Million Dollar Critic

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Million Dollar Critic TV Poster Image
Brash British critic looks for review-worthy American fare.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Restaurant owners are seen as hardworking and dedicated. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Coren comes off as a bit of a jerk, mocking those who make and serve his food, sometimes good-naturedly, sometimes not. 

Violence
Sex

The occasional mild off-color comment; for example, Coren compares large beans to a lamb's testicles. 

Language

Occasional cursing: "clenched ass," bleeped "f---k"s. 

Consumerism

Restaurant locations, dining rooms, and storefronts are shown extensively, and the menus is shown and discussed at length. Coren plugs the paper for which he works in England. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Coren and others drink wine and other alcohol at dinner; alcohol may be included in some dishes. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Million Dollar Critic is a show featuring Giles Coren, an English newspaper food critic touring American cities as he pits restaurants against each other to see which one will earn a coveted review. Coren's language is a bit salty (think Gordon Ramsay), but curses are bleeped and not that frequent. Coren mocks the restaurant owners and chefs at times, and some parents may not enjoy their kids hearing the name-calling. Restaurant logos, interiors, and menus are shown frequently on-screen. It's not the highest-stakes reality competition in the world, but some kids may be intrigued by the importance of getting a good review to ensure a restaurant's future.

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What's the story?

In Europe, a review from influential London Times critic Giles Coren can shut a restaurant down -- or make it oodles of cash. In the hour-long series MILLION DOLLAR CRITIC, Coren comes to America, traveling to lesser-known foodie cities such as Philadelphia and Charleston, South Carolina, to suss out which (if any) of each city's best restaurants may be worth reviewing. On each episode, Coren visits five restaurants. Restaurateurs find out if they're the chosen ones by seeing which review pops up on the Huffington Post. 

Is it any good?

Back home, Coren is viewed as a bit of a blowhard, but his restaurant reviews are indeed influential. Worth a million dollars in publicity, though? That's arguable. His currency is worth much, much less in America, where few outside dedicated Anglophiles have ever heard of him. That makes his buffoonish behavior, such as mocking one chef for "ordering for" him and another for daring to suggest that a plate of radishes should be dipped in its accompanying sauce, a lot harder to take. If what the chefs might ultimately gain from serving Coren is worth far less than a million bucks, why should they treat him like that's what he's worth? 

Nonetheless, it's always interesting watching people order and eat food, and Coren has a few critics' rules that make things more interesting, such as: "Always order the most disgusting thing on the menu. A good chef will make it delicious." "I try it so you don't have to" (as he's about to tuck into a sheep's-head soup). That's good stuff; watching chefs trying to please someone who seems more interested in scoring points than finding the best food, not as much. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Is the premise of Million Dollar Critic sound? Giles Coren's reviews may (or may not) be worth a million dollars in profits in London; but are they worth that much in the United States? Do you think the American restaurant owners featured really feel the stakes are this high? 

  • Do you read restaurant reviews? Do they help you decide where to eat or what to order once there? 

  • How is the audience supposed to view Giles Coren? Are we supposed to find him charming? Obnoxious? Wise? Funny? How can you tell?

TV details

For kids who love restaurant reality

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