Friday, June 06, 2014

Copycat Kitchens

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. When I look at the Food Network lately, I have to wonder about that. I'm a big fan of "Chopped," and I really can't get enough of it, but trust me, this isn't what I meant. It seems like almost every new show coming out of the Network lately is just another variation of the show.

"Chopped" has four chefs preparing three meals from three mystery baskets of ingredients. It’s a competition that eliminates one contestant every round until there is a winner of a cash prize. I love it, it’s challenging, it's creative, and most of all it's fun. And yes, I know that "Chopped" itself is sort of a derivation of "Iron Chef" and that it has spun off a Canadian version. Those are okay, it's the other shows I'm talking about.

The shows in question are "Cutthroat Kitchen," "Guy's Grocery Games," and "Kitchen Casino," just to name the main perpetrators. They are all essentially "Chopped," with slight derivations to the rules. "Cutthroat" adds obstacles to the contest, and is the most entertaining. Guy Fieri's "Grocery Games" adds a bit of "Supermarket Sweep" to the formula. And "Kitchen Casino" puts, what else, a casino into the equation. And "Rewrapped"? More "Chopped" than spin-off of "Unwrapped."

The thing is, while they are all entertaining to some extent, why not just make more "Chopped," rather than dilute the idea with substandard programming? None of them are as good or fun as "Chopped," so why not just do more "Chopped" instead?

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