Today's guest post was written by long-time reader Ben Biggs, who kindly offered to fill in for a day while I'm unavailable - though, if I'd known he was going to compliment Jersey Shore so heavily, I might have reconsidered ... just kidding Ben, thanks for helping out! - Chris
My name is Ben, and when I heard that Chris was going away on holiday, I offered to write a guest blog post in his absence. A quick intro about myself: I've been following On the Box for almost two years and I share a lot of the same tastes in shows as Chris, such as Fringe, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones (to name just a few). I also watch plenty that would make poor Chris cringe - Jersey Shore and Geordie Shore, and I've been a Shortland Street fan since 1998.
I am a fan of On the Box and feel that, in being a guest blogger, I have big shoes to fill ... which leads me quite nicely into today's blog about My Kitchen Rules (MKR, to those in the know).
I must admit to being a late viewer of this show. A fair few couples had cooked at their Instant Restaurants before I began viewing, though I did manage to see the potential in-laws combo of Sam and Jillian and the doctor/lawyer pairing of Peter and Gary, who had the shocking three-hour wait between entrée and main course while cooking for the judges and fellow teams. Honestly, six university degrees between them and they still slice beans individually? Really?!
Anyway, from that point on I was hooked and have been following it ever since, though, with working night shifts, a lot of this series is stored on MySky, waiting to be viewed.*
I am impressed with the format, where the bottom three teams from each side of the competition had to go through the Instant Restaurant process a second time to find out who would be eliminated - plenty of pressure, having to cook a three-course meal twice, and trying to better their first efforts.
Clearly, I am not the only person impressed or passionate about this show, with Facebook pages dedicated to the love or hate of particular couples and contestants like Peter and Gary, Thomas and Peter and Gary again.
Thomas and Carla have clearly caused the most controversy with their "strategic" voting to keep themselves safe. They gave a score of 1 out of 10 on purpose to keep Emma and Andrew firmly in bottom place. Could this be classed as cheating, like rigging the round-robin tournament of an Olympic sport to benefit from it? Do you agree with this approach?
Obviously the other teams have a moral conscience, keeping the competition fair and on a level playing field. If I can put my own opinion out there: I would much rather have seen Peter and Gary leave a few weeks ago than those quirky West Australians, Emma and Andrew, the engaged scientists, who used chemistry and Heston Blumenthal-style techniques to cook. Peter and Gary are far too cocky and think themselves better than any other team there, even though there are better teams there!
In terms of big shoes to fill, or any shoes for that matter: is this show screening too soon after the plethora of other cooking shows on TV - Masterchef, Come Dine with Me, and the Gordon Ramsay monopoly of shows?
Or is it filling the shoes by being a combination of these shows - think Masterchef combined with Come Dine with Me (an elimination cooking show mixed with cooking for other people in your own home). MKR is now up to the all-teams-competing-against-each-other stage now, with each night a different challenge and the two lowest teams into a sudden-death cook-off.
Does MKR improve on these two standalone shows by combining them? Does the show work because it draws from everything that has come before ... thus is it actually an unoriginal idea? Or does it put an original spin on other shows and therefore get viewed as something new and refreshing?
This then got me thinking about shows that are flailing, that could be boosted by being combined with a show of similar kind? I'm sure Chris would hate me for saying so, but maybe a Geordie/Jersey Shore combination could work? And on the other side of the coin, what about combining two powerful shows to make a super-show - like Fringe/Supernatural or Justified/Sons of Anarchy?
In the words of Murray Deaker - "your thoughts please"?
(*) Yes, I realise this season has already aired in Australia, and I could quite easily find the winners online, but I am enjoying the suspense of not-knowing.
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