After preempting a number of reruns of Anthony Bourdian: Parts Unknown on Sunday evening in favor of its live coverage from Paris following Friday night’s terror attacks, CNN took a brief break to air the show’s season finale at 9 p.m.
Ironically, Eagles of Death Metal, who were performing onstage at the Bataclan theater when it was attacked, was still represented in the Parts Unknown theme song. The untitled track, full of enthusiastic “sha-la-las,” was recorded by the band’s Josh Homme and his occasional Queens of the Stone Age collaborator Mark Lanegan, and helped ease the potentially uncomfortable transition.
The episode, set in Charleston, South Carolina, began at a local restaurant hardly known for its culinary expertise: the Waffle House. According to Bourdain’s eating companion Sean Brock, chef of the city’s Southern-themed fine dining restaurant Husk, it was the Waffle House, at least in part, that inspired him to start a career in the food business.
Then, after the first commercial break, it was Bill Murray time.
Over the years, Bill Murray has been closely associated in the popular imagination with Chicago, New York City, and, thanks to his Oscar-nominated role in Lost in Translation, Tokyo.
These days, he has been spending a lot of his time in Charleston, where he is the co-owner of a minor-league baseball team and a reluctant evangelist for his latest adopted home, as he revealed on Bourdain’s show Sunday night.
“I’m right on the edge here of telling people this is a really nice place to come,” Murray told the host over a meal at Husk. “Really, I don’t want anyone else to come. I like it the way it is.” Then, looking directly into the camera, he warned of the pervasive insects, summer heat, and increasing traffic.
That being said, Murray confessed that compared to the high standard of food that he finds at Husk, and in Charleston in general, his reaction to food everywhere else tends to be “eh.”
Later, during the insanely delicious-looking meal, Murray told Bourdain and Brock about a bizarre prank he likes to play on his friend, producer Mitch Glazer, who is married to the actress Kelly Lynch. Every time he sees the sex scene between Lynch and the late Patrick Swayze in the 1989 film Road House on TV, Murray calls Glazer and, using a fake voice, warns him that his wife is cheating on him.
Lynch actually talked about the prank calls from Murray in an interview with The A.V. Club a few years back.
“By the way, speaking of Bill Murray,” she said, “every time Road House is on and he or one of his idiot brothers are watching TV—and they’re always watching TV—one of them calls my husband and says [in a reasonable approximation of Carl Spackler], ‘Kelly’s having sex with Patrick Swayze right now. They’re doing it. He’s throwing her against the rocks.’”
This isn’t the first time Murray and Bourdain have hung out on television. Five years ago, the actor joined Bourdain for lunch in Yonkers for an episode of his previous show, No Reservations.
On that earlier occasion, a dark-haired Murray joked about getting pulled over by the police in Stockholm, Sweden, for driving a golf cart in the street and his fantasy about becoming a Filipino pirate.
Toward the end of Sunday night’s episode, Bourdain tried his hand at turkey hunting.
“The likelihood of me successfully shooting even the stupidest animal on camera are about the same as Donald Trump being gracious to anybody or Adam Sandler making a good movie,” the host admitted. “Basically, a magical unicorn is going to land in front of me and shower me with candy and Vicodins before I shoot a freaking turkey on camera.”
Ultimately, he was much better at eating turkey on camera, complete with bright orange mac and cheese on the side.
While Parts Unknown is essentially a travel show, Bourdain does not typically shy away from confronting controversy and politics in the cities that he visits. So it was curious that tonight’s finale contained no mention of the deadly mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church that rocked this city just five months ago.
But after a weekend of wall-to-wall Paris coverage, CNN viewers were likely thankful for the respite from tragedy.