Tuesday, May 02, 2006

57 channels and nothing on? More like 570...

Bruce Springsteen had no idea how dead-on that song was a few years ago.
It's mind-boggling when you consider the amount of channels available on
digital cable, satellite, whatever.
And the best we can come up with are 6 different CSI's, 12 versions of Law & Order, talentless talent contests and mind numbingly slow-developing game shows that are basically trumped-up versions of drawing straws...

The most annoying thing on TV lately, though, to me, is the shows that are blatant ripoffs of other shows. I know our society is derivitave by nature, but couldn't the minds at NBC come up with something with the flavor of THE OFFICE, but at least original? Why not just show the original, funnier version? And how about that swing at COUPLING? Niiiice.

But by far, the most blatant ripoff in TV history occurs nearly every day on the Food Network. I'm sure the starving folk in the Sudan would love to hear that we have not only immense surpluses of actual food, but many of us spend our free time lounging on the couch watching shows ABOUT food....

OK, deep breath there. Getting pretty cranky. A little too Florida retirement community, shuffleboard, flood length pants, society-hating cranky. Down off the soapbox I come...

Anyway, the show I speak of is called EVERYDAY ITALIAN and it stars tarty Giada deLaurentis. She cooks simple Italian dishes using mostly fresh ingredients, paying attention to the entire cooking experience...selection, preparation, and consumption...with a breathy, innuendo-laced delivery, soft-focused lens, natural lighting and close-up, quick cut, arty photography. Occasionally she'll appear in her pajamas or robe...which is great.
Love to see a cooking show take it to a more practical place...but try to sex it up a bit.

The problem is, the show is a note-for-note ripoff of NIGELLA BITES, the best cooking show in the history of cooking shows. Filmed a few years ago, and starring former British Vogue writer NIGELLA LAWSON, it was an innovative show. It still runs, along with her follow-up, FOREVER SUMMMER, on the Style network, and occasionally on E! television.

The Giada show is SUCH a ripoff, they make no attempt whatsoever to conceal the fact that they've changed nothing but the recipes. Which is fine, I guess, if viewers didn't know any better, but odds are that anyone who has the Food Network also gets either Style or E! on their cable system, if not both.

Not only is Nigella eons hotter than Giada, she rings true, Giada comes off like that girl in high school who had a really hot body but was always trying to make up for her lack of personality by acting really outgoing and loud. Plus, Nigella shot her shows in her actual kitchen. Giada's on some goofy
laminated generic Food Network set. So not only have the Food Network folks completely ripped off the intellectual property of Ms. Lawson, they've produced a cheaper version. Like Chrysler did with those cars that look like Bentleys...

We're running out of original ideas faster than we' re running out of natural resources and icebergs. This is what it's come to, cover versions of TV shows.

What's next? Novels reprinted with the names changed?


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