October 28, 2001 10:50 AM   Subscribe

Bam! Who didn't see this one coming?
Apparently cooking shows don't make for great comedy.
posted by TiggleTaggleTiger (50 comments total)
That show needed to be kicked up a notch.

Or seven.
posted by dhartung at 11:16 AM on October 28, 2001

Whew! Despite my staunch atheism, this is almost enough to convince me that there is a god. At least, a TV god.

Best new show that me & the missus enjoy is "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" with Vince D'Onofrio. He's amazing in this role -- and the ADA, Courtney Vance, is intensely (but quietly) effective, too. Head & shoulders above "SVU", and more bite than regular "L & O." But Lennie Briscoe is still the proto-NYC TV cop, in my book.
posted by davidmsc at 11:35 AM on October 28, 2001

Wow, I didn't see this coming twenty miles ahead. Nope, not at all. The show is horrible, I sometimes wonder if nbc is indeed using trained monkeys to type up the scripts. The only thing left watching is perhaps Frasier, though with the original writers gone, not even that. The last season pretty much blew.

Fox is improving I guess, Titus and Malcolm in the Middle are fun to watch when on. Family Guy is hopefully gone. There are some other things they have working, something with Pasadena, which looks amazingly horrible. It all balances out.

Not surprisingly, the best tv is on from 9-ish on Nick-at-Nite, who now show Cheers.
posted by tiaka at 11:43 AM on October 28, 2001

Titus and Malcolm in the Middle are fun to watch when on. Family Guy is hopefully gone.

I couldn't disagree more. Titus is the worst kind of "at least my family's not as fucked up as theirs" kind of dreck. Malcom in the Middle is a close second--I literally cringe whenever the Mother opens her mouth. So much screeching! Family Guy is the best animated Fox show since the Simpsons.
posted by jpoulos at 12:04 PM on October 28, 2001

speaking of awful, what is that show about the sports guy? something schwartz? jesus.
posted by moz at 12:06 PM on October 28, 2001

The networks are really up the creek at the moment -- the reality show fad is fizzling out faster thant the dot-com fad, and they didn't spend any money on good sitcoms this season. Any wonder they are so quick to go to wall-to-wall news coverage at the drop of a hat?
posted by briank at 12:18 PM on October 28, 2001

Titus is Ally McBeal for those that grew up in the 80s and still hate their parents.

You know, the type that wear t-shirts with old indian guys on them looking forlorn and standing on a mountain peak with their white wolf.
posted by holloway at 12:53 PM on October 28, 2001

There are at least 4 other people on the Food Network I can think of that deserve sitcoms more than that Emeril guy.
posted by toddshot at 1:11 PM on October 28, 2001

toddshot: Absolutely. The first one that comes to my mind is Alton Brown from Good Eats.

Anyway, I had the fortune to have dinner with Emeril back in the 80's, along with Mrs. Brennan at Commander's Palace (they were customers). Engaging, smart and knows his stuff.

That doesn't make a sitcom. I think everyone here pretty much realized the Vast Suckage Potential that it lived up to.

On another note, even his cooking show on Food TV (Emeril Live) is grating on my nerves. The audience is too noisy, and he makes too many mistakes and rushes too much to get everything in.

I much prefer his half-hour show (Essence of Emeril) - no audience, and it's more polished, as he can take advantage of what Alton Brown said about every cooking show, that they have the ability to fold space and time.

Okay, I'm a food geek. Sue me.
posted by ebarker at 1:46 PM on October 28, 2001

There are at least 4 other people on the Food Network I can think of that deserve sitcoms more than that Emeril guy.

My vote goes to Iron Chef Chinese Chen Kenichi (only half joking :)

I hate to disappoint, but the article said the show is expected to return in December.
posted by electro at 1:49 PM on October 28, 2001

toddshot -- i'd pay-per-view for a jamie oliver sitcom...
posted by palegirl at 1:49 PM on October 28, 2001

Ainsley Harriott is a sitcom, as far as I'm concerned. That man is a laugh riot. I'm still bummed over the cancellation of his syndicated programme.

