Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Masterchef Australia

I have been working on a Survivor Heroes vs. Villains post for the past hour or so, but it's late and I'm not at all organized or methodical at this time of night, although I do love being up and discussing reality shows at this time, as strange as it may seem.

I love watching British and Australian reality shows, especially Australian shows. So it's probably no surprise that I love Masterchef Australia. I like how over-the-top their shows are, being broadcast daily, which is much the opposite of what goes on here, where shows are so heavily edited down and there's no way a show would ever run 70+ episodes in one season.

So I've been watching the show on a website that posts reality shows and have been lurking around the comments sections looking to engage in discussion about the show, since it's so hard to find people around me that have even heard of Masterchef Australia. I managed to get into a sort of debate with another viewer on editing and judging people on shows based on what is seen on the show. I would like to continue that discussion in a post because it is, and always has been, a fascinating and integral part of reality television.

To sum it all up, here's where I stand. There's a contestant, Joanne, who I believe is way past due for elimination on the show. The eliminations are inconsistent, with some being based on inventing a dish using specific ingredients, some on replicating a dish with or without a recipe, and some on a taste-test. I want to be clear, though, I am not complaining about this. This is how the show is, you get the hand you're dealt. I'm fine with that. I simply think it's about time Joanne leaves and when other viewers make this comment, I sometimes feel the urge to echo the sentiment. I have no problems with the show's setup, the judges, or even with Joanne specifically. It's nothing against her as a person, but to steal a line from Courtney of Survivor, she's like the Susan Lucci of Masterchef. It's kind of ridiculous that she's still around.

Anyway, another viewer commented, clearly upset that so many people were attacking Joanne. I'm thinking this person knows her personally, and is understandably upset that all these negative comments are being made about her. However, I have a big problem with people telling others what to say and what not to say online. To me, in life, in face-to-face conversations, there's so much self-regulation that has to go on to maintain an effective and productive relationships and systems in daily life. When you're online, you should be able to freely state your opinions. I have no problem with people arguing with me, as it creates what I consider to be intellectually-stimulating conversation most of the time.

One thing this person said was that the show is edited, so what we're saying about Joanne could not be true, as we are not able to see everything that happens on the show. I agree that editing creates characters that we tend to like or dislike more than other characters. However, this person then continued to say that the judges and contestants on the show were not complaining about Joanne like we were, which to me, is completely contradictory to the first comment about editing. Who's to say the editors aren't cutting out interviews with other contestants where they rant about Joanne still being around? I'm not saying these interviews exist, but if you're asking us not to judge a person negatively based on editing, who's to say it's only positive footage that's being edited out? Maybe a different cut of the footage would make her seem worse, not better. It's all relative and pretty much unknown how much editing plays on the portrayal of a character on a show. We just have to go off of what we see.

Another online pet peeve is when people try to discredit the validity of someone's opinion based on arbitrary credentials. Comments were made that the judges know food better, and therefore the fact that she is still in proves that she deserves to be there. Then more comments were made that since the show hadn't edited in contestants or judges complaining, clearly they were more qualified than us, so we shouldn't be saying she doesn't deserve to be around. Other than the whole contradictory editing statement I already addressed, it really peeves me when I'm told to not comment on something because I'm not qualified in that specific field. I know I'm not qualified. That's why I'm not there judging. I would be pissed off if someone like me were making decisions on who stays and who goes on a cooking show. However, every viewer is equally qualified to give their opinion on the characters of a show they are watching. That's why they produce these shows. So that we can watch and comment.

So, I would love to get into a conversation with this person, but I don't think it'll be happening. I've given examples of times when she rode coattails or skated by to support my comment on why she should have been eliminated already. What I would love would be if this person responded with examples of when she earned her stay and did something on her own that rivaled the other contestants. I'm sure there are valid claims to be made. This would lead to an interesting conversation. See, this is what I would like to see more of. People these days are too focused on who's right or wrong to appreciate a good argument/discussion. There doesn't need to be a conclusion that everyone agrees on. It's the conversation that's the important part.


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