The Next Food Network Star - Lunch Trucks With Paula
The problem with the beginning episodes of TNFNS is that there are just too many folks to keep track of. I wrote about this season’s first episode when there seemed to be hundreds of them, and, luckily, they've whittled them down somewhat since then.
I have been watching, though, and I’m finding the show to be less and less about cooking and more and more about drama. I have other places to go, frankly, if I want that in my life.
Last night’s episode was a case in point. Herb, the fitness guy, apparently had a traumatic childhood from which he’s only recently recovered. He weeps at every challenge and Susie put it well when she said we see pain from you and that doesn’t exactly make for an entertaining food show. I think we all like to see someone triumph AFTER they’ve recovered, but watching someone make a sandwich with a big dose of tears may not fly on the Food Network.
The problem is that the judges WANT them to reveal things about themselves. They want personal stories that the viewers can relate to. These contestants (they are, in the main, not CHEFtestants) seem to have personal stories either too mundane or too painful to share.
The judges say week after week that Brianna isn’t giving them part of herself, yet her food is mostly imaginative and well-done.
I can’t think of one reason that Paul was chosen initially. He can’t cook; he can’t tell interesting stories; and he actually offends people with his less than winning personality. Plus he has red hair, which, let’s be honest, is always a hard sell on a guy.
They want them to be real and yet when they reveal themselves to be kind of boring or ordinary or just plain jerky, the judges criticize them.
And, actually, sometimes it feels like it is getting TOO personal. Aria, who had been “ahead” through much of the competition, was basically told last night that they were tired of her bubbly, friendly personality, which they loved at the beginning. That hurt MY feelings and I don’t even particularly like Aria. NOW Susie thinks she’s too “one-note”. Aria did what they wanted and now they’ve decided that’s not good enough.
I understand the need for personal stories. I LOVE it when Ina includes her “friends”. But, frankly, I don’t really care if she picked them up from the K-Mart parking lot just before the show. They are simply a vehicle for Ina showing us what a grand hostess she is. Whether it’s real or not, doesn’t matter.
A lot of folks blast the Cake Boss, because the situations are so unlikely and obviously set up. I couldn’t care less. I just love to see Mama yelling at him and his sisters harassing him. The main thing is that IT IS BUDDY DECORATING THOSE CAKES LIKE A MASTER, so if the drama part is a bit fake, oh well.
So what are these potential Food Network Stars to do, in order to stay in the judges’ good graces?
I think they should just say whatever it takes to sound friendly and identifiable with their audience. If they have to make up a pretend family, then ok. Who would ever find out?
Obviously, they can’t say they’ve been knighted by the Queen, but if they tell family tales more from their imagination than their actual photo albums, it’ll keep the judges happy and the audience entertained. AND I suppose it’s human nature to prefer pretend delightful stories to real wrenching ones…on the Food Network anyway.
At this point - last night was episode 5 and they’re halfway through -only one or two stand out to me. Food blogger, Aarti, is my favorite. (Bloggers Unite!) But I wonder when Bob and Susie will realize that this may not be the best way to audition talent for new shows. Plus their therapy bills after this rigorous process may exceed the food budget.