Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Even Michelle Obama can't get Jimmy Kimmel's daughter to eat her veggies

Michelle Obama, Jane Kimmel, Jimmy Kimmel
Michelle Obama, Jane Kimmel, Jimmy Kimmel
Screenshot: Jimmy Kimmel Live

Former First Lady Michelle Obama isn’t going to brag about the fact that her best-selling memoir is better-selling than her former President husband’s book. Honestly, it’s not even close, so Mrs. Obama could be even more gracious in victory on Tuesday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live than usual, instead spending her airtime ragging on Barack in other ways. Apparently, you don’t get credit for not being a slob when you pay someone to tidy up your presidential clutter, and a fancy producer credit doesn’t mean the former head of state actually gets down in the trenches with the puppets in the couple’s new Netflix kids show, Waffles + Mochi.

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Mrs. Obama told Kimmel that, while she’s front and center every episode helping her puppet pals (one a hungry rice cake treat, the other a don’t-think-about-it waffle-yeti hybrid) learn about world cuisine and that weird-looking foods can be delicious, her husband is probably off somewhere writing both production checks and books that sell about one-third as many as hers. (Or hanging out with new pal Bruce Springsteen on a podcast destined to not be as popular as hers.) Obama fended off Kimmel’s continued obsession with the former First Couple’s sex life (Obama smilingly scolded Kimmel’s “very sick” fixation with just how the Obamas spent the night of that Seal Team Six raid) to explain that her GOP-mocked campaign to get kids to eat a damned vegetable every once in a while continues via the most recent content from Obamas’ lucrative Netflix deal. She also assured parents that Waffles + Mochi has something for everyone, touting the oddball comedy bona fides of former Drunk History co-creator Jeremy Konner, and the parade of gamely ravenous guests like Zach Galafianiakis, Salt Fat Acid Heat’s Samin Nosrat, and, in the finale, Lionel Richie, for unrevealed reasons.

Still, cajoling the Netflix viewership of vegetable-averse American youth is one thing, but Mrs. Obama (who plays herself in the series, running a produce-heavy grocery store) found herself up against her greatest challenge yet, in the adorably recalcitrant person of Kimmel’s six-year-old daughter and avowed vegetable-hater, Jane. Give it up to Jane (who is “six-and-a-half,” thank you very much)—the kid’s not going to scarf down some vegetable matter just because the former First Lady tells her to. Obama gave it her all, sharing the sort of “when I was a girl” parables that would have broken even the most iron-willed child at snack time, but Jane just wasn’t having it, as her dad presented her with plates of deceptively colorful and innocent-looking carrots and string beans. “We’re losing her,” Mrs. O admitted finally, as Jane stood her ground, even when dad produced a slice of pizza as enticement. (String bean pizza? C’mon, son.) Luckily for Obama’s rep as vegetable whisperer, Kimmel’s young son Billy wandered into frame and unthinkingly munched down on those carrots while his big sis stared down the former First Lady, her father, and the American viewing public. Go tell it to your puppets, ma’am.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.