In the mood for a cooking show? My Drunk Kitchen is probably the worst place to start. The show is a YouTube cooking and comedy series created by Hannah "Harto" Hart, a native San Franciscan and Japanese translator living in Los Angeles. The show centers around Hannah cooking, baking, or otherwise 'kitchening,' while simultaneously drinking large quantities of various alcohol. It's packed full of puns, dark humor and catchphrases galore; My Drunk Kitchen is a funny reality check in the face of the perfectly clean, always-turns-out-great television cooking shows.
While it may be hard to see what audiences find so appealing about a drunk girl getting silly on a not-so-much-cooking-going-on cooking show, the show is basking in the age-old satisfaction of deconstruction. No idea what that means? Here's an example, if you've been on the internet lately you may have seen this image making the rounds:
The top image shows a set of beautifully rendered Cookie Monster cupcakes someone posted on the popular image and idea sharing site Pinterest. Below the professional version is a fan's (somewhat lazy) attempt to remake the cupcakes. To say they didn't come out well is an understatement. The frosting eyes sliding apart give the remade Cookie Monsters something of a grotesque sheen. My Drunk Kitchen, much like this visual meme, takes self-deprecation of one's skills to a whole new level. The visual presentation of the failed attempt side-by-side with the original food glorifies the 'good' version but also helps to deconstruct the original image as something made, photographed and Photoshopped by experienced 'professionals'.
This is not the first time a cooking show has made a name for itself by stripping back the perfected reality of other cooking shows. My Drunk Kitchen is a natural internet progression from shows like Alton Brown's Good Eats, which ran for a mind boggling 14 seasons. Good Eats focused on the science of cooking, providing explanations of how food chemicals interact and illustrating what was going on inside the pot. What made the show great to watch was its Brechtian reveals of the set and crew inside of the sound stage. That on-screen refrigerator? It was betrayed as a functionless prop early on by frequent visits from the mysterious and often-cloaked-in-mist, Lady of Refrigerator, a nutritionist living in Alton's fridge. The walls of the kitchen could be moved. Shots could be taken from inside the oven or cupboard. Puppets were frequent guests, a chalkboard dropped from the ceiling, and the crew often appeared on camera playing recurring, food-related characters.
Just like the 'Nailed It' meme and Good Eats, My Drunk Kitchen reveals the abnormalcy of perfect kitchen creations. The show instead takes on the question: what would a cooking show be without the television kitchens, the sous chefs, the set designers, the cameramen, the makeup artist, the cooked-ahead, plate-perfect presentation, the beautiful lighting, the retakes, and the scripts? The levels of filtration and alteration between the viewer, the on-screen presentation and what is 'real' are multitudinous. My Drunk Kitchen pares down the food show to one drunk girl, a camera, and some jump cuts. So while still mediated by editing, the show repositions cooking back in our own kitchens (even recently launching a tour in which Hannah goes around the country filming with her fans in their own kitchens). An experiment in reality, My Drunk Kitchen cooks without much skill, but with plenty of wine and silly puns to make even bad cooking really enjoyable.
View My Drunk Kitchen online at hartoandco.com/my-drunk-kitchen.