It's been more than three days, and it's not just ALL MY CHILDREN aficionados who are saying that THE CHEW doesn't pass the smell test. Many major print outlets have reported on the show's debut this week. Here's a sampling of what they had to say, with links to the originals from TV Guide, Newsday, The Huffington Post, The New York Daily News, The Chicago Sun-Times, and Esquire.
In this culinary knockoff of The View, What Not to Wear's Clinton Kelly seemed uncomfortably shoehorned into the Whoopi Goldberg sassy-moderator role. And in case you missed the fact that "health and wellness expert" Daphne Oz is Dr. Oz's daughter the first ten times they mentioned it, the good doctor himself showed up for a "surprise" cameo to declare how proud he is of his newly little girl (she lost 25 pounds, and her weight-loss secrets were also crammed down viewers' throats).
Meanwhile, TOP CHEF's Carla Hall and Iron Chef's Michael Symon (both of whom brought their moms to the show) tried to out down-home each other: Symon cooked cheap-and-easy pork and beans, while Hall introduced the concept of "Gon' Bes": recipes gone wrong that, she assured us, are "gon' be OK." Someday maybe we'll be able to say the same about THE CHEW, if they can trim the fat from the cast, cut back on the cornball forced merriment and throw a few less ingredients into the proverbial pot.
THE CHEW is a chump. Its first day was a noisy, and desperate-to-please trifle, full of forced bonhomie and hollow mirth. Chalk that up to first-day jitters, perhaps, but substance -- not tone -- appears to be the larger problem.
THE CHEW doesn't seem to know what it is or wants to be. "This show is about food, family, fun," explains one of the hosts, Clinton Kelly. So noted. But ABC's new daytime talk/family/fun/cooking series doesn't have merely a split personality, but five personalities. . . Individually, they have specific tastes, skills and (doubtless) talents. Individually, perhaps, any of them could (and already have in a couple of instances) host his or her own show.
Put them all together and you get . . . indigestion.
The Huffington Post
THE CHEW premiered earlier today and it was immediately obvious the hosts need a bit more time to work on their flow. . . below are some of the most cringe-worthy moments.
-Michael Symon asks an audience member why she thinks his pork recipe is -delicious. She responds that it is...delicious.
-Daphne Oz opens Ester-C tablets right into the blender. Yum.
-Michael Symon implores the audience to try a microplane.
-The audience cheers Carla Hall on for using toothpicks.
-Mario Batali demos a pizza recipe from a golf course in New Jersey. He reveals, after a long pause, that Italian pizza is from Italy.
New York Daily News
"THE CHEW" too often felt overstuffed, as if its celebrity crew were engaged in a speed-talking contest. That fast pace, a key part of the game plan, makes it hard to start relating to the panel. We need them to take some breaths. The accelerated pace also produced some fudge, like when Symons billed his pork over kale and beans recipe as something you can whip up in five minutes.
That may be true if you don't count the time it takes to pound the pork into a cutlet or chop the kale. That was all pre-prepared when Symons started his clock. The average viewer also should factor in the time it takes to find a bunch of ingredients few average kitchens have lying around.
THE CHEW has your standard dump-and-stir cooking demos, tips on entertaining and a mundane rehashing of food-related “news.” (A study says cooking at home is cheaper than eating fast food!) Attempts to make food accessible to the masses often came off as patronizing, like when Symon explained that a sommelier is “a big fancy wine person” and demonstrated how to grate cheese with a microplane.
THE CHEW acts as if America has never seen a food show, when the reality is that TV is more crowded than Grant Achatz’ inbox when it comes to culinary content. But instead of filling that “AMC” slot with something fresh and new, all we get are stale leftovers.
Pretty much everyone noted that it was baffling, and would seem to bode ill for the future of Mario Batali's participation in the show, that he was on a golf course rather than in the studio for the big premiere episode. Daphne Oz, if she wants people to watch her show instead of her father's, will need to rely less overtly on him for her segments. And no, we did not need a chest shot revealing Michael Symon's "Got Pork" tattoo within the first two minutes of air time.
TV Media Insights takes a look at ratings for THE CHEW'S first four days
Monday 9/26 – Lead-in: 2.9/ 9, THE CHEW: 2.1/ 7
Tuesday 9/27 – Lead-in: 2.8/ 9, THE CHEW: 1.8/ 6
Wednesday 9/28 – Lead-in: 2.7/ 9, THE CHEW: 1.8/ 6
Thursday 9/29 – Lead-in: 2.6/ 8, THE CHEW: 1.7/ 6
- RATINGS: THE CHEW Matches ALL MY CHILDREN Audience, But Could This Be A Repeat of 25 Year History?