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Food for Thought

Memo to TV execs: More food needed on NCIS, Castle, The Walking Dead and other TV dramas

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NCIS Gibbs with coffee April 2013
So where’s the food on the popular TV shows? Personally, I’d like to know what Gibbs eats. Clearly he cannot just be drinking coffee all day on NCIS. NCIS/Facebook
the cast of Castle TV show
And when not solving homicides for NYPD, Castle is a mystery writer. Why not let him write a cookbook? SaVaReviews
cast of The Walking Dead TV show
The walking dead survivors: I mean what are they eating in the zombie apocalypse? Nuts, berries, squirrels that Darryl shoots? Left over canned meat and Twinkies? WalkingDead.Wikia.com
NCIS Gibbs with coffee April 2013
the cast of Castle TV show
cast of The Walking Dead TV show
News_Marene Gustin_columnist_mug_head shot

To: Producers and directors of TV shows
Subject: Food

There is not enough food on your shows.

Whoa, whoa, I don’t mean the celebrity chef shows, the cooking contests, the morning news programs that spend half their air time on cooking and food. No, I mean the sitcoms, dramas and romantic comedies.

Think about it for a minute.

Food is hot. There’s an entire food channel, food programs on every network and cable channel, food magazines, a zillion cookbooks and food history books (there’s an entire book about salt, for heaven’s sake), restaurants are booming, chefs are the new rock stars, half of the photos on Facebook are of what people are eating and pretty much every third person on the planet has a food blog.

 So where’s the food on the popular TV shows? Clearly Gibbs cannot just be drinking coffee all day at NCIS and bourbon all night at home in his basement. 

So where’s the food on the popular TV shows? Personally, I’d like to know what Gibbs eats. Clearly he cannot just be drinking coffee all day at NCIS and bourbon all night at home in his basement.

Clearly he’s a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy, the kind of person who would never post pictures of his food on FaceBook, but I bet once in a while he might get a craving for some Tex-Mex, in which case I wonder, is he the kinda guy who likes a fried egg on his enchiladas or not?

And we know Ziva cooks but do we ever get to see her whipping up kabobs and a cucumber and tomato salad?

On the other hand, Castle’s lead character is clearly a man of refined taste. On occasion we do get to see him cooking but we don’t get the description of the dishes or the lingering food shots or the blending of the food with the narrative.

For reference please see the 1987 film Babette’s Feast.

And when not solving homicides for NYPD, Castle is a mystery writer. Why not let him write a cookbook? And then Hyperion could publish the book in real life like it does with the Nikki Heat books that are supposedly written by Rick Castle.

Food in the City

See, what I’m proposing is that TV shows incorporate food the same way that Sex in the City incorporated New York City as a main character. Food is such an integral part of millions of viewers lives that a popular TV show that featured food as a main character would be a hit.

And you could post the shows’ recipes on their websites, have the actors appear on talk shows and cooking shows to cook, hit up social media with those food photos and links. Come on think about those ratings! The money! Who doesn’t want to know what their favorite characters are eating and cooking?

 Frankly I’d like some recipes on how to make some decent dishes during the zombie apocalypse because I’m guessing the Whole Foods Market will finally stop selling organic chickens. 

And, although I’m not a fan of junk food, I do like the fact that it is a prominent feature on USA’s Psych. But they could do so much more with it, include retro snack foods, feature a link on the show’s website and integrate it more into the plot lines. Maybe the guys start a second business, say a food truck that they drive around to crime scenes while making Thai tacos.

Hey, I’d even like to see more about the food the characters in The Walking Dead eat. No, not the walking dead but the survivors. I mean what are they eating in the zombie apocalypse? Nuts, berries, squirrels that Darryl shoots? Left over canned meat and Twinkies?

Frankly I’d like some recipes on how to make some decent dishes during the zombie apocalypse because I’m guessing that most of my favorite restaurants will be gone and the Whole Foods Market will finally stop selling organic chickens.

So, TV folk, it’s really not that hard to integrate food into a storyline. Pick up any of Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta novels. Besides being a hot shot medical examiner and solving violent murders, she can always be found in the kitchen cooking a delicious pasta dish. That Cornwell lovingly describes in delicious detail. And she always pairs a nice wine with it.

And yes, Cornwell did write a cookbook, Food to Die For: Secrets from Kay Scarpetta’s Kitchen.

See how this works Hollywood? Millions of foodies who want to see what their favorite characters are eating. Ratings! Spin off cookbooks with beautiful photography. Money!

So, you’re welcome. Oh, and if you need a script writer, have your people call my people. We'll do lunch.

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