Not since Dan Aykroyd dressed up as Julia Child on “Saturday Night Live” and “cut the dickens” out of his finger has anyone had as much fun mocking the ultra-sincere cooking and crafting shows of television. Yes, I’m talking about the new, 10-episode TruTV series “At Home With Amy Sedaris” (10:30 p.m. Tuesdays).
The sister of best-selling author David, Amy portrayed 46-year-old high school freshman Jerri Blank on the hysterically vulgar Comedy Central series “Strangers With Candy” (sample Jerri Blankism: “If you’re gonna reach for a star, reach for the lowest one you can”). And she’s written books on entertaining, like “Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People.”
Each episode of her show has a theme, like making fish for guests or cooking dinner for one. Sounding like Martha Stewart high on cheap wine, Sedaris cheerfully shares unique household hints. For example: The little sheets of paper stuck to slices of cheese are “a great way to get off makeup.” And the mercury content of red snapper makes it “perfect for poisoning a loved one.”
Beneath the surface of any well-oiled DIY show there is the potential for a million things to go wrong — only they never do. But Sedaris can’t seem to keep everything under control. She says she’s so good at preparing spanakopita that she can do it blindfolded. On goes the blindfold. In an instant, shards of broken glass are everywhere.
This is not a show for the squeamish. Fingers are sliced, a head is decapitated by a rotating fan. Strange guests drop by, like the neighborhood knife sharpener. He says he got interested in knives because “I watched my father slash my mother to death so now my feelings about sex are all jumbled up with thoughts of violence.”
With her perky demeanor and a slightly demented glint in her eye, Sedaris manages to be upbeat as well as offbeat. She seems to genuinely enjoy her little projects, no matter how ridiculous. She’s so proud of her “edible potato ships” with a slice of cheese on a skewer for the mast. They look adorkable! I can’t wait to make a flotilla for Thanksgiving dinner.
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