Like any dutiful boyfriend, I spend a fair chunk of time at my girlfriend’s place which hey, is fine.
She also lives with her mother, which is also fine.
The fact her mother pretty much keeps the lifestyle/cooking/whatever-you-want-to-call-it channel on 24/7? Well, if I couldn’t milk it for at least the comedy factor, we wouldn’t be here, would we?
I seldom -if ever- watch television. I have a shitload of DVD’s and Netflix access. For everything else? There’s YouTube or… y’know, other dubious means, but I won’t talk about them here. So to be occularly assaulted by way of the free-to-air lifestyle channel here in Sydney is a bewildering experience…
1) Curtis Stone is Everywhere
For those who don’t live in Australia, or prefer to shop where the salmonella-to-packaged-salad ratio is relatively low, Curtis Stone is a celebrity chef here. Basically Gordon Ramsay without the accent, the swearing, or any reason for me to keep tuning in whatsoever.
Upon witnessing the horrors of Lifestyle TV, I have come to the conclusion that Curtis Stone is like herpes; He’s fucking everywhere and it probably seemed like a good idea at the time.
I have nothing against the guy personally, be it through apathy or Stockholm syndrome from working at Coles when they were first gearing up to have Stone hock their low-low prices. He goes alright, I guess. I don’t know, I don’t even know the guy. But seriously, I counted at least three shows he made an appearance on, as well as all the Coles commercials. Because you know that the only reason you buy premium mince is because a celebrity chef told you to.
2) There is an appalling lack of Gordon Ramsay…
Where Curtis Stone is, my celebrity chef of choice steers clear from and is probably calling a plate of lasagne a cunt or something.
“Surely” I said to myself, “Surely somewhere on this cooking channel Gordon Ramsay swears at something”.
I was wrong. I give it time before Curtis Stone takes over the entire channel and it’s All Curtis! All the time!
Perhaps I should keep a sense of optimism though, because…
3)… But the spirit of Ramsay lives on
For every Hotel Hell, Kitchen Nightmares or Hell’s Kitchen, there’s two “me too!” esque shows that basically, do the same damn thing.
Sure there’s no angry Scottish guy, but they try to find hosts to basically fill Ramsay’s angry, angry shoes.
Hotel Impossible, for example, is hosted by hospitality expert Anthony Melchiorri and the show more or less plays out like Ramsay’s TV shows.
Top Chef Masters? Hell’s Kitchen again, this time with Curtis Stone.
So on, and so on.
Actually, come to think of it…
4) They pretty much repackage any cooking show you can think of, for pretty much anyone
You want Masterchef, but based on food vendors? We got you covered. Masterchef with challenges? We got that. Masterchef with the contestants being mentored by professional chefs? You’d better believe we have that.
Cooking around the world? How about Around the World in 80 Plates?
A professional chef travelling around the world trying cuisines? Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.
A restauranteur travelling around America trying different cuisines? Let’s serve you up a big-ass plate of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
The whole thought process amongst the producers seems to be just done by way of “Cooking Show Mad-Libs”. Insert (A) into situation (B), for result (C), with just enough of a peppering of orginality to keep you glued to the TV while you’re eating your nutritious, microwaved McCain Roast Chicken.
5) Food Safari is still pretty great
I’ve been pretty snotty about this whole unwilling experiment in TV-land, but if there’s one constant? Food Safari still kicks ass. SBS darling Maeve O’Meara is still doing her thing, which is great. You be you, Maeve. I’ll just note down all the amazing places I can get a decent food coma from.
But that’s enough about the food shows… Let’s move onto “reality”, shall we? I have a word count to hit.
6) “Real Housewives of (X)” is more or less my idea of personal hell
Rich people acting the fool is well, Donald Trump’s political campaign platform, apparently. Might work in American politics, but as a TV show?
“Real Housewives” is the tv show Bobcat Goldthwait’s God Bless America warned us about. A bunch of rich women with an inflated sense of self importance fighting over rich people things. It’s basically Jersey Shore with Botox injections instead of GTL and everyone is Snooki.
In the couple of episodes I endured, they were organizing a games night at one of their McMansions. It all went well until kids were mentioned and apparently one of them’s a drug addict and… The rest is a blur, I went to my happy place after that.
The ensuing fallout appeared to go on for several god-damned episodes. Is this how people do things in Beverly Hills? Any shit that happens at my games nights usually are resolved with beer and insults.
And then there was something about a lip enhancement and they’re apparently best buds with the doctor or something? I don’t know. Just stop. T.S. Eliot once said the world will end not with a bang, but a whimper. That whimpering will be me if I ever have to watch housewives (real or otherwise) ever again.
What the hell does “real housewives” mean anyway? What are housewives that aren’t on the show? Nymphs? Spirits? androids? Shub-goddamned-Niggurath?
On the upside, all these shows are basically the same, so that rules out a whooole bunch of shows I will never, ever, care about.
7) People really like “flipping” houses
I refer you to my mention of Mad Libs, because not even the “let’s fix up a shitty house” shows are safe from a good old fashioned palette swap.
The concept of “flipping” houses appears to be as follows: Buy a shithole, spend more money than you or I have ever seen doing it up, and either sell it or sell it in a completely different city.
Yeah, I’m onto you, Flip or Flop and Masters of Flip. Your sneaky may-as-well-just-change-the-title shenanigans didn’t escape my bored gaze. And you’re both just The Block set in ‘Murica.
On a purely technical level, I guess it’s interesting if that’s your thing. But let’s say, what if, you just wanted to watch people buy houses?
8) What the fuck is House Hunters? Seriously?
House Hunters gives you a fly-on-the-wall look at all the trials and tribulations of buying a damn house. That’s it. No drama, no challenges, just people with more money I’ll never see buying some cute little bungalow in Greenwich, Connecticut, or Venice Beach, California, or some other American suburb that you probably need 2 jobs and moonlighting as a stripper to afford to live in.
I don’t get it. Is this an actual show? At least throw Nathan Fillion in there or something so it feels like I’m watching an actual show.
Oh right, they have to pick from three homes. So there’s your sense of “will they?”/”won’t they?” engaging television.
What really gets me is that the apparent requirements that these homeowners-to-be have are so nitpicky and arbitrary. didn’t the housing market basically shit itself pretty much anywhere with a postcode?
“Oh, we need wide open spaces, and a huge master bedroom, near the beach and a dock for our yacht”.
Bitch, please. Go check out the ridiculous housing prices in Sydney at the moment, then talk to me about all your god-damned requirements.
I live in a sharehouse in the ‘burbs, alright? I don’t have the luxury of looking for a Cape Cod-style home with french doors and shit. If it has a working toilet that doesn’t smell like something died in it, then I’m doing pretty well.
At the end of the day…
TV hasn’t been my thing for a while, and it still isn’t. Seeing as this experiment was borne from couch potato-ing it while spending time with my girlfriend, I have no real conclusion here. I don’t know.
You assholes fought for several goddamned episodes? Really?