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Saturday, August 30

New York Times features Aaron McCargo

Aaron McCargo Jr., winner of season four of The Next Food Network Star, was featured in yesterday's New York Times. It's a pretty basic article, filled with tidbits that most of you who watched the show will already know.

I find this sentence particularly interesting:
"Fans — 1.2 million, enough for executives to consider renewing the series, according to the network — have taken notice."

Why the hesitation, Food Network?

As for my thoughts, I'm working on a post about Aaron's show, but haven't finished it yet. Sometimes I actually like to put some serious thought into these things if I'm going to be making pretty bold statements.

But to give you a preview: In short, the show is a disaster. The "good"/somewhat surprising news is that it's not Aaron's fault. I'll explain soooooooon. I haven't heard anything that great from you guys, though... so I'm pretty sure you'll agree with me.

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At 8/30/2008 11:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

the show is a circus
kissing the food is stupid
he's almost TOO enthusiastic as stupid as that might sound and i really have little interest in his "culinary point of view".....
another food network blow job and they don't call it a job for nuthin'!!

At 8/30/2008 11:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see your take on the show.

In my opinion, the recipes are great. The food has looked very tasty, too. However, the show is WEIRD!! What is WITH the little individual still shots during the show? They made me dizzy. Also, he makes WAY too much food for one show. He needs to cook less and relax. Maybe that's why Gordon Elliot has so many dishes being prepared??? Maybe Gordon knows that Aaron can't handle being in front of a camera?????

Kelli in TN

At 8/30/2008 11:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and while I'm at it, let me just add that I just watched The Cooking Loft and I REALLY liked it! GOOD FOR FOODNETWORK!!! It reminded me a lot of Cookworks on FN years ago (is that ever on still??) and I LOOOOOOOOOVED Cookworks!!! Donna Dooher was WONDERFUL and I always came away from the show with new knowledge!

Kelli in TN

At 8/30/2008 11:35 PM , Anonymous Court said...

His show seems to be the same every week - a red meat, a potato dish and a green vegetable dish. And it does look like he's trying too hard by being overly enthusiastic. He probably still feels weird in front of the camera and tries to mask that by showing so much enthusiasm. But I'm just not buying it. When he kissed the raw meat I was like "Oh my goodness, I hope he didn't really do that!"

My fiance and I actually tried an entire meal of his - a steak, asparagus salad and potatoes au gratin. Now we are beginning cooks and probably were way over our heads with a menu like this, but it all came out just terrible! I can't help but think there were some problems with the recipes. After that I've really had no interest in watching his show again. He seems like such a nice guy, but I think the network should make room for those that have more talent.

At 8/30/2008 11:42 PM , Anonymous Court said...

Oh yeah, and I also agree with Kelli that he does way too much on one show plus some things have SO many steps. I remember on the first episode when he was doing a pork sandwich. First he seared the meat, then he put the meat in the oven, THEN he put the whole sandwich on a panini press. That's a little too much time and a bit too many things to clean just for a sandwich.

At 8/31/2008 12:53 AM , Anonymous Glenn said...

Aaron's is one of the very few shows on FN that showcases food that actually looks good to me (it's basically this, DD&D and some of the challenges), so I've given it a few shots. The constant musical background simply needs to go, though.

At 8/31/2008 3:32 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaron's show is what FN needs. A little change in culture will not kill FN viewers. There are some small changes that could be made to the format and background, I had trouble differentiating his kitchen from the Neeley's kitchen.

I have been a vegetarian for over a year and a half now, and Aaron's meals always look good to me. While he may have a meat on every episode, he also has wonderful vegetable side dishes that I would make for guests.

At 8/31/2008 6:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

He is way too enthusiastic about his food.

I don't like shows where people cook in a home kitchen. Makes me claustrophobic.

At 8/31/2008 9:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to see shows where I learn something about food and cooking. The Food Network seems to have less and less of these.

-ANON 66

At 8/31/2008 9:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the show is "not his fault" then the fault lies with Food Network for selecting him as a winner when there were better chefs in the competition.

I have not watched this show and I am turned off Food Network in general because it was obvious during the competition that Aaron was going to win no matter what.

At 8/31/2008 10:04 AM , Blogger Amy Beth said...

I agree with most of the comments above: I am not interested in his culinary point of view, he does way too many things and I'm just not interested in his show. He's not made anything yet that I've been dying to try. The show really is kind of weird. I can see that Aaron is probably being coached to be over-the-top enthusiastic but it isn't working the way they want it to.

The thing that I keep thinking about when I see him is, and maybe I have this wrong, during the NFNS didn't he say that his son ran away and he didn't know where he was? I kept thinking - and you are here filming this show? Now all I can think is - I wonder if his son is back? I probably didn't pay enough attention and I'm misunderstanding something because no one seems to mention it. He seems like a nice guy.

At 8/31/2008 10:14 AM , Anonymous Melon_Lord said...

