The Next Food Network Star: The Poignant Yet Pointless Return of A Contestant
So in the episode I missed recapping, Star Salvation sent back Lovely into the competition, where she immediately proved she was still not ready for prime time, and was sent back home again. Show Treading Water for an Episode: 1; Star Salvation: 0.
I almost feel bad for the person who came up with the concept of Star Salvation here. On paper, the idea of an internet tie-in and someone earning their way back into the competition was a good one. There was just one fatal flaw in it — it required the show to cast decent contestants.
I think we can safely accept that this season of NFNS is a dud. The producers ceded casting control to Bobby, Giada and Alton last year and wound up with Justin, a winner they had no idea what to do with and didn’t want to risk putting on TV. (God knows why. God forbid they take a risk with interesting television? Isn’t that why Cooking Channel exists?) They wrested it back this season, only to remind us why they gave it up in the first place. The producers cast safe, boring, terrible contestants. Let us look at what we’re left with:
- Rodney: Should have been sent home weeks ago. He has no chance of being on TV. He’s not only unintelligible, he has absolutely no idea what works on Food Network — like he’s never watched it. Food Network Brass refuses to give us Eat Fellow Humans, and yet wants to pretend they’ll consider this guy? Please.
- Russell: He’s had exactly fifteen seconds of good TV when he threw to a commercial once. Otherwise he’s been a whole lot of mumblecore about an ill-defined revolution no one is interested in televising. He has this non-thought out overlay of Deadly Food Sins, but that’s not a show.
- Damaris: She’s a younger version of Paula Deen without the butter. If the Deen implosion had happened earlier, she might have been presented as a better frontrunner, but it didn’t. One wonders if the FN Brass will make sure prior to giving her a show that no one in her family refers to the black people who work in her restaurant kitchens as monkeys.
- Nikki: Her name is fucking Nikki Dinki. She has the personality of a gnat and she’s selling vegetables. Let’s not pretend this is TV Worth Watching. If she wins, she better prepare herself for a career of being the third leg holding up Season Five Dud Winner Melissa and Season Six Dud Winner Aarti on Insulting Your Weight with An Established Outside Brand That Got Left Behind In The New Media Revolution.
- Stacey: After being perplexed and frightened by Justin Warner so that all they allow him to do is write recaps of this show for their website, she’s the perfect antidote in the FN Brass’ minds. She’s also the ultimate Food Network Weekend Wallpaper: unthreatening and uninteresting. Perfect for when you need to go into the kitchen and do those breakfast dishes between shows you actually want to watch. There’s very little to stop her from winning this season, and even less to interest me in watching her show when it airs.
With only a couple of episodes to go, is it really worth it to watch Rodney and Russell be removed ahead of an all-female finale where Stacey and her “My Sanctimonious Bullshit Buzzword Kitchen” take it all? I’m not sure the answer to that is yes. This show was once an interesting glimpse into what it took to be given the chance to build an empire of food as entertainment. Last season, it gave a twist on that glimpse as we saw what those who have built their own empires consider their most valuable traits. All this season has shown is that the people who produce the show have no idea why it was a hit in the first place.
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