The Chew

5 WAYS TO MAKE ABC’s “THE CHEW” TOLERABLE

The loud trainwreck that is “The Chew”, which premiered this past Monday on ABC not only as yet another food-theme show but also as replacement for “All My Children” the 40+ year legendary soap that ABC killed earlier this year, has not been the smashing success that the network had hoped. Or is it early to tell?

Ratings have taken a nosedive already. According to Media Insights, the weak premiere of this heavily-hyped show of 2.1/7 already slid to a 1.8. We wonder why.  We wonder why TV even needs yet another hour-long food show during the day, when we already have Rachael Ray and an entire Food Network that serves this stuff up in 30-minute chunks 24 hours a day. And over at Hallmark, where Martha Stewart’s empire has been relegated since last year because of dwindling ratings, she isn’t doing all that well either.

The ChewABC must have thought that it needed to have a slick, relatively “live” (which this show is not, by the way) production and make it like an info-taining talk fest but have cooking be the star of the show. That’s a tall order, and one that doesn’t necessarily make for engaging TV, especially when you have five bodies all competing for the microphone. See, this isn’t a cooking show where one person dominates, like Stewart or Ray or even Emeril Lagasse, all of whom can at least be entertaining. “The Chew”, I would argue is experiencing a severe crisis of identity: what kind of show, or format does it want to be?

You have five relatively dynamic personalities, chosen not just for their sometimes type-A personalities, but also because they must have tested well on some Q rating with foodies or people who like to watch food shows. Chef Michael Symon is a well-known chef from Cleveland, best known for his work on the Food Network and anointed “Iron Chef”, that most prestigious of titles there, a few years back. He’s bald and bold –a meat and potatoes guy but with a heart, even if he comes across as awkward sometimes.

Take day one: we kept getting reminded constantly that this was the first epsode and Chef Symon had the honor of cooking the first dish of the show –a pork dish with greens and white beans. Serving the dish to the audience members he got pretty close and asked them what they thought of it. This is how you make a show exciting?

Another host, Clinton Kelly, has tended to be the moderator or presenter each day, and he doesn’t even have a food background. He reminds us all the time that he’s the lame host of the lame “What Not to Wear” on TLC. It’s lame because it’s a blander and watered down version of the original UK series. On the first day of the show, he was amped up and feeling “fabulous”, as if he had taken several Red Bulls.

Carla Hall, a former caterer and cook from Washington DC is arguably the most likable, having earned a lot of that from her two seasons of “Top Chef”. She is a southern cook, focusing on comfort food and with her bug eyes and red eyeglass frames, she is quite a sight and, despite several screams on the first day, she can be fun to watch.

Not so Daphne Oz –again, someone who has no food background but who has a famous Dad (Dr. Mehmet Oz, as in the highly-rated medical talk fest), and is here to bring a “healthy” outlook to living. That, of course, sounds like a wet blanket, which she is.

Rounding out the team is Mario Batali, the Mario Batali, whose motto is “There are two people in this world –people who are Italians and those who want to be Italians. Batali is arguably the most well-known and accomplished in the cast. And he gets the choicier segments. So why on the first day was he not live in the studio? Why was he on a live remote in New Jersey on the 14th hole during a charity golf tournament? Did he have to really phone this in, literally, waiting a few seconds for awkward q&a, and in the process, burning the crust of the margherita pizza?

Five shows into the series and it’s clear: the show is still a mess and we wish it were a smoother affair. The pacing is still wincingly stilted; the interactions are still lame and uninspired. The show seems to invent segments such as “Carla’s Gon’ Be Moments” –(how to rescue a cooking disaster) as if these will be regular features. The problem is that many of these segments are already tedious already.

We’d like to suggest some changes that we hope ABC and the producers will implement before the network decides to bring back the characters from Pine Valley to daytime TV:

1. SHUT UP!

Shut Up

Is it possible to tone the volume down? We’re talking shouting, incessant interruptions, audience commands to applaud nothing, and the dueling hosts who don’t seem to have anything interesting to say sometimes. Honestly, all we heard on day one was this was going to be a “great show”, this is “the first show”, and isn’t everyone wonderful? By day two, Kelly was shouting a bit less but by Wednesday he was ramping up things with his arms.

