MasterChef: WHHHHHHHHHY?! edition

I love MasterChef. This is not a secret. For a fair portion of the year, my favourite time of day is MasterChef time. The glorious combination of cooking and reality appeals to some fundamental part of my identity as a TV viewer. Gosh darn do I love MasterChef.

So I was even more horrified than the average person to see the new promo. Every time someone mentions it on Twitter, my only response is to desperately tweet WHHHHHHHHHY?! at them in caps. I am distraught. I keep beating my head against things. The security and comfort of MasterChef time is crumbling under my feet.

If you’re lucky enough not to have seen said promo yet, you may want to look away now. (Run! Save yourself!)

 

I don’t have to tell you that this is the worst ever. You can see that this is the worst ever because you, dear reader, have eyes. I’m pretty sure even a person without eyes would be able to tell that this is an abomination, which is lucky because a fair chunk of the viewing public probably gouged out their eyes after seeing it.

I can’t even begin to list the things that are wrong with this trailer because literally everything is wrong with it. The only part that isn’t blatantly offensive is when someone throws a pav at Gary. That part is just cringe worthy.

Who the hell gave this the green light? I’d love to know how that meeting went:

TV executive: We need a gimmick. We need fresh, we need exciting, we need wow factor!

Other TV executive: What about a battle of the sexes!

TV executive: I like it! Men verses women! Decide once and for all who’s better in the kitchen!

TV executive: And we can have a housewife! And one of those daddy’s little princess types.

Other TV executive: And some blokey blokes, a sheep farmer and a surfer dude…

TV executive: Genius!

Other TV executive: The ratings will be through the roof!

(This probably actually happened you guys. Please take a moment to appreciate that this probably actually happened.)

This comes at a time when I was already feeling pretty bleak about the Australian television landscape. The TV guide at the moment shows a baffling lack of intelligence. Local content is a wasteland. This time last year it looked like it was on the rise. I kept telling people about how Australia was about to become globally competitive when it came to great TV.  Shows like Rake, Miss Fisher and Offspring had incredible production values. They’re cleverly written and well acted which is exactly why they’ve sold so well internationally. All three of those shows are churning out new seasons, which is great, but there isn’t anything new. Australia should be following their victories with more fresh ideas. Unfortunately they appear to have fired all the TV executives and replaced them with monkeys. This is the only way to explain MasterChef: Feminism Is Dead Edition. Why did no one shut this down long before they made a promo? Why did the promo actually see the light of day? Why is this happening? WHHHHHHHHHHHY?

It doesn’t take a genius to see some of the origins of this shift. My Kitchen Rules has pulled crazy numbers this year while MasterChef: The Professionals didn’t rate at all (a travesty in my opinion, Professionals was good). To be honest every time I catch a glimpse of the audience share that MKR has been getting it makes me want to weep. Its ironic really because MKR sprung up in the wake of MasterChef’s success. It was a copycat show but somehow it has become the formula. The thing is that MKR has the trashy corner of the market cornered. Trashy is not what MasterChef does best. The fact that they seem to be trying to emulate that is just so frustrating.

MasterChef might be a British formula but the show as we know it is an Australian idea. The structure has been so successful that the Brits have adapted the original to suit our format. There’s a reason that it works. I’ve always felt like MasterChef surpasses the realms of reality. On a good day, its much more Nigella than Snog, Marry, Avoid. It has always had something like class. And sure, the judges are cringe worthy but they grow on you. I forgive George’s crassness and Gary’s condescending looks because, at the end of the day, they seem to genuinely care about fostering new talent. And that’s something MasteChef really does. Contestants have a much, much higher success rate in the real world than your average reality show dropout. Julie Goodwin is still selling books years after she won. Poh’s had several successful shows on the ABC. Far from simply being “those people from that show”, they’ve become personalities in their own right.

One of the things I’ve always liked about MasterChef is the friendliness of it. There’s a remarkably low quota of the snaky bitchiness which is the benchmark of so much reality TV. The contestants aren’t simply boxed into stereotypes by the producers; they have names, not numbers. And sure, there’s a degree of tokenism but that’s inevitable. While it has always been a competition, there was never the negativity this promo conveys. Previous teams have been mixed up on a regular basis – it has never really felt like us-against-them.

Yeah…so basically everything I like about MasterChef is now gone. Surprise!

I just….I just can’t.

The only answer is that the executives don’t like making MasterChef and they’re trying to tank it, Jack Donaghy style. Jerks.

 

2 Comments

  • JessB says:

    Awesomely put – jerks.

    I am also a massive fan of Masterchef, and was a staunch supporter of Masterchef Professionals in the face of an office full of My Kitchen Rules fan. I can’t believe they’ve done this, and now I just wonder how low they will drag this program before the mercy stroke of cancellation.

  • Rachel says:

    I don’t watch cooking shows, let alone reality cooking shows, but I still think my idea of DisasterChef is ridiculously fantastic – same everything, recipes, judges, tasks, but instead, the contestants have minimal kitchen skills, don’t really know how to cook, and don’t really know what they’re doing. At all. IT’S GENIUS WHY HAS NO ONE PICKED THIS UP? I’d either be the first contestant or a loyal viewer. At any rate it would be strides ahead of this battle-of-the-sexes tripe they’ve dished up.
    PS Loved the “Feminism is Dead Edition” cracked me up.

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