That said, I don't think it's fair to say that Frasier is the end-all of NBC's offerings. ER has been excellent this season, despite losing Ming Na, certainly it's better than it's been for a good four years. Both of the Law & Order spinoffs, the aforementioned Criminal Intent and the older Special Victims Unit, are going strong, better this season, in fact, than the original -- or so say many L&O diehards. (Offput by the new ADA chick, she's pretty bad.) There are good things to be said for UC: Undercover (mainly Oded Fehr and Jon Seda, but excuse my hormonal diversion) and the Jill Hennessey vehicle, Crossing Jordan.

As for other networks, ABC's got a good thing going with Philly, starring Kim Delaney, Tom Everett Scott & Kyle Secor. If nothing else, it's fun to watch just to see what shocking dialogue will be shared from show to show (thus far, someone has been called an 'asshole' in every single episode, we've also been treated to such gems as "Will you quit looking at my tits, please." Such gritty realism!) I'm still trying to figure out where it's going on the schedule when NYPD Blech comes back.
posted by Dreama at 2:10 PM on October 28, 2001

Apparently cooking shows don't make for great comedy.

They do when Bigfoot is the chef.
posted by rcade at 2:24 PM on October 28, 2001

get rid of that english guy too, while you are at it. what the hell is wrong with his mouth and lips? too loose and sloppy! and his cooking methods suck! even if it is english cooking.

and i love titus by the way

and i own one of those t-shirts with the indian on there!

the two fat ladies rule!!!!!!!!!!! today they visited a welsh male choir. the singing was divine.

loose that iron chef crap too, please. i dream of godzilla breaking through the studio wall, and creating havoc.

posted by billybob at 3:23 PM on October 28, 2001

That Brit cook with the hard lisp and harder accent -- what's that all about? My wife loves that show (but hates to hear him speak). Biggest mystery -- what the hell is "Pukka Tukka?"
posted by davidmsc at 3:25 PM on October 28, 2001

Good call on the 'Good Eats' show, ebarker. I think it's one of the best things on TV right now and I rarely cook. If you tend towards the geekier side of things it's definitely something to check out. He explains the scientific principals behind what he does and that makes the show really interesting.
posted by sdinan at 3:51 PM on October 28, 2001

I meant to post this link for Good Eats. A cool fan site.

One of my odd little fantasies is to host a cooking show. Another one I like, having been a pastry chef, is Sweet Dreams on Food TV. She's not the most energetic host, but it's interesting.

See my earlier comment about being a food geek and litigation.
posted by ebarker at 4:03 PM on October 28, 2001

Television is a wasteland. I've taken to scanning for old time radio shows and getting more entertainment out of that than I am this year's TV season. How is network television even making money any longer? Infomercials would be more entertaining!

CSI Kicks ASS. Everything else is disposable.

Education of Max Bickford: Disappointing. A waste of great talent.
Citizen Baines: Less interesting than watching roadkill decay.
Survivor Africa: The last gasp of reality TV. I would say downhill from here, but...
The Agency: Rename it Mission Plausible. *yawn*
Amazing Race: Almost okay. Almost fun. Almost over.
The Ellen Show: Like watching a planned train wreck.
Wolf Lake: An insult to grey matter. Most scenes are so dark they may as well have not filmed it.

This network should just play Whose Line and Millionaire back to back ad infinitum. They'd have better luck.

Alias: All sound and fury signifying a vaguely interesting Ally McBeal/Trinity Matrix hybrid. Rename Mission Implausible.
Bob Patterson: Reruns of The Bob Newhart Show would be more appealing.
According To Jim: Belushi stoops to new lows, which I didn't think was possible.
Thieves: It Takes A Thief meets Hart To Hart. Totally unnecessary.
Philly: I'd rather have my eyes gouged out.

I loved Lost but I don't think we'll ever see it again which is a shame. Fear Factor is stupid fun. Frasier is passe. SNL is a zombie. The West Wing is occasionally entertaining. Ed is bland beyond words. Weakest Link peaked with the first comedian show. By the time they got to Florence Henderson and Caito Kaelin, it was time for Anne to move back to England.

Law & Order & Spinoffs: Just what we need. Yet more lawyer shows. Just Shoot Me.
Crossing Jordan: Quincy with breasts, and less funny.
Emeril: Overcooked. Too much yeast. Never should have made it to the dining table.
Inside Schwartz: I don't like sports. Haven't even tuned in.
Scrubs: Ooh! A funny ER. How quaint. BAM!
UC Undercover: Mission Gag Me.
Providence: Huh?