ABC should almost install a volume meter on the screen, one that zaps each host if they decide that they need to shout something, like when Carla went running into the kitchen pantry to get some canned broth for stuck-up guest Joy Behar’s tomato sauce. It’s just too much noise and makes this allegedly serious show about food feel like a circus. This will get tiring fast.

2. LOSE THE DAPH

Daphne Oz The Chew

Daphne Oz has no purpose on the show except to annoy. On the first and second day she made sure America knew what psycillium husks were and literally shoved it down our throats. Why is she an expert? Because she just wrote a book called the “Dorm Room Diet” and smoothies with these husks made her lose 30 pounds when she was younger. Thus she is the resident health nut, and supposed voice that will tell the others not to use too much fat or salt in their foods. I guess it helps for ABC to trot out her famous father, who waltzed in with his heavy hand on the first day, allegedly to congratulate his daughter. The younger Oz simply isn’t a TV personality –she comes across as meek and halting. Batali has already taken to making fun of her expected pronouncements because she doesn’t even try to sound authoritative or interesting. But the most damning part of Oz is this: she doesn’t seem to be comfortable around food at all. When she could barely help Symon in crushing some San Marzano tomatoes the other day, he literally lost his temper and took away the can from her. Couldn’t Carla do this? Couldn’t Symon do this by himself? These are instincts that you cannot fake.

3. STOP TALKING DOWN TO THE AUDIENCE

The hosts, especially Kelly and Oz (to their detriment), have this halting habit of reading the latest food headline, usually a “research shows” kind of story, and they do this, oh, while at the other end of the counter, Symon is sweating some onions and garlic in a pan. The effect is that we are just tossing these things around and minimizing their importance. Kelly one day even brought in an actual newspaper and opened it up, to give the impression that, well, he was just sipping some coffee and he came across this or that. The more general point is this: as soon as “The Chew” realizes what kind of show it is, I would recommend that this not be a show that preaches this or that about food –how to’s, favorite tips, or, hey, Michael Symon’s love for the microplane and how your life will change. Really? Why not organize the show around themes and just cook away! Bring guests in. Bring audience members in and talk to them like adults, not the bib-wearing puppets that get to sit there and politely say the dishes they are being served are “good”.

4. STOP MODELLING YOURSELVES AFTER “THE VIEW”

This show needs some real people. But I’m not talking about the hosts. I’m referring to the fact that there is an audience out there, or even guests that can come on your show. Make sure people feel natural and not scripted or forced. Let food be the anchor and lose the tacked-on chat segments about how coffee is bad for you. There are no “hot topics” about food –a reference to what constitutes the first 20 minutes of “The View”. Don’t ask your “friends” from “The View” like Whoopi and Joy for some advice about what makes a good talk show and then ask them to start cooking food. They could care less; they just want to eat. Barbara Walters wouldn’t deign step foot on this show because, well, she isn’t quite sure what it is either. And the way she has been the disciplinarian on her show for 15 years, she wouldn’t deal with five people trying to talk at the same time, either.

5. DONT GIVE MARIO A SCRIPT (Bonus: Make him angry)

Here is our most radical suggestion, and it’s worth it not just because Batali is far too cool and hip to be trapped in this formulaic mess, but also because he is famous for being a loose cannon. Like Emeril, Mario used to be one of the first chefs on the Food Network. He is a friend to many, from perky Rachael Ray and Martha Stewart, to his pal, the crankier non-conformist Anthony Bourdain. He is a master — his fare is classic Italian and he does this with quickness and finesse. But he also isn’t a bubbly sort like other chefs and I have to believe that he can’t stand reading bon mots off a teleprompter. We would love it if the rest of the hosts got their script and showed up one day –and left Batali out of it. Turn off his script. Let him be natural. Allow him to be admirably cranky, and really tell us what’s on his mind. His words could be the most refreshing thing on the show, and that’s one thing that would feel unforced compared to the other canned elements of the show. How to do this? Just give him a pan. Or if they don’t want to give him a script, just tell him to cook.

