Scott Kara: Game of reality is TV's focus

My Kitchen Rules judges Manu Feildel and Pete Evans. Photo / Supplied
My Kitchen Rules judges Manu Feildel and Pete Evans. Photo / Supplied

At a time when television is flooded with top-quality shows like Game of Thrones, Top of the Lake, and the soon to return Mad Men, why is Aussie amateur cooking show My Kitchen Rules a ratings phenomenon? And, even more worryingly, why do I find myself fretting and swearing along with the wannabe cooks as they whip up outrageously ambitious dishes to serve the judges and their often callous and critical fellow competitors?

Don't get me wrong, I still watch Game of Thrones, and have Top of The Lake recorded, but MKR has become the week's appointment viewing.

Even though I admit it is essentially mindless and formulaic reality TV, nothing beats MKR for action and drama. And as this sort of show goes, it doesn't get much better, and the ratings reflect that with more than half a million Kiwis on average tuning in every episode. That beats - in some cases quite easily - any of the rival shows it is up against in the 7.30pm time slot. It was the main reason TV3 decided to move The Blue Rose to a later time in February, following the impact MKR had on Monday night ratings when it premiered.

It really is nerve-wracking stuff to watch, with MKR's makers managing to take you along for the ride with clever editing and great pace. But more than that, the cast of characters range from loud, proud and hilarious Italian housewives Angela and Melina to kooky and neurotic "domestic goddesses" Jenna and Joanna.

The casting is so good you can't help but think the bitchy and quite awful pair of Ashlee and Sophia - whose catch phrases include "sick" and "babes" - are planted in the series to provoke hatred and rile the other contestants.

Even my other current TV favourite, Game of Thrones, is no competition for MKR, especially following its lacklustre series premiere on Monday. But fear not, pilgrims, I'm sure it will get better.

The thing is, watching GoT is different from the rollercoaster of MKR. Because the former is more about sitting in your armchair and wringing your hands as another devious plot plays out or someone sounds off, like that mean prat Tywin Lannister, who lambasted his son Tyrion for being a dwarf and killing his mother during childbirth. I swore at the TV following that nasty tirade because I have a soft spot for wee Tyrion.

But though they are very different shows, much to my surprise during Monday night's opening GoT episode there was a magical meeting of medieval fantasy and cooking show reality. One of the dragons dived into the sea, caught a fish, and then frizzle-fried it whole before devouring it. Now that's action.

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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