The Sopranos - Tony and Carmela are back together as season six begins, and one of their favorite places to eat is a sushi bar. Right before Uncle Junior shoots him, putting him in a coma, he's quite the sashimi lover!
Shark Tale - This clever animation from Dreamworks has an overall gangster style with DeNiro as the voice of the boss shark, with Sopranos stars Michael Imperioli & Vincent Pastore as his "soldiers". Anyway, in the opening sequence showing the fish civilization, a sushi bar is featured...and the place is empty...and the chef is furious!
Cingular - Those little reception bars on our cell phones are found in real life...and in one shot in this particular ad, displays of sushi are stacked to resemble the best reception.
Six Feet Under - The 2004 season has been exceptional so far, and two episodes had references to sushi. David talks to Keith on the phone, shortly before David's awful experience with the hitchhiker. Keith is on the jet flying to Europe for his security job, and he says that the plane has its own sushi chef...and the yellowtail is awesome. A few episodes later, David & Keith are in a sushi bar...and a rude patron barks at the sushi chef for more orders. David first tries to politely correct his manners, and then pummels the guy.
Insomniac - In a one hour special, Dave Attell journeys down the streets of Tokyo. In one establishment, he experiences the skilled craft of preparing blowfish. I don't think he ate it, but it shows him actually fishing w/ rod & reel in the restaurant for the fish, and then the chef carefully cutting away the toxins.
Saturday Night Live - Al Sharpton was the guest on SNL, and one of the skits involved the reverend opening up a sushi bar to raise campaign funds. Unfortunately, I forgot to record it! D'oh!
Kill Bill - There are two scenes in Volume One where sushi is involved. The Bride, on her quest for revenge, goes to Okinawa in search of Japanese steel...and finds herself in an extremely quaint sushi bar with an order of tuna chatting with the owner. Later, as the crime council meets in Tokyo, most of the members are eating sushi while discussing the new power structure. Volume Two has Bill asking if Hattori Hanzo's sushi has gotten better.
Queer Eye For The Straight Guy - I've seen only two episodes of this entertaining concept on Bravo, and they both involved sushi. There was a twice divorced father with an apartment from Hell! For his party, he rolled sushi - not too well, I might add. He put a bit too much wasabi on one roll, which made a woman's eyes almost bolt from the sockets. Another one involved a married man who constantly forgets his wife's birthday. While out shopping, they find an apron for his cooking duties - "Sushi In The Sky With Diamonds". I happen to own the t-shirt with the same design.
Three's A Crowd - John Ritter, a comedic talent, was taken from the entertainment world too soon. I found out that in the spinoff of Three's Company, Three's A Crowd, Episode 14 involves Jack convincing Vicky to spend nearly $2000 for a case of vintage wine. The shipment comes, and its all sour - so, to repay Vicky, Jack takes a job in a sushi house.
NFL 2003 Pre-Season Opener - Tokyo hosted the NFL pre-season opener between The Buccaneers & The Jets. According to Warren Sapp, "the best thing about Japan was the sushi". During one of the segués in from commercial break, there was a shot of a sushi bar where patrons selected various dishes from a conveyor belt. One of the sportscasters was commenting that "if its still moving on the plate, you're in the wrong restaurant, in my opinion." He commented that one of his colleagues sitting next to him likes sushi, but I noticed he didn't get alot of time to comment on the good things about sushi. A further comment stated that many spectators had boxes of sushi in the stands, as opposed to the regular stadium fare.
Analyze That - Why psychiatrist Ben Sobel chooses to take Paul Vitti out for sushi shortly after the gangster's release from prison is beyond me...but that's exactly what happens. The predictable bait jokes were then interrupted by the "attempted whacking".
Jackass: The Movie - Yes, I actually saw this movie recently...and, I did laugh (especially at the airhorn/golf & the alligator at Mom's stunts). One "scene" takes place at a sushi bar, where one of the guys takes a huge glob of wasabi, adds a little soy sauce, stirs it around, forms two lines of this combination on a plate, and snorts them through a straw. Its quite amusing, but if you choose to watch it, be sure you can stomach was takes place afterwards.
The Simpsons - A recent episode had Homer and his son at a hockey game...in the skybox seats. He was gloating because he had sushi in the great seats. The classic episode is when Homer goes to his local bar (besides Moe's) and devours a variety of sushi, and even orders the potentially fatal blowfish!
