MasterChef Cooks Its Results

The following, in a different form, was used as a rant on John Richard’s excellent The Outland Institute radio show. In case you missed it, which you shouldn’t have because it’s an excellent show, as I previously stated.

This week’s television controversy surrounds MasterChef. We’ve been sold a bill of goods. We’ve invited into our homes a Poh-faced liar.

From the very beginning Poh has been shown favouritism by the judges. How many other people had the opportunity to go home after failing the audition and return to cook another dish?*

Poh not only failed once, but twice. Poh was eliminated from the competition and then, with no reason given, allowed to return along with some other, seemingly randomly selected contestants. No one else in the MasterChef competition has been given as easy a ride as Poh and that is outrageously unfair.

It’s true that Julie also received some leeway with the rules of individual challenges. Out of the last three challenges in this week’s finalist series, Julie failed to finish her dish all three times: twice serving raw food and once just failing to plate up all the elements of her dish in the allotted time.

Many times in the last 18 hours people have told me via twitter and sometimes even to my face that Julie only ended in the final two because they want to publish her cookbook.

The night before, after Justine lost, Matt Moran went to her house and offered her a job. We all felt wonderful because it worked out well for Justine.

Couldn’t the same thing have happened to Julie? If Julie had lost the competition last night but her pitch for a cookbook so overwhelmed Donna Hay that she offered her a publishing deal on the spot, we would feel joy and heart-warming tingles because Julie was well on her way to success.

There was no sensational coda for Chris last night.

And so it comes down to the internal logic of the show. Like any good story the characters need to live by the rules of the story’s universe. Despite the real-person/contest nature of the show, it’s still telling a story. In last night’s episode the rules were laid out in the beginning: make a dish that would look good on the cover of a cookbook.

When it came down to judging, though, the aesthetics of the dish were largely irrelevant. Suddenly it came down to the flavour. The judges said that Chris’s dish didn’t taste good.

Somewhere along the lines they changed the rules without telling the contestants or, more importantly, the audience.

A good TV show has turned into a farce.

* In a moment of subtextual racism the judges sent Poh home to gather the ingredients to create a Malaysian dish. The implication that she was unable to create modern Australian cuisine because of her ethnicity should have been seen as a slap in the face with regard to her skill as a cook. Instead the judges somehow made it seem like they were encouraging her. Would they expect a Cajun to only make craw-fish gumbo? Would a Jew only be rewarded by making gefilte fish and matzo ball soup?

It’s unfair to everybody that she was given a second chance AND told what to make. It’s unfair to her that they did not judge her ability on the merits of her first dish. It’s unfair to an entire race of people that we should expect them to only be good at cooking one type of cuisine.

40 Comments

  1. blindman2k says:

    I think all TV shows are entertainment first and contest second. If nothing else they have cause a discussion which further promotes the show – there is no such thing as bad news. Get over it, move in.

    The show was pretty crap anyway, btw.

  2. This is really nothing new in the reality world though… We saw the same thing with the racist in the last season of Big Brother but in that case she took out the ultimate prize.

    Reality TV is all engineered and edited to tell the story that they want rather than actually doing the setup and then seeing what happens, anyway. I suspect that's why I find it all so dull.

  3. I disagree that it was a 'pretty crap' show.

    I thought that it was pretty interesting, I really liked that they did the masterclass and taught the contestants more, and how they could have handled previous challenges, which was pretty good. It has always been the one thing I really hate about the fattest loser, they just showed a reality tv show, never really taught the viewer how they could lose weight as well…..

    That said, yep, lost all of the good mojo it had going when Julie got through with that puddle as an excuse for a pie….. then she goes on to actually win…..

    Great post Josh.

  4. nathalieboxcutter says:

    What really piss me off about MC is the focus on Sydney. The three judges are from Melbourne, a good part of the chefs invited are from Melbourne and, let's face it, we have a stronger reputation for our food then Sydney.
    The only plus for the city is the shots of the harbor… Gosh! Like we didn't see those before. Furthermore, we never knew about what happened to the competitors from Melbourne, except for Aron (and who cares, really…). Why not a great Melbourne chef ringing Julia's or Chris' doorbell, like Moran with Justine (that was a scary moment: him wanting to MENTORING her – just me being twisted or was another subtext present there?)
    I have enjoyed the show particularly the masterclasses but hope that next year it will move from Sydney and therefore explore what the rest of the country has to offer.

  5. Personally, I don't see how whether it's in Sydney or Melbourne makes any difference. There were chefs from Sydney, there were chefs from Melbourne… If the production's based in Sydney, then that's where it's going to be shot. And logically it will have a Sydney focus. I never watch anything thinking about where people come from. I live in Melbourne but I couldn't care less whether contestants or chefs or judges are from Melbourne or Sydney or Broken Hill. I don't understand how the city they're from makes any difference to anything. (But then, I've never understood Melbourne's parochial defensive, especially in regard to Sydney.)

