By George Kozera
Did you know that there’s another “Best in Show” competition that has nothing to do with the Westminster Kennel Club dog show? This one is held annually at the Orange County Fair in California and it is for Best Table Settings. I shuttered with delight!
Truth be told, I can be a tad OCD when I attend a dinner party and see that the tableware, glasses and cutlery are set up all wrong. Whereas I never say anything to the hosts, my inner Emily Post/Martha Stewart is screaming that the blade of the knife should always be facing the plate. SET! follows a number of contestants as they prepare for the competition six months in advance after deciding which theme they will tackle, hoping to win a ribbon for.
Themes vary from “International Travel” to “Light It Up”. The participants are singularly-focused, much to the bemusement or exasperation of their families. One lady was inspired to use previously alive animals (she’s into taxidermy as well), AR-15 rifle bullets and military lunch boxes after this idea came to her while spending time in an isolation tank. Another participant was scared that she was not using the correct soup for her menu item and could not find the glassware she wanted in an antique warehouse that had 8000 varieties in stock. Another micromanaged her father building a trellis that could hold a crystal chandelier while her husband snapped over 800 pictures with his iPhone. A mother and daughter team gave no regards to the thousands of dollars they were spending for supplies, where an unemployed and stone-broke guy got everything he needed at a local Dollar Store with moral support from his mother.
Director Scott Gawlik must be commended for telling this story without prejudice, judgment and invisible eye rolls. Whereas the participants may be considered quirky and eccentric, they were all appealing and I was rooting for each and every one of them.
I loved SET! even if my choice for “Best in Show” only received First Place. See the Movie and we can discuss!