Each week we take a quick, cautious look at what's going on with televised cooking. This week: Bama Glama, a half-hour show not about food, Fridays at 4 a.m. (yes!) on the Food Network.
With Bama Glama, the Food Network pivots from food-centric shows and embraces the broad-audience lifestyle-guide reality-show premise, with a six-show run about a wedding party planner in Alabama who helps young brides fabricate and then solve small conflicts that could ruin the big day.
You see what I did there? I tried to make Bama Glama not sound like a hat of crap that doesn't belong anywhere near the Food Network or perhaps not even near the TV at all. I think I did a pretty good job. Someone once wrote something like that explaining the show to the FN president, I'm quite sure of it.
Here's some more:
In host Scot Wedgeworth, the Food Network has a fun Southern dethgoth in spiked sunglasses and black clothes wandering around 1997 looking for rap-metal. Imagine what might splatter across Alabama if Criss Angel and Mystery were shat out of a pack mule after Tom Colicchio threw it down a hillside.
Rearrange those words and you get, well, the same thing.
It's not like I don't understand the allure of Bama Glama. I too have melted into the couch, shellacked by adulthood, hatewatching the deep channels. But I've always considered the Food Network to be a more elevated brand of mind-wipe, a prescription Xanax to TLC's brown bag of paint fumes.
And I expect to be presented with food on the Food Network. I need Giada De Laurentiis molesting dough with her photogenic fingers and Alton Brown chronicling the history of peppercorns with finger puppets while making celery foam with a blow dryer. Shit like that. I need more than a dethgoth party planner shouting "This is how we do it in Alabama!" while arranging chairs.
Basically, I need for someone to be cooking something, on the Food Network.
Wedgeworth, however, party plans big Southern weddings in his 1997 dethgoth style, frightening old ladies and making young Southern brides think they are plugged into some other zeitgeist than the zeitgeist of 1997 dethgoth. Actually, I don't really mind Wedgeworth's taste. In one episode he makes a mason jar candle chandelier, a lemonade stand, some other shit, and he puts chairs in trees. Fine, I guess so. Next time he should make a guacamole.
Surprisingly, though, Bama Glama doesn't involve nearly as much party planning as you might think, likely because taping begins just a week before the weddings and everything about these weddings has already been party-planned to death for weeks and months and maybe even years, because they are weddings. So all that's left for the show is manufacture some little outrage, some small nuisance, and blow it up like an illegal balloon.
In the landmark second episode, "Bride v. Grandmas," that drama takes the form of grandmas who don't like cupcakes. Wedgeworth is worried about making grandmas like cupcakes, but after reading the script producer's rewrites and blasting Limp Bizkit in an idling El Camino for three hours he gains a newfound confidence -- cupcakes, grandmas, I got this! -- and he sits the grandmas down and asks them if they can pretty please like cupcakes and the editing kicks in and STAY TUNED TO SEE IF THE DETHGOTH PARTY PLANNER CAN MAKE GRANDMAS LIKE THESE FUCKING THINGS!
And the grandmothers sigh and sort of gaze towards the boxwoods in the pooling yellow light and maybe even back to the time when they themselves were married in that hot Alabama summer sun so many years ago when they were just girls sprinting through the bloom of their youth and neither could ever recall a time of needing -- nor could they even fathom a scenario in which one may need -- a 1997 dethgoth party planner in spiked sunglasses who might have a thing for Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance.
Yes, spiked sunglasses. How did we not know about spiked sunglasses? Has anyone told Chris Angel about spiked sunglasses? Why is my browser telling me that nobody but Etsy is selling spiked sunglasses? WTF JON VARVATOS? Here is a picture of Food Network star Scot Wedgeworth wearing spiked sunglasses.
Previously, Michael Leaverton watched: