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Freezerburns +1: My First Impressions

Two of my favorite online shows, Freezerburns and the Nostalgia Critic, have recently made their return to the internet.  While the latter, still charismatically portrayed by Doug Walker, remains in tried and true form, the former has undergone some noticeable adjustments.  As you’ve probably guessed, I feel compelled to acknowledge and address them.

For those who are unfamiliar, Freezerburns was a show dedicated to providing frozen food reviews.  These included “Fro-downs,” where similar dishes from various companies were compared, to testing certain meals when deep fried, to personal Top 5 lists, including the best frozen foods for when you’re snowed in.  However, when Greg, the show’s host and creator, took up the “Food Stamp Challenge,” things slowed down and change started to come in a way that fans are definitely reacting to.

The show is turning into a different iteration, called “Freezerburns +1.”  It appears that, for each episode, Greg will be taking a frozen meal and adding one “fresh” ingredient to make it better.  Our first taste (pun intended) has been through the addition of green peppers to a Newman’s Own skillet meal.

First, let’s run through what’s good about Freezerburns +1.  For starters, the production has definitely gone up.  Everything from the captured footage to the editing and instructions is clean and clear-cut.  The idea of adding something different to a meal so it can be improved is certainly interesting and creates a lot of potential.  However, this is also where the fundamental problem with the show’s new direction comes in.

Fans have already commented about how the look and feel of the show is different and (severely) lacking a key factor: Greg.  The man is someone who’s just enjoyable to watch.  He’s fun, oftentimes charismatic, descriptive and leaves an impression of someone who’s informed but also among the common crowd.  An everyday person could watch his videos and see exactly where he was coming from.  It was all the more reason Freezerburns worked and continued to bring in subscribers.

This new format, on the other hand, is incredibly formal and, dare I say, commercial.  Based on what we have so far, it’s less entertainment and more infomercial.  And I want to address the show’s new core issue in the concept of adding one ingredient to a frozen meal.  This isn’t an interesting, eye-catching premise.  Anyone can add a single ingredient.  It doesn’t make for interesting material.  The videos themselves seem like they’re going to be incredibly limited too.  The +1 in the show’s new title suggests that the inclusion of only one ingredient will be used and tested, which is hardly riveting.  I would suggest experimenting and relaying the results of multiple ingredients one at a time in a single video, but that would be time-consuming, not to mention hard on the wallet.

One more reason I can’t see this new format taking off is because really, if you’re going to add ingredients like green peppers (with olive oil, mind you), why don’t you just make the dish yourself?  You’re already taking the necessary steps by doing so with the green peppers in a separate skillet, so there’s little to deter anyone from going all-out.  Many times the reason people buy frozen meals is because they’re convenient and the closest we can get to affordable variants of the “real deal.”  Like many people, I work in retail and only get a half hour break per shift.  I don’t like buying fast food or ordering from nearby eateries since it’s often time-consuming, more expensive, and even worse for me.  Thus, I resort to frozen food meals that are relatively quick and convenient, by comparison.  Am I going to have the time or resources to do something similar to what was depicted in this latest episode?  Not in an everyday breakroom, I won’t.

My concerns for the future of Freezerburns (+1) are quite high.  People got excited to see the show come back because they thought they’d be getting a new and improved version of something they knew, something that worked.  The show functioned fine on its own and, thanks to an ever-changing and expanding supply of frozen food entrees, it meant there was never any concern for new material.  Freezerburns had personality and a unique flavor (again, pun intended), this does not.  This is more makeshift cooking from home than it is actual input on stuff people use and buy.  Sometimes changes can be interesting, but as both fans and Doug Walker himself learned with Demo Reel, “interesting” isn’t synonymous with “good.”

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Blog, Food, Impressions

 

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Shoutout Blog

In lieu of Weekly Stumblings, I’m providing a shoutout for a few blogs and reviewers I follow and recommend.  You may follow a few of these already, others might be new to you.  Either way, this will give you an idea of what keeps me coming back and checking the internet.