The Courtship of Eddie's Father - possibly the oldest sushi reference! There's a baby shower, and finger sandwiches are being served. His Chinese nanny / cook asked if it was anything like nori maki.
Slime Time Live - my son and wife were watching this afternoon show on Nickelodeon...where kids do stuff to win prizes and get covered with slime. Well, one of the contests involved taking large pieces of sushi, dipping it "wasabi", and putting the pieces in a huge mouth.
Monsters, Inc - Mike, the green one-eyed friend of Sulley (with the voice of Billy Crystal) takes Celia out for a fancy sushi dinner. I love how it pokes fun of how sushi chefs greet people upon entering!
Sex & The City - The 5th season premiere coined the term "eating another woman's sushi", as to not poison the young ears of Miranda's new baby. Samantha was furious to catch her boyfriend (now ex-boyfriend) perform oral sex on another woman...so later she met him at Sushi Samba, where she threw her drink in his face. Sidenote: it was a bit ironic that a few weeks before this premiere aired, I got a recommendation from a reader that raved about Sushi Samba Seven in NYC - its posted on the recommendation page. In season #3, Charlotte is discussing a fantasy with her friends, Carrie, Samantha, and Miranda over some sushi. The good time is ruined when Big's wife, Natasha, walks in the room and gives Carrie a nasty look. An episode from an earlier season was about Carrie dating her "f*** buddy"...so they go out for sushi. She orders yellowtail sashimi, salmon sushi, and a spicy tuna hand roll. John orders chicken teriyaki, "well done". The realization hits her that he's not the right guy, especially after he's not willing to try "the raw stuff". Can you blame her? He orders sake by saying to the chef "sake-it to me".
L.A. Law: The Movie - NBC, in its 50th anniversary programming blitz, aired a reunion of the L.A. Law family for this television movie. Michael Kuzak is introduced as an owner of a trendy night spot, which serves sushi (none is actually shown, but the bars with chefs behind them are quite obvious). He returns, after years of retirement, to the courtroom to defend a former client. There's a classic episode of senior partner Douglas chatting it up with a prostitute who's really an undercover cop. He's talking about the menu, and she's talking about her services; classic television at its best!
True Confessions Of A Sushi Addict - a must-see for all of my readers! This short 14 minute film was previously available only on the internet (you can still see it on AtomFilms.com), its now playing on cable. Its hilarious!
Curb Your Enthusiasm - although we don't see Larry & his agent eating sushi, they're sitting at a table in a sushi bar. The waiter brings something over, and Larry asks him a question...followed by a mean response.
The Mind Of The Married Man - the main character is calling his wife from a massage parlor...but he tells her that he's in a Japanese restaurant, and that all the noise is people raving from the food. The wife wants him to bring back a tray of sushi on the way home.
Rush Hour 2 - Chris Tucker plays the cop on vacation, cruising the streets with Jackie Chan. They notice two attractive females, and Chris tries to ask them out with the foreign language dictionary. They drive off while he asks in English if they want to go out for sushi. Later, in talking about women, Chris asks Jackie, "So, when was the last time you played hide the rainbow roll."
Visa - a very funny ad with a sumo wrestler, where he eats large amounts in every restaurant he enters. A scene features a huge table of sushi in front of him, and then cuts to the two sushi chefs behind the bar...and then one faints. Later, a sign that says "all you can eat buffet" is turned to "closed" after he enters. Funny stuff!
Publix - In this supermarket commercial, there's a scene of kids trying to eat sushi; very cute. One tries to use chopsticks to pick the pieces up, one just looks through the roll sideways trying to determine what is in there, and if I remember correctly, one just plays with it.
The Sopranos - Tony finds out his Uncle Junior's love for cunnilingus...and makes jokes on the golf course. After saying "It looks like you're in the muff, oh...I meant rough!"...he jokes, "Boy, it smells like a sushi bar out here. Do you smell tuna?" The real treasure of the episode is seeing Carmella laugh at subtle lines said at the dinner table.
Behind The Music; Metallica - the story is told that the band goes out for sushi...and to initiate the new bassist, they say "try this minty stuff". Of course, not knowing what wasabi is, he pops the whole chunk in his mouth and gets a shock!