Everything.

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27 Comments »

Comment by Lynn Marinelli
2011-10-05 11:26:29

Pretty Bad! Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen!!!!!!! The show is loud, too loud, and the recipies are not shown in a decient amount of time in order to figure them out. The show is really poor. I’ll stick with the food network shows and hope that ‘All My Children’ returns! The sooner the better! For now ABC is OFF my list at 1:00 p.m. in my area. Bring Susan Lucci Back and get rid of the loud kitchen cooks. And for Mario Batali - I’m not Italian, but am married to one. BUT … I don’t want to be one, so watch what you say!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 
Comment by Vesper
2011-11-07 11:05:22

The sooner this show’s off the air, the better.

 
Comment by Susan Schmidt
2011-11-29 14:10:18

That was a great summary of the show. I think the topper was the tofu turkey episode. The look on the faces of all the hosts was priceless.

It is blatently obvious her daddy got her the job. I can think of sooo many other people who are chefs.

Her daddy’s show reminds me of what I see on all.the womens magazines. Headlines of all the diets product placements etc. one week they say one thing the next week its promoting something else.

I lost total respect for him after he made his money on his own diet book. Now all he comes off as is confused.

I see him as a control freak who has to be in charge of everything. Notice anything he is involved in he is incharge of not just simply involved in.

It doesnt surprise me that his daughter is on the show which happens to be on the same network. She actually did a dry run on her daddys show. I thought to myself she could get in trouble spouting off advice likw that. At least if she had a degree in nutrition or was a nurse. She isnt even that.

Oh by the way his sixteen year old daughter co-wrote a you book as being a teen expert on teen issues. Why, you ask, because she is sixteen. That makes her an expert.

 
Comment by Susan Schmidt
2011-11-29 14:19:38

What credentials does Daphne have? Her Daddy got her the job. Her daddy is her credential.

The tofu turkey ewwweeww the expressions of the other co-hosts was priceless.

She is just in the way.

 
Comment by Peggy Sullivan Crespo
2012-02-08 10:29:10

I tried to like this show - really tried. I love to cook and watch all cooking shows but this is becoming very difficult. I can’t stand Carla - she is probably the most annoying person on TV - Daphne is OK but doesn’t belong. I basically like Michael and Mario but lose the other three - fast….however, I think it is too late. The show is doomed and I doubt we will see it on next year. Should have worked, but didn’t. They chose wrong people….

 
Comment by stonlu
2012-02-22 10:04:57

I so agree with Peggy Sullivan’s comment. I to wanted to like the show, and I was looking forward for it to start. It’s not like I haven’t tried to like it I’ve watched several episodes, but end up switching channels.

 
Comment by JudyK
2012-02-27 11:38:35

I LOVE this show, EXCEPT for Daphne Oz. OMG, does she have an OFF BUTTON! She talks so fast that I can’t understand one thing she says. If the sound is off, watching her lips move looks like I have a movie on and have put it in fast forward. It’s almost comical, except that it’s not. She’s just plain obnoxious.

I can’t watch AT ALL when she’s on, and, unfortunately, she’s allowed to dominate the show far too often.

Comment by patricia interligi
2013-03-21 09:42:49

I think Daphne Oz doesn’t belong either. If she says, “yum” one more time.

 
 
Comment by c
2012-03-02 11:19:25

I for the life of me cannot understand why Daphne Oz is on TV, this show or any show, she serves no purpose at all, and even the receipes that they give her to present as her own, she can’t which makes it obvious that they are not hers, I watched one episode where she was preparing a dish that she said was a dish she had prepared for years and Simon had to do it for her, and I thought she was either a vegan or a vegetarian when the show started with her tofurkeys and all that,now she can’t wait to scarf down any pork thats put in front of her, Uggggggh she is so annoying, and that Carla has got to be the ugliest looking woman I have ever seen, sometimes I have to turn for that reason.

