Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Snoop makes Mashed Potatoes | Snoop Dogg | Martha Stewart

Snoop makes Mashed Potatoes | Snoop Dogg | Martha Stewart

God Damn... these 2 are so adorable together that, as my aging Jewish grandmother used to say, "I could just plotz!" (That's:  to collapse from surprise, excitement, or exhaustion for those not familiar with Yiddish phrases that have crept into the common American urban slang lexicon.) 

I've always liked both of them individually. But together, I suppose because each represents a very accessible example of a 'type' that is so much the opposite of the other, they make a transcendental pairing. 

It's Martha's (Martha Stewart) show, so let me start with her. Somehow she strikes me as having a very unique energy level. She's neither representative of the over-caffeinated, can I possibly get my eyes open any wider for the camera, variety of a 'hyper' TV host, like say, a Rachel Ray. Nor is she a member of the tribe of ultra-cool, laid back, nothing phases me I'm so jaded to it all personalities, like an Anthony Bourdain. She's animated enough to keep our attention and get things done in her TV kitchen which makes us comfortable being there with her and allows us to actually concentrate on the things she shows us. 

Martha captured the full attention, if not the undying affection, of the American public a couple of decades back  by being our guide to a world of WASPS that we always suspected was there, but never had a way to confirm... Intelligent, well educated and polished, no-nonsense and with such sensible, good taste, and fully intent on ferreting out 'the good stuff' whether it be the best orange marmalade to put on the best whole wheat toast the planet has ever offered members of the most stylish Parent/Teacher Association ever, or cable knit sweaters that make the offerings of the J. Crew catalog seem like poor second bests. And that tag line of hers, that little saying that she says as she points to whatever good stuff she's just shown us, that calculated, understated, sums it all up ditty "It's a good thing!"... Perfect!

SNOOP, on the other hand. His story strikes me as way different. While Martha is extraordinary in that she has actually lived up to, stepped into the Sperry Topsiders of, the privileged, private schooled, country club milieu we can't help but imagine she's part of, SNOOP grabs us because of how he's transcended his background. Or perhaps, because he too has shown us something we average White Americans have long hoped was true: that the contemporary Black ghetto harbors warm and friendly people, the type you'd like to spend time with and know that you'd fall in love with if there ever was a situation that put you in the same room with them. And guess what? For the 5 minutes and 11 seconds that this video of an old Martha Stewart show runs, we're in the kitchen with SNOOP. And he's making mashed potatoes with Martha!

SNOOP is an amazing character. Like so many of his fellow rappers, he emerged from the inner city having honed a very hard edge to the persona he chose to present to the world. As far as I can tell, and I get my research done from that impeccable source: Wikipedia, Snoop is the real deal. He's no wannabee poser; he actually is from Long Beach, California and actually was a Rollin' 20 Crips gang member. He was discovered by Dr. Dre, a rapper and record producer who came to fame as a member of the hip hop group "N.W.A (an abbreviation of Niggaz Wit Attitudes)" and you can go to Wikipedia yourself for insight into that, I am NOT going to attempt an explanation!!! (SEE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N.W.A or go do your own damn research! See, the gangsta attitude is positively infectious!) A few data points about him, though, that will illustrate his authenticity as a former, hard-core gangsta: he came to fame selling records for the Death Row Records label. He has sold over 35 million albums worldwide and a few of their notable titles are: Doggystyle, Tha Doggfather, and Tha Last Meal. According to Wikipedia he has been incarcerated a number of times.

But... hardcore, self styled criminal image and all, Snoop predictably will melt your heart with his confident, warm personality and in her TV kitchen, we can see him work his magic on Martha who quickly falls under his syrupy spell. And we, the TV audience, feel privileged to witness this meeting of 2 opposing American worlds. 

The interaction, the back and forth between the 2 is wonderful. Martha, to her credit (or is it her producers wisdom) walks  Snoop through the intricacies of making mashed potatoes :) After a minute or so, snoop catches on and helps peel the potatoes, but it does take a bit of Martha's savoir faire and skill as an interviewer to get him there. She, ever so deftly, in what appears to be just kitchen buddy small talk steers the contrived, casual buddy chatter around to Snoop's manner of speech, a perfect foil for the 2 of them to riff a bit on the remarkable juxtaposition of an original ghetto gangsta who, while still clad in the uniform of inner city tough guys has morphed into the sweetest guy in the world. He enlightens her a bit about his side of the American reality to his new girlfriend, Martha, America's favorite Shiksa neighbor from the mansion next door. And as the perfect TV show host, she works into the potato peeling banter the fact that Snoop's got a new Christmas album on sale and she kids him, asking if he does traditional Christmas songs on it and he, grinning broadly, explains that no, he's got songs on it like 'Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto' They have a little bit of good natured 'race fun' debating the merits of putting black pepper or white pepper in the blender with the mashed potatoes in progress, and the studio audience gives them a bit of a laugh just as if this were Kathy Lee making tuna casserole with Michael BublĂ© debating whether or not to put in more mayonnaise. They agree that they are both excited about Snoop's upcoming appearance at Obama's inauguration party... and then Snoop decides to put some Cognac he's brought on the set into the mashed potatoes and they taste each other's batch of potatoes just as the video finishes.

What more could you ask for? This show has covered the waterfront. We've learned how to make America's favorite side dish, learned a tad about life in the hood, and without any fanfare whatsoever, jumped right into celebrating our differences as equals.  Snoop, the Crip gangsta rapper has made it out of the hood to join Martha Stewart, who, with clear all American diction,  impeccable manners, and abundant good  taste has welcomed him into her pretend kitchen to make one of the richest batches of mashed potatoes ever. In a matter of just the few minutes it's taken them to meet and bond and cook a simple dish we've been treated to respect and appreciation and friendship and good fellowship. I'm bathed in a warm feeling and all is now right with the world! It's a good thing, a very good thing!

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