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|Index||17 reviews in total|
To say that this attempt to bring famed chef Emeril Lagasse to the sitcom world is bad would be understating the case. The unfortunate thing for Mr. Lagasse is that, despite what many will say, it simply isn't HIS fault. If you can stand to sit through one of these excruciating half hours, you may notice that Emeril himself is not all that bad. He's amateurish, and not nearly as fluid with his delivery of scripted lines as he is with the open banter of his actual cooking shows. But he's actually the best one of the bunch of "clowns" in this incomprehensible mess. The problem appears to be that the producers were afraid of Emeril's lack of polish and simply tried to cover it up by supplying a bevy of loud, obnoxious old-hat stereotypes to run around screaming. Mr. Lagasse could probably have done much better with some subtlety in the writing. Perhaps if the producers had modeled their product on the British comedy "Chef!", it might have suited better. Sorry Emeril, a chef is only as good as his ingredients, and the producers handed you spoiled ham to work with.
I didn't really think Emeril Lagasse could pass as a comedian, but after
watching this show, not only has it been confirmed that he isn't funny -
he also can't act.
The promo spots on television for this sitcom didn't feature any laughable teasers. That's usually a bad sign for things to come. Emeril basically plays himself in this show. He's a television chef of a reasonably successful cooking show and the sitcom centers around himself and his staff.
The premiere episode was something I could only describe as 'just awful'. Emeril and his crew enter themselves into a competition to see who can lose the most weight against the crews of the other cooking shows on the same network. The prize, $100,000.00, to be split amongst the winning crew. We spend thirty painstaking minutes listening to tired jokes about losing weight and how dieting makes people cranky. We see Emeril and his 'agent' (played by Robert Urich, which is almost a laugh in itself) get themselves into ridiculous situations, such as sweating it out at a gym. And to top it off, we see the main characters sitting in wet-suits on power-cycles at the gym arguing amongst themselves over who can lose the most weight.
One of the worst things about this show is the supporting cast themselves. They over-act to the point where the jokes are forgotten and you find yourself cringing in turmoil over why you haven't yet changed the channel at this point.
If you find it amusing when Emeril shouts "BAM!" when throwing salt onto a plate of food, then this show is for you.
If you want to watch something that will make you laugh at least once, then this show is not for you.
Shame on NBC for serving up this garbage to us so early in the season!
In this short-lived sitcom, popular TV chef Emeril Lagasse portrayed a
fictional version of himself. Following a critically-panned pilot in
which time was equally split between Emeril's home and work life, the
scene shifted almost exclusively to his set and office, where he was
surrounded by an eccentric staff. Producer Cassandra was a loud-
mouthed, twice-divorced mother of one; Melva was a sassy black stage
manager who instilled fear in all of her coworkers; food stylist B.D.
was a naive, recently-divorced simpleton; Jerry was Emeril's sleazy
manager/best friend; Trish was a condescending network executive; and
Nurse Smearball was the network's humorless nurse. Infrequently seen
were Emeril's wife, Nora, as well as his two sons and daughter (all
portrayed by actors). Plots were what you'd expect from a workplace
sitcom set on a TV show: backstage squabbles, office parties, spinning
negative press into positive, wrangling celebrity guest stars, etc. As
sort of a lame tie-in, after each episode viewers could go to NBC's
website and get the recipe for a dish which was seen on the show that
The show was slated to debut on September 18, 2001, but continuous news coverage of the 9-11 attacks delayed the start of the entire TV season... quickly leading to jokes that terrorists were trying to save us from enduring shows like "Emeril." Because fear and confusion was so thick in the air, TV viewers found solace in established series like "Friends" and every new show that season tanked (though oddities like "The Tick" and "Greg the Bunny" went on to develop cult followings on DVD). Soon afterward, Emeril's popularity waned and this sitcom was blamed. Thing is, that's not really fair - without reinvention stars tend to fizzle and this show was really no worse than any other sitcom on the air at the time (it was certainly better than that era's crap like "What About Joan?," the aptly-named "Cursed" and the inexplicably long-running "According to Jim").
