American Madness

Intelligent Criticism in the Service of a Better Nation

TV Magic

Posted by Matt Cipriano | 4 Comments

Whole Foods at Union Square (photo: NYTimes)

Whole Foods at Union Square (photo: NYTimes)

I watch Top Chef. Shocking, I know.

Well I just finished watching tonight’s episode and couldn’t help noticing a little TV magic. Now, you might expect a bit of this on a television show about food, especially one where the “challenge” is to cook food for another television show, but it isn’t what your thinking.

What I noticed was that they always shop at Whole Foods, I know this because they show the exterior. That’s the Whole Foods on 14th Street. You can see the Union Square vendors selling their $5 sunglasses outside, and the New York mini mall all around it. And, of course, what kind of plug would it be if they didn’t also show the lovely inside of the store.

And now here comes the magic. Abracadabra, they are inside the Whole Foods on Houston Street. I know this because that is my supermarket. I shop at that fish counter, pick over those same veggies. Oddly they haven’t shown the massive cheese section much.

My guess is that they think the Union Square Whole Foods is some how more “New York” as a small store front wedged between a shopping mecca with street vendors and tons of people going by. In comparison, the Houston Street Whole Foods is one full avenue wide, two stories high, floor to ceiling windows with parking out in front and apartments overhead.

Just another example that proves when you know something well, you can see just how much spit and glue and back-stage trickery goes into making the televised version of reality that we usually accept as fact. Yet we go on watching other reality shows, about which we know less, and assuming the integrity of the images that are presented. Show business.


4 Responses to “TV Magic”

  1. Joel Friedlander
    December 4th, 2008 @

    The thing about the store, and there is one in Jericho, New York, is that they have a massive selection of goods from all over the World, unfortunately, the prices are way up there. I suspect that some of them have come down with the drop in the value of the Euro, but they are still probably very expensive. I wonder how long they will last in a country where people are beginning to re develop their taste for Spam.

  2. Elliot Jacobs
    December 5th, 2008 @

    Wake up kids. Whole Foods – rather like Glad and GE – are the sponsors of the show. Their decision to always shop there (and make sure that the shop’s name get’s unlimited referencing) is no coincidence. I’ll offer you any odds that the opening shot of any scene where the chefs enter the kitchen is a close up of the GE logo. Shameless. Alas, the producers endless commercial requirements mar what is otherwise a very enjoyable show.

  3. Matt Cipriano
    December 5th, 2008 @

    Hey Elliot-
    Thanks for the comment. It is not that they are always shopping in Whole Foods that is amazing. I understand the concept of a sponsor. If you had continued reading beyond the second paragraph you would have seen that I was actually commenting on the fact that the Whole Foods exterior they show is not the Whole Foods they are shopping in.

  4. Matt Cipriano
    December 5th, 2008 @

    Hey Joel-
    I find it funny that Whole Foods gets a bad rap for being over priced. While it is true that you can easily go into Whole Foods and drop a couple hundred dollars on designer and organic foods, if you stick to buying the essentials, their prices rival most NYC supermarkets (I can’t speak for Jericho supermarkets).

    It is actually pretty sad, that the prices at Key Food (which services a much more diverse socio-economic group) at times top the prices at Whole Foods.

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