In 2004, 19 year-old Madeline Merced met videographer Eric Wyeth on the set of a teen-oriented show that she was hosting. One short film and two years later, they collaborated to create How-To Girl, a program that explains to its female audience how to do everything that a girl old enough to drive and use an oven would ever need to know. Initially created for television, their pilot wasn’t picked up and instead they began shooting exclusively for the web. Merced and Wyeth’s popularity and ingenuity brought about a second show, “Taste of How-To,” which launched with online network TasteTV in October 2006.
Every weekend, Merced posts a video explaining and demonstrating tasks and trends involving fashion, diet, fitness, cooking, entertaining, and anything else deemed useful to viewers. The tasks are teen-appropriate, family-friendly, and follow a two- to four-episode format delving into a topic (like how to give yourself French tips and make candy). In addition to the site’s blog, the episodic show notes follow up on subjects discussed on the show. For example, show notes for a cooking episode will include a PDF recipe and a video about packing for a road trip will be accompanied by a list of typical items in survival kits. “Taste of How-To” is Merced and Wyeth’s cooking-only show with recipes that take into account a teenager’s lack of experience in the kitchen and a college student’s lack of a kitchen. In the healthy snacks episode, quick and easy foods like edamame (a Japanese soybean that’s just blanched in hot, salty water) and roasted pumpkin seeds are explained. Madeline does a great job of making all her tasks look fun, all while being well-dressed, well-spoken, and well-informed.
The three–part series about car maintenance is downright awesome and geared towards making sure you get the most out of your car. Madeline lectures about jump-starting in an emergency, blowing air into tires so you don’t waste gas, changing a tire, checking the oil, and keeping tabs on all those mysterious gadgets under the hood.