Last month Steve Johnson, pop culture writer at the Chicago Tribune, wrote an article about the identity crisis which seems to be gripping some fast food chains. Johnson points to relatively recent events like Subway offering falafel and McDonald’s foray into premium coffee, but this trend is something CT and I have discussed for years.
Wendy’s has always been our poster child for this behavior, because we were such fans of the classic Wendy’s offerings. The various experiments have included the SuperBar, pitas, Frescata sandwiches, various attempts at breakfast, and boneless wings among others. Dave Thomas was around for some of those, but the menu extensions seem to have come more frequently since his passing in 2002. It would have been somewhat understandable if the base product was mediocre to bad like McDonald’s, but Wendy’s has always had a solid formula in my book. As Johnson points out, there’s a lot to be said for a place with simple options that are done right (Jimmy John’s, Chipotle, In-n-Out Burger).
Let’s hear it, fellow lunchers. What are your favorite examples of fast food places straying from the path?
Now this web series can officially be called a series. Presenting episode 2 of "Nerd Lunch: The Web Series." Savannah and I return and this time we meet up with the warriors who play Dagorhir on the Florida State University campus every Saturday. We also go to the Nerd Lunch Test Kitchen and the gals from WhatTastyFood.com join us to talk about their blog and show us how to make lentil soup. (The Nerd Lunch Test Kitchen courtesy of White Oak Construction.)
Gil Gerard headlines Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. This show was heavily inspired by the success of Star Wars and borrows heavily from the James Bond franchise as well. Over-ambitious in its goals, Buck Rogers fails to deliver on what could have been a serious social commentary on where our world is heading. I picked up the entire series (two seasons) for $10. As Twiki would say, "Bidi-bidi-bidi, that's a hard price to turn down!"
Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno star as David Banner and the Hulk respectively in The Incredible Hulk. Bixby is the ever-reliable, solid, stalwart scientist who has been cursed with this beast that lives within him. He is a trouble magnet and inevitably tries to do the right thing at the risk of becoming the Hulk, usually twice per episode. Very much inspired by The Fugitve, he wanders from town to town hoping to find a cure but usually getting wrapped up in some sort of protection scheme or drug deal situation gone wrong. The show lasted for five seasons and I managed to snag the complete set for less than $40.
The Incredible Hulk debuted when I was probably still in diapers. And Buck Rogers not too long after that. I have fond memories of both of these shows from my days as a wee lad. And I had great fun watching them later in reruns. I recall one summer spent watching The Incredible Hulk everyday on WGN. In spite of the fact that Buck was cheesy and schlocky and the Hulk was overly formulaic and predictable, these two shows certainly make up part of my "nerd DNA." I look forward to revisiting them in the coming weeks/months ahead.
Do you have any fond memories of these shows? What old shows, good or bad, make up your "nerd DNA"?