If you aren’t yet watching the national treasure that is Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party, a variety/cooking show starring Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg, it’s certainly not for lack of critical reception. Social media users and critics alike have hailed the show as hilarious, starring an unlikely pair that somehow mesh perfectly on-screen.
But will it last? The New Yorker suggests the “dual fish-out-of-water premise is too much of a gimmick to sustain a series,” but it’s delivered solid ratings so far. Below, a roundup of reviews of the new show, now airing on VH1 every Monday night at 10 p.m. PST/EST:
Indeed, Martha, America has spoken. In this time of great strife, we demand that two of our most famous celebrities gather 'round a TV stage kitchen separated by their two opposing styles — Joanna Gaines shiplap and copper for her, pimp purple and a rapping fridge for him — and sorta teach us how to fry chicken in barbecue potato chips. Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party may not be the show we need right now, but an hour that starts with a Tanqueray-and-Ciroc cocktail, comes back from commercial break with Ice Cube strolling onstage, and ends with three rappers, a comedian, and a 75-year-old lifestyle icon gathered around a cluttered dinner table like the kids from That '70s Show … well, that is absolutely the show we deserve.
But in episode one, Martha and Snoop’s chemistry is also dampened by the time they spend staring at cue cards and reading, which is as awkward as an SNL guest host staring blankly off-camera. There’s a surprising amount of that here, whether they’re working through pre-written bits or setting up the next segment.
In those moments, the show can feel like its title, which is trying so hard to be clever that it ends up being pointless. (There is no potluck in episode one, so the title is inaccurate, but I assume they wanted to get the word ‘pot’ in the title and this seemed like the best way to do that.)
Also not helping is the hour-long length of the premiere, which drags and stretches to fill 39 minutes. Other episodes will be 30 minutes, and that’s a good thing, to use Martha Stewart’s catchphrase. That’s plenty of time for Martha and Snoop to banter with each other and their guests, entertaining us more than their food ever could.
Conversation, of the viral video clip kind, is the calling card of “Martha & Snoop’s Dinner Party,” which is less stringent about cooking preparations (though all of its recipes will be available online) and more free-form schmoozing: “The View” as recast by “Martha Stewart Living” and “XXL” magazines.
Ms. Stewart’s orbit is already more varied than some may expect. At her last Thanksgiving, she hosted, among others, the photographer Terry Richardson, the Italian multimillionaire investor and art collector Johnny Pigozzi and the power publicist Peggy Siegal. But Snoop Dogg is bringing still newer friends into her orbit.
Stewart and Snoop’s new show channels the bawdiness of her roast performance, but, perhaps not surprisingly, the dual-fish-out-of-water premise is probably too much of a gimmick to sustain a series. The obvious joke is the oddity of Stewart and Snoop being pals; the secondary joke, also pretty obvious, though a bit funnier, is that it is Stewart, and not Snoop, who has done hard time. Beyond that, it is, like the Comedy Central roasts, a pseudo-event that exists mostly to be talked about. It features a few too many canned double entendres about weed and easy jokes about race—dark meat and light meat, black pepper and white pepper, and so on. The cooking is vague and obviously beside the point. Stewart flirts convincingly with Snoop, and with Rick Ross, which suggests that the best use of Stewart’s talents might be as the host of a sexed-up version of her old “Living” show, though I’m not sure where that would air.
Although Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party is packed with guests like Seth Rogen, Wiz Khalifa, 50 Cent, Rick Ross, DJ Khaled, Kathy Griffin, Jamie Chung, and a gang of others, it’ll probably be off-the-cuff remarks between the hosts that will keep people coming back for more.
While they might seem to come from very different backgrounds—Stewart had never heard of Funyuns until Snoop mentioned it as a favorite snack to eat while stoned—both Stewart and Snoop are actually from humble beginnings, she hailing from Nutley, N.J., and he from Long Beach, Calif.
The onstage space feels — perhaps not weirdly — relaxed, friendly and forgiving. Describing the "buttermilk bath" into which she dips her chicken, Martha asks Snoop, "Have you ever had a buttermilk bath? You would like that…. If you took a buttermilk bath, you'd be whiter," a line it's hard to imagine playing many other places. "If one person knows how to make [stuff] whiter it's Martha Stewart," observes Seth, though Ice Cube describes her as tough; asked if she'd ever killed a chicken, and how, Martha replies, "I fed it some vodka, and then I cut off its head."
It would be fun to move the show to either Snoop or Martha’s house. There’s just too much unused space on the stage.
Martha needs a rap name, obvi.
The audience could use more food. It appears they have access to the cocktail Martha and Snoop make, but the chicken is few and far between. (Feed them or lose them).
The audience delivers too many "Woooos." (OK then, maybe just lose them).
Get rid of the DJ. He’s taking precious screen time away from Martha and Snoop and frankly, my Spotify playlist could do better.
• We Liveblogged the Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party Premiere [E]
• The 5 Best Moments From Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party, Episode 2 [E]