Friday, September 08, 2006

The Food Network

The WesFoodie isn’t too proud to admit that he has spent many a night draped over the couch, mouth ajar, tongue drooping down chin, staring mesmerized at the television. Watching the Food Network. Now I can get just as cranky about the current line up as anyone but I will try at least to remain calm over the network programmers’ seeming inability to stop reshuffling, cancelling, and developing new, ever less substantial shows.

Ah, the golden age – probably around two years ago – when Rachel Ray had but one show (the cheap get around one), Anthony Bourdain ruled the waves (air that is) and that funny Australian dude with a knife visited exotic ports of call to look for fruit. That was cool. Gone now. Programmers were antsy.

I will refrain too from asking why the Network thinks it is genius to put on twelve different shows on sugar sculpture competitions (or is it only one that they keep showing over and over?). Or just what secret about which network executive does Bobby Flay have the goods on to explain why he gets half the programs for himself. I mean come on if it isn’t blackmail, why not give that weird little Southern dude who was Flay’s equal on the original grilling show a go at some of the spotlight. I won’t ask why there is back-to-back B-B-Que programming throughout the summer. Or why their current trend is to develop and promote shows that rely heavily on blowing food up.

No, I will focus on one thing only.

Have you ever noticed that all of the food advertised on the Food Network is really bad and bad for you? Yeah, its all white fat food – ultra processed and super high in calories. And they have those fake show commercials where the announcer walks you through a recipe for making junk food that will make mom fat, give dad a heart attack and leave the kids in a diabetic coma: “Just take a loaf of white bread, hollow it out and stuff it full with real whipped dessert topping. Then dunk your loaf in a bowl of heavy cream and corn syrup. Add the food coloring and viola!, a fun treat for the whole family.”

Perhaps this explains why they yanked out of prime time the two remaining really great shows (besides Iron Chef): Restaurant Makeover and Recipe for Success. Who wants to go out and buy a whole mess of sweet squirty stuff after watching someone trying to eke out a living in the food business? Let’s face it, there’s nothing about seeing a struggling food entrepreneur borrowing from the kids’ college saving plan to finance their organic pasta venture that motivates going out and buying a forty eight pack of frosted treats at Costco. Reality is just not yummy enough for Food TV.

Let’s look at the new shows in the fall lineup. Tell me these aren’t some programming exec’s idea of what might really drum up ad revenue by highlighting the junk food that their advertisers want to promote. First is a program called “Taking it Home,” a show that follows one Southern housewife as she feeds her family take out for a year while passing it off as her own home cooking. Will they believe she really made that triple cheese-in-the-crust pizza? I don’t know but I want to find out! Next there’s Rachel Ray’s FHM Iron Chef. Nuff said. Finally, there is “Till Dawn We Munch.” It’s a great concept (one right out of the MTV playbook): track real college kids snacking forays after a long night at the dorm listening to stuff like Bob Marley and Led Zeppelin. Picture sophomore gals (think Lindsay Lohan) with piercings downing entire pints of Haagen Daz while their boyfriends devour bags of Cheetos. I like the demographics. Someone pass me the chips.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, Wesfoodie. . . that last one reminds us of our good ole college days with the wonderous fair at North.

I don't recall the scantilly clad hard-bodies allowing warm chocolate to dribble down on their bellies, though. Perhaps that was next door.

Appendix Guy