The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word \”prurient\” as \”having a mental itching or an uneasy or morbid craving.\” Secondarily, as \”having or characterized by an unhealthy concern with sexual matters\” or \”encouraging such a concern.\”
With Monday night\’s special, FOOD PORN, \”encouraging such a concern\” is exactly what we were going for. Just swap the word \”food\” for \”sexual.\”
The old definition of \”obscenity\” was material which knowingly or intentionally inspires \”prurient interest,\” which has \”no redeeming or artistic value\” and that was pretty much the plan here. To make the most obscene, graphic, explicit and content-free hour of television ever attempted — without (technically) depicting sexual matters — or even using profanity. It\’s something food programming has been dodging around the edges of since its inception — and I thought: Why mess around?
The rules of food TV and the rules of porn are so strikingly similar, why not get STRAIGHT TO THE ACTION as they say on your On Demand menu in every major hotel chain. Forget about the \”walk-in,\” to \”set-up,\” the \”story!\” Who are we kidding? Food Net has built an empire by shrewdly and accurately anticipating that no one really cares how to make the damn dish or where it came from or why it was created. They just want to see some brightly colored close-ups of the stuff before it disappears into the face of somebody/anybody wearing a low-cut leotard.
Another area of interest to me and my evil co-conspirators at Zero Point Zero International was the subject of \”standards and practices.\” Where is the line between acceptable and unacceptable for broadcast purposes? How far could we go — if we avoided all classic profanity and any frank depictions of bodily or sexual functions? Well …we found out on this episode, it turns out that the word or term itself doesn\’t have to be obscene. But if the lawyers, unfamiliar with an expression, look it up on Wikipedia and find it refers to an activity so disturbing as to frighten old people or small children, then it\’s out. We have certainly skirted this issue before with limited success. I generally use what I call the \”Homer Simpson Rule\”: If Homer can say it — on broadcast television — in prime time — then we should be able to cover the same territory at 10 PM with a parental advisory. Sadly, it turns out, not always so.
FOOD PORN is a revenge of sorts — for everything that ever ended up on the cutting room floor. The filthiest, nastiest hour of television we could get away with. And yet — utterly wholesome! We ain\’t doing nothin\’ that Giada, Rachael and Sandra ain\’t been doin\’ for years, officer!
It\’s also, honestly, a chronicle of the most outrageously over-the-top dishes we\’ve ever seen or tasted. For the tiny fragment of our audience who are concerned with such details, look for ZPZ graphics genius Adam Lupsha playing the Boogie Nights-style horny soundman and executive producer Chris Collins as infamous director, \”Tad Chanko.\” Maybe you know him from such films as \”Butt Masters 7,\” \”Lumberjack Facials 2\” and \”Norwegian Wood?\” Okay. Maybe not.
It\’s also worth noting that chefs Eric Ripert, Alan Wong, Jose Andres, Martin Picard, David Chang and Terrance Brennan and chocolatier Alan Down showed enormous generosity and a real sense of humor by submitting to our cruel misuse of their names, reputations and good works