After a three-week “Coon & Friends” detour, South Park returned this week to their bread and butter–skewering pop culture and current events with hilarious satire–and Wednesday’s season finale was right up my deep fryer. Randy becomes obsessed with cooking and all of the popular shows on TV like Top Chef, Throwdown with Bobby Flay and Hell’s Kitchen. It becomes such a problem that Sharon has an affair with her Shake Weight in an awesomely perverted subplot. Really, just go watch the episode.
I’ve always loved South Park because they just call bullshit on everything. And really, the whole ‘cooking as entertainment’ thing has gotten a little out of control. Seeing Randy jerk off to Guy Fieri and his tender ribs is the most accurate portrayal of “foodies” to date. Hearing him talk dirty on the phone to the food-sex operator is basically the equivalent of what Giada and Paula and Rachel do on TV everyday. De-glaze me, baby! People who watch these food porn shows and think they can become an Iron Chef are delusional. There’s no need to get hard over lobster foam and a goat cheese-heirloom tomato fritata and an interpretation of deconstructed nothing. Really, no one cares.
In the last three years or so, television has turned to food for drama, creativity and excitement, and obviously people are stupid enough to be sucked in. Now, I’ll admit that I love No Reservations and Top Chef, but I don’t think I’m Anthony Bourdain or Eric Ripert in the kitchen. (Let’s be honest though, the Food Network sold it’s soul years ago and hasn’t been watchable since Mario left). The point is, it’s just food. Food can be fun, food can be exciting, but really it’s just what we eat to sustain our bodies. Just because you like to cook doesn’t mean you have to be a pretentious douche in the process. Cook because you like to, not because you want to be on a reality TV show or think it will impress people. So when you taste a great meal or have success in the kitchen, act like you’ve been there before. Accept praise humbly and only elaborate if prompted by your dining partner(s).
The lesson here is simple: don’t quit your day job as a geologist, and buy your lady a Shake Weight for Christmas.