Television instructional cooking shows provide a platform for discussion around the performance of self, with bloopers and backstage scenes revealing the best qualities of the celebrity chef’s personality despite the risk of face loss. Bloopers are short clips of mistakes that are typically removed from the media narrative. Often embarrassing and humorous, bloopers are moments when the celebrity chef’s performance is flawed with cooking errors or misspoken words. Drawing on Goffman’s concepts of ‘backstage’ and ‘frontstage,’ this paper analyzes bloopers on five American instructional cooking shows: The French Chef with Julia Child, considered one of the first celebrity chefs on television, and four contemporary how-to cooking shows from Food Network. These shows present cases of bloopers that occur in live and edited scenes, during the cooking demonstration, and pre- and post-filming. While a form of backstage discourse, bloopers support frontstage performance by heightening the celebrity chef’s unique attributes. Bloopers provide an outlet for play on frontstage as well.
backstage; frontstage; bloopers; celebrity TV cooking shows; Goffman; self-presentation.
Matwick, Keri / Matwick, Kelsi
Bloopers and backstage talk on TV cooking shows.
In: Text & Talk 40,1 (2020), pp. 49–74.
eISSN 1860-7349 - pISSN 1860-7330
- Keri Matwick received her PhD in linguistics from the University of Florida and is a lecturer at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Her research interests include media discourse, celebrity chefs, and humor. Address for correspondence: Language and Communication Centre, School of Humanities, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, 14 Nanyang Drive, HSS-02-15, Singapore 637,332, Singapore. Email: email@example.com
- Kelsi Matwick received her PhD in linguistics from the University of Florida, USA, where she is teaching academic writing and food journalism. Her research interests include spoken and written discourse in popular media. Address for correspondence: 105E Nanyang View, 04-10, Singapore 639,672 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Adler, Thomas. 1981. Making pancakes on Sunday: The male cook in family tradition. Foodways and Eating Habits: Directions for Research 40. 45–54.
Ayto, John. 2013. The diner’s dictionary, 2 edn Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Basow, Susan & Diane Kobrynowicz. 1993. What is she eating? The effects of meal size on impressions of a female eater. Sex Roles 28(5/6). 335–344.
Bateson, Gregory. 1953. The position of humor in human communication. In H von Foerster (ed.), Cybernetics, ninth Cconference, 1–47. New York: Josiah Macey Jr. Foundation.
Bourdieu, Pierre. 1984. Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. London: Routledge.
Bubel, Claudia. 2008. Film audiences as overhearers. Journal of Pragmatics 40. 55–71.
Butler, Carly & Richard Fitzgerald. 2011. ‘My f***ing personality’: swearing as slips and gaffes in live television broadcasts. Text & Talk 31(5). 525–551.
Chaney, David. 1996. Lifestyles. New York: Routledge.
Child, Julia. 1963. The potato show. The French Chef. Season 1, Episode 22. WGBH.
Child, Julia. 1963. Vegetables the French way. The French Chef. Season 1, Episode 9. WGBH.
Chiaro, Delia. 2013. Passionate about food: Jamie and Nigella and the performance of food-talk. In Cornelia Gerhardt, Maximiliane Frobenius & Susanne Ley (eds.), Culinary linguistics, 83–102. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Coates, Jennifer. 1999. Women behaving badly: Female speakers backstage. Journal of Sociolinguistics 3(1). 65–80.
Coates, J. 2007. Talk in a play frame: More on laughter and intimacy. Journal of Pragmatics 39. 29–49.
Collins, Richard. 1988. Theoretical continuities in Goffman’s work. In Paul Drew & Anthony Wootton (eds.), Erving Goffman: Exploring the interaction order, 41–63. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Dahlgren, Peter. 1995. Television and the public sphere: citizenship, democracy, and the media. London: Sage.
De Laurentiis, Giada. 2015. Waking Up with Giada. Giada behind the scenes. Food Network.
Diemer, Stefan & Maximiliane Frobenius. 2013. When making pie, all ingredients must be chilled. Including you: Lexical, syntactic and interactive features in online discourse – a synchronic study of food blogs. In Cornelia Gerhardt, Maximiliane Frobenius & Susanne Ley (eds.), Culinary linguistics: The chef’s special, 53–82. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Drummond, Ree. 2017. Other cuts of beef. The Pioneer Woman. Season 15, Episode 3. Food Network.
Dyer, Richard. 1991. A star is born and the construction of authenticity. In Christine Gledhill (ed.), Stardom: Industry of desire, 132–140. London: Routledge.
Eriksson, Göran. 2016. The ‘ordinary-ization’ of televised cooking expertise: A historical study of cooking instruction programmes on Swedish television. Discourse, Context and Media 13. 29–39.
Fairclough, Norman. 1994. Conversationalization of public discourse and the authority of the consumer. In Nicholas Abercrombie, Russell Keat & Nigel Whiteley (eds.), The authority of the consumer, 253–268. London: Routledge.
Fairclough, Norman. 2001 . Language and power. London: Longman.
Fiske, John. 2002. Television culture. London: Routledge.
