It only took nine months, but it appears Amanda Fortini, author of The New Yorker’s ambiguous Pioneer Woman exposé*, has belatedly acknowledged what Drummond’s critics have known for years…Ree’s wily. Why the Harvard-educated writer was last to the “little ol’ ranch wife” party is fodder for a future post. Arguably it’s more about the narcissistic faux Pioneer Woman taking advantage of Fortini’s naiveté, playing off her youth and inexperience ostensibly to garner a favorable story.
Last week, Fortini returned to The New Yorker, this time its blog, and revealed after viewing Food Network’s Pioneer Woman show, that her light bulb had finally been switched to the on position. In stark contrast to her admittedly misguided first impression, Fortini who has the undeniable advantage of knowing both Pioneer Woman personas, the one Ree wants people to see and Rachel Purnell’s Food Network vision, summed it all up very nicely… as fake. Yes it seems, Amanda got the memo this time around.
In her post, Fortini reasons that Pioneer Woman’s uneasiness within the medium of television stems from Ree Drummond’s underlying deceit about her less than pastoral lifestyle. With the pressure of lights, camera and profits, the real Pioneer Woman is unveiled and as it turns out, she’s not a particularly compelling woman. In fact, the real little ol’ ranch wife of Pawhuska is quite ordinary, if not boring. Her on-camera personality is non-existent and her cooking skills are dubious at best. Sadly, she’s set back this country’s women’s movement at least a hundred years with her cloying adulation for her husband and the resident “men folk.”
Fortini notes too viewers’ incredulity. From the comfort of their living rooms, Food Network’s fans are allowed a peak into the Pioneer Woman’s less-than pioneering lifestyle, one replete with commercial grade kitchen appliances housed in a multi-million dollar custom-built television studio. Armed with not one, but two professional cameras, Ree lollygags about the prairie in a $50K Ford Expedition snapping photos of staged ranch scenes. According to Fortini, many are starting to question Ree’s schtick, but some stalwarts remain. Whoever believes Drummond’s an actual pioneer woman keepin’ it real needs a serious reality check.
Fortini’s analysis states a litany of reasons why the show has fallen on its face notably Pioneer Woman’s palpable discomfort in her own skin when she’s “recites” the very script she, as a consulting producer, authored. Yet for all the headway she makes, at one point Fortini falls back with a polite slap on Ree’s plagiarizing wrist, referring to the Pioneer Woman’s recipes as “derivative.” Uh, no, they’re lifted and sources are not credited.
Perhaps the real lesson in all this is for Amanda herself. Remaining objective and fact-checking both sides of a story instead of discounting critics as “poisonous and obsessive” should be her mantra moving forward. The Pie Near Woman, Pioneer Woman Sux and this blog have been exposing Ree’s internet hoax for years. Fair warning Amanda, press releases are paid advertisements designed to showcase clients in the best possible light, hardly lone sources for articles destined for publication. Bartlesville, Oklahoma isn’t affluent any more than Ree Drummond is a Pioneer Woman.