The 10 Best Food & Beverage Industry TV Shows

The cancellation of Party Down is proof that all your offerings to the TV gods have been in vain.
The cancellation of Party Down is proof that all your offerings to the TV gods have been in vain.

There are very few television shows that accurately -- or even adequately -- depict the realities of running a restaurant, a bar, a catering company, even a grocery store. If you were to take It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia as your only example of bar management, you'd be knee-deep in sewage-covered bills that are three months overdue and smoking even more crack cocaine after the bank takes Paddy's and leaves you on welfare, for real this time.

But that doesn't mean we don't love these shows, regardless of how unrealistic their depiction of a pizza parlor or a diner. We love them because they take the more dumbfounding aspects of these jobs and turn them in for laughs, and the best laughs are often had at our own past experiences. We love them because so many of us have suffered the indignities of having to wear a bright pink bowtie to work or begging vendors for extensions during tough times.

Speaking of which...

10. Party Down

This show about the often depressing nature of being a low-level catering company employee, serving high-powered people in an industry you're desperate to be a part of someday, was the highlight of Jane Lynch's career. Not Glee. And the only reason it's not higher on this list is the even more depressing fact that it was cancelled after two seasons. Damn you, Adam Scott.

9. Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place

Perhaps the most unrealistic show on this list (leaving aside, of course, the absurdist humor of Sunny), this show's only saving grace was that it gave us Ryan Reynolds. And for that, I'll endure a dozen characters named "Berg" and lines like, "Who poured you a double mocha grumpy this morning?"

8. It's a Living

Remember this show? No? It launched Ann Jillian's career! Wait, you don't remember Ann Jillian either? No matter. This show was a poor man's Alice anyway, except set in the swanky Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles instead of a diner.

7. 10 Items or Less

This quirky comedy was smarter and funnier than most that TBS delivers, exploring modern workplace inanities -- everything from health insurance to sexual harassment -- and the struggles of keeping a small business afloat amidst pressure from larger competitors. Then again, would you have shopped at Greens & Grains?

6. Frank's Place

It's tough to call Frank's Place a comedy, although it was pitched as such. Watch a few old episodes on YouTube and you'll see that this "comedy" about a man who relocates from New England to New Orleans to run a restaurant he's inherited is, in fact, quite dark at times. Long before Treme was exploring a post-Katrina landscape, Frank's Place was asking similarly tough questions about black culture and the stark differences between North and South.

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