Reality Bytes!

You know when people get extremely mad about reality TV and how it dumbs down the population and so on and so forth, I'm usually up there quietly nodding along and agreeing with them. But, that's because I have a guilty pleasure - 2 in fact. No I dont watch Elimidate or any of those trashy shows (heh heh, of course the shows I dont watch can be labeled trashy) but I am totally totally hooked on to America's Next Top Model and the Next Food Network Star.

ANTM is one of those shows, I'm not sure why I watch really, maybe it's the host Tyra Banks attitude towards the girls who come on the show - she's motherly, friendly, direct, supportive and critical all at once. And models always have some good drama going on. And I love how they look so ordinary but with digital touch-ups etc the photos always come out looking gorgeous. Heck, they even touch up their bodies, reducing a stomach here, a jaw there. There's hope for me after all ...

The reasons I watch NFNS are completely different. I'm an avid foodie but hate cooking. The Food Network enables me to cook vicariously, in fact most of the times when I do turn on the TV it gets tuned to this channel. So, when NFNS came out, I thought what a great idea it was to enable the hundreds of talented cooks out there to have their own show, when they would never have the opportunity otherwise. I've been following it every season, and unfortunately the idea seems like a total bust. Out of the winners of the past 3 seasons, only one of them has had any longevity on the food channel. But, I dont like watching his show (wasnt supporting him either :( ).

So, I was pretty much about to give up on the show completely when this season they actually had an Indian girl on the show. Now, I've felt for a long time that ethnic food is so under-represented on the Food Network, I'd love to watch all kinds of ethnic cuisines, not just Indian, but Chinese, Thai, Ethiopian etc. which was why I was really rooting for Nipa from the start.

Well, she was eliminated this week. I'm not saying it wasnt the right decision, it looked to me like she was the one to go but I think the decisions and even the competition has been getting a bit unfair. The people who come here are often home cooks, not professional chefs, why waste time judging them on technique and whether they can cook with weird, unknown foods. It's almost like asking Rachel Ray to bake something from scratch in under 30 mins. For the record, if Nipa could make fish with grape jam taste good, she has to have some serious cooking chops - especially when she evidently did not have experience with seafood.

The first few seasons did test people on their camera readiness, cooking, recipes, personalities which is all fair since Food Network does want a likeable host to helm any new series but making them have a POV, or even testing technique, their food knowledge, making them prep their own food and judging them if they cannot seems very arbitrary. All these things can be learned after all. And once they have their own show they would definitely cook their own type of food. Because NFNS insists on a culinary POV, I'm not at all sure I want to watch any of the remaining contestants. I'm not talking about their personalities, it's just that none of them have a unique culinary POV, by unique I mean something that Food Network doesnt already have.

If it just came down to the personalities, I would love to see Lisa win. She's interesting to watch, is very creative and makes a lot of different food. Kelsey this week was especially impressive and if she continues to evolve, she could make for a good competitor. The rest have been falling to pieces in either one competition or the other. This season's screening is evidently faulty when in the first competition itself a stand-up comedian got an attack of nerves everytime she presented to people. So, either FN needs to take a look at their screening process or re-think their challenges to get the best out of the competitors. Because as past history shows the winners of the Next Food Network Star really havnt been all that.


S said...

Hey :)

Heard of the 1st show but not the 2nd one. And somehow am liking the concept of the later.

Out here MTV has come up with all kinds of reality shows like On the Job where amateurs try their hands on their choice of profession n the one who wins gets trained for free under a well known name of that profession.This kind of reality show are of some use.
Then there is something called spiltsvilla, it is hilarious i mean there are some 12 girls vying to woo 2 guys...ah! catty games :)

Keep penning :)


avdi said...

I dislike reality TV too. Only ones I like are the Nat Geo ones where they train a bunch of rookies to climb Mount Everest, or learn to fly a Sukhoi.

Mama - Mia said...

well i have been off cable TV for past 3 years!! so most of the tiems i have no idea whats heppning!

only when i was at maayka during pregnancy did i watch Indian Idol and the works!! but nothing too interesting in any of them!!

cool post as always!



couchpapaya said...

s - the second one was the kind of show i mentioned here, elimidate. am slightly shocked that these shows are on tv there these days ... gaaawwd i've become an aunty :( the food show used to be a lot of fun, the concept was wonderful ....

avdi - first of all, welcome here girl!! and u have so many blogs, which do i link to !!! as for reality tv, yes, yes i agree :P

abha - oh that's the best way to be. i agree, there's nothing interesting abt them, but i often wonder what the addicting factor of all these shows is. maybe it's the vicarious thrill of watching others make idiots of themselves on national tv :)


WhatsInAName said...

Miss Papaya!
Reality show did get me hooked when the first season of Indian Idol happened. But after that it all seems farce or maybe the Indian Channels dont know how to create that drama without sounding fabricated!
Food Network sounds ineteresting. I dont think we have any such ones in Indian Channels, or do we?
Wondering... :)
keep guessing who :P

couchpapaya said...

OMG, WIAN - the bru girl !!! welcome here!!! so this is where all of yall disappeared to - MSland was sure becoming lonely :D

i love the food network, i cld watch it all day. except they've movied to a more reality tv format in the evenings, rather than the cooking shows i loved, so cant watch it anymore :( oooh now i get it, everyone's right, reality tv is really a bane!! and i'm sure all the drama is manufactured too !!


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