'Masterchef' 2013 Season Review: Is Gordon Ramsay's show too predictable?

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Masterchef continues to be on a roll for the Fox Network, which not only recently renewed the series, but also negotiated a new contract with Chef Gordon Ramsay. The controversial chef is known for his cantankerous attitude and frequent shouts and rants at cooks on various shows like Hell's Kitchen. In Masterchef, he is slightly more amenable which is probably why it is the only one of his shows I can stomach, so to speak.

View attachment 2406 Last night, the showed aired another two-hour entry as is the custom. In truth, they are two one-hour programs aired back to back. There is really no attempt to make it into a seamless single presentation. The shows are clearly prepped for future syndication. As such, viewers saw both Top 18 Compete and Top 17 Compete.

In reviewing the program, it often is not so much the contestants as it is the famous chefs doing the judging that need to be mentioned. Still, there are always participants fans like to see do well, like Luca, who had failed in previous attempts to make the Masterchef top 20. He did this year and in fact, in the second hour won the Mystery Box challenge and received the advantage for the elimination round.

The three judges, however, often end up overshadowing the cooks. Ramsay has a large personality, matched well by the ego of fellow judge, Joe Bastianich. He likes to growl and stare at cooks as if they were privates and he was their drill sergeant. Sometimes, he just stares and walks away. The moderate judge is Graham Elliot, who can be both tough and kind. He is somewhat a combination of Ramsay and Bastianich, without the loud voice and demeaning stare.

One thing that really bugs me about this show is the incredible amount of repeating. As predictable as Ryan Seacrest is on American Idol when he starts to announce who is saved and then says we'll find out "right after this," Masterchef does the same thing, over and over and over again. When the commercial ends, viewers get a replay of the last minute of action with the big reveal at the end. It's tiring, it's boring; and it's a game. I hate it.

The nice thing about the show is that the judges can change their minds. They do influence one another. They give second chances, if convinced. While a judge may be sure that a contestant will never get anywhere, as the show goes on, they admit their surprise and their errors when proven wrong. Last year's winner is one example. Christine Ha, who is blind, had a lot of convincing to do before she won the big prize.

Still, with the aid of a DVR and remote control for fast forwarding, Masterchef is an entertaining and educational show because the viewer can learn from the cooking they see. There is plenty of soap opera to it as well, with villains and heroes aplenty to make for drama.

Indeed, contestant Jordan in the Top 18 Compete show was a team captain from the losing team in that hour. He had a chance to save three from the pressure test round in which one would be outed from the show. He chose himself as one of the trio. This made him a villain for many.

In the next hour, Luca used one of his winning benefits to take Jordan's mixer away from him in a baking challenge. Luca cited Jordan's action in saving himself as the reason for the decision. Ultimately, not only was Jordan safe, but Luca was allowed to taste one of the man's finished cupcakes and actually stated Jordan should be safe, that the treats were "delicious." The judges agreed and it was another cook, Malcolm, who went home. It all just proves that the show is full of reality cooking drama.
 

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