Saturday, September 23, 2006

Vicarious Chef

I don't watch a lot of cooking shows, but every now and then one happens to be on and I happen to be watching it. So I'm hardly an expert on the subject, but based on the few shows I've seen, I have to say my favorite cooking show host Kylie Kwong.

So I was sort of intrigued that according to the on-screen guide provided by my cable company, her show is rated TV-PG. This means that "parental guidance" is recommended. In other words, children should seek the guidance of their parents before attempting to watch the show.

This perplexed me, since all other cooking shows are rated TV-G, which means they're suitable for general audiences. So what, you may be asking, is so different about Kylie Kwong's show? That's a very good question -- one which I set out to find the answer for.

There's no obvious answer. There isn't any profanity. There isn't any nudity. There isn't even any violence, unless you consider the cooking of animal flesh to be an act of violence of some sort. But even if you do, her show is no different from all other cooking shows in that respect. I haven't watched the show that much, but the few times I have seen it, she never actually killed anything.

Well, she did once. She dropped a live lobster into a pot of boiling water. But first she put it in the refrigerator for a while, which she claimed would help the lobster fall asleep. But again, I'm sure that's been done on a lot of other shows.

By the way, I don't know if her show is still being produced -- the few episodes I saw were from 2003. And I don't know how many shows they air, but I've already seen one episode that I'd seen before. As a matter of fact, it was the first episode I ever saw -- the one in which she made her famous remark, "It's different to a squid." And when I saw that episode again, I realized that I misquoted her in my previous post. What she said was, "It's different from a squid."

Actually, that isn't true, but it would be funny if it were, since it would have made my earlier post on the subject completely pointless and irrelevant. What she really said was, "The octopus is different to a squid." Not "it," but "the octopus." It's funny how the mind can play tricks on you.

Anyway, getting back to my original topic, I can't say that I'm totally against the idea of introducing a little nudity into some of these cooking shows. It might be kind of interesting to watch. Some judiciousness would have to be exercised in deciding which cooking show hosts would appear nude, of course. Many of them should keep their clothes on. And I'm not going to mention any names, but have you ever noticed that people who make a lot of fattening foods often tend to be a bit overweight themselves? I wonder if there's any connection.

As far as I'm concerned, the interesting thing about Kylie Kwong is that you hardly ever see her cook, especially compared to some of the other hosts who show you exactly how to prepare something step by step. Kylie Kwong will start out by chopping some vegetables or peeling some shrimp, but before you know it, she'll be drifting off into some long monologue on the many varieties of mushrooms and how they differ in taste and texture, or maybe she'll start reminiscing about the foods her mother used to prepare for her when she was a child. She'll eventually get back to talking about the food she's making, but by that time it's already done.

I'm not much of a cook, so I don't really care. As a matter of fact, that may be what sets her show apart from the others. Besides, I watch these shows for entertainment -- not because I need to know how to prepare something I'd probably never eat anyway. And I'm sure I'm not alone in that respect -- I bet most people who watch cooking shows never make anything from the recipes they see on TV. Some small percentage may intend to, and an even smaller percentage may actually do it, but that isn't really the point. The point of TV shows isn't to teach you something -- it's provide you with vicarious experiences that will keep you entertained.

That's all fine and dandy, but you may still be wondering why Kylie Kwong's show is rated TV-PG. Well, I'm happy to inform you, it isn't. It's rated TV-G. As it turns out, the cable company (or whoever provides the cable company with this information) just got it wrong.