Whorld of Wharton, Take #4

Praise the lord, Paul Wharton is back in Washington, D.C. The last two episodes of “Paul Wharton Style”, airing Sundays at noon on WB 50, have been based in Manhattan and we are ready to have Paul back on familiar territory. He begins the show by telling us that after being on the road and gobbling mac and cheese, his clothes are feeling a little tight. So, he bounces into a training session with his trainer, Laurent. We have to say that we have NEVER seen Paul like this. His hair is pulled back into a ponytail and he’s sporting a white, deep-V-neck T-shirt. He floats around the gym and gets awfully handsy with Laurent as he gets put through his paces. Paul makes a boatload of excuses as to why he’s struggling so much to get through the workout. He tells Laurent, “I’ve been busy. My schedule. My dog. I had to go over there and volunteer at the place.” That seems legit. He “volunteers” at “the place.”

After getting his workout in, Paul heads to the wilds of Virginia for a wine tasting. If there is a common thread that ties together each episode, it’s Paul’s love of booze. Hardly a move gets made without him looking for an excuse to crack open a bottle. The owner of Paradise Springs Winery barely gets the phrase “wine tastings” out of his mouth before Paul perks up and demands a tasting for himself. The nice man tries to educate Paul on the complexities of their wine and Wharton LITERALLY points the bottom of the glass at the ceiling and drains the glass of wine. And he doesn’t stop. There are several scenes of Paul draining glass after glass after glass. As he drinks, his catchphrase is “Down the hatchie.” After about five or six glasses of wine, Paul is clearly drunk. He’s snapping his fingers and dancing and telling people he loves them. While we like Paul, he is a cheap date.

Now that he’s all liquored up, it’s time for food. Paul takes the party to Rogue 24, the restaurant from Chef R.J. Cooper. Paul is sitting in the bar area sucking down even more booze when Cooper meets him and tries to teach him about some of his molecular gastronomy creations in his specially designed kitchen. They spend some time assembling a dish featuring a foam of champagne, squid ink crackers and sea urchins. Shockingly, the name of the dish isn’t sea urchins with squid ink and champagne foam. It’s called “The Ocean Floor Looking Out from the Beach in Santa Barbara.” (There is no way that I could make up some bullshit like that and expect you to believe it.) Noteworthy: Paul is sipping a cocktail this whole time. We are drunk just watching him.

Luckily, the next stop is to get some help at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting a bar! He drops into The Passenger to enjoy a “drink or three.” Paul says he loves to get his “cocktail on.” He gets a drink with lime juice, whiskey and soda called “The Rickey.” It sounds delicious. Paul inhales and immediately moves on to another drink called “The Love Letters” made with rum and ginger beer. Paul declares this to be “his drink.” And then it’s on to ANOTHER drink. It’s a lavender punch made with gin. We are almost certain that we can SEE Paul’s breath on the TV screen.

Of all the “Paul Wharton Style” episodes… this one was my all-time favorite. Finally, Paul got to be Paul. The interview segments were short and sweet. His larger-than-life personality came out on screen. When he is unleashed, we can’t stop watching. Considering we had no idea what to expect when we started this project, Wharton has won us over.