Fuller, Janet, Janelle Briggs & Laurel Dillon-Sumner. 2013. Men eat for muscle, women eat for weight loss: Discourses about food and gender in men’s health and women’s health magazines. In Cornelia Gerhardt, Maximiliane Frobenius & Susanne Ley (eds.), Culinary linguistics: the chef’s special, 261–279. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Flay, Bobby. 2010. Cuisine du jour. Brunch @ Bobby’s. Season 1, Episode 2. Food Network.
Flay, Bobby. 2015. Say cheese. Brunch @ Bobby’s. Season 5, Episode 8. Food Network.
Giddens, Anthony. 1990. The consequences of modernity. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Goffman, Erving. 1959. The presentation of self in everyday life. New York: Anchor Books.
Goffman, Erving. 1981. Forms of talk. Oxford: Blackwell.
Gumperz, John. 1992. Contexualization and understanding. In Alessandro Durant & Charles Goodwin (eds.), Rethinking context, 229–252. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Haarman, Louann. 2001. Performing talk. In Andrew Tolson (ed.), Television talk shows: Discourse, performance, spectacle, 31–64. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence, Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
Hochschild, Arlie & Anne Machung. 2012. The second shift: Working families and the revolution at home, Revised edn. New York: Penguin Books.
Hollows, Joanne. 2003. Oliver’s twist: Leisure, labour and domestic masculinity in The Naked Chef. International Journal of Cultural Studies 6. 229–248.
Holmes, Janet & Jennifer Hay. 1997. Humor as an ethnic boundary marker in New Zealand interaction. Journal of Intercultural Studies 18(2). 127–151.
Jefferson, Gail, Harvey Sacks & Emanuel Schegloff. 1978. Notes on laughter in the pursuit of intimacy. In Graham Button & John Lee (eds.), Talk and social organization, 152–205. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Johnston, Josée & Shyon Baumann. 2010. Foodies: Democracy and distinction in the gourmet foodscape. New York: Routledge.
Johnston, Josée, Alexandra Rodney & Phillipa Chong. 2014. Making change in the kitchen? A study of celebrity cookbooks, culinary personas, and inequality. Poetica 47. 1–22.
Labov, William. 1972. Language in the inner city: Studies in the Black English vernacular. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Lorenzo-Dus, Nuria. 2009. Television discourse: Analysing language in the media. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Mangan, Michael. 2013. The drama, theatre and performance companion. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Matwick, Kelsi & Keri Matwick. 2017. Cooking at home: A multimodal narrative analysis of the Food Network. Discourse, Context & Media 17. 20–29.
Matwick, Kelsi & Keri Matwick. 2018. Politeness and pseudo-intimacy in a food radio call-in program. Discourse, Context and Media 21. 46–53.
Matwick, Keri & Kelsi Matwick. 2014. Storytelling and synthetic personalization in television cooking shows. Journal of Pragmatics 71. 151–159.
McCarthy, Michael & Ronald Carter. 2004. ‘There’s millions of them’: Hyperbole in everyday conversation. Journal of Pragmatics 36. 149–184.
Miller, Toby. 2007. Cultural citizenship: Cosmopolitanism, consumerism, and neoliberal age. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
Montgomery, Martin. 2007. The discourse of broadcast news: A linguistic approach. London: Routledge.
Mooney, Kim & Erica Lorenz. 1997. The effects of food and gender on interpersonal perceptions. Sex Roles 36(9/10). 639–653.
Naccarato, Peter & LeBesco Kathleen. 2012. Culinary capital. London: Berg.
O’Flaherty, Terrence. 1963. The watched pot. San Francisco Chronicle. December 28. 99th Year, No. 362. 24.
Peterson, Mark. 2005. Performing media: Towards an ethnography of intertextuality. In Eric Rothenbuhler & Mihai Coman (eds.), Media anthropology, 129–138. London: Sage.
Polan, Dana. 2011. Julia Child’s The French Chef. Durham and London: Duke University Press.
Scannell, Paddy. 1996. Radio, television and modern life. Oxford: Blackwell.
de Solier, Isabelle. 2005. TV dinners: Culinary television, education and distinction. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies 19(4). 465–481.
Swenson, Rebecca. 2009. Domestic divo? Televised treatments of masculinity, femininity, and food. Critical Studies in Media Communication 26(1). 36–53.
Thornborrow, Joanna. 2015. The discourse of public participation media: From talk show to twitter. New York: Routledge.
Thornborrow, Joanna & Louann Haarman. 2012. Backstage activities as frontstage news. European Journal of Communication 27(4). 376–394.
Tolson, Andrew. 2001. ‘Being yourself’: The pursuit of authentic celebrity. Discourse Studies 3. 443–457.
Tolson, Andrew. 2006. Media talk. Edinburgh: Edinburg University Press.
Yearwood, Trisha. 2012. Brunch with Aunt T. Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. Season 2, Episode 6. Food Network.
West, Candace & Don Zimmerman. 1987. Doing gender. Gender and Society 1(2). 125–151.