I hope what I’m going to say is news to you, because that means you are not watching what I believe is the strangest genre of television programming these days.
Perhaps this genre has an official name, but I call them “cruel competition” programs. In each of these programs, a group of people make or do something and a panel of judges gradually reduces the number of participants by deciding which is the worst. In doing this, the participants have to stand in front of the judges and listen to what is wrong with whatever he did. It is public humiliation.
And what do these people do? It includes the following: design clothing, design interiors of homes, bake cakes, cook complete meals, bake cup cakes and model fashions.
So…you get exciting scenes where a cook is standing nervously in front of a panel of judges who are ripping him to shreds for having produced a pasta sauce with a little too much basil. There are pregnant pauses, close-ups of fear-filled faces and dramatic breaks to commercials.
I have a couple problems with this. First, in the grand scheme of things, who makes the tastiest cup cakes is pretty doesn’t matter. Second, I don’ think ripping people to shreds – sometimes reducing them to tears – is an especially good model for real life. Oh, there are those who say it is the ultimate of “real world.” But it doesn’t have to be.
For me, these programs are mean and boring. We have to do better.
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