Like most TV programming around the holidays, The Food Network tends to apply a healthy dose of festivity to their lineup, and this year cooking competition fans have been eagerly awaiting a new season of Holiday Wars.
Prior to this year the holiday-themed cooking competition had only ever aired five episodes and seemed on the way to becoming a hit for the network just like its predecessor, Halloween Wars.
With a full six-episode season slotted in for this year, fans were eager to get cozy with some holiday cooking spectacle, but more than a few have noticed that the show isn’t all they hoped it would be.
Holiday fun in ‘Holiday Wars’
TV holiday specials typically offer a more campy, family-friendly take on our typical favorites, and Holiday Wars season 1 was no exception. It took the familiar cooking competition format and dressed it up in all the spectacle of the holidays, and added just a dash of cheesy jokes and awkward banter.
The result was a deliciously (even if a little corny) feel-good competition just in time to get viewers in the mood for the holidays. With more episodes in season two, viewers were excited to get back into the show and enjoy more of this new favorite.
Fixing what isn’t broken
Season two, however, left more than a few fans scratching their heads about changes made to the show. Season one was highly reviewed and with good viewership ratings, most fans of the show assumed the formula would remain mostly the same. Audiences were understandably pretty shocked when season two debuted with new judges, a new host, significant format changes, and a generally different attitude amongst competitors.
While fans and critics alike have expressed disappointment in the new host, Raven-Symone, and frustration with how harsh the critiques of the new judges are, most complaints seem directed at the contestants this season. After the premiere, fans were shocked to notice that not only the host and several judges had changed, but also the atmosphere of the show. It often seems that the contestants forget to bring an ample supply of jollyness to suit the season with them to the competition this year.
Shortly after the debut (and every episode since) fans took to social media to voice their concern, with one Reddit user commenting, “They are sooooo miserable! I was just saying that to my husband. They all hate each other and I don’t like that kind of drama during holiday shows.”
Obviously, viewers looking for a festive experience to get them in the holiday spirit don’t want to see constant conflict between teams.
Many of the contestants have also been quite aggressive towards other teams, in exchanges that sometimes almost feel scripted. “One of the team members was still bad mouthing another team during his elimination talking head. What a bunch of bitter Betty’s!” another commenter remarks.
Holiday editions of competitions traditionally are much more light-hearted than the rest of the year, but it seems that Holiday Wars chose to go a different direction for this year.
Though many loyal fans hope that the new cast will find their stride and the show will improve, for those who loved season one this is a disappointing showing. The first installment of Holiday Wars was excellent family entertainment- a feel-good, uplifting, holiday standard.
Some were hoping that would become a holiday tradition. The show has gotten edgier and tenser, but many will miss the more relaxed, friendly Holiday Wars from 2019.
Sadly, that is not what it seems was delivered this holiday season.
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