Castaway - Tom Hanks, after four years of spearing live fish to survive (and making friends with a volleyball), gets a party thrown in his honor with, among other delicacies, sushi!!! I don't know about you, but in this case (and in this case only), I would have preferred a cheeseburger!
Kodak - a guy makes a short film with his new MP3 player / camera, and e-mails it to his girlfriend. The commercial ends with them entering a sushi bar.
Will & Grace - the female character wears sushi fabric pajamas (sample of fabric near bottom of page).
Friends - Its the pilot episode, where Courtney Cox (Monica) has a hot date with Paul "the wine guy" - they go out for Japanese. He eats noodles, and she eats sushi. See Monica, we knew Chandler was the man for you! Does he eat sushi? There's another episode where Joey is lying about his failed film shoot to Monica over the phone. He had to go because his sushi was ready. He just had to get back to work as the trojan man in the lobby at Caesar's! However, one of the best sushi moments was on an episode about self defense. Upon hearing that Rachel & Phoebe are taking classes, Ross talks about "unagi". Although its, supposedly, a method to deal with anything that life surprises on a person, the sushi jokes continue through the show. Rachel at one point says, "I'm in the mood for a salmon skin roll."
TV Funhouse - an early promo for the show on Comedy Central shows a guy eating sushi at home, lit only by the glow of the television that he's avidly watching inches away. There's also sushi slipped in to a promo for Comedy Central's contest for The Man Show (one of my favorite shows).
Law & Order - Detectives Briscoe & Green (Jerry Orbach & Jesse L. Martin, respectively) investigate the murder of a talented musician. After initial leads fall through, they remember she went to a sushi bar (Yoshi's) and ask a waiter if they remember her. A chef is seen handing a big tray of fresh sushi to a patron at the bar. In an earlier episode from years ago, the zealous assistant district attorney (played by Michael Moriarty) is in a sushi bar eating soup...when confronted by the rival defense attorney. He didn't eat sushi that night, and eventually lost the case. Coincidence? I think not.
Rugrats In Paris - in Paris, the Pickles and the gang dine on sushi - in a restaurant / karaoke bar with sumo wrestlers as waiters. The babies are amazed at the "huge babies wearing diapers", and the adults are amazed that they're eating sushi..."When I think of France, I think of bouillebaisse & chicken cordon bleu". Later you hear "Pass the squid brains."
Clerks - in the second episode of the hilarious ABC-TV show (based on Kevin Smith's independent film), Randal & Danté are flashing back to earlier memories while locked in the freezer. One of them included Randal's mail-order husband, who ate sushi off Randal's stomach.
Budweiser - Another "Wuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuz Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuup?!?" commercial...except its in a sushi bar. The waiter serves the sushi, and wasabi...and the customer replies "Waaaaaaaaa-saaaaaaaaaaaabi". Then it goes into a funny exchange between him and the chefs.
Dream For An Insomniac - Mackenzie Astin (who plays David) and Ione Skye (Frankie) are falling in love. Frankie, trying to cure David's writers block, introduces him to the new and different (including a dinner of sushi). However, David has a girlfriend who bores him senseless. He asks her out for dinner of sushi, and she grimaces & says "Sushi? Ewwwww!" Guess who David ended up with?
10-10-220 - Terry Bradshaw & Doug Flutie pitch long distance over some tuna nigri. Of course, jokes are passed about what they're served...calling it "bait", and Terry shows it to the chef and says "Excuse me, you forgot to cook this." Yeah, why don't you stick to the football opinions...like telling us if the Bucs will make it to The Super Bowl!!!
Notting Hill - Hugh Grant (Will) & Julia Roberts (Anna) overhear a group of guys talking about Anna's movies, over some sushi.
Cadillac Escalade - a sushi chef serves a tray of sushi to demonstrate the finer things in life. If you blink, you'll miss it in this commercial - its very quick, about a second!
Virtuosity - great action scene in a Japanese restaurant, where the villain eats a piece of sushi and another materializes from nowhere to replace it. How cool is that?
American Pie - a man is giving sex tips to his younger brother over the phone while his friend is asking him what's good at the sushi bar. He answers "try the spicy tuna roll"...and then the brother replies "how do you do that?".
Orgazmo - in this spoof of the porn industry, Orgazmo and his sidekick, Choto-Boy, must save their favorite sushi bar from being taken over by a night club owned by a porno producer. I'm told its hilarious how the Japanese-American owner and chef thinks he's black.
