So, the other week we took a look at Applebee’s and now, The Kids is returning to America’s Restaurants with a peek at another chain mainstay:
The Olive Garden
Don’t get me wrong. When I was a kid, going to The Olive Garden was right up there in the “that’s my shit list” along with The Cosby Show (this was during Lisa Bonet’s “I’m bringing my ‘suburban slut’ angle into this bitch” stretch before Bill jettisoned her to A Different World), Nintendo’s Commando and TLC (the group, not the channel asshats).
But one day, all growed up, I returned to The O.G. with some friends and was shocked by what I discovered:
The Olive Garden really sucks.
No, no, I mean it really does.
The O.G. fills a unique niche’ that the American restaurant chain business had long neglected before:
— the joy of eating microwaved “Italian” food from the comfort of a restaurant.
I mean really; The O.G. might have some of the luke-warmest food in the world. I think their kitchen consists of one giant hot plate and a toaster oven (more on that in a second).
They then put your plate on the O.G. hot plate for about 45 secs and then reach into a grocery bag, tear open a box of Hungry Man:Extreme Italian Dinners, and drop it on the plate, where it cooks as they bring it out to you, like a fajita.
The other great thing about The Olive Garden? All problems are solved with breadsticks.
Just getting seated after an hour wait?
Don’t want the complimentary swine-trough of salad?
“We’ll give you more breadsticks”.
Found a rat’s dick in your pasta?
“We’ll open a new Hungry Man; in the meantime, have some more complimentary breadsticks, on us”.
I am convinced that above The O.G. kitchen door and the toaster oven (for the breadsticks if you haven’t guessed now) there’s a sign that reads, ALL COSTUMER COMPLAINTS SHOULD BE SOLVED WITH EXTRA BREADSTICKS.
It is amazing the effect that it has. In an average O.G. dinner, an average adult may consume up to 40 breadsticks. This is crucial since The O.G. breadstick–composed of butter, garlic salt and rat dick–is so heavily seasoned with garlic, most conversation ceases because people are worried about offending each other with garlic rodent breath. Thus, no one is able to fully discuss how disgusting their dinner actually is.
But they know how to get ya, don’t they? First it was with the “authentic” commercials that they used to roll. You know, the ones that showed the “Shrimp-stuffed ravioli with a side of mashed potatoes” dish that they called something ignorant like “The Southern Italy Mobster Gobster” . And as the camera panned over the select dish, salad and about 1,000,000,000 breadsticks, a voice-over would say:
“We sent a team of our Olive Garden chefs to Italy this past summer to discover the latest, most exciting dishes being served in Italy. But they took the airfare and bet it on cockfighting in San Juan, so instead we present to you our newest dishes, something we at Olive Garden call, It’s Better Than Eating At Red Lobster’s Week.”
Nowadays, they’ve opted for the herpes/Jared’s/Yaz commercial route, showing 20’s-30’s-somethings professionals around an O.G. table feasting on the latest dish.
The latest one has a girl taking her new guy-friend (shh; she thinks he’s The One!) out to meet her closest multi-cultural friends at The O.G. to do a Big Meeting of the Friends. It’s goes well (no one can talk because of the breadsticks) and at the end she turns and says “I can’t wait for him to meet my parents next” and his look of shock is interpreted to mean that he’s not ready/unbelieving of this next step, but he’s really just realized that his sausage pasta dish wasn’t all…..well, sausage.
That, and this trick has just hustled him into spending $50 on dishes with the words “Sampler” and “Tour” in it.
But at least he’s not missing The Cosby Show.