For the 16 Minute Meals Pasta Pronto episode, Ree features…drum roll please…four pasta dishes, not any new ones mind you. In the past few weeks, the Antichef has relied on pasta to carry this show, so yes, we’re being asked to suspend disbelief and watch the Antichef prepare pasta once again. Today’s repeat recipes include shrimp scampi, chicken mozzarella pasta, pasta puttanesca and quick shells and cheese, which simply stated is the Antichef’s ripped-off version of Kraft’s Velveeta Shells and Cheese. The usual suspects are present: repetitive dialogue, four shirtain changes, hair extensions, family reciting one-liner scripts, a pink Fit Bit that Ree didn’t miss tweeting about during the broadcast and lots of elbows on the table.
Pssst. The bright pink bracelet I’m wearing on the show this morning is…a FitBit!
— Ree Drummond (@thepioneerwoman) September 13, 2014
The show starts in the stunt kitchen with the g-dropping Ree wearin’ a dark purple shirtain, patterned with hemp leaves. Ree’s hair extensions are glued in place and pulled forward to hide her thinnin’, stringy hair. Ree introduces Chicken Mozzarella Pasta. She describes it as “hardy, delicious and takes no time to make,” but best of all it’s “delicious”…wait…never mind. While the chicken is sautéing, she chops onion, parsley and basil. Three years in and a film crew still travels to Oklahoma to capture a narcissist chopping onions and gratin’ cheese.
Just like the real cookin’ shows, we get to hear all about the family’s goings on. Daddy and the boys are repairin’ fences and the girls are in Tulsa for a school event. Ree says, “that’s pretty much our lives these days with people goin’ in a million different directions.” That’s pretty much most people’s lives Ree, so what’s new? She says when the family returns to the tv studio, they’ll be in character and hungry. The quicker and apparently less nutritious the meal, the better. “I love pasta…that is well-documented. I have a life-long passion for it and I’ve passed that love along to my kids. Noodles are our life basically,” says the over reachin’ Ree. Okey dokey, so on the shows featurin’ meat where you express the same sentiments, do we set aside your pasta grandiosity?
The Antichef continues babblin’, “I love makin’ sauces like this where the meat goes into the pan first and then it just flavors everything you put in there after that.” Ya think Captain Obvious? Speakin’ from the heart, Ree says she loves pasta dishes because there are no rules. And you know, we actually believe her because no rules is how she groveled her way onto the Food Network.
As in weeks past, Ree again pulls out her go-to-ingredient, jarred marinara sauce, the same brand she uses over and over every other episode. She even admits she uses it all the time because it’s a great short-cut ingredient. Next, the Antichef adds pasta water to the jarred sauce to make it “extra liquidy.” And to kill time she breaks out the humorless humor like only Ree Drummond can, telling the audience that this dish is one of her family’s top ten favorites. Well actually there are probably 20, but according to Ree, “who’s counting?” Laugh everyone, it’s supposed to be funny.
Next she adds chopped parsley to boiling tomato sauce and says it has to simmer for 10 minutes. Someone needs to let this gal in on the fact there’s a huge difference between simmering and boiling. Then again, no one in Ree’s world sweats those details. On cue, we see footage of Daddy and the boys delivering their scripted lines for the truck cam. And in another truck in a land far, far away (40 miles to be exact) we see the girls chattin’ it up for the truck cam presumably on their way to Tulsa.
Back to the Antichef elevating her jarred marinara sauce, separating the men from the boys so to speak. As she slices fresh mozzarella, she first instructs the audience to cut it into cubes and a few seconds later she says she’s cutting it into sticks a half-inch square. Seriously Ree, you’ve been on air now for three years and you’re still contradicting yourself every other breath. Next, she says the mozzarella is a soft cheese that softens quickly. Then, she states she doesn’t want it to melt in the sauce, but to remain in chunks. WTF?
Next, the Antichef tells the audience first how much she luuuuuuves pasta cookware that includes a built-in colander and then says how much she luuuuves pasta bowls. This gal needs to revise her script—every week without fail, she uses the L-word eleventy billion times. Next, when she returns to stir the sauce, she practically achieves orgasm over the fact that the mozzarella has melted. Hmmmm, didn’t she just say a few frames back that she didn’t want it to melt? As she pours the sauce over the pasta, she proclaims that the cheese is going to continue to soften. I don’t think this was editing, Ree’s winging it and it comes off that way. “With that, dinner is done in 16 minutes flat,” says the Antichef. And the audience has just witnessed a preview of the Antichef’s upcoming 2015 crookbook.
After a commercial break, it’s back to the stunt kitchen and the Antichef’s first costume change. She’s now sporting a coral shirtain, an aqua FitBit and she’s preparing another 16 Minute Meal. This time it’s shrimp scampi, a recipe she’s done ad nauseam on her site and in a previous crookbook. Again, we see her sautéing onions and garlic. Soon though, it’s back to the truck cam where the daughters are delivering Ree’s stilted script. When we return to Ree, she’s now claiming that her daughters have gone to town to run errands. Hmmmm, thought they went to Tulsa for a school event. Then again, who cares? The people who watch this tripe, those with the attention spans of a flea, have probably forgotten such minor inconsistencies.
