For any flourishing television series, intercharacter chemistry is essential. The budding romance between Jim and Pam on “The Office” drew its fair share of viewers to the series when it was still on air. The same goes for various other series such as “Parks and Recreation” and “The Mindy Project,” to name a few. In the aforementioned examples, intercharacter dynamics propelled the series forward for many successful seasons. Whether these relationships are pre-established or not, successful character pairings have the potential to decide the fate of an up-and-coming series. Schematics aside, “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party” is a lesson in building character dynamics and the importance of chemistry, even if the show takes a while to build the stars’s chemistry.
Throwing Martha Stewart into a kitchen occupied by stoners probably wasn’t the brightest idea. It’s hard not to notice Stewart’s blatant lack of interest from the beginning — in fact, she looks as if she’d rather be anywhere else. Despite the unlikely friendship that formed between Martha and Snoop Dogg back in 2008 on her show “Martha,” the two look a little uncomfortable working with each other on a more permanent basis.
When guest star Seth Rogen (“Sausage Party”) comes on stage, you can still feel a hint of discomfort emanating from Stewart. However, you can also begin to see a thaw in her personality, as the added company takes the banter from scripted to friendly. Perhaps the original awkwardness was a by-product of first episode jitters. From their long history together, you can assume Martha and Snoop’s friendship has had proper time to grow, something that comes out as the episode progresses onward. Yet, as an alum of network cooking shows, Martha does come off as territorial, working hard to overcome the scripted banter only to ultimately fall back into old routines.
Getting past Stewart’s robotic mannerisms in the start of the episode, the duo soon falls into a rhythm — a slow one at first, but a rhythm nonetheless. By the time special guest stars Wiz Khalifa and Ice Cube join the duo on stage, the ambiance is friendly and funny. Stewart and Snoop progressed through the episode from territorial beasts of their own specialties to a well-oiled machine, the (vegetable) oil creating a smooth flow between the stoner and former network homemaker, lightheartedly joking as they batter some chicken. It’s nice to see the sudden change, as it promises that the concept behind a cooking show starring a rapper and a homemaker could turn out as interesting as its title suggests.
What really stands out in “Potluck Dinner Party” is not the celebrity bake-off, but rather the interactions between the hosts and their respective guest stars. Not only do the guest stars provide a medium through which Snoop and Martha get into an off-the-teleprompter groove, but they also throw in some hilarious anecdotes throughout the show’s 40 minute run time. The first episode itself is titled “Putting the Pot in Potluck,” which resonates well with Rogen, who jokingly brings a fire extinguisher onstage that is not intended for a cooking fire. The talk of the night is pot, and given some of the users onstage, you can only guess the shenanigans that ensue. So as the night rolls on and the drinks multiply, the quartet takes their food to a game of “Two Thighs and a Truth,” a play on the popular game “Two Lies and a Truth,” as Ice Cube judges their cooking masterpieces. Through the impromptu interactions which display a lightheartedness and genuine fun between the duo there is a shimmer of a hope that this eccentric cooking series has a shot at success in the coming episodes.