Beloved chef-turned-writer-turned-television-host Anthony Bourdain’s death by suicide at the beginning of the summer already seems like it happened a lifetime ago. Part of that is the time dilation effect caused by the president, and part of it is that director and actress Asia Argento, Bourdain’s significant other at the time of his death, was accused in August of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old, prompting CNN to pull her episodes of Parts Unknown and drawing a sharp vertical slash in the timeline that Bourdain’s death falls before. But whatever the combination of causes, hearing his voice again in this trailer for an upcoming episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown is unexpectedly moving, in part because it seems like it’s been so long:
The episode, in which Bourdain and comedian W. Kamau Bell travel to Kenya, is the first of seven episodes that CNN is releasing from the season Bourdain was filming when he died: four more on location, a retrospective with the show’s cast and crew, and an episode on Bourdain’s legacy. But this episode is the last that will feature Bourdain’s narration, and the brief sample of Bourdain’s familiar cadence heard in the trailer is a sharp reminder that he’s gone.
Back in August, the Los Angeles Times’ initial reporting on the show’s final season said that the first episode had already been finished, but that the remaining episodes would be supplemented with follow-up interviews and location audio of Bourdain. Judging from the trailer, though, the first episode has also been recut with new footage, which makes sense given how strange and sad it would be to air an episode that didn’t acknowledge Bourdain’s death. And if the scene where Bourdain and Bell talk about their winding career paths is indicative of the quality of the location audio, we’re in for a tear-jerking season. Here’s Bourdain on what his career in television meant to him:
17 fucking years. As soon as the cameras turn off, the crew will be sitting around, we’ll be having a cocktail, I fucking pinch myself. I cannot fucking believe that I get to do this.
The last season of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown begins Sept. 23.
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