Aaron should,as my favorite Indian supermodel,Padma Lakshmi would say 'pack his knifes and get the f*** out of here'!

At 8/31/2008 10:32 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are there any good "cooking" shows left on TFN?

-ANON 66

At 8/31/2008 10:44 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's over-the-top because he still doesn't know how to act in front of a camera. But this is also the director's fault. He needs to coach him -- that's his job. He should be in his ear constantly telling him to calm the hell down. Aaron always has this smile on his face like he just dropped a load in his pants and hopes no one can tell. Dude, seriously, turn it down a notch.

I completely agree with the person who said the show is the same every week. Besides not making food I would want to eat, I think that is a huge problem for him right now: it's hard to tell one episode from the next. He makes similar food every week. If he's already in a rut food-wise after three or four episodes, what happens after this?

It's really not THAT hard to do this. Someone like Bobby Flay has NO personality whatsoever, but he makes interesting food I want to try. So if Aaron puts his head together with his producer, and expands his menu a bit, he can probably make a much more enjoyable show.

At 8/31/2008 11:09 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep I think its his producer not using him to the best of his ability. I think he would be great if they work with him. Look how far all the Foodnetwork hosts have improved since they started. OH I loved the Cooking Loft also.

At 8/31/2008 11:35 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just can't cook this way-too much fat/cheese etc in the recipes.
I am sure the food probably tastes good-but it just seems over the top.
I watch shows that offer lighter/newer takes on recipes.
I also watch shows that teach me something.
I liked the Cooking Loft debut.I made the tomato/ watermelon and strawberry salad last night-it was terrific.

At 8/31/2008 12:08 PM , Anonymous Alec Smart said...

You can't blame Aaron for this debacle. The show was an absolute joke.

The calibre of contestants was weak. Guest judges were pulled from the FN payroll roster. A couple, Flay and Princess Giada, turned into asswipes, using the moments to try and assert their obvious more advanced skills and presence and were unneccessarily critical. They forgot many remember their first efforts on FN.

In all, McCargo won because he is black. Full stop. Not because he is the best cook or has the best on air personality. Not even close.

FN wants cultural diversity. Witness what they are trying to do with Sunny Anderson and the Neely's . These people are on air because of skin color, simple as that.

I really think FN should be totally ashamed for carrying on with such a shame/sham of a program/contest.It's like how can we further insult our viewers with IQ's over 40. They act as if all viewers are feeble minded and will buy into their scripts.

When all the smoke clears, the viewer knows the score and Aaron is left up there with all these expectations to fulfil and when he tanks, Mssrs. Tuschwipe & Co will concoct some devious excuse designed to make the FN look rosy.
Bite me Bob. You are one real lousy 3rd rate TV executive. I look forward to you serving me my lunch in a few months at your next waiting job.

I hop Aaron has not been thrown the dogs .

At 8/31/2008 2:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just watched today's episode. I don't think I'll watch any more. He is so in love with his "Big Daddy" persona and it's getting tiresome.

I agree -- a total affirmative action choice.

-ANON 66

At 8/31/2008 2:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

he talks about himself as if he is a completely different person. " thats why big daddy..." how about thats why i... i also don't think its aaron's fault, the camera work is sloppy and they jump around when he puts something in the oven or microwave. its like what happened to the food u put in there? it took me a while to figure it out. it seems very disorganized.

At 8/31/2008 3:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Disaster" is probably too strong a word, but
"Big Daddy" definitely appeals to some demographics and not to others. It's not min, but I don't see the harm in having different "culinary points of view" (an overworked phrase if ever there was one.). However, diversity is a two-way street, and it means, for example, that the Amy Finleys of this world also get a fair shake, from both FN and the blogosphere.

I also don't see anything inherently wrong with affirmative action in this case, if there is a disavtantaged or disaffected viewing audience that it serves. And let's face it, affirmative action made FN more forgiving of Nipa and JA6 than they arguably should have been.

Also hope Jacob will do reviews of "The Cooking Loft," which I love, and "Ask Aida," which I don't.

At 8/31/2008 5:07 PM , Anonymous Matt said...

Go Food Network go! I can't wait for the channel to go bankrupt producing such pieces of crap like this show, Food Detectives, anything with the Neelys/has-been-never-was Jamie Oliver/Rachel Ray/Tyler Florence. I may watch the channel a total of 5 hours a week and that is a stretch, down from probably 25 hours a week a few years ago. Keep at it FN, EPIC FAIL!

At 8/31/2008 6:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what the FN's ratings are?

I assume they wouldn't be embarcing on all these reality shows, etc. if it weren't doing something for their ratings.

-ANON 66

At 9/01/2008 12:27 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree with everything Alec Smart said.

At 9/01/2008 3:42 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice racisim people. So is FN only supposed to have hosts of the caucasian persuasion to make you happy?

