It's in Campbell's Live old spot and is surely the cheapest reality show on air right now. But is Come Dine With Me actually a genius move by TV3? Chris Schulz and Lydia Jenkin take the debate ...

Chris Schulz says no:

The food is appalling. One contestant serves baked beans out of a tin. Another burns a tray of hamburger buns. MasterChef, this is not.

The contestants themselves act disgracefully. On Monday night's episode, a real estate agent called Tony arrived for dinner dressed as Hugh Hefner, then referred to female diners as his "bunnies".

Monika's idea of post-dinner entertainment involves pulling tissues out of boxes and sorting candy into different colours. And they think nothing of sneaking through their dinner host's bedroom and joking about the contents of their bedside drawers.

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I didn't want to like Come Dine With Me NZ. I didn't even want to watch it. I've seen overseas versions of the show, and they looked like the cheapest, most hideous reality shows ever made. Which they most undoubtedly are. But I had to check it out.

For work, you see. And here's the thing: I love it. I can't stop watching it.

Come Dine With Me NZ's local version is like Neighbours at War, or anything involving Wayne Anderson, or every time a cop from Police Ten 7 pulls over a smart-ass driver in Hamilton. It's a show that shows off real New Zealanders keeping it really real.

Turns out we're all a bunch of munters who don't mind serving burnt buns and baked beans for dinner while listening to horrifically sexist jokes. We're freaking hilarious.
Don't hate me because my new favourite worst show screens in John Campbell's old spot. It's not my fault. I'm not a programmer at TV3. I'm a Come Dine With Me fan. And I'm proud to say so.

Baked beans are spooned onto noodles in a scene from Come Dine With Me. Photo/TV3
Baked beans are spooned onto noodles in a scene from Come Dine With Me. Photo/TV3

Lydia Jenkin says possibly:

Don't worry, we've had a bit of a whip round, and started a crowdfunding campaign so we can get Chris the help he needs to overcome his addiction to Come Dine With Me NZ. It's a tragedy, but we're working through it.

You see, there are three main reasons why this show gives me the heebie jeebies. Firstly, if I'm going to watch people making food on TV, I want it to be aspirational, not worse than what's going on in my own kitchen.

I want to see Chef's Table or Jiro Dreams Of Sushi, not something that's going to make me feel slightly ill as I tuck into some humble homemade tacos (thanks for the faecal joke Guy Williams). Cold baked beans, burnt buns and chipotle flavoured soup are not food items I want to contemplate when I'm searching for dinner inspiration.

Secondly, it's not Campbell Live. I know it's not trying to be, but there's something deeply depressing about having one of our only decent current affairs shows supplanted by this train wreck.

Where John Campbell would've been keen to address tricky issues like sexism and racism, on Come Dine With Me NZ, you get to witness a bit of casual harassment in someone's living room, and listen to the ladies awkwardly call Tony (aka Hugh Hefner) "a bit cheeky".

Thirdly, I just can't handle that much cringing. Can anyone? It makes my skin crawl, makes me cover my eyes, and put my head in my hands at the shame of what has become "entertainment". Make it stop.

* What do you think of Come Dine With Me? Post your comments below.
- TimeOut