Padma Lakshmi’s new show Taste the Nation on Hulu, is an extremely smart and thoughtful look at American cuisine and the American Experience. She profiles different immigrant communities and how their food shaped our culture. While it very easily could have devolved into stereotypical explanations of immigration, it is really insightful and sincere. She focuses one episode on Mexican immigrants in El Paso and German immigrants in Milwaukee the next. She understands the complexities of the American Experience better than most, and uses that to her advantage.
Padma is also an excellent interviewer, which elevates the show. She is not concerned with being performative, and focuses on letting her subjects speak. This allows the complexities in each of these communities and situations to come to light, rather than her injecting her preconceived notions into each situation. The nuances and specificity the show gets into with each community allows each to shine. This show is a much needed exploration of the moment our country is in, and the cuisine that inspires it. A-
Very few shows remind me of why I fell in love with skateboarding as a middle schooler. Betty, HBO’s spinoff of Skate Kitchen, does. It is so much fun to be with these girls in New York, watching them skate and navigate a city with surprises on every corner.
It is an ode to living in New York as well as being a teen in a city that is vibrant with activity. It also captures their spirits while also telling important stories. One about police violence and power and another #MeToo story. It does this in a genuine way while still managing to be light on its feet. At six 30-minute episode, it is a low commitment show that is full of excitement. I absolutely love the show and recommend it highly. B+