While the Antichef squeezes fresh lemon juice over the boiling shrimp, we see Ree’s FitBit, prominently placed on her arm closest to the camera. During today’s episode, Ree live tweeted and made a point to mention she was wearing it. The Antichef has no doubt lined up another endorsement deal in all the spare time she has since she never cooks.
Next, she adds white wine to the mixture and thankfully spares the audience her soliloquy about Ladd not liking wine in his food. That set up is so over. “This is one of my favorite things to eat. I just love it.”
Ree is there anything you don’t love? Next she adds that god-awful Tobasco sauce ensuring the shrimp will taste medicinal. And as the shrimp continue to boil, they’ll soon have the texture of leather. Someone forgot to tell Ree that shrimp is never added to scampi in the beginning and when it is added, it should only be cooked for a brief period of time.
Back to Noodles 101, another time killing technique Ree and her producers use so she can explain to her pasta-challenged audience the different pasta shapes and sizes. Today Ree used Angel Hair noodles. Yes, that’s exactly what she called them.
Like a kid with a new toy, the Antichef again adds pasta water to scampi sauce just like she did with the previous pasta dish. Who does that? Why would anyone dilute shrimp scampi with water? Ree claims the water will give the pasta a more “saucey consistency” because she can’t bear to say the starchy water will help thicken the sauce. We see more parsley chopping and hear more parmesan cheese hyperbole. “There’s nothing more glorious than shrimp scampi, I love this stuff,” proclaims Ree. Her daughters enter the stunt kitchen from stage left and they cut to another commercial break. Up next, pantry pasta gets the 16 minute treatment with an incredible puttanesca sauce.
After a commercial, it’s back to the stunt kitchen where Ree is dressed in a hideous shirtain that looks like something she acquired at a yard sale. Her hair extensions are in a pony tail that’s been thrown over one shoulder and she’s now wearing a pink FitBit. The only thing missing is a round, red clown nose.
Our poe widdle Antichef says she’s home alone because Ladd’s in town with his father and brother having lunch. No doubt, they’re probably at the Pawhuska Country Club hoping to avoid Ree’s latest pasta disaster. Ree claims, unconvincingly, that she’s been working around the house and forgot to eat. Ummmm, okay, then why do you have to wear a FitBit? The L-word rears its ugly head yet again as the Antichef waxes rhapsodic about how she luuuuves to add wine to pretty much any pasta. Next she breaks out into some anchovy humor. She seriously says, “if you think you don’t like anchovies, give anchovies a chance.”
All we are sayin… Again, no one’s laughing except Ree…at her own joke.
The Antichef grabs a mortar and pestle to combine the garlic, olives and anchovies claiming you don’t have to use one, but it’s so fun if you do and besides, it gives the meal-forgetting Ree some exercise. Then she takes a fork and breaks some parmesan cheese into “chunks.” It’s looking like it’s going to come down to the wire seeing if “chunks,” “love,” “alright,” or “glorious” win the most overused word for this episode.
Again Ree drops the L-word as she drains bucatini pasta. What next, is she going to add pasta water to puttanesca sauce? She says she’s adding basil, but now she claims she can’t be bothered to chop it up. There’s simply no logical flow here.
Following a final commercial break, it’s back to the stunt kitchen where the Antichef is wearing another shirtain, this time it’s a solid, midnight-blue pajama top with another coordinating FitBit. Yeah, with all these multiple colored FitBits, in all likelihood Ree’s lined up a sweet deal with FitBit.
She says the boys are outside playing and since they get hungry several times a day, she’s going to whip up her very best impression of Kraft Velveeta Shells and Cheese. Ree says she’s boiling some mini pasta shells that are “sooo cute I just love ‘em.” Puhleeze get some new verbs Ree. Stating the obvious, she melts butter and says it adds flavor. Ya think? While the milk and butter heat up, the Antichef moves on to a brick of Velveeta cheese that she slices with her meat cleaver. We hear how wonderful and what a one-of-a-kind block this block of cheese this is.
Shaking my head as I’m typing this shit.
Ree says that the processed cheese gives the pasta an unmistakable flavor that every kid loves. Sure it does, when you feed them crap like that, they develop a taste for it to the exclusion of things like fresh fruits and vegetables. But then, way to go Ree for being on the cutting edge of healthy food. Next we see the boys throwing a football–and wonder if Ree ever figured out that her older son plays quarterback—then it’s back to the Antichef who’s trying to back peddle that she actually used processed cheese while she adds shredded Monterey Jack to the sauce. Cut back to the boys playing football and then it’s back to Ree stirring the thinnest looking cheese sauce I have ever seen. She’ll need to serve this stuff up in a mug with some straws because it’s not going to coat pasta in any meaningful way.
In an “I smell a give-away” moment, we see the Antichef lift the pasta colander for the umpteenth time out of boiling water and add the pasta to the cheese sauce. With another “all right” and “oh my gosh” we hear how amazing it looks. The next scene shows the boys washing up and using fresh William Sonoma kitchen towels to dry their hands. Ummm, Ree why not send those boys to the male restroom behind your stunt kitchen? Besides, most health regulations require a separate hand sink in a commercial establishment–and that means Ree Drummond’s tv kitchen.
This latest crap fest ends with Ree’s youngest saying, “now don’t go cryin’ on us.” And he’s right, it’s all you can do not to cry after watching this apalling show.
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