The Impulsive Buy: This is probably the most popular of my shoutouts, and with good reason.  This food and drink site has gone as far as releasing many of their reviews in an e-book.  In addition to a plethora of reviews thanks to their wonderfully talented staff, they let followers play their part in the Spotted on Shelves section, which lets us know what items to keep an eye out for on shelves.  Also, if you have your own blog or website, they might give you recognition in their Week in Reviews section, where their reviews and others across the internet are given some attention.  The Impulsive Buy is really an all-encompassing site that the fatty in you should have no trouble falling in love with.

http://www.theimpulsivebuy.com/

Candy Blog: The aptly titled Candy Blog is also very comprehensive, offering what you’d expect from a blog of said name.  They haven’t been posting nearly as much recently, but their archives seem nearly endless, with almost every regular candy item having already received a review or some form of recognition.

http://www.candyblog.net/

On Second Scoop: In many ways, On Second Scoop could be argued as the quintessential ice cream blog, despite missing a few essential flavors or selections.  Nevertheless, the blog has held a good run and continues to update at least twice per week.  Be sure to check these guys out.

http://www.onsecondscoop.com/

The Ice Cream Informant: Of all the shoutouts here, I’d say The Ice Cream Informant is the most overlooked.  This one-person blog updates every other day to almost every day, providing plenty of reviews for eye-catching ice creams while being arguably the most up-to-date ice cream blogger I’ve found.  It’s a shame comments are so scarce for this blog, because it deserves more attention and discussion.  Definitely check this blog out, especially if you’re an ice cream fan (which means ALL OF YOU!).

http://www.theicecreaminformant.com/

Freezerburns: Greg of Freezerburns has been supplying reviews for frozen foods for well over 500 episodes and has gradually grown to have a bit of a presence on YouTube.  Referred to as the “frozen food master,” he’s given his own take on the convenient but generally subpar selections in the freezer aisles.  Additionally, he took part in the Food Stamp Challenge recently, where he survived off $20 of food for five days.  If you haven’t already and want to know where your $2-$5 should go for frozen foods, definitely have a look through his videos.

http://www.freezerburns.com/wordpress/

http://www.youtube.com/user/Freezerburnsdotcom

Mark Kermode: Now we’re moving into film reviewer territory with Mark Kermode, who I just recently came across thanks to YouTube reviewer recommendations.  Mark is the exact definition of a wholesome, professional critic who knows his vocabulary as well as his movies.  His thoughts on movies are less reviews and more impressions and almost thematic observations, which gives him a nice edge compared to his peers.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/markkermode/

Chris Stuckmann: Like other video bloggers on YouTube, Chris has done well to come into his comfort zone, offering a fairly steady stream of movie reviews that always start with a brilliant opening.  Like other film reviewers I’m mentioning here, he usually gets to see early screenings which, combined with the fact he feels less like a critic and more like an everyday person, makes him an ideal go-to reviewer.

http://www.youtube.com/user/ChrisStuckmann

Jeremy Jahns: Jeremy is in a similar boat to Chris with how his reviews have come into their own.  On occasional he’ll provide a videogame review or reporting from a convention, but he’s most often recognized as a film reviewer.  In many ways he’s more composed and maybe professional than Chris but both are terrific sources to tide you over (or make waiting around more grueling) for hotly anticipated movies.

http://www.youtube.com/user/JeremyJahns

Schmoes Know: And finally we have Schmoes Know, who provide probably the most movie reviews of anyone I’ve suggested here.  I’m not as big a fan of them as the above three, but they’re still very entertaining and, similar to Siskel and Ebert (and Roeper), the fact we always have both of them reviewing the same movie means they can play off each other very well.  They’re humorous and an enjoyable duo, so I give them a full recommendation.

http://www.youtube.com/user/schmoesknow

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2012 in Blog, Review

 

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