Tuesday, 19 March 2013


While the title of this post may be generic, I guess I could amend it to say 'Why I Dislike Most Reality Shows'. Not sure how true that would be, though, seeing the sort of programming there is of the genre on Indian telly today. I'll tear apart discuss a cookery show here for example.

The show in question is the local version of an Australian cooking show, but that's where any similarity ends. I'm personally a huge fan of the Aussie version - stood in line to have cookbooks signed by the hosts at the risk of losing my iPad/ limbs/ life, that's how much I like/ revere them - but this one, um, NEVER. Here's why:

In the previous seasons, an actor was the host. While I have nothing against the said actor (some of his films have been entertaining), my grouse is against the concept of a non-chef (is that even a word? but you know what I mean...) hosting a food show. Food = Chef. Foodie is welcome, but does not sub for a chef. Acting chops do not sub for lamb chops. Capiche?

So that's been rectified this new season, for what it's worth. There are cooks now. You bringing out the bubbly, hoping I'm gonna wrap up this post? Nu-uh, not gonna happen, so plod on!

What's not changed is the melodrama. If it's a food show, shouldn't the focus be:
a. Food
b. Food
c. Food
d. On helping contestants (winners and non-winners alike) move ahead on their foodie dream path
e. On sounding and looking like a food show

What we have instead is a scary concoction of tears, sob stories and some more tears. And oh, by the way there's some food, off and on. Possibly for relief from all the crying, I dunno. 

The episode I shuddered my way through earlier this week had a contestant from rural India sobbing and gasping his way through a story about how he runs a roadside stall and has borrowed money till the cows come home to make it to the auditions. With a lot of cooing and murmuring from the judges, the man in question is awarded the coveted apron, which he almost collapses receiving. He then proceeds to touch each of the judges' feet. I mean c'mon, is this a family tear-jerker or what? Of course, there's suitable Hindi film music that's playing in the background.

Scenario 2: Ridiculously chirpy (read: sounded senile) lady from one of the metros, who giggled and twirled and chirped her way through her audition. Said something about how she's always on her toes, running behind her kids, spouse and in-laws. Twittered and simpered for additional (barf) effect. Do you think she didn't get the apron? Really? Hah!

Clearly, it's not about the food. It's all about the masala, the tears, the gut-wrenching stories, the poor underdog. WHERE IS THE FOOD??

I could go on... and on. Just that it's sorta sickening to. Besides, thinking about it only replays each ridiculous piece of nothing in my head, and that's unspeakable trauma I really can't bear.

My point is, stick to the  international format. If you can't for whatever (inane) reason(s), don't sully the original by attempting to pass off whatever it is you've come up with. I continue to remain a fan of the Aussie series, and the way that one goes, I don't see myself stopping anytime soon. I'd go back and buy the same books and stand in that same I'm-a-groupie-at-a-rock-concert queue just for that same scrawl across the pages. Rinse repeat.

So if you counter-argue that local flavour works, then fine. But DO NOT call it what you do. Call it the Remixed Version That Has Nothing To Do With The Original, thank you very much.

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