Let’s say, hypothetically, you’re stressed out. It’s your job, or it’s your family, or it’s the never-ending hellspiral of online discourse that gets beamed into your brain by the tiny computer that might as well be bolted to your palm. Let’s say you’ve been on edge and arguing with strangers on social media and shouting “Get off the road, you maniac!” at sweet old ladies who are trying to make a left turn into the pharmacy to pick up the arthritis medication they can barely afford. Or whatever. Again, purely hypothetical. But let’s say you can relate.
Well, here’s a suggestion: Maybe you should chill out and watch The Wine Show.
Are you familiar with The Wine Show? I do hope you are. The Wine Show is a goddamn delight. It is a show produced by ITV in Europe that is now in America on Hulu and the Ovation Network. It is literally a show about wine and drinking wine and gadgets related to wine. And it’s a show about friendship. The first-season is hosted by Matthew Goode (who you know from Downton Abbey and The Good Wife) and Matthew Rhys (The Americans), who appear to be having just the best time any two buddies have ever had. They’re so charming together. Goode comes off kind of like James Bond’s mischievous younger brother and Rhys is a total goofball. He’s a giggly bearded mess the whole time. I love it. I think images will help. This is how Matthew Rhys looked in every episode of The Americans.
This is how he looks in every episode of The Wine Show.
You’ve never seen two people have more fun on television. With good reason. They are getting paid to travel around Italy and drink wine. A lot of wine. So much wine that, well, let’s let Matthew Rhys describe how much wine:
“It’s an incredibly hard show to film because you start drinking at 8:30 every morning and you drink solidly —there’s no spittooning — until 6:30 p.m.,” says Rhys. Apparently that limited Rhys and Goode’s ability to say anything other than “this is a nice red” or “it’ll go well with chicken” about the wines. “By 6:30pm they’re cutting the script because we’re slurring so much and they say just use short words and short sentences.”
There are worse jobs.
But I hear you. You’re saying “This all sounds nice, but are there segments on The Wine Show or what?” Buddy, there are segments. There are so many segments. Each episode has the same basic structure, with extended travel bits featuring wine expert Joe Fattorini, and bits where a chef will pair a dish to a wine (instead of the opposite), and bits where co-host Amelia Singer will venture off to introduce the audience to some off-beat winemaker (one of whom, I promise, is Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan), and a truly wonderful bit where Fattorini will present a comically elaborate and overpriced wine gadget to Goode and Rhys and the two of them will crack jokes in their best Sean Connery accents for about five minutes.
The best segment, however, is the one where Goode and Rhys are sent off into Italy to taste and learn about a specific kind of wine, with each of them selecting a bottle and bringing it back to Fattorini so a winner can be chosen. Do you want to see Matthew Goode and Matthew Rhys sipping wine in scenic locations all over Italy? Do you want to see them sit in chairs like naughty schoolboys while a wine expert gives them a hard time about their wine selections? Let me answer for you: yes, you do and yes, you do.
Oh, crap. I didn’t tell you about the villa yet. The villa! Each episode begins with an intro that explains the series, in general, and during that intro we are treated to sweeping shots of a luxurious Italian villa located on a vineyard. This is where the gadget segment is filmed and where — we are led to believe — the showcase segment is filmed, too. But listen to the narration Goode delivers in the intro, where he says “Our team of wine experts has traveled to 11 countries on five continents to bring back the best and most interesting wines, here, to our Italian villa.”
Notice that? “Our.” Now, the rational part of me knows, for a fact, that by “our” he means “the villa the producers rented for the filming of this series.” But I have to tell you, if you watch The Wine Show, which I really do insist you do for your mental health, please do pretend that Matthews Goode and Rhys own the villa. Like, that’s it’s theirs, and they live there full time when they’re not acting in their respective projects. It adds a chef-kissing-his-fingers layer to everything that you deserve to experience.
And guess what: Once you watch this first season of The Wine Show, you can then treat yourself to a second season of The Wine Show, this one featuring Goode and actor James Purefoy gallivanting about France, with Matthew Rhys back in London on gadget duty. There are so many Wine Shows and they’re all an hour long and like an audio/visual dose of a high-powered benzodiazepine. You owe it to yourself to watch The Wine Show. It’ll be good for you, and your soul, and your blood pressure. And that sweet old lady you cussed out on the road. She’s doing the best she can. You know that. You’re just not yourself right now. You need something to help you balance out a bit and get back to being a human.
Let The Wine Show heal you.