Bar Rescue is throwing it back to some of the show’s most classic episodes, with the Paramount Network series unveiling a Pop-Up Video style subset called “The Dirty Truth” that adds new factoids to old rescues. It’s an increasingly common approach as TV networks try to get new life out of prior content – but with Bar Rescue you can’t help but want to see some of these again.
This week’s episode revisits “Anything You Can Yell, I Can Yell Louder” which is part of Bar Rescue season 4, that originally aired in 2014. If you missed it, the original is available on Amazon Video. But just for fun, I’m adding my own (equally not that serious) commentary to the action the second time around. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy rewatching this episode as much as I did.
WARNING: This commentary, like the episode, contains some strong language.
“Anything You Can Yell, I Can Yell Louder” focuses on Jack’s Ale House in New York. The McGowan brothers (Jimmy, Brian and John) are trying to recover their bar after failing to keep up with the times despite a previous renovation – except, as the title indicates, they’re usually too busy yelling at one another to actually accomplish their goal.
Jon Taffer has brought Russell Davis and Vic Vegas in for this rescue. These are two people you do not want to start a fight with (three if you count Jon), so this is the perfect group to wrangle a family doing nothing but fighting. “With owners this huge, who needs bouncers?” the caption quips, and that is no lie.
Jon compares the McGowans to the Tubridy family from the third season’s “Hurricane Jon vs. Hurricane Sandy” episode, with good reason: he’s brought them in from Bungalow Bar to be his recon spies. The Tubridys and their bartender Sean are recognized as soon as they stroll in the door, while Russell is aghast that the bartenders at Jack’s Ale House don’t know how to make either a cosmopolitan or a Harvey Wallbanger.
There is one plus, though: Brian is doing his best to see what both the bar and the kitchen need. Jimmy’s drunk and as for John, he’s thrown in the towel a long time ago. No wonder why they’re all so angry at each other. Which, as Vic points out, creates a very frightening environment for the guests. Bars are meant for people to have fun, not to fear for their safety or get their eardrums blown out.
Jon brings Russell and Vic with him for his initial confrontation and declares that he doesn’t know who the biggest asshole is. Watch Russell’s face as the brothers go at each other again, trying to place the blame; he looks like he’s at the most awkward family reunion and not sure who’s going to get punched first.
In the end, realizing that even Jon Taffer can’t get these guys to stop screaming, our heroes make an exit almost as quickly as they arrived. “Did they even know we were there?” Russell quips, as the continued argument can probably be heard down the block. Has this place ever been the subject of a noise complaint?
The next morning Jon decides to try this rescue one more time. He points out that when he screams and yells (which is almost every episode of Bar Rescue), at least he gets somewhere. It becomes clear that Jimmy has a fuse about as long as a Tic-Tac and Jon tells him to shut up. Twice. Once with expletives.
But it’s a lengthy telling-off from his wife Christine that seems to actually humble Jimmy. She spells out the effect that the bar and its failures have had on their marriage and family. This is a common Bar Rescue theme: saving the bar is really about saving the underlying family relationship. You also see a lot of this in similar shows (to the point where Robert Irvine got his own talk show based on all the mediation he does on Restaurant: Impossible).
Jon finally gets the chance to introduce Russell and Vic to the staff, referring to them as his “A-team,” which just makes me think of them driving around in a van on rescue missions with Mr. T. But Russell tutors the bartenders on the drinks they should have been able to make the night before, and Vic imparts an important food safety lesson while looking cool doing it.
That brings us to stress test, where Russell gets to use one of my favorite words, “clusterfuck.” That’s because Jimmy is having another fight, this one with Christine while the bar’s struggling to get out more than one drink at a time. He’s also drinking, which is the biggest thing you cannot do behind a bar. It’s like the golden rule of Bar Rescue.
While the Paramount Network caption people beg the kitchen to “please don’t hurt any more innocent quesadillas” as Vic is now keeping a body count, Jon has heard the way Jimmy is talking to his wife, gets right in his face, and then lays down an ultimatum: either he gets out or the rescue is over. Jimmy leaves for all of ten seconds, comes back to do…something…and then walks off again. Jimmy’s a fucking nightmare, but he’s not as bad as Rosalind.
Jon wants everyone to talk it out in an attempt to find the root of Jimmy’s massive anger problem. Jimmy finally opens up about being over-stressed just before their mom Helene walks in to read a heartfelt letter. The brothers reassure Mom that they’ll make things work, but they’ve only got two days left to do it.
Fittingly, the bar lesson in this episode is centered on fire. It’s a subject that Russell Davis knows a lot about. He teaches the staff how to smoke a glass and then flame an orange. One thing to note is that while Russell’s playing with fire, the show does not feel the need to put a “do not try this at home” disclaimer on this segment, while they did in season 3 when he pulled out the atomizer. So producers have seemingly gained more confidence in viewers not burning themselves between seasons.
What’s going on in the kitchen? Vic is instructing the team on their new ghost pepper grilled cheese challenge and P.J. Ford is explaining why ghost peppers are not to be messed around with. This sounds like an episode of Man v. Food waiting to happen (but it didn’t as far as I know).
The reveal shows that the building has been renamed Jack’s Fire Dept. embracing the McGowan family’s firefighting service. It looks exactly like a mini firehouse inside and out, including parts of a decommissioned fire truck used as accent pieces and the place finally getting some color.
In a moment that’s awkward but hilarious, their urinal now has a firefighting-themed game. I consider myself a gamer, and I’ve even spent some time on the professional gaming scene thanks to my involvement with ELEAGUE and Turner Sports, but I have never wanted nor thought of putting a video game in the bathroom.
Opening night, as in most episodes of Bar Rescue, goes off without a hitch. The Tubridys return for the re-opening and, as the caption tells us, Jack’s Fire Dept. remains open today, almost six years after the episode premiered. It’s nice to see these first two Dirty Truth episodes revisiting success stories, but that’s about to change next week when our focus will be on the now-infamous Piratz Tavern.
Interestingly, this episode involves former firefighters and the next episode in season 4 involves a retired police officer. That’s a fun coincidence, and you can see why this is an installment that Paramount Network wanted to revisit again.
Bar Rescue: The Dirty Truth airs Sundays at 10:00 p.m. on Paramount Network.