Snoop Dogg’s cooking show has no redeemable qualities: so why can’t I stop watching?
While everyone was losing their minds over the trailer for season two of Stranger Things, debating the merits of the latest Game Of Thrones and gushing about how unmissable The Good Place was, my TV loving mind was elsewhere.
It’s a perverse and absurd take on white bread popular American TV.
In 2016, rap kingpin Snoop Dogg and TV cooking queen Martha Stewart revealed plans to co-host a new cooking show called Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party.
In 2017 that show started airing on SBS Viceland, giving Australian audiences a glimpse at one of the strangest shows on television today.
I love to cook, I enjoy a lot of cooking shows, and I’m an unabashed Snoop Dogg fanboy. I couldn’t have been more excited for this show.
Expectations were low – it’s a funny concept, but surely it wouldn’t actually work? – but I hoped I’d be wrong.
Alas, having now spent hours watching its first season, I cannot give you a compelling reason to do the same. Yet I have no regrets wasting my time (and yes, it has been a waste) binging on this overly confected, shockingly sterile and completely ridiculous program.
As stupid as this show is, I simply cannot stop watching.
It’s too slick to be considered a train wreck, but it so frequently makes you want to cringe. The jokes – most of them about weed – are awful, the recipes are completely impossible to follow and even the musical performances are cut absurdly short.
It’s a perverse and absurd take on the white-bread popular American TV. It’s a little bit Ellen (so much dancing), a little bit The View, and a little bit Ready Steady Cook.
It’s a little bit Ellen, a little bit The View, and a little bit Ready Steady Cook
It both plays to, and rallies against the clichés that make that genre of television so homogenised.
On one hand it feels just as soulless, complete with unsubtle religious overtones and product placement. On the other, Snoop is constantly making double entendres about smoking pot, and it seems like someone is always hitting on Martha.
I could spend so much time outlining every awkward, stilted, shocking, kinda funny but largely embarrassing thing about the program and still not do it justice. So, I’ll just pick a few ‘favourites’.
Each week, after Martha makes a potent cocktail to start the show, Snoop proposes a toast. And each week, before the hosts and their guests eat, he offers a prayer. Both of these are absolutely awful. Cheesy rhymes that do no justice to his brilliant wordsmith of the past.
Rick Ross is vile in his leering at Martha. It starts off funny and ends up terrifying. It’s the perfect visual representation of the term ‘taking the joke too far’ and a pretty good one of ‘sexual assault’ too.
On the High On The Hog episode, they bring in a country singer with the whitest teeth you’ve ever seen, to do the worst versions of ‘Gin and Juice’ and ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’ that you have ever heard.
A resident DJ (Fredwreck) appears in every episode. Not sure why, as he sure as hell isn’t playing tunes. The camera cuts to his grinning face far too often and you can’t help but feel the guy must feel dead inside playing this weird sidekick role.
Robin Thicke’s entire appearance is just creepy as hell. He looks uncomfortable in front of the camera and is completely charmless throughout the entire episode.
And the treatment of Japanese culture in the Something Fishy episode is definitely on the wrong side of appropriation.
While it's always a treat to see artists like Anderson.Paak, Kelis, Ice Cube and DRAM on TV, their talents do seem kinda wasted here, whether it's in half-baked (sorry) cooking segments or truncated performances.
The ratings for Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party have never been outstanding in its home country, hovering somewhere around the one million viewer mark until a pretty considerable recent drop off.
That’s not exactly surprising, given the show doesn’t seem to serve any particular audience. Hip hop heads will baulk at its gloss, food lovers will be frustrated at the lack of actual cooking. And surely Martha Stewart’s core demographic aren’t fired up about the chance to hear about 2 Chainz’s preferred method of eating roast turkey.
So, if this show honestly has nothing going for it, why am I so enraptured?
Is it my devotion to Snoop Dogg that, for some reason, will not die?
I can’t help but continue to love him, in spite of his past misogyny, the creative missteps resulting in mediocre records, his confusing change in name and persona, the annoying social media presence and, on one occasion, the bad interview he granted me a few years back.
He’s a leader, a free-thinker, someone who might just be able to make the world a better place given the power.
“He's made a full 360 from where he was to who he is – and that's what we love about him,” Snoop told Rolling Stone (in third person) back in 2016. “He's a great example of what you can be.”
Or maybe it’s just how mindless the whole thing is. And maybe this is why people love reality TV. To be honest, it's not something I've entertained much before.
Martha & Snoop... is the kind of television that works best when you just don’t think about it. A reason to switch off from everything else that’s going on in the world, listen to some bad jokes and see some famous rappers in an environment where they simply do not fit.
You can imagine that this thing is going to mature in a beautifully awkward fashion. It’ll be the kind of show your kids will discover as stoned university students in the year 2030. A cult hit that becomes a late-night favourite when President Snoop takes office in 25 years’ time.
I have two episodes of Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party left to watch.
I know I’m going to cringe. I know I probably won’t laugh. I’m certain I won’t learn anything and there’s a possibility I’ll end up dumber having watched it.
I can’t wait.
Snoop and Martha’s Potluck Dinner Party is available to stream on SBS On Demand until the end of the month.