Last week, I sat down and watched a full episode of My Kitchen Rules for the very first time. As much as I hate to admit it, it’s pretty easy to get hooked in.
Do I watch it because I’m inspired by the “home” cooking? Nope. Do I watch it because it shows genuine “reality?” Absolutely not. Rather, I love sitting in front of the telly and picking the show to pieces.
Every year, the show trots out the same cliched characters and stereotypes that have been done to death. The lovebirds, the villains, the couple with big egos, blah blah blah. Watching the contestants’ behaviour and dialogue is cringe-worthy. It comes across so forced and so unnatural. I watch the show and I think to myself, ‘who the hell talks like that!’
I love watching the manufactured drama unfold as the couples prepare meals for the competition in their homes.
I say manufactured, because it’s so obvious that it isn’t real. (And the gif, because I’ve been watching Downton Abbey all weekend). One night, the oven’s burning. The next night, one of the dinner guests is making nasty remarks about the food served up. Another night the team has a meltdown in the kitchen, magically pulls it together before the end of the episode and wins a perfect score. Oh, and did I mention that crying is a prerequisite to be on this show?
I really feel for those poor contestants who are forced to sit at the dinner table for what appears to be a good 10 or 12 hours. In an episode last week, the guests arrived for dinner at what looked like lunchtime, and by the time the final scores were issued, it was dark. I can only assume the crew take their time filming several takes and gathering lots of footage to ensure the most dramatic on-screen effect.
As I was sitting in the lounge room watching last week, I realised that diabetes would be the perfect character for the show. The producers would surely eat it up.
Imagine the back story. I could say that I’ve lived with diabetes for years, and that I was bullied because of it. I’m going on the show to prove that diabetes won’t hold me back. All reality contestants seem to have something to “prove” these days, right?
I could dramatically feign lows in the kitchen. I could stop to check my blood sugar, with the result dramatically revealed after a commercial break. I could have a meltdown over my diabetes right before the guests are about to arrive, and then miraculously pull it all back together in time to serve them dinner.
I could be the contestant with a big diabetes ego. I could criticise all of my competitor’s dishes for not being diabetes friendly. I could whinge about there being no nutritional information or carb counts on the menu. I could test my blood sugar at the dinner table and blame the food for causing my levels to spike.
While My Kitchen Rules is hardly about the actual cooking, there’s no shortage of people who continue to watch it here in Australia. At a time where we are facing issues around sugar consumption, unhealthy diets and obesity, it’s a shame that shows like these aren’t doing more to inspire people to cook simple meals at home.
We will be discussing online and offline diabetes peer support during tonight’s OzDOC chat. Join in Tonight from 8.30pm AEST by following #OzDOC on Twitter.