There were times (particularly in the unaired pilot) when he seemed uncomfortable wrapping his mouth around the scripted sitcom dialogue, but for the most part Emeril was charismatic and seemed right at home in front of the cameras. Lisa Ann Walter (Cass) and Sherri Shepard (Melva) had terrific chemistry; Robert Urich (Jerry) was a seasoned pro who seemed to relish playing his slimy character (his final series role); and Tricia O'Kelley (Trish) basically played a variation of the same character she'd go on to portray for several years in "The New Adventures of Old Christine." The writing was not up to par with Linda Bloodworth-Thomason's earlier "Designing Women," but frankly that show got off to an almost-equally wobbly start, and this time Thomason pawned off writing duties for most episodes to her staff of writers. Yes, there were a lot of lame jokes (like any sitcom), but there were also some funny zingers too. Unfortunately, with abysmal ratings, NBC abruptly halted production after 10 episodes (3 shy of their 13 episode commitment) and only 7 of them aired.
While it was far from the greatest sitcom ever produced, it was equally far from the worst -- though it frequently shows up on worst lists. Had circumstances been different, "Emeril" might have grown into a long-running hit rather than the notorious bomb that it's reputed to be today.
NBC must be getting desprite to put this untalented goof on the air. Thank God he knows how to cook,because his acting ability isnt going to pay the rent. Its like watching A bad SNL host that keeps looking at the Que cards.
I still have it on VHS and a I look back at it, there are so many
sitcoms that have made it which are much worse. Yes, Emeril was not
used to the actual acting, but the cast was great. The witty repartee
was memorable and the story line believable "Pork fat is always called
If anyone has better copies of the the 11 episodes I would love to buy them.
Emeril is a tremendously talented chef ala artiste, but a comedic actor (or actor period) he's not. This mess is a terribly formulaic take on Emeril's actual Food Channel cooking show (a joy of a show and where Emeril belongs). To make up for Emeril's lack of acting ability, the producers surrounded him with crisp, timing-savvy comedic pros...you can almost hear the snare drum and cymbals after every punchline. Robert Urich lent a legitimate "big-name" which evoked nostalgic sympathy for the cancer victim. Plots lines are trite and "text-book", and yet infantile (those excruciatingly bad baldy wigs in episode #1). Painful to watch, thank God this mistake was taken off the burner before it became completely overdone and rancid.
I actually favored watching his live show on the Food Network over this show. If only NBC had done things differently, Emeril fans, like myself, wouldn't have ran out the door! I now feel sorry for Emeril and his potential acting career because I think he could've gone far with this one. My advice to Emeril is, "Please try again."
I enjoy watching Emeril Lagasse's cooking shows on the Food Network, but
this situation comedy built around him is a misfire. Compliments to the
chef: Lagasse appears to be very comfortable acting in front of the camera
as opposed to cooking. However, it's as if he's a supporting character on
his own show. Lisa Ann Walter (veteran of a failed sitcom herself) and the
other two ladies who play characters who assist with the chef's cooking show
seem to pull the action right out from under him. I have no idea why Robert
Ulrich's agent character is there at all; I guess the writers needed to give
Lagasse a male buddy to interact with to counterpoint all of the women he's
His cooking shows on cable are more entertaining than this undercooked offering.
Emeril LaGasse is a well-renowned chef whose antics on his own show,
"Emeril Live", which airs on the Food Network (on cable), are plenty
entertaining. So why did NBC decide to green-light an effort - with a
script - where Emeril plays himself? Who knows? It could be imagined
that Emeril was so hot at the time the sitcom aired (2001) that NBC
wanted a piece of the pie.
Here was the problem: Emeril didn't need a script. The man is at his best when he's working without a net, schmoozing the audience stageside, and chatting with his band. He's plenty funny on Food Network's show without any help from writers and, of course, meddling producers and exec-producers. In addition, his real show gets a full hour while working to a sitcom format (plot exposes, builds, and resolves in 30 minutes) would have been constricting.
Mercifully, this dish from NBC was sent back to the kitchen. "Emeril Live" continues to provide "Bam!" on Food Network, where Emeril will continue to work his magic on viewers.
The critics keep expecting a show that is synonymous with Henrick Ibsen or Anton Chekov in its writing and plots. But that isn't what Emeril does. The show is just a pleasant diversion, with common issues with its viewers. I watched the show and enjoyed it for what it was. Why are people attacking it? It's not derogatory, it isn't hateful, and it doesn't dumb down to anybody. It's just a pleasant television show about a famous cook!
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