A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that each dinner party's theme and menu is completely up to the evening's host or hostess. That means that one episode may be racier than the next. For example, in one episode, viewers saw contestants enjoy a family style dinner, as well as a '50s-inspired meal served by a woman dressed in a saucy waitress uniform. But other than that, there's little to object to, although kids may not be drawn in by the subject matter.
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What's the story?
In DINNER TAKES ALL, five amateur chefs each take turns -- one each night -- cooking up a meal for the other four in hopes of winning their votes and walking away with $1000 at the end of the week. Each of the five evenings features a dinner party conceived and prepared by the contestant in the spotlight, who must plan the menu, prepare the food, serve it, and provide entertainment. At the end of the meal, each guest rates their host on food, presentation, and entertainment; whoever has the highest score at the end of the five-night cycle gets the $1000. Past episodes have served up meals centered around a "man-sized" meal, a garden party, and a Hawaiian luau, just to name a few.
Is it any good?
While foodies will undoubtedly take away a few tricks of the trade, what many viewers will find most fun about Dinner Takes All is the interaction between the host and his or her guests. Thanks to wise casting on the part of the producers, each episode features an eclectic mix of serious gourmands and less-practiced cooks who often flail around the kitchen (in one episode, a contestant shot Pam cooking spray into the broiler -- when it was on).
This makes for some very interesting dinner parties, which can include everything from temporary tattooing as the burgers heat up to after-dinner entertainment in the form of beer and cigars in front of the tube. And all of the contestants look like they're having fun, even if they don't win the money. All in all, Dinner Takes All is a half-hour of mindless (though perhaps hunger-inducing!) fun.