The “Parts Unknown” Crew Reveals What It Was Really Like to Work with Anthony Bourdain

published Oct 30, 2018
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Even though it’s been nearly six months since Parts Unknown host Anthony Bourdain died in his hotel room in France, his fans are still having trouble coming to terms with his passing. CNN decided to air the final season of Parts Unknown, perhaps to give fans some closure, though it was incomplete —Bourdain had not yet added his voice-over to many of the episodes.

The final episode of the show, which will take place on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, is set to air on November 11. That means it’s almost time to let go of a show so many people depended on to understand our world. As a parting gift, the show’s crew opened up about working with Bourdain for 12 seasons in a special episode of Parts Unknown called ‘Behind the Scenes,’ which aired on October 28.

Read more: Behind the Scenes from Explore Parts Unknown

The episode lives up to its name: According to Mic, ‘Behind the Scenes’ features unedited footage of Bourdain, plus the crew’s unfiltered thoughts about his off-screen personality: They call him “difficult,” “funny,” and “brilliant.”

‘Behind the Scenes’ also gives viewers a sense of how the show was actually made. Apparently, Bourdain forbade second takes, and the crew wasn’t allowed to use phrases like “cut” and “action” during filming. He wanted the show to progress organically, rather than become a contrived product like any other reality television show.

As you might have already guessed, Bourdain’s vision for Parts Unknown was to shine a light on people that are “ignored… People who wouldn’t have a voice otherwise.” As Bourdain has mentioned in previous interviews, he also tried to integrate references to his favorite movies into each episode. He encouraged the crew to experiment with different filming techniques and styles, or as one crew member put it, try out something “weird” in every episode.

Bourdain’s legacy will of course be one of essential humanitarian work that helped to open people’s minds to different cultures, hopefully inspiring more empathy and understanding in everyone who watched. But it also seems as though he had the creative spirit of an artist and he brought that to the show. There’s so much to love in Parts Unknown that although it’s coming to an end, there’s no doubt we’ll be re-watching it again and again for years to come.