Desperately Seeking Susan - Madonna is in a cab on the way to Battery Park, and the driver says "I had some of that sushi the other night...took it home, warmed it up - tasted just like fish!"
The Breakfast Club - a horrified Judd Nelson looks on as Molly Ringwald pulls out her lunch of sushi (it sure beats the Pixie Stix and Cap'n Crunch sandwich).
Bladerunner - Harrison Ford chows on futuristic sushi.
Scenes From A Mall - before Woody Allen breaks the news to Bette Middler that he's had an affair, they eat at the sushi bar in the mall. She orders a sea urchin & quail egg and says yum...where Woody says "That's pure cholesterol, you know!?!"
Repo Man - a punk couple wants to go on a crime spree...which includes Duke's idea of eating alot of sushi and not paying!
Defending Your Life - Albert Brooks dies in his brand new BMW (what a way to go) and is in Judgement City, where you can, among other things, eat all the wonderful food you want...and not gain weight. One night, he tries the sushi bar. The scene also pokes fun at sushi chefs' hospitality.
Valley Girl - the food of choice at a party where a young Nicholas Cage finds true love with the girl "across the tracks" - totally tubular, for sure!
Earth Girls Are Easy - Geena Davis takes a quick inventory of aphrodesiacs in front of her, including a tray of sushi.
Other People's Money - pivotal scene 3/4 of the way through, where Danny DeVito dines on sushi with a blonde.
Made In America - Ted Danson & Whoopi Goldberg go on a sushi dinner date. Sushi lovers will laugh when his character pops the green chunk of wasabi in his mouth without knowing what it is.
Showdown In Little Tokyo - Brandon Lee says to Dolph Lundgren, "I warn you - I don't eat raw fish...but that's just me." He later sees several men enjoying the catch-du-jour off the body of a nude woman in a club. He then says, "You know what I said before? I could change my mind!" The two later say they'll partake after taking down the bad guy.
Rising Sun - similar to scene described in Showdown In Little Tokyo.
"Dare To Be Stupid" - video parady by Weird Al Yankovic of Devo with the classic lyric..."You can eat a bunch of sushi and forget to leave a tip; dare to be stupid!"
Win Ben Stein's Money - a very hip contestant named Zeke received many compliments from Ben about his shirt. From a distance, it looked like a common cream- colored shirt with a pattern...but it had small pictures of various types of sushi all over it! Here's a sample of sushi fabric I found on the internet. --> You could find great gifts with it on the internet.
Cosby - the goofy character in dreadlocks learns how to roll his own sushi, as Cosby looks on. He's making the "hand roll", singing about how he loves wasabi while piling it on...and then pops it into his mouth. "Wasabi...wasabi...wah-sah-beeeee", he won't be singing that song anymore, I'm sure!
Dragnet - Tom Hanks just finished playing "good cop, bad cop" with a pretty blonde co-worker. He offers Dan Aykroyd a lunch of sushi, and he replies "raw tuna isn't my bag". Who said Detective Friday was the smart one?
Wall Street - Charlie Sheen (Bud Fox) is rolling in the dough and playing house with Daryl Hannah. There's a quick shot of sushi being prepared in the kitchen. When it comes to sushi, "Greed is good!"
Night Court - two sumo wrestlers make it in front of Harry Anderson (Judge Stone). Markie Post (Christine) offers them some sushi, and one says "Raw fish, yuk! Whopper!" There's another episode where a nun decides to leave the order to be with Judge Stone. They talk it over at a sushi bar.
Easy Money - Rodney Dangerfield & Joe Pesci are on the yacht, after Rodney inherits the millions from his wicked mother-in-law. A geisha comes up with a tray of sushi, and Joe asks her "Do you have any salami or provolone?"
Kate & Allie - catering a dinner for Japanese businessmen, they didn't know the wasabi was hot...so they loaded it into the sushi. Later, they wondered why there was so much left. The entire family ate some and fought over drinking out of the faucet.
The Golden Girls - Estelle Getty is home alone, while her daughter and two other roommates take a vacation from hell. She has a romance with the Japanese gardener, who prepares sushi for her. She distracts him, while putting the pieces in her purse. She's rubbing her tummy as he returns.
Please e-mail me any of your favorite quotes and scenes from the tube or silver screen that I might have overlooked.