“Lobster is a food only rich people can eat / You do a lot of work just to get a little piece of meat.” — Snoop Dogg
In its second outing, Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner cuts down to what will be its regular half-hour format. And for as much as I’ve raved about this show — because the world needs to hear Martha Stewart say “sausage party” now more than ever — even I can admit that it loses something in the cut. Though it’s billed as a cooking show, Martha & Snoop really thrives as a late-night show that just so happens to have a lobster tank.
Although some of the banter that made last week’s debut adventure so surprisingly magnetic goes the way of that extra half hour, the second episode of Martha & Snoop maintains the same spirit of oddball charm. What continues to strike me as refreshing, even in its itty-bitty 22 minutes of airtime, is the subversion of a “we’re not so different after all” trope that could be so easily attached to a show about a 75-year-old white woman who became a billionaire via raffia crafts and Cornish game hens and a black rapper who’s been sippin’ on gin and juice for more than two decades.
Instead, Martha & Snoop homes in on just how many things make Martha Stewart, Snoop Dogg, and the randos who hang out at their potluck so different — their backgrounds, their interests, their neckwear, their understanding of lobster innards — and the fact that they still have a good time anyway. And they have a damn good time tonight.
The mission: Martha shows up to the second cooking session in what I assume is the nautical stripe she was born in, while Snoop maintains his own classic style, in a few chains and old-man glasses he makes look cool. This time, the premise isn’t Martha and Snoop competing to see who makes the best dish. They’re merely cooking some lobster.
The guests: Rick Ross brings Martha a gold chain with a full-size cheese grater on it, and model Ashley Graham stays on theme with a toy lobster for Snoop. Perhaps the reason this episode is just a little less zany than the premiere is the lack of full-on comedic presence that is Seth Rogen (and Seth Rogen’s woodpecker laugh), but Rick Ross brings the energy and uses every single ounce coming on to Martha Stewart, the notorious man-eater herself. And ol’ Marty is just sauced enough to entertain the idea.
The recipes: Once again, the only recipe we get is for the booze. The Perfect Martini contains ice, an entire bottle of vodka, and a bit of vermouth combined in a giant martini shaker with a spout. Snoop thinks it looks like the urn they put his Uncle Rodney’s ashes in. I appreciate that they really seem to drink on this show. I think Martha Stewart was actually kind of drunk! Her voice soars when Rick Ross gives her the chain, and after telling him that her former husbands are probably richer than he is (despite his 100-room mansion that he would like to fill with Martha Stewart designs and Martha Stewart herself), she asks Rozay how big his, ahem, boat is. “Which one?” he replies.
As for the food, Martha has brought lobsters from Maine, a place that makes Snoop feel like “a raisin in a bowl of cream of wheat.” Another situation where Snoop feels a little out of place? Plunging his hand into the lobster tank to grab a live one. Snoop insists that they’re fighting back, but they finally wrangle enough to make his Lobster Thermidor, which he calls “Snoop’s Boiled & Broiled Skrilla Godzilla.”
Meanwhile, Martha gets to work on her New England clam bake. “But it’s lobster,” Ashley says. “But it has clams in it,” Martha says with a look that conveys, Don’t test me, sweetie. Do you see these copper pots? I’m the HBIC in this partially functioning VH1 kitchen.
The clam bake involves a large pot filled with onions, garlic, water, and those live lobsters. Martha never likes to cook anything alive without offering it something to drink, so she pours some vodka in there too. In two episodes, I’ve learned this: Martha Stewart pours vodka in everything, and then she kills it. Watch your back, Ashley Graham. Snoop’s Thermidor combines red onions, celery, and lemon pepper courtesy of Rick Ross. After stirring it up a bit, you add brandy and heavy cream to make the sauce that tops the lobster before going in the oven to broil.
Martha feeds Rick Ross a spoonful of cream sauce. I blush and get confused.
And finally, it’s time to eat. Martha asks if Snoop would like to say grace. He would: “Oh, Lord, the No. 1 meal of all gangsters and mobsters / is a bottle of crystal and a fresh-boiled lobster / We’re gonna eat hearty and get full and right / may God bless this food, and the rest of our lives.” Martha then shows them how to get the tail meat right there at the dinner table: You twist off the tail, put the fork under “the crustacean part,” pull, and twist again. Ashley asks if Martha always has to show people how to eat food at her dinner parties, and Martha replies, “Well, no, most of my friends know how to do it.” Ashley, again I say, watch your back. Martha has been to prison and she seems incredibly confident with that lobster paring knife.
But for real, it’s all good times at this dinner party. Martha feeds Rick Ross some more food, they replay it in slow motion, and then everybody plays this week’s party game, show-and-tell. The goal is to get to know each other a little better, so naturally Martha brings a toilet paper stand from her house. She explains that she once had Barbra Streisand over and Babs didn’t like having to reach slightly back for toilet paper in the bathroom, so she sent a fleet of toilet paper stands over. And while that seems random, it really is everything you need to know about Martha Stewart. And Barbra Streisand.
Snoop brings a sculpture of Bruce Lee that Lee’s daughter gave to him when she found out he was a big fan, Ashley brings the bra she wore in the runway show of her own fashion line the night before, and Rick Ross shows off his MOB ring. It stands for “Mama’s Only Boy,” but Snoop thinks it might start standing for “Martha’s Only Boy.” Martha responds, “Dream on,” but Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart currently have a cooking show on VH1, so wilder things have happened, girlfriend.
The night ends in a new living room set where Snoop introduces Martha to the joys of Golden Oreos. I don’t know if it’s just product placement, but I appreciate the specificity. (I would personally recommend the Double Stuf Heads or Tails.) Snoop pulls out one more prized possession — a framed photo of him with Barack Obama at the White House — and both proclaim their love for our president. And a little more love for Oreos: “When I get the munchies, they really, really make me feel like I need to, ya dig?” “Sort of,” Martha replies. And I know she means it.