Comment by amy
2012-03-22 09:51:09

Daphne seems like she is so busy worrying about her looks that she can’t function. Carla looks like a drag queen and her voice and mannerisms are ultra-annoying.

 
 
Comment by George
2012-04-04 11:46:11

Too funny, Amy. You are so right, though. I can’t watch more than 10 minutes of this show. I’ve tried on several occasions, but I’ve finally gave up on it. The show is a train wreck. The biggest reason why ABC is trying to cram this show and the show that follows it (I don’t remember the name of it) is because of money. ABC killed off the soaps because they realized that the garbage they’re now airing only cost 40% of what it cost to air All My Children. Susan Lucci stated it, herself. ABC (owned by Disney) is just a bunch of money-grubbing a–holes who are only concerned about their egos and the bottom-line. If people stopped watching their crap, they’d start losing advertising dollars. Only then, they’d listen more to their viewing audience instead of strictly looking at their balance sheets and income statements.

 
Comment by George
2012-04-04 11:47:02

Daphne is hot, though. She can be annoying, but I still thinks she’s hot.

Comment by andrew
2013-05-06 10:15:16

Are you crazy? She is about attractive as cancer.

 
 
Comment by FoodieSnob
2012-04-24 13:38:34

Dear ABC Execs AND ESPECIALLY “The Chew” executive producer, Gordon Elliott:

LOSE the DAPH. She is a total wet rag. Uninteresting and oh-so-boring.
Clinton Kelley also has little reason to be there since he has no foodie background, but at least he is lively!

PLEASE GET RID of Daphne Oz. She’s AWFUL and INSULTING to women across America.

You need a 40+ or 50-something with some life experience and some sense.

Thanks.

 
Comment by Boke1
2012-05-23 07:44:46

Enough with the sophomoric sex*al so-called humor. They can’t chop a cucumber without reverting to high school giggles. The recipe for fixing this show is pretty simple. Get rid of Daphne. Curb Michael Symon’s maniacal giggling. Tell Mario to stop saying “succulent” about everything. Carla and Clinton are good but we KNOW that the former is southern and the latter is from Long Island. Don’t get all Rachael Ray and repeat yourselves incessantly. The food looks fantastic (other than Daphne’s gross green husk-intensive smoothies with lycopenes and anti-oxidants blah blah blah.) ABC got rid of The Revolution starring Tim Gunn, Ty “am I shrieking loud enough” Pennington and three other people nobody has ever heard of because it was tedious and useless.Regardless of my critique I actually like The Chew (Daphne notwithstanding)when I can watch it and don’t want it to meet the same fate.

 
Comment by jen miller
2012-08-11 17:35:31

I was long awaiting aomeone to write about the CHEW and the OVER- RATED!! Dr. M OZ (aka go fix your tied-tongue retard) and his daughter, Professional food critic - D. Oz. In case you didn’t get it I was being sarcastic!
I agree with all the comments except george’s — have you ever looked closely and seen her weird horse face?
She was a fat overweight pig until daddy dearest sctarted learning about holistic food and now he is a professional..ha! and what are her credentials? didn’t she go to school for social science or some degree? and the vegan turned radical meat eater certainly knows her way around the kitchen. GOD I hate her! and so many others do… a piece of advice please please get her off the show before it’s too late. she is so annoying it’s painful to watch the chew because she always has to put her useless comment in. don’t mention the fact that the only thing she does best is eat on the show!
get the show-off mr. daphne oz off the show please. i think america has had enough of the oz family. i am also waiting for fox five to take the oz show off. his voice is so annoying!!

 
Comment by cindy
2012-09-14 12:12:59

Well most of the cast seems to be blending in pretty well, except for Daphne Oz, sure I think she got the role because of her famous father, and that’s ok that’s usually how it works in the real world, but my goodness at least make an effort to take on some cooking classes or something
Afterall it is a cooking show.

