Consider Yourself Invited To IFC’s “Food Party”

If I could pick one thing everyone should have in their lives on a regular basis, near the top would be a bit of surrealism. If I could pick a second, it might as well be puppets. (Note that the two concepts rather complement one another.) Well, just in time for summer, IFC brings both your way in a new Internet transplant of sorts, Food Party, premiering June 9 as part of the IFC Automat.

Created and hosted by upload artist Thu Tran and a group of her art-school buddies, the series follows her adventures in and around her colorful, cardboard kitchen, with anthropomorphic plates, baked goods, vegetables and other bizarre bits of leftover nightmares that just want to sidle up next to her … often with some sort of ulterior motive.

It isn’t quite a cooking show, but Food Party does incorporate enough food into its mise en scene that you might think it’s going to turn into one at any moment. Whether we see Tran on a date with a man made of cabbage, carrots and asparagus, giving birth to a pie with a live kitten inside (I told you this was an exercise in surrealism) or gingerly, hesitantly tasting the guts of her slain puppet children because it’s actually pie filling, food is often the element of the show that takes the action into the far reaches of that place people commonly refer to as “out there.”

Food Party is a perfect example of the power of viral broadcasting. The show itself has the visual appeal of Pee Wee’s Playhouse — though more gloriously lo-fi — and Tran herself, with her own hilarious “I kick @#$%” attitude, comes off nearly as puppety as her pals. It was a cinch that the series would garner a cult following from the start, which it very quickly did. I’m not at all surprised that IFC picked it up, given its D-I-Y appeal and its cartoon-for-grown-ups nature.

Episodes run about 10 minutes or so each, so they’re pretty easily consumed. (It’s an ideal length — 30 minutes would probably tax people’s patience, but at 10 minutes, you feel you’d like a little more … and given the chance, many probably would end up watching more than 30 minutes, anyway.) And frankly, they’re the sort of thing that you’re either going to see it and get it right away — and love — or it’s just going to confuse you beyond explanation.

Food Party debuts with brand-new episodes June 9, but in the meantime, take a look at some of Thu Tran and her pals’ humbler early exploits: