Food Network's (Secret!) New Reality Show, Family Style, Is Beyond Uninteresting

Some secrets are just plain juicy (your best friend's boyfriend's into what!?) and others are just so-what's (your best friend's boyfriend's aunt suffers from gout.) Family Style, the new reality show from Food Network that aired a special preview last week and is nowhere to be found on FN's website, falls into the latter category.

The show's premise features siblings Joey and Melissa Maggiore trying to make their new Italian restaurant, Tommy V's in Carlsbad, California, a success. Billed as the "odd couple" (NOT) of the restaurant world, Joey and Melissa are the offspring of chef and restaurateur Tomaso Maggiore. Ring a bell? It should. Papa Maggiore is the founder and owner of Tomaso's and Tommy V's in Phoenix and Tomaso's in Chandler.

That fact alone is more interesting than the show, which goes beyond the boundaries of boring and suffers from two major issues.

Forced characterizations:
Try as the Food Network may to make viewers of Family Style believe Joey is a crazy man with no social filter (he's actually a classically trained chef with a lifetime of cooking experience) and Melissa is a humorless hard-ass (she's actually quite pleasant and really seems to understand the restaurant business), the truth is that both appear to be good people who respect each other and have made a successful go of the restaurant world.

"Unscripted" Reality TV
Like many reality TV shows (Gene Simmons' Family Jewels), Family Style suffers from situations clearly created by the show's producers in an effort to make things interesting. Joey sets up a giant, inflatable "Grand Opening" gorilla to annoy Melissa? Not buying it. Melissa sets up a fake photo shoot to get back at Joey and then shows his photos at the restaurant's grand opening in front of paying customers? Really? Don't think so. Yawn, yawn, yawn.

Beyond uninteresting and not about food or cooking. Congratulations, Food Network, another winner.

Wanna see for yourself? Family Style will officially premiere Thursday, August 26, at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on the Food Network.

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Laura Hahnefeld
Contact: Laura Hahnefeld