As the TV listings fill up with more food shows than ever before—Extreme Tupperware Ladies is coming!—it’s tough to know what’s worth your time. As the new shows roll out this summer and fall, we’ll be watching and letting you know which is worth your time.
It’s no secret women are the underdogs in the restaurant world, and Bravo has elected to highlight the discrepancy between male-operated kitchens and female ones with a new show, “Eat Drink Love.”
Just from the title alone—which is based on a mediocre book and shitty movie—you already know you don’t have to take this portrayal of women in the L.A. food scene seriously. It follows five women, presumably friends—in the way that Real World cast members are “friends” around the second episode—as they try to make it in the food world. They don’t really seem to know each other, and their food pursuits hardly seem connected at all. And what we get is another vapid depiction of women too busy chatting about men to be interested in food.
Let’s check out the ladies of the show Bravo Housewives-style, shall we?
Kat Odell, The Critic
As another cast member puts it, “she’s essentially the Page 6 of L.A. dining.” As Kat puts it, “I am viewed as a tastemaker.” So you know immediately you’re going to love her, right? While wearing fake black-framed eyeglasses, she likes to repeat how many guys in the food world she’s “dated,” and everyone knows she does it for scoops at Eater LA, where she’s editor. Although, for a “critic” (which she probably wouldn’t call herself in real life, as opposed to Bravo life), the only food analysis you hear from her lips is that the truffle burger at Plan Check tastes like “mouth sex.” Later, she’ll tell you that she goes to a lot of places “you want to get in, but probably can’t get in, but I can.” A lovable wordsmith.
Waylynn Lucas, The Baker
Waylynn is far more chill than Kat and the co-owner of fōnuts—a shop in L.A. that sells baked and steamed “doughnuts,” but never fried ones. But however low key she is, she still spends most of this episode talking about men: recounting her two ended engagements, the last one a messy split from Top Chef Michael Voltaggio; fussing at her male employees for not properly icing the fōnuts; and fawning over a secret admirer who keeps sending gifts to her bakery. We will expect more from this “punk rock chick” as the show goes on.
Brenda Urban, The Publicist
Brenda, another shoo-in for the men-obsessed ladies club on this show, positions herself constantly as the old and fat cast member. It’s really unfortunate. More than once she laments at her weight in comparison to the other women because she likes to eat. Then she speaks at length about her messy divorce after one year of marriage and “falling into hate.” Then at her sloppy almost-40th birthday party, she calls Kat out for sleeping with every ambulatory restaurant male. Not cool, Brenda. She also puts her career in these terms: “I’m a publicist. I will fucking ruin you.” Fair enough.
Nina Clemente, The Chef
Now don’t let the title fool you. Nina is not a chef, and she’s never had any professional training. That’s right. None. She moved to California to start catering and working as a private chef, catered a party that a Vanity Fair editor attended, and was featured in the magazine shortly thereafter. That got her many more private chef gigs, but she wants to own her own restaurant, and it seems unclear how that’s going to happen without training. As she says, she’s tired of being half-chef, half “fucking Mary Poppins.” So she goes off on her own to apprentice for free in The Foundry’s kitchen after declaring at the beginning of the episode that she will never work for a man again. Other than that, Nina’s storyline is a little void of development. She does, however, wear her hair buzzed into an adorable duck tail.
Jessica Miller, The Boss
How Jessica received this title is anyone’s guess. She has the vague title of “marketing director” and later calls herself restaurateur Harry Morton’s right hand. She tastes new dishes at Morton’s restaurants before they go to him, but it’s unclear how that’s helpful as she is likely a teenager with no palate. In her own words, she’s “10 pounds, 5’1″ and look like I’m 12.” Even with her random job title, she might garner more respect in the restaurant world if she stopped saying phrases like “I go from zero to pissed” and mentioning her days as a Tri Delt. Apparently during her time as a sorority sister, she was responsible for such grand events as a Little Mermaid party, movie-themed parties (these are different), and Tennis Pros & Secretary Hoes shindigs. Unsurprisingly, she simultaneously wins for most difficult to watch on this show.
So, What the Hell Happened?
The show could really benefit from a quick rundown of how everyone knows each other. Brenda and Kat seem to know each other best and claim to have a symbiotic relationship because one needs scoops and the other needs good press for her restaurant clients. But with their age difference and passive aggressive jealousy, even that seems far fetched. Over a lunch at Public Kitchen, Brenda breaks up Kat’s date-bragging with some lady honesty. ”Can I just put it out there that you wouldn’t be able to do your job if you couldn’t go back to places where you made out with people?” Kat giggles. Then Brenda tells the camera Housewives style, ”Kat has a reputation of sleeping with everyone she writes about and writing about everyone she sleeps with.” Ouch.
Kat’s just trying to get a good scoop—it’s all about Eater (although how does Eater feel about this assault on their ethics?). ”L.A. is a very flirty town, and hey, if I can smile and get the scoop over someone else, I’ll do it.” As dabblers in the same profession, we’ll take all this with a grain of salt—a show about us would be mad boring, so we get why Bravo is milking the will-flirt-for-scoops angle as much as humanly possible. But still.
The next thing you know, all five women are dining together at the taco place owned by Waylynn’s not-so-secret admirer. She gets pissed when he flirts with the other women, even though she’s backburnered his advances. Then petite Nina makes a comment that she needs to eat carbs lest she become too skinny, which pisses off Brenda, the self-dubbed big girl. Thank you, Bravo, for this stunning depiction of foodie women.
Let’s fast forward to Brenda’s birthday party, planned by sex-obsessed Kat and chapter president Jessica. A few of the women pregame at Kat’s apartment, where we find Brenda naming some birthday resolutions to a mirror—work out more, drink less, and fall in love. Then she puts on a gold lamé dress and says to no one in particular: “Please don’t let me drink ’till I black out.” Oh, man.
Kat obviously hosts the surprise party at Shorebar because she’s trying to hook up with one of the proprietors there. And in their private booth, the guests present Brenda with gifts—a patronizing birthday tiara made by Jessica, pack of hot dog wieners to subtly suggest that she take a man home, and an expensive light-up dildo. What does this show have to do with food again?
After a bunch of awkwardness, Nina suggests they play truth or dare. Brenda immediately goes for a dare and plants a hard kiss on one of her male guests. Then, with her guy’s arm around her shoulders, Kat picks truth, and Brenda poses the question, “Are you or are you not dating four or five guys right now?” Big mistake. Everyone is shocked that a truth or dare game could get awkward, Jessica and Kat head for the bathroom like sorority girls, and the party clearly breaks up. In the words of Jessica the Boss, “This is the cock block heard around the world.”
Maybe stick to Top Chef, Bravo.