At some point in her career, Martha Stewart got a sense of humor. There’s no doubt that she always had one, buried deep inside under layers of tasteful toile and well appointed cheese plates, but as of late it’s been showing. Her appearance on the Comedy Central roast of Justin Bieber was legendary, elevating her from your Aunt Carol’s favorite lifestyle personality to someone with dimension. She’s funny. Sometimes she doesn’t mean to be funny, but it doesn’t matter. She is. And nowhere does this sly, dry, wry sense of humor shine more than on Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner, a delightful show on VH1 featuring Martha Stewart and her new best friend, Snoop Dogg. This pairing might seem unlikely, but that’s part of its appeal. Their rapport is easy without pandering from either party; they seem to genuinely like cooking and each other, and for a television show that features two very famous people cooking on what looks like the Lip Synch Battle soundstage in front of a live studio audience, that’s all that counts. In this first episode, Martha and Snoop are going to make fried chicken. Both parties emerge from their respective sides of the stage in boxing robes. Martha’s accessorized with a giant J. Jill pendant, just the kind of thing you’d think she’d consider wearing before appearing on a television show with Snoop Dogg. Snoop is dressed like he always is. Oh, and there are guests. Seth Rogen, just pleased to be there really, walks out on Snoop’s side; Martha, bless her, gets Wiz Khlaifa. Wiz Khalifa is helping Martha Stewart make fried chicken. To be fair, the first half of the show is clunky at best. No stranger to the very specific art of cooking food on live television, Martha handles the dredging and the battering of the chicken with ease, and Wiz proves to be a capable sous chef. From what I can tell, Seth Rogen isn’t doing anything beyond making bad jokes, hiding his face in his hands and self-consciously wearing an ankh necklace taken from the glittering tangle of jewelry around Wiz Khalifa’s neck. No one really wants to see anyone make food unless it’s in hyperrealistic, pornographic, Food Network-esque detail, so the first half is just foreplay for the much more interesting second half — the dinner party. A few notes from the cooking portion: I learned a lot of fun facts about fried chicken and also gained valuable knowledge about how to kill a chicken if needed, courtesy of Martha.
“I fed it some vodka and cut off its head,” she says, while calmly dredging chicken wings in flour. Snoop adds crushed barbecue potato chips for crunch and doesn’t bother with a brine. Martha keeps a bowl of chicken parts floating in iced, salted water in her fridge at all times, just in case, and erroneously believes that cold fried chicken is inferior to the hot, freshly fried iteration. Also, always use a splatter guard! Back to the dinner party, the most charming part of the show. Everyone just sits at a table, eats some chicken, and engages in the kind of weird icebreakers you might endure at work functions and bachelorette parties. This time, it was a rousing rendition of Two Truths and a Lie (rebranded as Two Truths and a Thigh for the purposes of this episode), in which Martha Stewart revealed that she was struck by lightning not once, not twice, but three fucking times. The woman was struck by lightning three times and is entirely unflappable. Snoop’s best subject in school was calculus. Wiz Khalifa was born in North Dakota. Seth Rogen auditioned for Dwight’s role in The Office four goddamned times. And, Ice Cube, special guest, probably knows his way around AutoCAD. Great! After everyone finishes eating, a winner is crowned, except this time, it’s a tie. Until next week, chickens!