Masterchef: Jack of All Charades, Master of None
We are in series eight of MasterChef. And like the inevitable coming of the final dawn before a soul-devouring, bile-spitting, pan-frying apocalypse, it is terrifying.
This is the eighth batch of petrified innocents sweating in eerily starched aprons – the uniform of the damned – who are publicly humiliated, having their very dreams and lifeblood spat back into their desperate eyes by “discerning diners”; the eighth time traditional cornerstone European dishes are recklessly reinvented, hideously subverted with a controversial consommé conceived in the last excruciating seconds of the challenge – a frenzied purgatory preceding judgment before a malevolent coalition of lip-smacking overlords.
The eighth moment the very essence of the human condition is flipped like a hot-smoked salmon soufflé omelette in John Torode’s hauntingly recurring premonition “whoever wins, it will change their life”, the twisted grammar a harrowing symbol of the boiling pit of hell-fire (brought to a simmer) that is life after losing MasterChef; the eighth time that fat, bald bloke thinks that the particular “sawce” accompanying a dish is “really yummy”.
MasterChef is a complete melodramatic farce; it is a dish best made to serve any comedy screenwriter seeking to create a parody of a reality TV competition. With an ‘M’ logo unnecessarily being licked by flames, and a soundtrack of tense, low chords, and resounding drum beats counting down to Armageddon accompanying knock-out rounds, and hyper electric guitar solos searing through cooking count-downs, it is just like X Factor, except this lot are literally making a meal of it.
The demonic duo who propagate the nightmarish rhetoric that gives MasterChef such an incongruously threatening tone are John Torode, Australian celebrity chef, and Gregg Wallace, random unqualified bloke who enjoys free pudding. “Cooking doesn’t get tougher than this”, is the latter’s slightly redundant catchphrase. Of course it doesn’t. It doesn’t because it is absolutely and hilariously ludicrous to create such an oddly cut-throat format for a handful of accountants and teachers who are competing to cook a chicken.
Perhaps the longevity of this pointless premise is due to the poor, cowering public’s inability to face the pressing issues of real life. They prefer to get lost in this world of faux-drama instead. The whispered, awestruck voiceover quavers “this raspberry jus may not be enough to cover the amaretto and olive dessert…” covering the crushing sound of the economic bust rattling the viewers’ windows; Torode, with the devil dancing in his eyes, poses the unthinkable question: “does she have the time to get this on a plate?” whilst the international community wonders if a Middle Eastern revolutionary uprising has time to avoid ending up as the bloodied dinner of a manic dictator; the recent mystery case of the deceptive soufflé, which appeared to have fallen, but was later filmed as risen, is a scandal to eclipse the cancerous corruption of our money-sucking political and media elite.
This is a bad psychological thriller, not light entertainment to be filed under the BBC’s ‘Factual’ category. Children might see, and they will be sore afraid. Eventually no one will cook again, as kitchens will be inextricably associated with the soul-destroying agony of overcooking a quail’s egg, and we will be struggling for survival in a dystopian vision of the world, where our mangled bodies are left to digest their own organs in the absence of nourishment. Someone should complain.
Masterchef continues tonight at 9pm on BBC1
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