SideReel's Guide to Travel (Television)

The dead of winter is a tough time! The post-holiday glow has turned into a monthlong hangover, you don't want to use up your vacation time yet, and it's too cold to do much of anything except hide under a blanket. But fret not, SideReelers! We've put together a list of our favorite travel-themed episodes just for you. So go ahead; substitute the warmth of your television for the warmth of the sun, and hide away until spring.     An Idiot Abroad  S2E7: Mount Fuji Karl Pilkington (the ornery producer of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's radio series) was sent around the world—three times—on  An Idiot Abroad . He hated every minute of it. But out of his irritation and confusion often came somewhat profound statements. HIs trip to Japan's Mount Fuji allows for quite a bit of demented-yet-beautiful introspection. Upon reaching the summit, he utters in wonderment what so many have probably thought about accomplishing any great feat: "I've done it, haven't I? Completed it. But I feel like shit, even though... that's amazing... I feel like shite."   Friends  S4E23: The One With Ross's Wedding Travel episodes are designed to take well-known characters out of their comfort zones—something that's especially necessary when we only really see them on three or four sets.  Friends  did a number of travel episodes for this very reason, but this two-parter, set in London for (one of) Ross's (many) wedding(s) upped the ante for everyone (Monica and Chandler have sex! Rachel crashes the ceremony! Phoebe's stuck at home and super pregnant!), while also offering a delightful montage of all things British (set to the iconic "London Calling" ) as well as appearances by billionaire Richard Branson, the Duchess of York, and a pre- House Hugh Laurie.   Modern Family  S1E23: Hawaii Pity the Pritchetts, pretty please. Phil and Claire might live a charmed life now, but they never did get their perfect wedding or honeymoon. Phil (hapless though he is) wants to change that on their family trip to Hawaii. Anyway, the rationale is really beside the point, as what this episode does is show us what a vacation at a luxe Hawaiian resort is like. Spoiler alert: It's really nice. Sure, Haley flirts with boys and gets drunk and Cam and Mitchell lose Lily, but those are just hijinx. In the end, it's hard not to be squarely focused on those vistas and infinity pools. Hmm, how much is a flight to Hawaii anyway?   Parks and Recreation  S5E1: Ms. Knope Goes to Washington Leslie Knope's perky enthusiasm for everything government couldn't possibly have a better showcase than this episode which finds her and office dullard Andy visiting Washington D.C. to visit their respective paramours, Ben and April. And you know what? D.C. benefits from their earnestly happy mid-westernness, especially in contrast to its usual televised portrayal as a dark hellhole teeming with evil. Cameos by actual lawmakers (Senators Boxer, Snowe, and McCain) give the impression that it's just that easy to bump into the powers that be when in the nation's capital, but let's be honest: It'd be way more exciting to meet Knope.   Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations  S1E2: Iceland Only masochists (and your editor) vacation in Iceland in the winter. It's pitch-black for all but four hours per day, and there isn't much to do but eat, drink, and sit in the hotsprings. Actually, I'm totally unclear as to how that's not an ideal vacation. Anthony Bourdain would seem to agree with me, it seems. In this second episode of his landmark Travel Channel series, the man enjoys all the hospitality of this tiny Viking nation, and delves into its particular delicacies—including Hákarl , Iceland's famous fermented shark.     It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia  S5E2: The Gang Hits the Road The most difficult part of traveling is, well, the traveling aspect. Once you get where you're going it's bliss—or at least it should be. The Gang being The Gang, though, they never actually make it to their destination. They get sidetracked by the requirements of Dee's bladder, the wonders of Philadelphia's Italian Market (where Charlie tries a pear for the first time and is... underwhelmed to say the least), and the fact that they're all just too damn lazy to do the work of driving. But why leave Philadelphia anyway? At least that's what I keep asking myself.   Bones  S9E7: The Nazi on the Honeymoon There's nothing more singularly irritating on a vacation than a workaholic. Unless that workaholic is Temperance Brennan and the vacation is her long-awaited honeymoon with new husband Seeley Booth. Why see the sights of the Paris of South America (or Buenos Aires, Argentina, as it's formally known) when you can go to the city morgue and get involved in Nazi hunting? I mean, that's the most romantic getaway I can think of. Besides, how many beaches can you sit on before you yearn to be reunited with your bonesaw?   The Simpsons  S7E20: Bart on the Road "The Simpsons are going to [place name]," is a timeworn plot device on this past-its-prime series, but this Bart-centric episode from the seventh season will never cease to be gut-bustingly funny. Through a convoluted series of events, Bart, Millhouse, Nelson, and Martin end up with a rented car, and decide to travel to Knoxville, Tennessee to see the Sunsphere —which turns out to be a decrepit tower filled with wigs. I'd say something about the destruction of the Sunsphere being a metaphor for what happened to this once-great series, but you know what? Let's just bask in the glory of its heyday.   Leah E. Friedman  is the editor of She once traveled to Sweden in February. You can follow her musings on  Twitter .

