This article contains information that could be considered too revealing according to our spoiler policy. Proceed with caution. You can't unsee it!Reason Hulu released the whole season the same day. (It's also aired in the UK.)
Will The Wine Show's Matthews Ever Run Away Together?
And other not-yet-burning questions sparked by S01.E03!
What the hell, Joe?
So, let me get this straight: you're saying that sitting in a sealed wine barrel for forty-five minutes in broad daylight, surrounded by a film crew and a team of winery employees who know exactly where you are, illuminated by your cell phone's flashlight, and with full knowledge that your loved ones are probably safe and you will absolutely be making it out of that barrel alive...is sort of like being transported from Nazi territory to free territory in a wine barrel by the Resistance, as used to happen at Monmousseau winery during World War II?
Whether or not Joe Fattorini thought this segment was a good idea ahead of time, he certainly didn't once he got in that barrel, partly due to mild claustrophobia and partly because it was a terrible idea with zero dramatic teeth. Both of these things became obvious to him around the six-minute mark, as nothing happened and he had to tell us over and over about the...peril...he was...in? Also, this is a dorky documentary show about actors cavorting around Italy and kind of learning about wine! Dramatic teeth are not the point! Even with Matthew Rhys's cursory "hey, dark European history, coming right up" intro, this part of the segment felt super-tone deaf, especially since the story of Monmousseau is so compelling on its own.
What is this, A Prairie Home Companion?
If there's one show in the world that doesn't need a strict formula for recurring segments, it's The Wine Show. Ditch the gadgets section, or just give them their own episode; same for the showoffy chefs' segment. Shorten the show if you have to! Nobody cares.
What happens to Matthew Goode on a "big birthday"?
Bless Matthew Goode's famous and well-paid heart for being properly horrified at the mention of a £1500 birthday gift, especially if it's a machine that mimics a long decanting of your dinner wine in a fraction of the time. (Clearly, he'll be spending any large sum of money on the finest trilby hats and boat shoes that won't make his feet stink, since he has yet to wear socks on this show.)
It bears mentioning that Joe called this machine "fundamentally the coolest gadget I've ever come across," which I guess means he's never heard of a little thing called a Roomba.
At what point do the Matthews steal a Fiat and a cameraman and go rogue?
When I signed on for The Wine Show, I signed on to watch two actors I admire/lust after traipse around the Italian countryside, having adventures and helping me fill out the "Wines I Should Try" list I keep on my phone. About one-sixth of the time, the actual Wine Show delivers -- like, did you see their cute matching chambray shirts in Rome? And look how awkward they were with that Roman historian. I love this show!
The rest of the time...look, I like a gentle travel documentary program, and I'd probably watch a documentary series that actually taught me principles for wine tasting (which I don't think this show does in its current form). This episode did teach me that I should visit the Mornington Peninsula, should I find myself near Melbourne, Australia, and for that, I thank it! But the parts of this show that don't involve the Matthews are so much less fun than the parts that do -- these two handsome actor pals traveling and making tipsy Dad jokes is always going to be the better option. If the whole show were a coherent travelogue where the only dopey hosts were cute people named Matthew -- maybe they spend the whole show trying to fill the special Wine Show wine case -- then we'd be in business. It's not too late!
Can't we decant Joe and let him breathe?
As much as I'd prefer that The Wine Show were The Actors Named Matthew Show, the moments where Joe gets to do his thing are pretty amazing -- like when he smells a wine and can immediately identify where it came from, and can tell that the cheese someone added is "very distinctive" Pecorino (...sure) and not one of the other one zillion hard Italian cheeses on hand. He's an expert, and some in-depth wine-tasting instruction from him sounds both interesting and useful. His time (and ours) would be better spent if they'd only let him talk more about particular wines, not just locations and gadgets.
When can we take the Matthews to Trader Joe's?
I'm just saying, if Joe and the Matthews wanted to take a tour of their local TJ's and tell us all exactly which of the wines we refuse to pay more than $12 for are secretly first-class wines, and which ones are just swill, I think we'd all feel a lot more confident at future dinner parties. (My Trader Joe's just started carrying Miraval, the rosé made by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's winery, which was featured in Episode 2. Joe says it's very good, which I would not have known! See how helpful that was?) Make Season 2 the Trader Joe's season; I'm here for it.