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February 6, 2011 / Siobhan Argent

I Hate TV – Masterchef Australia (season 1)


Published 2009 by Farrago

It’s not that I hate TV. It has served as a diversion during periods of supposed study, and served as a useful tool, particularly ignoring my mother and teaching me some new recipes. There are, however, some shows I hate, and Masterchef Australia is one of them.

If you’ve ever seen its British counterpart on pay-TV, you’d know why. The British version is, unsurprisingly, all about the food; four contestants are thrown into a kitchen, given various ingredients and asked to create what they can. The results can be astounding, amusing, daring, interesting and, sometimes, clearly wrong – but this show demonstrates the magic of food and the inevitable failure that can accompany it. And the judges are just that – judges. They are not Simon Cowell’s twin brother (the constantly-scowling Matt Preston) and they do not have a nasty temper or develop meaningless sympathies with the chefs à la Marcia Hines. All they do is taste the food and give an honest, balanced opinion. The Brits are best at doing these simple, relatively decent shows because they’re not completely overcome by American television standards.

Australia cannot be considered so lucky. Masterchef Australia is a beast compared to the British beauty – the Australian version is loud, shameless and totally over-the-top, which more or less describes staple American television shows. In Masterchef Australia, you could almost be forgiven for wondering where the American accents have gone. Chefs are not pitted against the challenges of cooking, they are instead pitted against each other in a Survivor-esque attempt to ramp up some fake tension and make the chefs start bitching about each other. Ridiculous challenges for cooking are set, in which everyone is asked to create exactly the same thing and no originality whatsoever is required. In a warped environment of a cheap restaurant kitchen, they are told to cook, fast, and then get berated for their efforts.

This is where Australian Masterchef really gets to me: the judges are predictable because the format has been seen in every reality TV show from Australian Idol to The Biggest Loser. The familiar good cop/bad cop pattern is seeping into every judging panel on Australian reality television. Frankly, this just makes the judges more or less pointless – why would you consider a judge’s comments valid if you knew he was put on the show to be tough, negative and rude?

Spare us another Simon Cowell, Australian Masterchef. Spare us the bitching and the in-fighting and the tasteless attempts to heighten tension with one-for-all cooking exercises. Surely if you wanted some action, letting amateur chefs loose in their own professional kitchen would achieve this. At least British Masterchef has already figured that out.

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2 Comments

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  1. Judit Victor / May 28 2014 6:46 PM

    I wish they would just show us for once that they DO wash their hands. That Matt guy who is also now trying his thing in the kitchen, just looks dirty in there. I totally hate the psycho babble – WHY SHOULD YOU STAY in MC? Why should we keep you – all while the food is rapidly becoming diseased before them. Oh ygghh. This show begs for the FF button.

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