See also: Local Restaurants Featured on Mystery Diners See also: Phoenix Area Restaurants Featured on Mystery Diners Find a Mixed Bag of Reactions See also: Kim Brennan of Big Earl's Greasy Eats Pushes Back Against Cave Creek Conservative Columnist, Defends Mystery Diners Episode and Plans White Trash Bash
Those of us who've subjected ourselves to the painfully bad acting on Food Network's Mystery Diners have suspected from the get-go that the so-called reality show is completely scripted.
Now Dwayne Allen of The Breadfruit takes us one step closer to unraveling the mystery behind this embarrassing farce, which has made a half dozen of our local bars and restaurants (not to mention the people who run them) look so woefully clueless we wonder that any of them have managed to stay in business five minutes.
Here's what he told Chow Bella in a phone interview, after noticing that the Big Earl's Goes Wild episode (which features a Big Earl's Greasy Eats bartender and her shocking shenanigans) had a familiar ring to it:
Allen received a phone call from Food Network, which set up the Mystery Diners show as a partnership with Bon Appetit -- a detail that definitely perked him up and got him listening.
When he asked the caller, "How did you all decide on The Breadfruit?" he says he was told, "We're contacting some of the area's most popular restaurants," which immediately aroused the savvy restaurant owner's suspicion.
Allen says he thought to himself, "You kiddin' me? I'm still trying to grow this thing. Nobody knows who we are!" (Which demonstrates a much firmer grasp on reality than we've seen on the program.)
Nevertheless, he listened just long enough to determine the whole thing sounded a mite shady.
Allen says the Food Network representative went on to postulate, "Let's say you have a bartender who has a soft spot for pretty women. We'll bring in the pretty women, and we'll set up the cameras so you can bust him."
"But we don't have a bartender with a soft spot for women," Allen recalls responding, adding a quick, "No thanks; we'll pass on that" before he could find out if Food Network intended to supply the bartender as well as the female lookers.
He does say, somewhat delicately, "They were very frank in explaining how the show works. I mean, I would imagine they don't have a lot of time to sit around and wait to catch this guy...."
Of course, nobody who actually signed on for this fantasy fluff will admit to its fakery -- probably because they were forced to sign a non-disclosure before the show was taped.
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The real mystery is that local participants still believe such idiotic programming could be good for either their business or their branding, once the initial curiosity has worn off.