The classic TV game show SUPERMARKET SWEEP is back! In a new “fresh” iteration, with set decoration by Rae Deslich SDSA and production design by Stuart Frossell, the series is hosted and executive produced by comedienne/actress Leslie Jones.
The fast-paced and energetic timed-contest follows three teams of two as they battle it out using their grocery shopping skills and knowledge of merchandise to win cash prizes, urged on by Jones, who claims to have been the original series biggest fan. The original format premiered on ABC in 1965 and went on to become a global sensation.
Inside the Set with Set Decorator Rae Deslich SDSA video, Part 1
Inside the Set with Set Decorator Rae Deslich SDSA video, Part 2
Now, in the midst of a global pandemic which has caused surreal shopping experiences, the supermarket show has been touted as a welcome diversion.
Of course, one of the hallmarks of the new set, which took up an entire airplane hanger, is to skew “real”. Rae notes, “Our set had to be so durable to deal with the gameplay and the enthusiastic contestants. Even before the Big Sweep happens, people would jump around, wave their arms, run into things, grab things, etc. We knew everything had to be as real and as solid as possible for their safety.”
“We had a great time searching out all of the little everyday things that make a grocery store feel real—produce scales, bag dispensers, twist ties, standing signs, and more!”
“The art department concepted so many cute, whimsical displays because we needed the grocery store itself to have a lot of fun built into it. The apple-apple was built by our set construction company, Goodnight & Co, who did such great work for us.
The banana “tree” took a bit of engineering, especially being built into the banana riser below it. My crew lead Mark White did a great job making this quirky idea happen.”
“I loved theming up what ‘bakery-themed dressing’ would mean, starting with, of course wheat, but then also terracotta, salt and flour sacks, baskets, herbs, some oil, enameled pots and galvanized steel. This dressing started out small, but grew to take over extra shelves and empty spots so that culinary didn't have to fill every square foot with fresh bread.”
All of the produce, meat, standard grocery products...as in fresh bread...are indeed the real thing, including the flowers in the floral display corner and the coffee, grinders and makers in the newly added Coffee Bar section, giving a contemporary twist to the set.
“I thought the floral section would be mostly faux flowers, but we ended up getting so many promo fresh flowers that it was actually mostly real! We used Hollywood Branded, who rep Passion Roses, a brand of South American roses. They provided several deliveries throughout shooting. This area was supposed to be "dead" to gameplay, but the section ended up being laid out so nicely that during shooting they invented a "bonus item" that involved the roses. That's where the pull quote of Episode 1, ‘Gimme the roses, Richard!’ came from.”
“The deli shelf is also a little island of pure set decoration where I didn't have to worry about gameplay or contestants or product, and just gather together a chorus of rustic smalls that evoked an old-world deli. I even had the rack shelves custom-painted the perfect aged brass color.”
“The milk carton is piece of whimsy from our PD Stuart Frossell. One of many, you may have noticed! We really had to mix up our displays; when you have so many of them, it can't just be gondolas upon gondolas upon wall units. This breaks up the uniformity of the grocery shelves with a 50's-style memetic architecture-esque design. Also, custom painted schoolhouse lamps in the meat section, with text decals applied to look like hand-painted antique fixtures!”
“The coffee shop was another section that was all set dec and no gameplay or culinary, because it was supposed to be dead to gameplay as well, but of course they invented a coffee service-based game to go in it, because the set looked so good when we finished!”
“They also chose to film a lot of the commercial bumpers and handoffs with Leslie entering through the door to the left, because the coffee bar makes such a vivid backdrop.”
“Because of our insanely accelerated production schedule, we worked at least one weekend, and some of the dressing was done on a day I couldn't be there. A lot of the coffee bar was roughed in for me by my crew lead and very experienced crew, who used their own eye and design sense to place set dressing. They showed so much initiative and skill on their own, and I'm so proud of them.”
Rae points out in the video above that when they wrapped the season’s shoot, most of the food products were donated to local charities, including Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, Los Angeles Mission, LA Downtown Women’s Shelter; meat: Rancho Wildlife Foundation’s Wildlife Sanctuary; pet food & supplies: The Rescue Train pet adoption.