I’m all for off-kilter comedy, but getting through three episodes of IFC’s “Food Party” was damned near painful. The series, which appears as part of the network’s Automat line-up (which is loosely translated as the IFC equivalent of Adult Swim), is the brainchild of one Thu Tran, a Cleveland-based artist.
Here’s how the network describes the show:
“Food Party” is a mind-bending, non-reality cooking show with Thu Tran as your hostess, a cast of unruly puppets as culinary aides, and a cavalcade of fictitious celebrities as surprise dinner guests. Shot on location in a Technicolor cardboard kitchen as well as other foreign and exotic cardboard locations, each episode will or will not instruct you on how to prepare wild gourmet multi-course meals with ingredients you probably have on hand in your kitchen already, such as pretzel rods, eggs, narwhal lungs, bizarre plot twists, secret ingredients, and pizza. After all, you never know who might show up for dinner.
Each episode lasts about 12 minutes, and although I endured all three episodes provided by the network (“Thu Become One,” “Cave Duck,” and “Horrorsode”) in the name of TV criticism, it was such an excruciating experience that I feel obliged to warn off any who might consider watching it for themselves. While there’s certainly something to be said for the “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse”-inspired look of the show, all I kept thinking while I was watching it was, “I don’t know a single person who would be able to sit through this without saying either ‘this isn’t funny’ or ‘this is gross.’” (The latter would almost certainly be uttered during “Horrorsode,” in which we see Thu’s water break, bear witness to all manner of disgusting liquids flowing forth from her nether regions, and eventually give birth to a pie filled with kittens.)
If you’ve ever watched “Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job!” and thought, “You know, this would be great if it was just a little bit more out there,” then maybe you’ll enjoy “Food Party.” Personally, I found it ranging from terribly unfunny to legitimately disconcerting, but that’s me.
Feel free to make up your own mind by watching this clip from the show’s first episode: