ankle mounted microphone power pack and transmitter to an anklet worn by Martha Stewart. In late 2004 Stewart went to prison after being convicted of insider trading. When released in early March of 2005, she was required to wear an location monitor anklet for an additional five months under the terms of her house arrest.

Wearing an onion head, Alton utters "Luke... I’m your father," a slightly misquoted line from 1980's Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back. During a lightsaber duel between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, Vader reveals that he is Skywalker's father. Previously, Obi-Wan Kenobi told Luke that Vader murdered his father. Vader’s voice was deep and somewhat muffled as a consequence of severe injuries suffered years earlier that required him to wear a life support system built into a suit of armor. Vader's actual reply to Luke, when accused of murdering Luke's father, is, "No. I am your father.

Alton's suggestion that the geeks shall inherit the Earth paraphrases a beatitude, a kind of Biblical blessing/prediction. The original is “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.” This is one of many, many variations that have been coined over the years.

Monty Python was a comedy troop organized by six men who did television specials and movies, including Monty Python's Flying Circus. The tragic loss of Graham Chapman to throat cancer effectively ended the troop’s career, as the various members have committed to reuniting only when they can all do so, which would require some sort of miracle. Most of them have enjoyed successful post Python solo careers.

Episode References
The episode contains clips from many, many episodes. These include "Shell Game IV", "The Art of Darkness", "Squid Pro Quo", "Use Your Noodle II", "The Muffin Method Man", "Tender is the Loin 1", "Tender is the Loin 2", "Raising the Bar", "I, Pie", "Romancing the Bird - A Good Eats Thanksgiving" and "Power Trip."

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