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Erin Andrews’ Perky Presence Won’t Save ‘Kick Off Cook Off,’ TLC’s Latest Atrocity

I have to admit, I have watched a lot of crap TV in my life, but last night, as I sat dumbfounded, offended and embarrassed while watching TLC’s brand new series, Kick Off Cook Off, I have determined that this atrocity just might be the worst cooking show ever (and that’s saying something). Not only that, it may have been one of the most craptastic viewing experiences I have ever been subjected to, cooking show or otherwise. And no, that is not hyperbole. It was absolutely horrible. Just horrible. (shudders)

My wife and I, we watch a lot of these kind of shows. Between TLC, Food Network and HGTV, I am certainly aware of what kind of schlock can pass for acceptable programming on these sort of networks. But even keeping in mind that Kick Off Cook Off is aired on the network which counts Toddlers & Tiaras, I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant, Hoarding: Buried Alive, The Little Couple and Sister Wives among its current stable of objectionable programming, while not as offensive as the above-mentioned shows, Kick Off Cook Off takes the freaking cake as it pertains to televised exercises in stupidity.

Here’s how TLC attempts to explain the program:

Get ready for a new cooking competition that slams together America’s two favorite pastimes: football and cooking! In each episode, two teams of football-loving foodies compete against each other with their tried-and-true, tailgate-style recipes in an effort to win bragging rights and a cash prize. What they don’t know is that they are also competing against their favorite football players, who are in it to prove that they are as talented in the kitchen as they are on the field.

The teams compete in two halves — an appetizer and a main course — and then points are tallied and winner takes all. Erin Andrews, ESPN Reporter and host of College Gameday hosts the show. Judging the contestants is “cheferee” Brian Malarkey, former Top Chef finalist and Executive Chef and partner of the San Diego restaurant Searsucker.

Mmm…Searsucker. The name alone reeks of fine dining. Now, I had not heard a peep about this show until last night, which is absolutely shocking considering America’s Sideline Princess, Erin Andrews, serves as cohost. And let me tell you, her foray into this brand of programming is an epic fail, to put it mildly. She looks completely out of her element and appears extremely uncomfortable and unnatural, especially when you realize that she refuses to eat almost any of the food placed in front of her, while her cohost, Brian Malarkey, who is referred to a “The Cheferee” (ugh),  tries to incorporate football jargon into the show. It’s awkward, to say the least. So awkward, in fact, that the points system used is football based, as in, “I award you a touchdown and a field goal for this disgusting food you have placed in front of me.” Well, The Cheferee doesn’t actually say that – he’s too kind or too stupid – but you get the sense that if he were allowed to, he would spit the crap plated they refer to as food right back into the contestants’ faces.

Speaking of spitting out food, the below video is all you need to know about this show and why you should probably avoid it all costs. In it, Cheferee guy inssists that the cooks join him in tasting the culinary abomination they have prepared, something referred to as “Mushi,” a cross between meat and sushi. Get it? Good stuff. Well, not so much, actually. Suffice to say, the gal in the duo of extremely amateur cooks isn’t a big fan of their creation, evidenced by her gagging and eventual sprint over to a garbage can to hurl. Yep.

Now, I fancy myself a bit of a lower-level gourmand, as well as a semi-talented home chef. I have been cooking my entire life and I frequently experiment with new recipes. Sometimes they are a success, other times they fail miserable. With that said, I have to be honest, some of the food these people prepared was downright offensive: to the eyes of those of us watching at home and I have to suspect to the palate of those forced to taste it. I won’t expand on it too much, but when you try to pull off serving raw beef, don’t use the finest cuts or prepare it as a carpaccio, you’re just asking for it. So much so, in fact, that the person who actually prepared the dish winds up puking. Quite the fitting metaphor for this terrible, terrible show.

Oh, and did I mention that Ronde and Tiki Barber made an appearance? GAH! PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!!! But I’m afraid they won’t, as here are other NFLers who will grace this horrible cooking competition:

The featured NFL players include:

  • Indianapolis Colts’ Dwight Freeney and Adam Vinatieri
  • San Diego Chargers’ Stephen Cooper and Shaun Phillips
  • San Francisco 49ers’ Jerry Rice
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Ronde Barber and his brother, retired New York Giant Tiki Barber
  • New York Jets’ Keyshawn Johnson
  • Arizona Cardinals’ Kurt Warner

Shocking. I had no idea Jerry Rice, Keyshawn Johnson and Kurt Warner were still playing football. If they aren’t, why is Tiki the only one referred to as retired? Oh yeah, it’s because he’s a douche and hated by everybody.