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NY Times on cancellation of Chopping Block

I have to disagree with the analysis, which seems to blame it primarily on Marcus Pierre White for not being Gordon Ramsay. I think it was a complete lack of interesting contestants.

However my 12 year old son just came down and saw the article and said it was "because he didn't get angry enough"; that "Top Chef is for people who like cooking and Hell's Kitchen is for people who like watching people get shouted at. This was neither".

"Chopping Block" Winds Up There
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/01/din...

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  1. I disagree with the Times. MP White should have been a goldmine for the director. I blame cheap production, bad direction, poor scripting and editing.

    No one made the show sing.

    It was cheap, it looked it... next.

    3 Replies
    1. re: TrishUntrapped

      I haven't read the article yet, but the show was really slow and boring. None of the contestants seemed to have any great talent and frankly they were all a bit annoying. There was no one that I was rooting for in any way. There was little cooking shown, mostly talking, mostly shots of MPW sitting in a chair talking to the camera about what they all need to do to succeed on the show...it was a snoozefest! And I also have to say that the first "critic" and Steingarten on the second show both came off as buffoons. And I generally like Steingarten on ICA. Oh well, another one bites the dust!

      1. re: TrishUntrapped

        I agree. The show could have been interesting, but as a viewer, it was a real opportunity lost. Still, it's hard to tell if it was the casting, the production or the scripting and editing that blew it.

        The contestants could have been anyone. Could any of them actually cook? Did any of them have any real restaurant experience? I had no idea what experience or talents any of them brought to the show. It wasn't until the last show that I realized they were paired by front-of-the-house and back-of-the house.

        There was no one to identify with or root for and no real villains so the show had no drama.

        And frankly, the show was a total copycat attempt at Last Restaurant Standing, Gordon Ramsay's -- anything, and Top Chef (sorta), but it never established itself as anything.

        1. re: TrishUntrapped

          Agree with the cheapness of the show; poor direction, scripting and editing. And there was no one who was remotely interesting as a contestant. NBC screwed this one up themselves.

          Although I will give them this: “ Mr. Ramsay is the bollocking king. " That he is. :-)

          I *do* disagree with this statement about TC: "But “Top Chef” is on Bravo, a cable network that is also home to “Project Runway” and caters to a narrow but devoted demographic with highfalutin tastes and insider knowledge."

          Highfalutin tastes? Making a breakfast? Making an amuse bouche? That's highfalutin? Wow. Poor Alessandra needs to get out more.

        2. My TV guide (on Yahoo) says Chopping Block is still on tonight.

          1. Good riddance. The show was awful.

            1. Does then say something about the viewing audience? There is no room for growing older and maturing beyond the need of profanity? That as an audience, we only want violent, profanity ridden shows airing the waves. I like watching HK but I tire of the berating GR puts on the contestants. That show is prime for yelling simply because the producers take contestants that have absolutely no excuse for being their in the first place.

              I was having issues with the CB show, but really because ejecting one pair even though one person may have been the issue. This show has more in common with "Last Restaurant Standing", then HK, TC or IC/A.

              Marco obviously has culinary talent and for whatever reason that experience was limited to the viewers.

              1. Haven't read the article yet either, but I have to say I did not like MPW. I thought he was boring and melodramatic. What's worse, I thought his commentary lacked insight and, more often than not, added nothing to the show. I mean, I know he's a phenomenal chef, but it did not come through at all, in my opinion. Finally, I said it in another thread, but I'll repeat it here, MAN it bugged me the way he pointed at the camera, punctuating almost every (point) single (point) word (point) he said. Got very old, very quick.

                1 Reply
                1. re: charmedgirl

                  Could not agree more. His solemn pontificating with all the finger pointing really turned me off as well. If they put him in handcuffs he'd be unable to speak.

                  I did not much care for any of the contestants (with the exception of the perceptive couple who voluntarily walked off the show in the first episode). But in my book the major failure was MPW himself. He would be better off returning to the kitchen.

                2. The reviewer that wrote the article actually liked Chopping Block in her original review (before the show premiered), but then panned it when it was cancelled.
                  http://tinyurl.com/cwny6n

                  I actually liked MPW, but do agree that it was just too cheaply done, and there was not enough focus on the experience or backgrounds of the contestants. I just didn't care about any of them.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: twiggles

                    I guess I wouldn't call A. Stanley's original NYT review a glowing endorsement of the show.
                    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/11/art...

                  2. I'd love to hear (read) the inside scoop from the editor that has posted on some previous threads about CB.

                    1. Someone stated that it still shows up on the TV lineup schedule for them tonight. If it does for me... I'll watch it.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Firegoat

                        It might be on the schedule still, but I can't imagine they'd show it if they pulled the plug. I heard that repeats of Law and Order will be shown...

                        1. re: sibeats

                          The guide says its on but it's an old rerun of Law and Order instead. I can't say I'm really surprised that it got canned - it was pretty boring and you didn't really care about ANY of the couples enough to want to see them win. If they wanted to make Last Restaurant Standing they should have licensed it and done it properly... btw, somebody mentioned it was similar to an old Australian restaurant reality show? I remember that was pretty darned boring too!

                          1. re: Kajikit

                            Well even up to just the minute before 7 p.m., the electronic TV thingy said Chopping Block was up next.... and then.... it was Law and Order. LOL. Oh well. So instead of eating my grilled steak will chopping block I watched the emaciated Top models for a while and mocked them. (it was a big ribeye, I still have half left to eat while watching Hell's Kitchen tonight!)

                            1. re: Firegoat

                              It's available over on fancast.com.

                      2. Maybe next time they should consider starting with people that can actually cook, act motivated or at least are not total F'tard rejects that act like they could care less.
                        The show was on the line up here until today but has been axed from the evenings schedule.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Fritter

                          I know the show had its flaws but I enjoyed Marco. I picked up his book The Devil in the Kitchen and have been enjoying it. It reads a lot like Gordon Ramsey's bio; troubled childhood, etc. but the impression I get is that Marco is more of a natural talent than Gordon.
                          Where Gordon seemed to question himself a lot early on it seems Marco was always very confident in his skills and was never afraid to step up to the plate.

                          1. re: tofuburrito

                            I good a good chuckle every time I think of MPW making young Gordo cry. To me the contestants on this show, save for the couple that was smart enough to walk away didn't even deserve to be in the same kitchen as MPW.

                            1. re: Fritter

                              MPW book, I thought, was much better written than Ramsay's.

                              I liked the quote about Ramsay's crying. "I didn't make him cry he chose to cry."

                        2. Not surprised, MP is a waste of time.