Saturday, August 8, 2015

Leverage: More Food

Is there a particular reason I shouldn’t run with the food-related theme three days in a row? NO. THERE ISN’T.

via Other Romantic Verbs
Food, like other mundane things, is important when it is emphasized in media. We avoid focusing on bathroom breaks, toilet paper refills, cleaning house, getting dressed, driving, and eating in excruciating detail*.

I mean, imagine if a whole book was written like this:
Harriet grinned at her new toothbrush, wrapping her fingers around its smooth, slender handle, massaging the rubbery grip designed to give her the best hold possible. With a slight slurping sound she squirted her blue gel toothpaste onto the white bristles, standing straight as soldiers. With a flourish she raised the toothbrush to her mouth, and began to scrub her molars vigorously. It was so hard to reach the back ones sometimes! The bristles caressed her teeth, scraping plaque away from the enamel at a perfect forty-five degree angle. She moved forward, brushing her incisors, next. Lovely, lovely incisors, recently filled from a few thoughtless cavities. But her toothbrush would never let those pesky holes come between her and good dental health again. Finally, she came to her front teeth, the honest teeth that represented her with every smile. Back and forth, up and down, making sure to get up near the gums where flecks of breakfast toast tried to avoid the notice of her toothbrush. It scraped them away. Harriet sipped from her dainty Dixie cup, swishing back and forth, letting the water fall from her mouth in a glittering stream, leaving her mouth completely clean and minty fresh. Wow, Harriet thought. I am so ready for today.

We’d never get to the plot! That being said, when writers make a point of emphasizing something routine, there’s often something else to note there—and with food especially. After all, what’s more normal than food, and eating what we like with people we like?

That so much “normalcy” makes its way onto Leverage tells me that there’s some important business—ironically and symbolically—inside the food.

*if you’d like a good example of using excruciating detail in film to make a point, watch Dexter’s morning routine, which shows his passion for murder through making orange juice and coffee, etc.

via Other Romantic Verbs

1. Chinese Food

Does anyone else rewatch their favorite TV series with commentary? No? Okay.

I don’t watch all the episodes with commentary, but since the crew eats Chinese so often, it still came up more than once. Why do they eat Chinese takeout so often? Because it comes in boxes, and that means they can eat onscreen and they will not have to check for continuity!

Sometimes food is also a practicality. Forgot to mention that.

via my computer, apparently

2. Coffee

Getting someone’s coffee right is really important (“Marionette,” anyone?). It shows that you remembered someone else and their desires.

However, knowing someone’s desires leaves room for manipulation. In “The Queen’s Gambit Job” Sterling gets Eliot and himself coffee—IRONY ALERT. How many people do you know who buy their enemies coffee? The irony only increases when what could have been a friendly gesture flips back to the opposite, and Sterling slips a not-friendly-thing into the coffee after all.

via The Examiner

3. Restaurant and Bar

In Seasons 2–5, Leverage Consulting functions inside a restaurant/bar, where Nate meets with clients and sets the stage for almost every episode. Food is a symbolic connection between the crew and clients as it adds normalcy and comfort to their lives—which is the point of Leverage. It’s also ironic, because it’s often an abnormal, uncomfortable, BAD situation bringing them together.

And, on another practical note, restaurants are good places to meet people.

via lynne-monstr

4. Eliot the Chef

Eliot is the show’s Hitter. He’s got blood on his hands—it corrupted him, and sent him close to the point of no return (NO BACKWARD GLANCES—OUR GAMES OF fine I’ll stop). Cooking brought him back. Eliot uses food to express himself, to support a constructive life over a destructive one. It’s a symbol. He’s cooked dinner for the team, taught cooking classes, and made enviable sandwiches. Food is life—it gave him back his life.

(It’s ironic-ish that someone so destructive would come to value creation so much, but that is how regret works, people. And why should Hitters be limited by that title?)

via Fiction Over Fact

5. Family Dinners

Again, Eliot has cooked dinners for the team, but whether it is homemade or takeout, the Leverage crew is often shown eating around a table together. It is SYMBOLIC—after all, what do we most often think of when people who live and work around each other come together at a table? Family dinners. THEY ARE A FAMILY! adkfjaskldfjasd

That just sounds like me fangirling (50% of it is) but this is actually really important. Like I said before, you eat with people you like—and if your day job is breaking the law, facing criminals, righting wrongs, and generally pissing people off, then you do NOT want to work with people you don’t trust. The Leverage crew is a family, and it’s adorable, but it’s also crucial to their survival—dinner is just how they decided to share that truth with us.
via Other Romantic Verbs

AFTERTHOUGHT: Pretzels. But I won't ruin that for you if you don't know what it means yet.

