When little people and chocolate come together on TV, you might expect cutesy Oompa Loompa-esque entertainment. The two little people starring in TLC’s new reality TV show “Little Chocolatiers” don’t sing, and they aren’t orange. But it’s fun as fudge to watch them build life-size desks, books, picture frames and cassette tapes from chocolate, as well as dip limes, celery, bleu cheese and God knows what else into melted confection.
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The two owners, Kate and Steve, are an odd mix of personalities. Kate is creative and enthusiastic while Steve is grouchy and awkward (and maybe just a touch obnoxious). Together, they make a couple with ridiculously non-existent chemistry.
When Steve sets up a romantic surprise dinner for his wife on their anniversary, there has never been a more anti-climactic (and undoubtedly sexless) celebration of marriage. But despite the odd character quirks and the lack of any discernible sexual attraction between the couple, they’re surprisingly likeable, and they certainly can run a chocolateria with their super team of equally awkward teenage employees.
“Little Chocolatiers” is pleasantly different from regular cooking shows in which they make fancy creations and then leave it on a display platter to be admired. Not here. We get to see that chocolate radio get smashed to bits and those chocolate books chewed up and crumbled by ravenous students with a will to destroy the creations of the chocolatiers.
Honestly, five minutes of watching a delicate chocolate sculpture get digested is enough to regress even the most stolidly grown-up audience into five-year-olds who want nothing more than to knock down the house of cards. Watching the slow but artful process of molding, carving and painting the chocolate is therapeutic, and its demolition is a powerful cathartic release at the end of each episode.
One downfall is the weird side interviews with Kate and Steve, in which they basically recap a conversation that was perfectly clear in the previous scene. Maybe this is a time filler, or perhaps it’s just the way the directors chose to setup the shots, but it gets old very fast. This repetitive set up was a bit of a bust and really detracted from what was otherwise actually quite an enjoyable half-hour.
An overly dramatized scene in which a customer compliments them on their ability to run a shop despite being “midgets” was also victim to this redundant cycle. Three commercials were tagged with the teaser of this upcoming scene, accompanied by hyperbolic doom music. In the end, they politely corrected him, he politely apologized and those watching were left wondering where the hell the excitement went. Good lord, there should at least have been a fist fight.
All matters aside, “Little Chocolatiers” could certainly have done worse. Yes, the directors did take advantage of an opportunity to cutesy the two up in a “miniature people, big chocolates” photo shoot, but the show actually escapes without an over-emphasis on the “Little” in “Little Chocolatiers,” which is a relief.