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Archive for Friday, February 25, 2011

Empty calories loom large on ‘Cupcakes’

February 25, 2011

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If there’s anything more ephemeral and forgettable than a cupcake, it’s the design scheme for a sweet 16 party. Both feature prominently on the second-season premiere of “DC Cupcakes” (9 p.m., TLC), a series that wears its insignificance on its pink sleeve.

For those who missed it the first time around, “Cupcakes” chronicles the frantic pastry business run by sisters Sophie LaMontagne and Katherine Kallinis in Washington’s fashionable Georgetown district. Apparently people no longer even pretend to buy breakfast muffins anymore. They go straight for the sweet stuff on their way to work. The place is so popular that it dispenses upward of 10,000 cupcakes a day.

Aware that even the shallowest viewer might tire of cupcake-construction conversation, “Cupcakes” puts the emphasis on the sisters, their employees and customers. Sophie has a sunny, can-do disposition and uses her chemistry degree to enhance the substance and style of their creations, which in this episode includes a 9-foot glow-in-the-dark guitar covered in frosting and mini-cupcakes. This serves as the centerpiece of a sweet 16 party for twins. In addition to this onslaught of sugar, shortening and flour for a modest party of 150 squealing teens, the twins’ mother suggests that the sisters supply them with pizza-flavored cupcakes as well. Ever the diplomat, Sophie demurs, suggesting that she doesn’t like making “savory” cupcakes. What she’s really saying, without saying, is that a person who orders a pizza from a cupcake shop is a fool. But as long as the check clears, DC Cupcakes will satisfy the customer, no matter how tasteless.

If Sophie is effervescent, her sister, Katherine, is a long, cool glass of decidedly flat tap water. If Sophie wants to experiment with ingredients, Katherine is there to declare her efforts a failure. During a creative session with their resident chef — a hirsute and heavyset guy with the unfortunate role of playing the dude in a henhouse — Katherine treats everything he says with withering condescension. She spends much of the short episode moaning that she was never given a sweet 16 party of her own. She does this within earshot of her mother, a woman she still calls “Mommy.”

• Speaking of food and our nation’s capital, first lady Michelle Obama will extol the virtues of good nutrition and present the “Let’s Move U.S. Healthier Schools Challenge Award” at Cartoon Network’s First-Ever Sports Awards Show (6 p.m., Cartoon Network). Tony Hawk hosts the festivities, honoring the best athletes and most notable sports moments of the past year.

Tonight’s other highlights

• The guys take on a major pharmaceutical firm on “The Defenders” (7 p.m., CBS).

• Kim Cattrall examines her roots on “Who Do You Think You Are” (7 p.m., NBC). She can also be seen on the “Masterpiece Theatre” presentation “Any Human Heart,” concluding Sunday.

• Bad food in the Bay State on “Kitchen Nightmares” (7 p.m., Fox).

• A conspiracy buff’s worst fear comes true on “CSI:NY” (8 p.m., CBS).

• The past revisited on “Fringe” (8 p.m., Fox).

• “Gold Rush: Alaska” (9 p.m., Discovery) looks back at past setbacks and anticipates next season’s action.

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