The Frugal Gourmet Dies
Jeff Smith, the Frugal Gourmet has died in his sleep. Judith Blake of the Seattle Times writes very even handedly about a sensitive subject:
"Jeff Smith, the once-celebrated 'Frugal Gourmet' TV chef who fell from grace, was a hard man to peg.
"To some, the Seattle-based Smith, who died Wednesday, was a 'genius' of food and the culture surrounding it. His high spirits, acts of generosity and stalwart friendship, they say, were the true measure of the man.
"To others, he was a tyrant of the public-TV production set, a tireless self-promoter and a chef of mediocre culinary talent.
"He was accused in three lawsuits of sexually abusing some of the young men who worked for him, ending his television career in the 1990s.
"When Mr. Smith died, at age 65, those questions still surrounded him."
According to a Jump the Shark posters, "It jumped the shark at the end, when Mr. Gourmet sexually harassed his male assistant and it was hushed up. I think this was PBS's greatest scandal. Other than that though, the recipes were great. I really miss it. I'd probably still watch the show. I don't care that Mr. Gourmet is a poof."
Would that it were only that simple. Another poster on Jump the Shark amplifies:
"This show jumped when it was clear that Craig was more than the Frugal Gourmet's 'assistant.' During Craig's first year, he made an occasional appearance helping the Frug' chop onions or something. Then as the months progressed more and more shows featured Craig and his talents. Then if you watched the videos of the trips to Spain and Rome, you wondered ... why is Craig featured in every snippet? Of course, once the Frug' got arrested for his questionable activities with young boys, it all became painfully clear."
Jeff Smith was a haunted man who now, if you go in for that sort of thing, has a reckoning. And if you don't he is now presiding over a frugal gourmet for a certain convocation of politic worms, not where he eats, but where he is eaten.
Jeff Smith, RIP