  6. defensiveNESS…

  7. (I'm also freaked out that my facebook profile appears in the comments. Didn't want that. Didn't realise I was signed in and didn't know it was going to happen. Stupid internet. Wish the comments came with instructions. Or a delete button.)

  8. Personally, I don't see how whether it's in Sydney or Melbourne makes any difference. There were chefs from Sydney, there were chefs from Melbourne… If the production's based in Sydney, then that's where it's going to be shot. And logically it will have a Sydney focus. I never watch anything thinking about where people come from. I live in Melbourne but I couldn't care less whether contestants or chefs or judges are from Melbourne or Sydney or Broken Hill. I don't understand how the city they're from makes any difference to anything. (But then, I've never understood Melbourne's parochial defensive, especially in regard to Sydney.)

  9. defensiveNESS…

  10. (I'm also freaked out that my facebook profile appears in the comments. Didn't want that. Didn't realise I was signed in and didn't know it was going to happen. Stupid internet. Wish the comments came with instructions. Or a delete button.)

  11. masterchef is lovely says:

    hello i love masterchef because master chef is lovely. plus i also had the opportunity to say master chef

  12. masterchef is lovely says:

    hey its me again, and i just wanted to add that the lovliness of masterchef overpowers som ething so once again id like to say hi

  13. masterchef is lovely says:

    helloo i just want to add that hello mk?

  14. masterchef is lovely says:

    by the way can u plz like my comments plz

  15. masterchef is lovely says:

    hey do u know that cockoraoaches are edible and they should use them in masterchef

  16. masterchef is lovely says:

    someone reply and like me plz

  17. masterchef is lovely says:

    i mean ive posted more comments then any1 else so like it plz plz plz

  18. masterchef is lovely says:

    hey if your wondering, then u shud keep wondering because its wonderful to wonder ok

  19. masterchef is lovely says:

    zain is full of it

  20. masterchef is lovely says:

    zain is a ******* in my class by the way. oh yea and hi

  21. masterchef is lovely says:

    if u hate zain then like me plz

  22. i love u masterchef is lovely ur so awesome man

  23. masterchef is lovely says:

    hey guys im bak,and i was just wonderin if any1 even comes to this website after theyve posted a message?

  24. masterchef is lovely says:

  25. And that makes us very happy.

  26. masterchef is lovely says:

  27. masterchef is lovely says:

    thanks josh kenal
    🙂

  28. masterchef is lovely says:

    lol i wonder if any1 likle even uses this web to talk about masterchef lol, hey guess what, i just made you read up to here and look how much ive written in this message already. well if ur readin then keep readin, k. haha if phsyced u all into readin this much of the message. haha u just cant resist but to keep on readin aye. lol lol

  29. masterchef is lovely says:

    tanzeel is a nerd, lol

  30. masterchef is lovely says:

    tanzeel ur such a nerd and u cant do anythin to stop me from writin this u umpalumpa

  31. masterchef is lovely says:

    go make some chocolate to be used in the masterchef kitchen u umpalumpa

  32. masterchef is lovely says:

    tanzeel u smell like an eel

  33. masterchef is lovely says:

    hey i love masterchef because thats my name fool lol

  34. masterchef is lovely says:

    dw its ok tanzeel

  35. masterchef is lovely says:

    im bored can josh kinal write 2 me again plz bro

  36. masterchef is lovely says:

    i like matt preston because he has a wonderful taste of very exotic dishes which are produced and manufactured in masterchef kitchen as a result of productivity and inhabiatable delights, which are also a contribute to the neverending wonderful iphones

  37. ok so i like balls especially chocolate balls because they are really gigantically nice and uh…. yeah ……. and aaa….. why not…… so you can suck my savoury ass…… it make me a….. really crappy..

    so go now to eat….
    so go now to eat….
    i say 2 time cus it replay con….

  38. anime hamachi k bro says:

    i like masterchef baecause it is so gay. i mean, sriously, there are 3 men judges. not one female. ok so… go now to sin… yes… sin!!!

    i mean seriously i eat fat asses for brekky dos your momma eat your momma every day? NO! now you can go now to bling… matt prestomn is ass. i mean seriously i like to sin…. you like sing??? no! i mean seriously you like to like seriousness because it is not a very big apple i like pineapples… i mean seriously i like balls, do you like i like to sing??? no! now fuk uw mamamamamama

  39. masterchef is lovely says:

    aaa a a aaa a aa take ur shirt off and so on

  40. masterchef is lovely says:

    say somthing josh kinal

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