I can't believe this network still exists. They bought Buffy, brought her back to life, but they're not really doing much with her. Just letting her pout.

Roswell: Buffy with Aliens. Time to phone home.
Enterprise: Shakespeare with gerbils would be more respectful to the audience. This franchise has tanked.
Girlfriends: Golden Girls for young black urban professionals. DOA.
One On One: Jesus! They're not even trying anymore!

Remember last year with failed shows by Bette Midler and Geena Davis? Oh the glory days. They're not even phoning in their attempts anymore. Pisspoor and lackluster. Call the undertaker. The boob tube is decaying in the corner. Someone kindly show it to the door.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:25 PM on October 28, 2001

Why aren't you guys watching the Gilmore Girls? I really hope they don't cancel it. The only other WB show I have seen this season, Smallville, is marginally 'OK.' And that too, only because of Canadian Kristin Kreuk (Lana). Am I the only one here who even watches anything on The WB? [And of course, The Practice, Good Eats and occasionally JAG; only when there's nothing good on TLC/ Discovery/ History/ TCM/ AMC].

Speaking of FoodTV, I have been on the lookout for the recipes from the Iron Chef. It is just amazing how they make a 4-5 course dinner in 60 minutes. MeFi's lnicole shared this Iron Chef Reverse Engineered Recipes site in the #MeFi chat room. If anyone knows of any other, feel free to share.
posted by tamim at 4:31 PM on October 28, 2001

Time to start betting on the horses...
posted by machaus at 4:38 PM on October 28, 2001

This is what I might be watching on a day to day basis.

Usual Fox stuff. And Showtime has Queer as Folk re-runs. I like Futurama
and the Simpsons. Malcolm in the Middle has gotten old. Same with King of the


Television wasteland. Ally McBeal again,
or CBS's "We Love Ratings Grabber Raymond wedged with crap"


That Seventies Show, of course.


I'm still undecided as to whether I am going to watch Drew Carey or Titus in the
9pm slot. Might switch back and forth. (need 2-tuner tivo) I really like Bob
Patterson, and hope is doesn't get cancelled (as most anything I like, for
example The Critic, does). And Enterprise seems to be off to a good start,
although I would have preferred a sequel to Voyager following that timeline,
rather than jumping back.


NBC's "Must-See TV" still reigns well. I've never liked Survivor, give me
Friends. But of course, Family Guy, one of the greatest shows there is (because
it is edgy and hilarious), is going opposite it. (again, 2-tuner tivo). Will &
Grace is always must-see for me. Just Shoot Me is good, but I could live without
it if need-be. What in the hell were they thinking with "Inside Schwartz"?!?
Cancel, Cancel, Cancel!!!


The Ellen Show seems ok. I've seen better, but it is watchable.


Television wasteland. Has been for years.
Why try?

Note... I will delete a show 10 minutes into it if it shows no promise. I've
done it several times on several shows.

Another note... I've found myself loving repeats of Newsradio and Night Court
which are airing on A&E weekdays. I'm really enjoying that. And half the time,
thats the only thing I watch during the week, tivo-ing everything until the
weekend, when I go through it then.
posted by benjh at 5:25 PM on October 28, 2001

The ultimate show on Food TV has to be The Galloping Gourmet with Graham Kerr. Unfortunately, he's now turned into a health nut but these shows (I'm guessing they're from the 60's and 70's) are excellent and are much funnier than half the sitcoms on TV.
posted by gyc at 6:08 PM on October 28, 2001

Wasn't there supposed to be an American version of Iron Chef in production somewhere in Las Vegas with William Shatner as host ? I would have thought that would have been out by now.
posted by Greggbert at 6:29 PM on October 28, 2001

That Seventies Show, of course.

despite everyone's hatred of ditto posts, i couldn't resist posting just to say, "hell yeah."
posted by lotsofno at 6:36 PM on October 28, 2001

Greggbert: "Iron Chef USA" isn't a series yet -- they made two one-hour specials to see if a series would fly. The first of the specials airs November 16 on UPN.
posted by jjg at 6:59 PM on October 28, 2001

Emeril has a comedy show? Totally didn't even register in my mental line-up. I met Emeril once when he was signing books at the Borders headquarters in Ann Arbor. Seemed like a pretty nice guy. I certainly don't blame him for the failure of his comedy show.

