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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Food Network Somehow Even Ruins Its Ice-Carving Show

Posted By on Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 11:00 AM

click to enlarge Here is a guy with a saw.
  • Here is a guy with a saw.
Each week we take a quick, cautious look at what's going on with televised cooking. This week: Ice Brigade, Fridays at 4 a.m. (fuck!) on the Food Network.

Ice Brigade is a show about ice carving, and if I didn't like ice carving so much all of a sudden I might have some pretty terrible things to say about it, because it's a show about ice carving and not, for example, food, on the Food Network.

I might have some other things to say, too, like about how the Food Network has clearly crossed the event horizon and is now just twiddling knobs and minding the ship, unaware that it is already dead, unaware that it is no longer a food network, unaware that it will soon relaunch as a reality-show garbage chute with an acronym for the title, much like the Learning Channel did when it realized it was no longer in the business of nurturing and educating, but of murder.

click to enlarge iu_team_with_tigers_s4x3_lg.jpg
Good thing I like ice carving so much, which I didn't even realize I liked so much until I saw the ad for Ice Brigade a few days ago. Unfortunately, the Food Network misjudged how I would like my ice carving presented after I saw the ad for Ice Brigade and realized how much I liked ice carving all of a sudden.

I like ice carving because of one thing: It puts power tools to ice. It's impossible not to enjoy watching that. You can be asleep on the couch and your cat will enjoy that. On Ice Brigade, a guy thrusts a chainsaw into a block of ice and comes away with a pool table. That's one of the things they make on the premiere episode: a bar-size pool table, with ice balls and ice cues and an ice rack, all of which works. It works like shit, but still: frozen water.

They also make an ice lounge, with an ice bar and ice chairs and ice glasses and ice shit all around. It sat in a Michigan club until it melted many months later because the freezer blew, and this part wasn't on the show, but it made the local Michigan news, and I know this because I Googled it because I love ice carving so much all of a sudden right now.

They also made an ice punchbowl for Magic Johnson's mother for another part of the premiere, and I'm ignoring this because it was so boring, and it was so sad to watch Magic Johnson help himself to a glass of punch and bend over and compliment the ice punchbowl. You're better than this, all of you.

What I didn't like about the premiere episode was the usual nonsense with manufactured drama. Most of this drama has to do with ice melting. They make no secret that ice melts on the show, but every second it's OH FUCK THE ICE IS MELTING BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT ICE DOES HAVE YOU HEARD OF THIS PHENOMENON?

My advice to the show, and to every one on the Food Network spaceship (which is totally screwed because of the event horizon, but whatever): If your show is about interesting work, focus on the work. Norm Abram didn't get famous because he kept running up to Tom Silva screaming that the homeowners were two minutes out and they needed to finish up and hide. He got famous, at least in my house, because he calmly and correctly showed how to pound three-quarter-inch nails into roofing tiles. You got enough drama wondering if Bob Vila would lose a boot in the wet concrete or fall down a hillside.

These ice guys use chainsaws and drills and hacksaws and lathes and blowtorches and sledgehammers, and they go at blocks of ice, and I want to see more of that. I want to know what tool is right for carving the teeth on a tiger and how to make the first cut. If I ever find a head-high block of ice on my doorstep, I want a pretty good idea about how to go at it with a chainsaw and end up with something resembling a bird of prey pissing sangria for the block party.

If you need more convincing, here's what else Ice Brigade makes in the six-episode season: Ice baby grand piano, ice hookah, ice Han Solo in ice, ice air-hockey table, ice turntable, ice speakers, ice headphones, ice mechanical bull, ice casino, ice carousel, ice pinball, ice putt-putt course, ice bowling alley, man-size ice chess pieces, and ice office furniture.

This is great stuff, if you're hot for ice carving. I'm starting to cool on it a little bit.

-- Previously, Michael Leaverton watched: The Show Paula Deen's Kid Was Given Because His Mom Makes Terrible Food Bama Glama, the show all Alabama loves to fight over in comment threads Guy Fieri's Weird Man Fort Mystery Diners Food Jammers Have Cake, Will Travel Chef Hunter Baron Ambrosia Sweet Genius Best Thing I Ever Made Sandra Lee's Hard-Drinkin' Halloween Special of Madness

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Michael Leaverton


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