I am languishing in the doldrums of summer television. The tube
offers me only a fizz-less cocktail of reruns, rejected series pilots and golf.
Don’t start on me about including golf on the boring list.
Televised golf tournaments are useful only for tired parents. If they record
golf matches and play them back when the kids are screaming at bedtime, the
combination of the cottony monotone commentary and soporific stretches of green
turf will knock the kiddies out faster than sneaking a little Benadryl into
Golf aside, my point is that programmers are missing a huge
Food and chefs are the big thing, right? And viewers like those
ever-more-ridiculous reality shows, and crime and medical dramas.
Combine those genres with food and cooking. Then, unlike such
shows as “Top Chef,” drop any pretense of a connection to actual cooking. Stir
well, and these shows might be what you get.
If you’re interested, networks, have your people do lunch with my
people – once I get some.
K”: Is “The Chew” too perky for you?
You’ll love this show where stars Mario Batali, Clinton Kelly, Daphne Oz,
Michael Symon and Carla Hall are stuck in an isolated farmhouse, far from Dean
& Deluca, during a Midwest winter. The five must survive on what they
forage from nearby convenience stores. They’ll prepare “Elimination Dinners”
for groups of Walmart greeters who will vote on which resident has earned the
right to leave. Watch for the episode where Symon’s donkey-bray laugh finally tips
Kelly over the edge and Kelly stuffs him in a Ziplok bag.
A no-flavors-barred homemade ice-cream competition in the wilds of Oklahoma.
Three words: Catfish-chip gelato. The judges are winners from “SnackDown!” (see
below), whose taste buds have been, luckily, seared away.
“SnackDown!”: Enter man
caves across the country to determine which sports fans can create and consume
the super-hottest wings in this mix of hot sauce and testosterone. Winners will
receive a year’s supply of treats from “Hillbilly Handcranking” (see above) and
free care from gastroenterologists.
“Deadliest Batch”: Think
fishing for crab in the Bering Sea is tough? Watch what happens when Amish
Friendship Bread starter rages out of control, taking over kitchens and lives.
“I can’t let it die, I just can’t. I’ve had this starter for 12 years,” wails
one obsessed baker, who rises from bed at midnight to feed the bowls of starter
that cover her counters. Neighbors threaten another cook with restraining
orders for leaving starter on their porches.
“Antique Roadkill”: Don’t
throw out that package of cold cuts in the back of the refrigerator! It might
be worth millions. A team of experts in classic condiments, food history and
edible archaeology travels the U.S., cleaning out refrigerators and giving
owners bad news about the actual worth of the contents, along with boxes of
“CSI: Fast Food”: Chef
Jamie Oliver, that British crusader for healthy school lunches, and his foodie
forensic team work to uncover who committed the crime of the chicken nugget.
The Chick-Fil-A cow co-stars in this drama as one of Oliver’s detectives who
has a little too much empathy for the perp.
“Mouse”: The star of the
movie “Ratatouille” gets his own series, but plays a very different character.
He’s a misanthropic, yet brilliant, Gruyere-addicted chef who belittles his
staff and sends out courses that taste so bad that diners gag and choke. Each
week, he saves the meal with astounding desserts that seem to come out of
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