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TV Review: The Shed on Food Network

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UPDATE:  Read about the controversy surrounding The Shed closing the Mobile Alabama restaurant at: http://geekalabama.com/2013/08/26/controversies-over-miley-cyrus-and-the-shed/

Non-cooking shows on the Food Network have not had a great past.  Do you remember some cancelled shows like Meat Men, Ace of Cakes, Trivia Unwrapped, and other reality shows on Food Network?  There is even a website called Mystery Diners Fraud that exposes the show Mystery Diners for using actors and having the restaurant being staged.  Now, Food Network is bringing its latest reality TV show onto its network, and it’s based from a popular BBQ joint in South Mississippi.

From Food Network.

The Shed follows the lives and exploits of the Orrisons – the (unofficial) First Family of Mississippi.  Brad Orrison and his family have amassed a fortune through a chain of Barbecue restaurants ultimately becoming the premier team in nationwide barbecue competitions.  The Orrisons are a family full of big characters, big toys, and big laughs, and each episode will chronicle a different component of the Orrison’s ever-growing family and business empire in the great state of Mississippi.  Nothing is too wild for Brad, his family or the “Shed Heads” to conquer…in or out of the Shed.

The series is filmed at the original The Shed location in Ocean Springs, MS which is a 15,000 square-foot operation that has become one of the iconic businesses along the Mississippi Coast.  Two other Shed locations have opened in Gulfport and Mobile, AL.  So yes, The Shed has an Alabama connection!  Six episodes of this series was filmed and the first two aired this past Monday night.  At first, I thought Food Network was wanting to copy the southern family formula other networks have found with their shows like Duck Dynasty and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.  And yes, I think Food Network succeeded with that with The Shed.

The first episode involved a marketing contest between the women and men.  The women came up with a calendar with the front cover being a women in a bathtub covered with macaroni and cheese.  The guys came up with the pigapult which launched BBQ sandwiches into the air.  The Shed Pimps also set up a kissing booth for the girls to enjoy as well!  Yes, The Shed has two older gentlemen in nice suits to greet customers at the door.  The guys test their pigapult launching sandwiches into the air with someone shooting a gun, just like skeet shooting.  Even the fans at the wrestling event loved the pigapult.  But the women won the marketing contest because the costs to produce the calendar was less.

The second episode featured The Shed catering a wedding for a friend.  They had to capture, then buy crawfish and cook it.  They had to quickly smoke a whole hog.  And in a first for the wedding industry, The Shed smoked a wedding cake.  Sure, some guys tried to fish for some crawfish, but sometimes, buying caught crawfish from a guy on the side of the road is so much easier!  While smoking the wedding cake, they made the cake so small!  But they did cover the cakes with tin foil so the cakes would not smell like BBQ!  And the whole hog was cooked with no time to spare.  They did not have enough time to cool the hog down after cooking.  So a guy had to ride in the back of a van with the cooked whole hog for a 45-minute ride.  I wonder how the pig stayed upright while driving on the bumpy Interstate 10.  In the end, the wedding and the reception went great and the bride and groom enjoyed the smoked wedding cake.

So far, many people commenting online have already panned this show with comments like: an awful boring show, the worst thing I have seen on TV, I truly feel sorry for them, I am embarrassed on their behalf, and the food is good but the show was bad.  Right now, caricatures of the south TV shows are pretty common on TV at the moment.  I mean, Duck Dynasty is one of the highest rated shows on TV.  I found The Shed and the family as fun-loving and great people who loves their jobs and the restaurant.  I wondered why this show is on the Food Network, you don’t see any recipes being demonstrated on the show.  But you do see food.  I think the show would fit better on another Scripps Network like Travel Channel or Great American Country.

I can see why some Food Network fans are complaining about The Shed.  Food Network needs to get back to cooking!  And when will networks like History Channel, A&E, and even Discovery Channel quit stereotyping southerners?  How about the networks come up with something that does not copy Duck Dynasty.  Yes, Discovery Channel is coming out with a show called Tickle next week.

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