Anthony Bourdain Kills the Pig for a New Orleans Feast on 'No Reservations' (VIDEO)

Anthony Bourdain is usually good at uncovering the details most other people might miss, and he didn't shirk that duty in his New Orleans episode of 'No Reservations' (Mondays, 9PM on Travel Channel). He showed the politics of the city with the help of 'Treme' writer Lolis Elie, the community effort that goes into a public feast, and even took part in killing the pig for pork. 'Treme' is often a political show, by necessity, and you can see where that voice comes from listening to Elie. "How can our chefs and our musicians be less vital to the national interest than whatever's going on in Iraq and Afghanistan or halfway around the world," he said. When it came time, Bourdain did not flinch from dispatching the pig with a pistol. "That's the way they taught me in Jersey," he said.

Anthony Bourdain Cooks Delicate Spanish Dishes With Ferran Adria on 'No Reservations' (VIDEO)

You don't often see Anthony Bourdain in any sort of formalwear on 'No Reservations' (Mondays, 9PM on Travel), not even traditional chef's clothing. So when he appeared in his crisp chef's whites on Monday's episode, it was clear something different was going on. "This is the price I'm paying for being given incredible access to this kitchen and to this man," he said in the voiceover. The kitchen Bourdain was a guest in belonged to Ferran Adrian, considered one of the world's best chefs at one of the world's best restaurants, El Bulli on Costa Brava in Spain. Bourdain traveled to the restaurant before it closed in July to cook with Adrian, his last chance to do so at El Bulli. The dishes Bourdain assisted with are not the kind of cuisine you're likely to whip up at home.

Anthony Bourdain and Josh Homme Punish Jethro Tull on 'No Reservations' (VIDEO)

Anthony Bourdain is a huge music fan and this week he devoted an entire episode of 'No Reservations' (Mon., 9PM ET on TRAV) to hanging out with Josh Homme and the Queens of the Stone Age at Rancho de la Luna, their recording studio in the California desert. It turns out that Bourdain and the guys have a long-standing grudge against the Grammy voting panel for what they deem an unforgivable lapse over 20 years ago. As Bourdain puts it, an "ageing, clueless and increasingly incontinent Grammys judging panel" controversially awarded the 1989 Grammy for Best Hard Rock and Metal record to British prog rockers Jethro Tull.

Tonight's TV Hot List: Monday, Jan. 11, 2010

* How I Met Your Mother (8/7c CBS) The 100th episode calls for something really special, and that would be a... wait for it (more later). Barney meets a beautiful bartender, played by Stacy Keibler, who makes him decide between her and his trademark suits, and the dilemma leads to (OK, now it's time)... a big musical number! Barney takes to the streets, along with the rest of the cast, to perform "Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit," and Harris is well-suited for the inspired number with his Broadway background. Rachel Bilson and Tim Gunn also guest star. * House (8/7c Fox) In the six weeks since we left House and Wilson in the kitchen of that spacious loft apartment that Wilson bought out from under Cuddy (and Lucas), our boys appear to have already moved in, and both are more than a little intrigued by a new neighbor. Bromance, it seems, goes only so far. At the hospital, meanwhile, the patient who is inexplicably dying is a drug dealer (Ethan Embry) with a secret, and Chase, Taub and Thirteen team up to play a practical joke on Foreman. * Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (10/9c Travel) TV's coolest globe-trotting chef is back for another season of his highly entertaining travelogue, which takes him around the world, exploring unique cultures and cuisines - both near and far. In the Season 6 opener, Tony ventures to Panama, which boasts one of the fastest growing economies in Central America. Other spots he'll see this season include Istanbul, Prague and New York's Hudson Valley. * Fantasia for Real (10/9c VH1) You might think that Fantasia is living the dream after winning American Idol, but the title of her autobiography, Life Is Not a Fairy Tale, is closer to the truth as six people in her family are living on her dwindling income. As the reality series that looks at her day-to-day life opens, she's recording a single, "Move on Me," and the heat is on for it to be a hit. Meanwhile, her brother Tiny has plans for the pool house at her mansion that aren't helping Fantasia's financial straits. * American Masters (9/8c PBS) The documentary series' 23rd season opens with a delightful profile of Sam Cooke (1931-64), one of the originators of soul music and the man responsible for such classics as "You Send Me," "Havin' a Party," "Chain Gang" and "A Change Is Gonna Come." The bio also delves into his personal life and involvement in the civil-rights movement, plus features a wealth of archival clips, including his swingin' rendition of Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind." Source Here