The Weakest Link sure is getting pathetic. I thought the Brady Bunch episode was a cry for help, and then I saw the "Loser episode" with Kato Kaelin, Todd Bridges, Tanya Harding and a bunch of other losers. And tonight, there were a bunch of contestants in Halloween costumes. I kid you not. This show is screaming to be cancelled.
posted by camworld at 7:15 PM on October 28, 2001

wow, y'all watch a lot of tv! i thought i watched a lot of tv, but i've got nothing on you, zach!
posted by palegirl at 7:43 PM on October 28, 2001

Seriously -- does anyone know what "Pukka Tukka" means? It's driving me nuts. Did he just make up some sounds, and title his show accordingly? Or does it mean something very esoteric, above my plane of existence.

palegirl: Watching TV probably emits some sort of heat into the environment -- we're on borderline SUV territory here. Click "off," then put the remote down, and walk away slowly...

(beats hasty retreat, winks at palegirl for her willingness to accept occasional good-humored jibes re:her anti-SUV crudade. And you thought "Randroids" had no sense of humor!)
posted by davidmsc at 8:31 PM on October 28, 2001

Woah. I'm sure this wont clear anything up. From the Amazon description of his book:

"Pukka here means discarding those pre-prepared meals cluttering your fridge in favour of fresh ingredients, supplemented by a "first-aid" supply of staple essentials, including oils, pulses and spices. The resulting "tukka" ranges from spaghettini with baby tomatoes, garlic and basil to a warm salad of chargrilled salmon, courgette and asparagus with a thyme and lemon dressing"
posted by Doug at 8:38 PM on October 28, 2001

This is the best that I can find. It's close to midnight here, maybe people in other time zones can find better explanations:
So begins Jamie Oliver's latest assault on the nation's taste buds and his recipe for putting the "pukka" back into "tukka", with a blend of common sense and imagination. Pukka here means discarding those pre-prepared meals cluttering your fridge in favour of fresh ingredients, supplemented by a "first-aid" supply of staple essentials, including oils, pulses and spices. The resulting "tukka" ranges from spaghettini with baby tomatoes, garlic and basil to a warm salad of chargrilled salmon, courgette and asparagus with a thyme and lemon dressing.
If we do take 'Pukka' to be 'pre-made food' -- which can be inferred from the's footnote for the word's origin: "Hindi pakka, cooked, ripe," -- then along the same path, tukka which can also be derived from Sanskrit, to be of 'sour' (or 'sour nature'). Hindi/Sanskrit tukka is the opposite of pukka, ie. GREEN/SOUR (tukka) vs. RIPE/SWEET (pukka).
posted by tamim at 9:01 PM on October 28, 2001

An Englishman writes: "Tukka" is just a corruption of "tucker" which is just slang for food, the same way that words like grub and nosh are. "Pukka" is generally taken to mean good or more specifically genuine, but almost certainly comes from Hindi. The word "kosher" is used in almost exactly the same way.
posted by pascal at 9:37 PM on October 28, 2001

An Englishman writes: "Tukka" is just a corruption of "tucker" which is just slang for food, the same way that words like grub and nosh are. "Pukka" is generally taken to mean good or more specifically genuine, but almost certainly comes from Hindi. The word "kosher" is used in almost exactly the same way.
posted by pascal at 9:43 PM on October 28, 2001

PS: actually "kosher" is used in almost exactly the same way when referring to just about everything except food. Hopefully mefi won't make me say this twice.
posted by pascal at 9:48 PM on October 28, 2001

I'm very fond of Cooking Live. Sara Moulton taught me how not to bread myself, which is kind of neat, literally.