At 9/01/2008 4:29 AM , Anonymous Erik H. said...

his show is produced/has camerawork that's really similar to the Neely's and if i had to choose between the two shows, i'd pick aaron. i actually feel like i'm learning how to cook on his show, but the camerawork on the Neely's just looks like a bunch of jump-edits.

At 9/01/2008 8:32 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaron is doing great being himself while nervous. So what? He can cook. That's why he won. I hope he gets more comfortable and they give him a chance. Really non of our business about his son, I wish him and his family the best.

At 9/01/2008 9:23 AM , Anonymous Coopama said...

I just started reading this blog this weekend. I love it. You are hilarious. I'm a FN addict too. I rarely watch anything else on tv. You can count on me to check back here daily. Oh, and this is how I even stumbled across this blog. I was searching the net to see if other people thought Gina Neely was as irritating as I think she is. Lo and behold, you've got that topic covered. Great stuff! One more thing, I love Aaron McCargo Jr.

At 9/01/2008 10:50 AM , Blogger JordanBaker said...

I've only seen one episode, and that was at the gym, with the sound off.

Based on what a lot of you are saying, I'm guessing that's the way to watch it? Because I was pleasantly surprised.

(Again, no sound, and it was kind of nice to imagine myself running toward his steak au poivre.)

At 9/01/2008 11:22 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

FoodNetwork lost me when they tried so hard to have Aaron win;I was disappointed at their decision and shocked at how obvious they were in their intentions.

He seemed like a nice guy but clearly not a star.

I tried to give him a chance but only watched the show a couple of times.I hated it; but hate even more that he was clearly chosen because he's black. What an insult to this man and his family, not to mention us, the viewers.

At 9/01/2008 1:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know part of what i liked so much about Aaron on TNFNS is so gone. He was humble, just a cook from new jersey. Now he is "big Daddy" kissing food, making boring food, and you can not get big bold flavor in broccoli cheese casserole sorry. His show is also not at the right time. I think this is a mess. I have not learned one thing at all about cooking.

At 9/01/2008 6:38 PM , Anonymous Nursie said...

I enjoyed the NFNW show - one of the only 'reality' shows I've ever watched.

I was all about hating Lisa from day one and pulling for some of the guys - Aaron, Jeffrey, Adam. I liked the girl who was an old Army cook - I forget her name today.

I haven't seen his show yet because of lousy scheduling. I've had to decide between watching him or my local baseball team that I'm loyal to, and I'm afraid Aaron has lost in that decision. I will be watching it, though, because it sounds like he cooks the simple guy food that I happen to like.

Is there probably some affirmative action going on? Most likely. Is that good or bad? I don't really care. I'm a middle aged white guy and I like Aaron and hate the Neely's, and will throw Rachel and Guy out with the Neelys. Color doesn't make anyone good or bad. It's a damn shame that America is still dealing with that.

I had a fantastic expensive la-dee-dah meal the other day and have no clue what color or gender the chef was that prepared it. It was just damn good. I don't see any reason why TV about food shouldn't be judged the same.

/end rant

At 9/01/2008 7:37 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you ask me, Aaron has gotten screwed royally by FN, first by being a fixed win on NFNS and now by being hooked up with a producer who is a pandering opportunist. You wanna talk racism? I point to Gordon Elliot, the man who takes people and turns them into caricatures. All that's missing is to have Aaron wear some bling and give shout outs while he cooks.

At 9/02/2008 12:01 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3:42 a.m., if you're going to talk about racism learn how to spell it. Idiot.

At 9/02/2008 10:25 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree you can't blame Aaron. He has to go along with FN. Why do you think the last FN star decided to quit the show!!!!!! She figured it out. The Neelys make me sick their sexsual comments (its a cooking show). My sixteen year old who loves FN even made a comment to me about their comments to each other. Its hard enough raising children with all the trash of tv now and they are putting it on cooking shows. Shame on you Foodnetwork!!!!

At 9/02/2008 11:16 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gina Neely is a primate like we have never seen before. Oh wait.I did see one like her.it was on A&E's First 48 Hours show.

She was in the interrogation room with the cops, under suspicion for crack possession and murder.

At 9/02/2008 5:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This blog does attract some nut cases. I hope the comment from anonymous 5:40 PM above this one is deleted soon.

At 9/02/2008 6:19 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correction. The comment from 11:16 AM should be deleted.

At 9/07/2008 7:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't care what the guy (Aaron) would do or not do some are going to do nothing but complain about him and find fault. His show is doing great and those that don't like Aaron can't stand that.

As far as kissing the steak, he could had just made the sound as his lips got close to the meat. You can't tell by the episode if he touched the steak or not. But it sure gave complainers something to take note of.

At 9/10/2008 1:36 AM , Blogger Doc said...


At 10/18/2008 11:35 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I miss Aaron. I think they should have given him a little more time to develop.

At 4/18/2009 7:07 PM , Blogger Vyse87 said...

Oh the po' old token be taken advantage of. LMAO!


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