I have another theory that Leverage is just Scooby-Doo for adults, but that is a discussion for another day. For now, treat yourself to a sandwich. You deserve it.

Where do you see food being important in your fandoms? Are they dam burritos? The kitchen Kaylee painted? Something else? SHOWER ME WITH FICTIONAL or physical FOOD! 


  1. The Dauntless cake is Divergent is symbolic. Divergent has different food for every faction, which is kinda cool.
    Also, Shawarma (is that how you spell it?) for Avengers fans. I tried shawarma once. Didn't like it too much.

    1. Also, what is this "quest" you speak of on that fangirl collaboration form?

    2. That's interesting! I'd never heard anyone talk about that before, so that is interesting. I haven't had Shawarma (yes that is how you spell it) but it is also an interesting connection to the Avengers! :)

      It's a reference to Monty Python. You can fill it with whatever you want, haha.

  2. I've never watched Leverage, but I really like the points you make. And that toothbrushing snippet haha. I've never given this too much thought (I might have been distracted by all the delicious food), but you're absolutely right when you say these things can be much more meaningful than they look at first glance. Especially the eating together=family thing is used all the time.

    In Fangirl, Cath is too anxious to go to the cafeteria alone (or I think maybe she just doesn't know where it is and doesn't want to ask?), so she just eats energy bars all the time until someone calls her out on it.

    1. That toothbrushing snippet was HARD. Hard I tell you. You definitely have to keep a sharp eye for food symbolism—sometimes it's nothing, and sometimes it's everything, and that's what matters.

      The places we commune to eat are also a big deal, so that's also interesting! There's something similar in Extraordinary Means, where the MMC is first introduced to the other characters, and how they separate themselves from others. Cafeterias are important!

    *dies of fangirling over this post*
    OMG DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I FREAKING LOVE LEVERAGE??!! I love it. I love it so much. I love how they're a family, and Eliot and Parker and Hardison all argue like little kids. And I love how Parker is like the little sister and Eliot takes care of her BUT I SHIP HER AND HARDISON SO HARD. :') OMG, PRETZELS. And and and I love how Eliot cooks. That is like my favourite thing about Eliot...he's not just a puncher, there's more to him and HE COOKS A GOOD SANDWICH YES.
    *runs off to fangirl some more*

    1. <3 <3 <3

      IT IS GREAT, RIGHT? I'm finishing my like, third time watching the series, I think... No, just the second. Silly Heather. Anyway, they are such a cute family, no? I SHIP PARDISON MUCHLY TOO AND THEY NEED TO HAVE THIEF BABIES THAT TAKE OVER THE WORLD or maybe just eat pretzels that would be okay. I love Eliot for his deepness too. I WANT HIS SANDWICHES.

      *fangirls in place because she still has to answer comments*

  4. I've actually never seen Leverage, but for some reason, this entire post reminded me so much of Firefly because they sit around eating, and I imagine eating together helps crooks like them to know and rely on each other. But yes, good points all, and honestly, poisoning someone's coffee is the lowest of the low--it's like poisoning someone's oxygen tank. Which makes it such a perfect crime. Maybe I should look into Leverage at some point.

    1. YES! That would be my second choice for discussing this! I feel like Firefly also has a family situation, and their need to rely on each other in their crime lives is just as vital. Yes, don't poison people's coffee. That would be treason... and wrong.

      Definitely look into Leverage!

  5. I've actually never heard of Leverage, but it sounds like a great show. I'll have to check it out sometime!

    It's really cool the amount of thought you put into this post. Honestly, I've never overly considered food in storytelling. I mean, sure if it's described a lot, I notice it, but I've never really thought about how much significance it can have in people's lives as you mentioned with the family dinners, getting someone's coffee right, etc. So yeah, it's a fascinating aspect of storytelling that Leverage seems to use really well. :)

    *squints at the questions* "Dam burritos, huh?" I understood that reference. Also, PERCY JACKSON AND BLUE FOODS. That's probably my favorite fandom food.


    1. You should! I really liked it. :)

      It wasn't hard. I think about food all the time when I watch other people eat it, haha... ha. Anyway, Leverage definitely uses food in an important way, and I value that quite a lot! :D

      You go, Cap. YES BLUE FOOD. I didn't mention that one, but it is brillante.


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