Checking in with MTV’s House of Food

House of Food (Photo: MTV)
House of Food (Photo: MTV)

I’m still on board with MTV’s culinary reality series  House of Food, but there’s a little too much house and not enough food.

The tone of House of Food took a noticeable turn between the first and second episode. The cast returned to Los Angeles and now live in a house that is about the size of a city block. The full cast returned, including Amanda who was on the bubble at the end of the pilot episode. An eighth person, Harrison, was also added to the fold. There isn’t an indication of how much time had passed between the first and second episode, but friendships (and rivalries) have taken hold, so adding an unknown quantity to the mix was production’s way of adding to the tension. Will and Suki (and eventually Amanda) separated themselves from the group while Harrison aligned with the rest of the house.

Aligned seems like an odd word choice since this competition is not your standard one-person-eliminated-each-week format. However, it points to a new issue I have with House of Food, which is that we do not know the aspirations of the participants. Suki, who has been the primary instigator of a much of the conflict in the house, has approached the show with the drive of Wendy Pepper.1 I don’t fault her for wanting to win, but does Suki want to win because she wants to open a restaurant one day or because winning is winning? Motivation drives action which drives story, and right now the story seems to be “I’m going to cut you and not eat your food because I am the best.” That isn’t fun.

As I said previously, I’m in until the first drunken fight. We had a glimpse of that in the third episode. The house (minus Suki and Will) went out drinking. When they returned, Harrison revealed his absolute disdain toward Suki to Will. The next day, during a knife lesson2, Harrison and Suki got into an argument that included gesticulating with knives in hand.3 Roommate drama is not the primary conflict I want out of a show that is supposed to be about food.

Right now the ratio is about 70:30 House:Food content. If the ratio can get closer to 50:50, I think House of Food will be in good shape. I’ll check in again in a few weeks.

  1. Excuse me as I rewatch Project Runway season 1 again.  
  2. Yes, the show gave them freshly-sharpened knives.  
  3. The lesson ended early.  

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About Mike McComb 656 Articles

Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it “TV Camp.” After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv