Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Minnesota Television

I am a fan of public television, which varies in different regions of the country. Since I'm in a "cultural critic" frame of mind, I thought I'd share what I love and dislike about Minnesota public television.

First, I love that we get three different stations. And the programming is not the same on all three. I can watch "Frontline" at 8 p.m. instead of 9 on Tuesdays, and so be free to watch "The Good Wife" at 9 p.m. Channel 17 always has cooking shows on for an hour or two in the evening, which I like watching better than any sitcom. There are old Julia Child programs, which are always fun, and another good cook with good guests, Ming.

Then there is my favorite, a show I don't think you'll see anywhere but Minnesota, "New Scandanavian Cooking with Andreas Viestad." Andreas is from Norway, and the show also features chefs from Sweden, Denmark and Finland (though I've only seen the Swedish chef, Tina Nordstrom, and Andreas. The hallmark of the show is the chefs setting up an outdoor cooking station and making dishes on the spot. There's lots of herring, salmon and lingonberries. Salt and sour cream and dill are frequent flavorings. These two are delightful, and the food they cook is simple, fresh and beautiful. I particularly enjoy their accents and the way they tie their shows to tourism information about different regions, festivals and holidays in their countries.

Also on Minnesota Public Television are some first rate survival and wilderness shows. There are documentaries about people who homesteaded in the Boundary Waters or Alaska. There are also documentaries about great blizzards or the architecture of old homestead farmhouses. Some date back to the 1980s, and they seem to show periodically. I never get tired of watching them.

On the other end, is the unwatchable "The Red Green Show." I have not been able to watch enough of it to tell you much about it. It insults my intelligence and is not funny. It is 100% charicature of the Great North-- possibly Canada, or possibly Minnesota. Whenever I see it, I think of the constant showings of "The Benny Hill Show" on Chicago public television. Or that British comedy about the department store that played constantly in the San Francisco area, along with "Tales of the City."

If you move to a new place, watch public television. You'll learn a lot, maybe even how to cook a lingonberry tart.

1 comment:

Alison said...

Are You Being Served?