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The classic TV game show is back, with a fun-filled 2020 update! Set Decorator Rae Deslich SDSA tells us about it... Pictured: Host Leslie Jones greeting contestants. Photo by Eric McCandless, courtesy ABC ©2020.

SUPERMARKET SWEEP

December 11th, 2020


Set Decorator Rae Deslich SDSA

Production Designer Stuart Frossell

ABC

 
 
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.” 

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Overview of the set. Rae smiles, “Our set was also just so massive, and this shows how much ground we, literally, had to cover!” Photo courtesy ABC ©2020.


“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.”

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“This ‘banana tree’ display 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.” Photo courtesy ABC ©2020.

 
“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.”

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“I loved theming up what ‘bakery-themed dressing’ would mean...” Photo courtesy ABC ©2020.

 
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.”

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“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!” Photo courtesy ABC ©2020.

 
“Every lighting fixture I used on this set had to be 18" wide at minimum AND used in multiple, or else it would be dwarfed by the space.”

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The lights define the different space and echo the chorus of rustic smalls on the deli shelf. Photo courtesy ABC ©2020.

 
“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.”

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Creative whimsy...the milk carton display case and dairy cow! Photo courtesy ABC ©2020.

 
“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!”

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“We love this cow. We bought it, so it's definitely going to be a part of any possible future SUPERMARKET SWEEP seasons!” Photo courtesy ABC ©2020.

 
“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.”
 
Donations!
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.
 
   



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“Apple-apple! 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. Photo courtesy ABC ©2020.

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“On this show we collaborated with so many new departments and so many trade-out vendors, due to the enormity of space we had to fill and how much product and fixtures it required. A grocery supply company provided produce, set dec provided risers and baskets and staging fixtures, and culinary and prop depts staged the produce.” Photo courtesy ABC ©2020.

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“They really loved shooting Leslie in front of this produce island! It had the perfectly segmented and grid-like look that the show wanted for the produce. Premium grocery store touches like orchard baskets and wicker bins gave it variety in texture- and took up a little extra space, so culinary dept could use slightly less fresh product.” Leslie Jones. Photo by Eric McCandless, courtesy ABC ©2020.

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“Our set was just so big; every idea we came up with had to be done times ten because that's how much space we had to cover. Our promo partners were absolutely crucial in providing product for the shelves.” Photo courtesy ABC ©2020.

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“In this photo, you can see the several different color schemes for each department, because each one is large enough to be its own ‘room’.” Photo courtesy ABC ©2020.



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