As for the rest of TV, I kind of like Dark Angel, Buffy, and Farscape. Enterprise is okay (I like the language angle), and the Simpsons. And Cartoon Network has been showing some weirdly entertaining stuff on Adult Swim. Otherwise I just endlessly search for old and/or crappy horror and scifi movies on the pay channels.
posted by kittyloop at 10:50 PM on October 28, 2001

can i just clarify something here? regarding this: winks at palegirl for her willingness to accept occasional good-humored jibes re:her anti-SUV crudade.

i am not now and have never been on an anti-SUV crusade!!!

i'm sorry to go way off topic in this thread, but i posted ONE THREAD almost six months ago and with it earned an undying reputation for being on a damned crusade!

i've had enough! it wasn't militant! i was asking some questions! it garnered 104 responses! i started a discussion! i'm sorry! let it die!

i've been so marked by the episode that i've been reluctant to post anything ever since.

sorry if this wasn't the good-humored willingness you had hoped for.
posted by palegirl at 11:48 PM on October 28, 2001

I watched ten minutes of one episode of Emeril, and it was an exercise in masochism to last that long. The show was obviously built on formulka alone with Emeril nothing but a famous face to name the show after and hopefully attract stupid viewers. I wasn't surprised though; I've been avoiding network TV for years now because most of it is boring, with a few notable exceptions already mentioned above; namely Simpsons and Seventies Show

I used to be a Discovery man, but I'm sick and tired of "extreme" everything. Now they moved all the good stuff to Discovery Science, and I don't have the cash for that one. PBS is occasionally interesting, and of course Food, where Emeril belongs, along with the cood company of Iron Chef. As for shows, Good Eats, of course, and Jeff Corwin on Animal Planet are both great. Ditto on the A&E rerun goodness of Night Court and Newsradio. The Daily Show is fun when I remember to watch it, as is Robot Wars (the Comedy Central version, that atrocity on TNN is horrible). TNG reruns on TNN are always welcome. Mostly I stick to movies, though watching Maverick tonight almost made me cry because when it came out I thought it was fun and good, but now, compared to what's been in the theatres these past few years, it's a god-damned masterpiece. I think we are in need of an entertainment industry revitalization in a big way, the current regime has gotten lazy with formulaic easy money.

But that is getting off topic, er, more off topic. I don't think the large lists of shows necessarily mean that people watch a lot of TV. I've got a pretty good sized list here myself, but in a given week I watch perhaps 30% of what I listed.
posted by Nothing at 12:00 AM on October 29, 2001

including oils, pulses and spices

What the heck are pulses? That sounds disgusting. I may rather keep my pre-fab food.. I'm still eating off the bounty of last month's potluck.

Anyway, TV. Nobody mentioned CSI, it reminds me of the Sherlock Holmes stories I loved as a kid. I also love SpongBob SquarePants. I got hooked through my nephews -- the one about Texas cracked me up!
posted by dness2 at 12:10 AM on October 29, 2001

The Amazing Race on CBS is one of the best reality show ideas in a while. Pairs of people race around the world, encountering foreign languages, culture, and customs. At the end of each show, the last pair to a checkpoint is eliminated. Of course, we've got all sorts of stereotypical couples such as the gay couple, estranged parents, mom and daughter, etc... It's a Jerry Bruckheimer production, but try to overlook it because it is entertaining as hell.
posted by gyc at 1:36 AM on October 29, 2001

(withdraws anti-SUV comment about palegirl, offers apology, hangs head in shame)
posted by davidmsc at 3:47 AM on October 29, 2001

A touch of sanity in a world gone insane. Emeril always struck me as a tad twisted, never approaching food as something good but rather as something to dominate, to subdue, to smother. And those multiple climaxes, taunting the audience to ask him to kick it up a notch or whatever. I do hope, though, that Futurama will keep the 4-armed purple pig alien that seems too close to Emeril to be coincidence :)
posted by holycola at 5:29 AM on October 29, 2001

What the heck are pulses? That sounds disgusting.

(And I wonder why I despair at my girlfriend's predilection for pre-packaged crap from the grocery store? Sheesh. Beans, peas, lentils, if you must know.)

Of course, cookery shows occupy most of prime-time BBC2 right now, alternating with home and garden makeover programmes. And Jamie Oliver has a tongue too large for his head.
posted by holgate at 7:10 AM on October 29, 2001

A few things I think are worth watching that all happen to be on Fox:

The Tick, which premieres soon, and I have high hopes for.

Ripping Friends, a hilarious cartoon from the guys who did Ren & Stimpy. Set your VCR for it - it's usually on Saturday mornings. This week it's on Wed at 3:00pm.

