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Tag Archives: Unmasking the Spectacle

how dare you? how fvckin DARE you?

i: now first of all I accept entirely that RamsayRageTM is TV SHTICK first, and core belief possibly never. Unreliable Grapevine insists that he is (n person and off camera) much more affable and helpful and likeable person, who merely turns on the spittle-flecked beetroot-faced swearage for required ratings and drama (and since here I am watching and responding, why would he not?)
ii: but second, I find it interests me greatly WHERE and WHEN and HOW he chooses to be seen as enraged…
iii: this interest was lit up a week or so back by the ep of KITCHEN NIGHTMARES USA set at a place called Park’s Edge, run by two chaps called Richard (amiable, ineffective, front-of-house) and Jorge (bolshy, defensive, head chef straight out of culinary school). GR operatically “lost it” twice, once at Jorge, and once at a lowly tattooed frycook called Matt. The second confrontation was really odd — actually inexplicable within the standard (and simple) KNUSA narrative trajectory (and no attempt was made to step outside this narrative) Read the rest of this entry »

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what we don’t see is what we don’t get

had an interesting twitter discussion afer the MC final on thurs, with BDGTtT commenter @zone_styx, about the issue of all the hidden elements in masterchef:

zs: curious about the timeframes with Masterchef generally – competitors sometimes seem to improve by magic mastering super technical skills they haven’t been exposed to; dramatically more complex palettes out of nowhere do they get intensive research/brainstorming periods? help from series researchers?

self: working as sou-chef under the “mentors” = intensive research/techniquestorming surely? the winners are v fast at picking stuff, and the palate doesn’t come out of “nowhere”; the confidence under pressure is the real (showmanship) element. These three [eg the winners] all every evidently had better latent palate and skills from early on; just unfocused and (in koj’s case) anxious

zs: it’s prob just the compression of editing & missed a lot of this series, BUT am often surprised at disparity btwn hopeless task performances etc, then sudden rabbit-out-of-hat elimination dishes. would have to go back and find you examples really — maybe the schedule leaves them time to ‘woodshed’ in american phrase in between eps.

self: one of the things i find interesting is that you VERY rarely get a shot of anyone working from notes, yet clearly they can’t all be working purely from memory and improvisation.

zs: yes! one shot of *very* long itemized to do list tonight: several A4 pages! (Andrew’s).

self: aki tweeted that one big difference between what we see and the actual kitchen is NO MUSIC: it’s very quiet. my guess is also that in the “task” sections, they actually get a lot more coaching and advice, from professionals, than we see. now it’s over may actually quiz some of the contestants on twitter about such production details for the food-on-telly blog

in the interests of dialectic i am perhaps repping somewhat over-strongly here for the programme’s “integrity” as a genuine competition, but i entirely agree that the intensity of the demands of watchable (hour-long) drama over 12 weeks leaves a lot of mysteries, when you step back and think about it. Obviously you can’t go from untried amateur to in-reach-of-a-michelin-star in half a day: so how long does it take to shoot? How much off-camera time do they have? People reading is dull TV: it’s only fair to let people practice (which to start with means fail) off-camera. But is there a lot of talking — teaching basically — that we don’t get to see?

 

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