Rachael Ray Show: Underwhelming Yet Infuriating
|March 11, 2009||Posted by Kimberly Rae Miller under Food in the News|
I admit that I probably spend more time watching The Food Network than is probably healthy for me. I could probably stand a few less hours watching other people cooking, which results in a constant sensation of hunger, which then leads to me cooking, then eating in front of The Food Networkand so on, and so forth. I admit to some immodest dreams involving a certain smug, redheaded New York City Chef/Restaurateur. I admit I have a fairly sizeable girl-crush on Giada, and I will confess that even though I would never ever be quite as liberal in my butter usage I just want Paula Dean to be my Great Auntie who sneaks me an extra cookie under the table.
I snicker and laugh at Sandra Lee who might as well live in Barbie’s Malibu Dream House and be making TV dinners all day long. The one person I hadn’t formed a solid opinion of however, was Rachael Ray. I sort of disliked her because at one point I tuned in and she was making fruit salad sandwiches and hot dog salad (feel free to throw up a little), but I recognized that she had decent cooking technique and that her food was pretty “Real.” It’s the kind of food my mom would have made me growing up, in fact my mother loves Rachael Ray. Has the cookbooks, watches the show, I’ve seen a few of her magazines strewn around her living room. I may not loooove RR, but I accepted that she exists.
Last week I even decided I was going to give her a second chance when I saw her little special on Nightline where the queen of daytime cooking says she doesn’t regret a thing she’s done, is unapologetic about not wanting children, and doesn’t really care if people don’t like her. I figured hey, she actually sounds like someone I would like, regardless of the fact that I still find her irritating and with a truly poor concept of what defines “healthy.” I also decided to give her a second chance because my mother had tickets to see her show. Like I said my mom loves Rachael Ray, and had tried to see her show one other time, couldn’t get it, and finally got guaranteed seats after being turned away previously.
She was all cute and excited in the morning, as we bundled up and headed to the 44th Street studio. Here’s the shtick, my mom had VIP seats so we all just went right into security, where they look you over, and give you a color coded ticket. You’re not really sure what your color means, but you know that you should remember it because the perky blond girl at the door said so. You’re then ushered into a holding room with all sorts of processed snacks and coffee at your disposal. I could tell my mom liked that there was free food available-I mean Rachael wouldn’t let you just sit there being hungry could she?
After a approximately 45 minutes you’re told that you’re going to be called in to sit according to your color, and that you should only go in with your color, and to just trust them because they have their own special method to sitting. Yes, yes they did and it was extremely insulting. It didn’t take long for everyone in that room to figure out what the color codes meant. Blue (the first group) were all the young/stylish people, Pink (the second group) were all the 30-40 year olds and any of the younger set that weren’t quite as stylish, and Yellow (the last group) was anyone that was over 50 or over 150 lbs, or not with-it in the style department.
Honestly, it just felt really insulting, to everyone involved. As I stood there with my mother and a group of other women her age all destined for the back row you could just tell that they all knew exactly why they were there-they had passed their cuteness expiration date and were therefore no longer considered usable when the cameras panned to the audience.
Mostly I just felt bad for my mother, who looked hurt and I’m pretty sure will never look at her onetime cooking-hero the same way. Then, for the rest of the show, I just felt bad that I was there. Not bad as in sorry, bad as in, “ugh, why am I here.” I’ve been to other show tapings, I’ve worked in TV, hell I’ve hosted a talk show. I know how it is, and she looked pissed off most of the time. I don’t doubt that at one time she loved her job, but at this point it really just looked like it was going through the motions and just in it for the paycheck. There were no asides to the audience, no witty banter with her team. It was really “wham, bam, thank you ma’am” TV making.
I will hand it to her that she does do all the cooking, even when the show is set to go to commercials. I appreciate that. But, besides that one point I left feeling sort of abused. Other shows I’ve been to allow you to feel like you’re seeing a show, at this you can’t really see past the cameras, I literally felt like I was there to work, a movable set piece scheduled to clap when cued and smile for the audience pan shots.
Today, as I left The Food Network on for background noise 30-Minute Meals came on. I turned it off. I’m not wasting my time on someone who could care less about her fans.