By Michael Slezak
Updated November 28, 2006 at 09:52 PM EST

Rachael Ray is a loud, perky woman. Occasionally, she’s downright grating. Like when she flogs the themes of each episode of 30 Minute Meals — “THIS IS A MEAL FOR YOUR IN-LAWS!” — as if Beef Tenderloin Bites on a Bed of Arugula could, under no circumstances, be served to, say, cousins or coworkers or college pals visiting from out of town. I’ll also admit I get chills (and not the good kind) every time she follows the abbreviation EVOO by declaring it stands for “Extra Virgin Olive Oil.” (Then why use the abbreviation at all, Rachael? Why?!)

But all that aside, you know what: I kinda like Rachael Ray, in all her dorky, overexpressive glory. And when I read profiles or articles about her (like this one) that mention the Rachael Ray Sucks Community at LiveJournal, I always feel the need to speak out on her behalf. There’s something oddly appealing about watching Rachael sit alone in a diner and say things like, “tasty omelet!” on $40 a Day. And you try making her Not-sagna Pasta Toss in 30 minutes, then tell me the woman isn’t a little bit genius. Come to the dark side PopWatchers, and admit it. You secretly dig Rachael (just a little), too, don’t you?