Monday, November 30, 2009

Blithe Spirits

Mario and Gwynnie have wonderful chemistry together. I love hanging out with them as they amble about the Spanish countryside, charmingly carrying forth on the passing scenery and surroundings, consuming blackberries one by one from a pathside bush, encountering a pair of placid cows which prompts allusions to Pamplona. Mario starts one morning hitting golf balls into the pool of a grand country estate. A groggy Gwyneth joins him on the terrace, and like a wacky lady of the manor airily advises, just try not to break the windows. They sit on a windswept beach in each other's arms, regaling each other with smiles, laughter, and childhood reminiscences of Spain. Their affection for each other is undisguised. No - more: it's freely expressed. All the while at the beach the wind blows sand in Gwyneth's face. Finally she can't take it anymore and seeks shelter by burying her head in Mario's capacious shoulder.

I'm mesmerized by Gwyneth and Mario but have come to ignore the scenes when only Bittman and Claudia are on. Gwyneth and Mario delicately describe Bittman as "contrarian." I myself would - and do - use stronger language. I set about my chores, excusing myself from his vacuity and near-oafish offputtedness.

I caught a wonderful scene with Gwynnie and Mario last week that made me say out loud, "Ha! I knew it!" Unfortunately I can't find a video clip, so I'll try to paint the picture.

Mario and Gwynnie, in an open convertible, drive alongside the beautiful sea. They chat about an informal cooking match in which they'll face off against Bittman and Claudia. Gwynnie and Mario are serenely and supremely confident of their culinary superiority. They smile and charmingly gloat. There is no question but that they will win. Gwynnie cheerfully says something along the lines of we're going to kick their sorry asses.

She glances at Mario. You know, she says, I've actually cooked with Bittman in his apartment. She settles back and regards the road again. A hint of a smile plays on her lovely mouth and she waits for Mario's reaction. She knows she's launched an irresistible bomblet. Mario looks at her, interest piqued. Really - Bittman can cook?, he asks with barely suppressed incredulity. Gwynnie tilts her head, flickers a few facial muscles, looks judiciously up at the sky and then at the sea, and conveys her decided opinion without uttering a word.

I am so not surprised. Just sayin'.

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