Let’s hope Amy Schumer’s quarantine cooking show isn’t the future of TV

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“What if we lack entertainment? »

Of all the “what’s going to be the new normal?” questions produced by the COVID-19 pandemic and its ripple effects, that of running out of fun stuff in the face of this unprecedented health and economic crisis is both inconsequential and a bit irrational.

Still, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with the idea that I had found bottom with the beginnings of Amy Schumer learns to cook on the Food Network Monday night. The show is a terrifying look at how weird and random TV could become amid an extended shutdown or waves of the virus spreading and the disruption it would create in entertainment production.

It’s the end of the road – until we get Selena Gomez’s Pandemic Cooking Showon HBO Max.

Amy Schumer learns to cook has a simple premise: Schumer, the popular comedian and actress, is locked up for quarantine at a friend’s house in the woods with her husband, 11-month-old son, and nanny. Her husband, Chris Fischer, is a professional chef. The nanny has been enlisted as a cameraman, at least while the baby is sleeping. Schumer doesn’t know what she does outside of the cocktail area, but she’s going to learn some skills now.

Mere seconds into the first episode, the blurry camera work and apparent lack of a lighting system make the episode not just look like a “web show”, but an early 1900s web show. 2000s. There are first-time Twitch streamers — and even Zoom callers — with better setups than Amy Schumer learns to cook. If Schumer wants to learn something new, maybe she should try TV production before worrying about cooking.

Failing other famous people following this advice, memo to famous nannies: Get a 4k camera now and start learning how to shoot with it. And also put a ring light in your everyday bag, just in case.

The hour-long episode, which appears to be two half hours together, looks a bit better in the second half, which one could take as a sign of improvement or simply that Food Network was too cheap to throw away. or resume the pilot. .

Content-wise, the instructional kitchen is nice enough but not groundbreaking (Fischer is a good chef and a patient teacher, but the menu is a staple like fried rice). The relationship part of the show—that effort to make me feel like I’m hanging out with my friend Amy, the famous comedian, and her family—works when the action doesn’t distract by reminding us that they’re in quarantine or accenting the unprofessional set.

But they remind viewers of the pandemic in both spoken and unspoken ways. Writing the dishes they prepare on leftover cardboard boxes, for example, is supposed to be cute and accentuate the crude presentation, but it’s sometimes illegible with the camera work. Additionally, the network always adds an interstitial graphic telling you what happens immediately after the unreadable moments from cardboard to camera. Schumer is low-key and unvarnished and shows flashes of charm and wit, but she also feels the need to remind us that these are difficult times and she understands.

Near the end of the episode, as they are about to make peanut butter cookies, Fischer reveals that due to the limitations of quarantine baking, there is no peanut butter, so he makes them with almond butter.

But in entertainment there is always peanut butter. If you like Schumer, there are 39 episodes of her sketch show, Inside Amy Schumer; four-hour comedy specials; four movies; and she’s in the fifth season of her podcast, Amy Schumer presents: 3 daughters, 1 Keith. If you’re in the mood for a soothing cooking show, the pantry is always stocked with it. Even the new ones were slaughtered in quarantine.

You’ll never have to settle for almond butter if all you want is peanut butter.

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