Creating the Perfect Reality Cooking Show
If you’re familiar with my previous work here at The Flack, you know that I’ve spent a lot of time watching/thinking about/recapping Masterchef. I’ve also watched a bit of My Kitchen Rules, for the very scientific purposes of detailed comparison and snarky tweets. So, yeah, I’ve watched some cooking shows recently.*
*Look, I’m not proud. But it is what it is.
All of this leads me to thinking about the “perfect” reality-cooking-competition-show. What would it look like? Who would feature on it? How many episodes would pass before pressure to top the other shows would force the contestants to prepare human flesh?
So, here we are. Let’s take a look at the things that every cooking show needs, and see if we can’t generate the perfect show through some weird alchemy.
1. The Good Host
Now, I don’t mean “Good” in the sense that they are a good chef or have any skills as a television presenter. If anything, the success of The Footy Show (It’s been going for nineteen years! Quick, somebody BLOW UP ALL OF TELEVISION) has proved that actual skill as a TV presenter is a weakness. It makes you seem effete and untrustworthy to the red blooded Aussies out there. Better to have someone who mumbles their way through non-challenging banter. “Hey, he’s just like the rest of us!” the unwashed masses will cry, before shoving another beer into their stupid faces.*
*Not you guys. You guys are awesome.
If you simply must have a Good Host who is intelligent and well-spoken, you have to make sure he remains likeable in other ways; like a hilarious French accent, or an outlandish cravat.
2. The Evil Host
This is where it gets interesting. The presence of the Good Host necessitates the Evil Host – like the Moon must endlessly share the sky with the Sun, or Julia Gillrd with Kevin Rudd.
Even The Footy Show realises this, although they’ve tweaked the “Evil Host/Good Host” dynamic into more of an “Evil Host/Boring Host” sort of thing.
In Masterchef: The Professionals, the Evil Host was Marco Pierre White. White was, of course, endlessly encouraging and supportive, but he held a big knife in the promos and has the piercing gaze of a serial killer, and that was enough.
My Kitchen Rules brings in guest douchebags like Colin Fassnidge to fill the Evil Host role, but it’s not quite the same as having one front and centre. This is why everyone was so happy when the whole “activated almonds” thing revealed that Pete Evans was kind of a wanker (or, revealed that none of us know anything about food. #perspective). Finally, Hilarious French Accent Guy and Pretentious Guy! My Kitchen Rules had reached its full potential!*
*It had finally “activated”, if you will.**
A pretty girl will do.
Or someone with a good sob story.
The lifeblood of the reality TV show, ever since Survivor premiered eighty-three years ago.
Now, most people are relatively normal, and don’t spend all of their time carrying on about how they’re going to crush their opponents. But TV producers have the advantage of being able to script lines and edit creatively, making villains out of whoever they want. See – Rhett from Masterchef: The Professionals, or basically everyone from The Shire.
You can achieve extra Villain points (plus bonus “You are kind of a monstrous human being, TV producer” points) if you make your villains non-white. My Kitchen Rules stumbled upon this with their “spice girls”. Now, this could have just been a coincidence, but then when the Spice Girls were eliminated, MKR followed them right up with conspicuously-Asian bitches Ashlee and Sophia.
Good work, My Kitchen Rules! By which I mean, of course – horrible, horrible work.
5. Contestants With the Ability to Bend the Fabric of Space and Time
It is important that the show can include shots of the judges saying “Ten seconds left!”, then cut to a shot of a contestant who clearly has at least ten minutes worth of tasks yet to complete, yet somehow manages to get it all done.
There is no way to achieve this, other than miraculous super powers.
And there you have it. The perfect reality cooking show would have one judge who is down to earth, hilarious and has some kind of affectation. Cravats are taken, so maybe a top hat, or a parrot who sits atop his/her shoulder and echoes the judgements (somebody write that down! Wait, I already did). It would have another judge who was a serial killer with pretentious, expensive eating habits. It would have among its contestants a pretty girl with a sob story (maybe she was a nerd in high school?), and a total bully of a non-white race (Have to use one that hasn’t already been done. Bitchy Eskimo, maybe?). Also, there’d be miraculous super powers. And food.
I’m going to be a millionaire!