Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thanks A Lot, Anna & Kristina

My kids love cooking shows. Whenever they visit Grandma and Grandpa, they both ask if they can watch the Food Network. At home, they like to tune into Hell's Kitchen or MasterChef. And one of their favourite food shows is Anna & Kristina's Grocery Bag.

Or was. At least, as far as Lainey is concerned.

The premise of A & K's show is simple: pick a cook book to review. Take a range of recipes from the book and try to replicate it exactly as it is intended. The test: a gourmet chef is invited to sample Anna and Kristina's work. The ladies, after all, are not professional chefs.

Even I like this show. The mood is fun and both Anna and Kristina are very nice to look at. (Let's face it: they're hot!) So when my girls tuned in, I almost always join them. (In all honesty, I was also hooked by this season's MasterChef.)

Lainey looked forward to watching this show. I usually snuggled up with her—when she wasn't tumbling all over the place (she's not one to sit still for long). But all of that came to an abrupt end a couple of weeks ago. Since then, she vowed to never watch the show, even going as far as saying, "I hate Anna and Kristina!"

What happened?

England happened.

We were watching an episode where A & K were in the U.K., reviewing Best British Dishes by Marguerite Patton. Among the culinary dishes was a British favourite: rabbit stew. Not contented with purchasing their rabbit at a butchers, Anna had to bag her own game.

Can you see where I'm going?

We saw it coming. And we suggested to Lainey that perhaps she might want to leave the room for the next couple of minutes. But what was coming came far too quickly, faster than we could react.

Lainey loves animals. All animals. But in particular, the cute animals. She never wants to see one hurt, never one in danger. A couple of years ago, when the family was watching Supersize Me, Lainey burst into tears during the scene where the process of making Chicken McNuggets was explained with the use of simple animation—a cartoon chicken falling into a contraption of gears and coming out as battered nuggets.

Lainey likes meat; she just doesn't like to see how it gets to her plate.

So just imagine her horror at seeing sweet, lovable Anna, toting a rifle and shooting fluffy bunnies. Before she could leave the room, the first shot was fired and the first rabbit was felled.

Thanks a lot, Anna.

Lainey was silent for a few seconds as the shock took her. And then the tears, flowing like water from a faucet, running down her cheeks and dripping off her chin. And the wailing, the red face.

We hit the pause button, freezing the action, but not before the second rabbit was killed.

"I hate Anna & Kristina," Lainey screamed, "I'm never watching it again!" And with that, she stormed out of the family room and up to her room.

Thanks a lot, Anna & Kristina's Grocery Bag. You could have given us more warning. We know that you provide a warning that the show contains coarse language, but we can handle that. You bleep out any questionable words, and so there is no risk of shocking our kids. They don't actually hear the coarse language—words that they've heard on the school grounds.

But they've never seen a life come to an end on television. The life of an innocent animal. And for that scene, there was no warning. There was no advisory.

And for that, you've lost a viewer. And the cuteness of your show is forever diminished by three other viewers.

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