 
Comment by rocky
2012-10-15 09:30:33

Daphne gives tips on what to eat and what not to eat to lose weight nice while she puts more weight on. Plus she is wroong go figure

 
Comment by E L
2012-12-20 13:27:42

I am a huge fan of “The Chew” show and I love each and every person on the show. I don’t understand why people don’t get that food can be fun! People are soooo! mean with their comments about a really terrific show to watch everyday. I think Ms. Oz has a great place on the show and I don’t understand all of the mean comments about her,she does a great job on the show as does Carla Hall, who he just full of wonderful happy energy. Everyone on the show brings that special something that everyone has. I just love Clinton’s Craft ideas with everyone joining in. People are so angry about the soaps getting the ax and they’re taking it out on the newcomer.

Comment by sasha
2012-12-26 11:28:08

I agree with you …this is a great outlook on how food is cooked and served …Daphne brings the healthy option to light and that is a good thing considering how overweight and unhealthy america is…I just think the target audience are overweight bitter housewives who are just angry at their life and the fact they can no longer watch their fantasy life (the soap operas) play out on TV

 
 
Comment by Meghan
2013-01-11 12:08:36

I have been watching the show since it aired. Daphne has no purpose on the show. Without her, the show will continue in the same fashion it has since the beginning. Carla, needs to tone it down. Every show, I find myself starring at her hair and her nose..What is is about the nose? She is too flamboyant and needs to tone it down a few notches. The hands in the air..the southern style expressions looking for attention, is quite annoying. She is already on TV, what more does she want?! The 3 boys would be just fine without the women.

 
Comment by Court
2013-03-21 01:24:23

Daphne Oz: currently one of the best examples of blatant nepotism in the entertainment industry. It’s laughably obvious. Wouldn’t have gotten her gig on The Chew or her little book deal if she weren’t Dr. Oz’s daughter. Likely also wouldn’t have gotten into Princeton if she weren’t Dr. Oz’s daughter, but I digress.
It would be one thing if she were actually anything like her dad, who in my opinion IS — despite being kitschy at times — knowledgeable and engaging.

But … she’s not. And she doesn’t even show promise at this point.

She needs to be booted from this show.

 
Comment by Samara
2013-04-12 12:52:40

I like the show watch it everyday but I agree with most of the people here Oz is annoying and Batali is arrogant.I just had to google “Daphne OZ annoying” to see if others felt the same way.Shut up girl! She’s comes across as being quiet naive too.
Does anyone here remember the Rachael Ray sux website??

 
Comment by andrew
2013-05-06 10:10:30

I think the chew would be much better and get better ratings if they got rid of that moron daphne oz. I don’t understand how she figures that she is a health expert, most people that are dedicated to a healthy life style isn’t fat like daphne is.

 
Comment by Carole
2013-05-08 09:33:54

Carla needs to get that nose fixed. TOO big. Homely. Get rid of all those stupid glasses too.

 
Comment by Betsy Rogers
2013-11-12 14:44:15

karla turns you off to food, she is so hideous looking and talk about LOUD! The show is in bad taste and nothing they showcase is worth trying. They are a bunch of narcissists who like to be seen and heard on camera. they are arrogant, rude and I descending!

 
Comment by Jane
2014-06-17 14:14:53

I can’t believe Daphne Oz has been kept all of this time. She has not improved from the beginning. Her lack of knowledge in any area, food or otherwise seems negligible. When she was out on maternity leave, the show was much more pleasing. Yes, Carla is outrageous and a bit too loud, Clinton is well, Clinton, Symon is a likeable Midwestern guy, Batali is obnoxious and over confident and wrong about the rest of us wanting to be Italian (God, no!), but those four have developed a dynamic that works. Daphne should stay home with her child and stick to her roles of wife, mother and daughter. Nepotism is the pits, and we all suffer because of it.

 
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