Undeclared, by the guys who did Freaks and Geeks.
posted by O9scar at 7:49 AM on October 29, 2001

Since moving to the Seattle area eight months ago, I haven't watched TV. The glory of high-speed Internet and filesharing software has introduced me to Invader Zim and I revel in its glorious EVIL! Created by Jhonen Vasquez (of indie comics Johnny The Homicidal Maniac and I Feel Sick fame), it lives in, of all places, Nickelodeon. Not sure of the schedule, but this is arguably the funniest, most original (American) cartoon ever made.

Bonus points to those who spot the Simpsons reference in the first episode!
posted by Danelope at 8:57 AM on October 29, 2001

glad someone finally mentioned PBS. I manage to sit at a sort of PBS bermuda triangle, and so I get 3 different PBS broadcasters -- who thankfully, all run different programming on any given night (usually meaning that I have at least 2 to 3 chances to catch a program I want to see.)

i can't really think of a single night that at least one of the channels wouldn't have something interesting on.

plus, one of them has Dr. Who on Sunday nights!
posted by fishfucker at 9:00 AM on October 29, 2001

ZachsMind - I initially thought Scrubs would be awful, myself, but it's the best surprise I've had (TV-wise) in years.

Although the second (or third) episode was a little weak, the other two produced some of the most quotable lines I've seen on network TV ever: "well, you're having a big day there, Susan" ; "do you want to be the big spoon, or the little spoon?"; (to a stuffed dog named Rowdy:) "Rowdy, no!"

After the first episode of Friends in '94(?), I told a friend of mine that "this show is going to be huge." This is the first time I've thought that since.

Anybody else a fan?
posted by Sinner at 9:08 AM on October 29, 2001

Ahh yes, The Tick. First time I saw that commercial, I had to laugh because the cartoon original was on not too long ago. Definitely will be interesting to see how this translates from cartoon to live action.

Personally I think this season's ER has been pretty good and will get even more intriguing as the season goes on. And Iron Chef and Good Eats rock! Although when I come across Emeril I start pining for my mis-spent youth, and reruns of The French Chef.
posted by PeteyStock at 9:50 AM on October 29, 2001

I also agree that The Amazing Race is the best reality TV show on television right now. My twin brotehr and I sent in our auditon tape a few weeks ago for Amazing Race 2, but have not heard from them. How much more stereotypical can you get than a team of twins. Heh.
posted by camworld at 10:12 AM on October 29, 2001

Cowboy Bebop is the best show on TV. Cartoon Network late Sunday nights. Not for that much longer though, they are on episode 18 of 26 and show two every week... Catch it while you can.
posted by TiggleTaggleTiger at 11:34 AM on October 29, 2001

Bam! Back to the kitchen, Emeril! Before I pepper your butt with Essence!
posted by ilsa at 1:18 PM on October 29, 2001

Camworld: "I also agree that The Amazing Race is the best reality TV show on television right now."

Wow Cam. We agree on something? Scary. Not that the statement means a lot considering what ARace is up against. ARace IS the best reality oriented show on TV right now, but there's been a lot of crap.

Murder In Small Town X had such potential. I wish they stuck to the idea of having people trapped in a small town storyline, bleeding the lines between fictional storytelling and real people's reactions. Some would find it corny but that would be part of its appeal. But no. They had to try to make it Survivor-ish with the elimination process. It got bogged down in its own rules, and the clues made no consistent sense to the story.

Manhunt was pathetic. Throwing the kids in a ring with the WWF would have been more inventive.

Big Brother 2 became unwatchable even for me at the end, and I was a diehard fan of the BB concept. Eventually they'll realize that boring people to death while keeping them confined does not cause them to get more real. It just causes them to get - and BE - boring. I still like the concept behind BB, but someone with more guts than CBS needs to be at the helm.

Survivor Africa is disappointing, and considering it may be the last gasp of the reality genre, it's missing the mark. The people are not interesting. I honestly don't care if any of these people win. If I don't care, I won't tune in.

Fear Factor is hopeful. It's fast-paced, silly, and challenges the participants against themselves as it pits them against each other. However it still doesn't hold a candle to Amazing Race.

ARace is almost there. It's main problem is too much going on. The editors must be having migranes trying to scream through all the footage and come up with something vaguely successful to follow. I hope ARace2 solves this problem, but it's just difficult for Television City to come up with a plot when there's no script. In order to save the genre, someone's gonna have to think outside the box. I just hope it's not too little too late.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:12 PM on October 29, 2001

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