Tag Archives: entertainment media

MasterChef is a Reality Show


Ben Starr, who was in season 2, reportedly posted a “bitter blog post”  about MasterChef in which he wrote in part “it is highly engineered fiction.” He went on apparently to reveal many secrets of the show such as editing voice overs and other things to keep the show entertaining. And he reveals how the show contract gives producers the right to do anything they want with your image that might be“disparaging, defamatory, embarrassing, or of an otherwise unfavorable nature….” So naturally I went over to Ben Starr’s blog to see the post in question. However it is no longer there and has been removed. Ben Starr though did address what was reported in the media:

The blog post it referenced was a years-old post saying “farewell” to the MasterChef brand.  I no longer want to be associated with the brand, I no longer watch the show, and I don’t really want to think about it any longer.  I am truly grateful for what it brought me…a horde of amazing foodie fans around the world…many dear, dear friends from across the seasons who’ve become as important to me as family…and enough exposure that I’ve been able to not only start a successful business, but do lots of charity work around the country to benefit those in need.  I was nothing but clear that MY OWN EXPERIENCE with the show was excellent, and I wouldn’t have changed anything about it.  The post was not meant to be a condemnation of MasterChef, but to encourage people to treat ALL television as entertainment rather than actual reality, to avoid developing character judgements about reality TV contestants, and to encourage folks to spend their time doing quality things that improve themselves and benefit the world at large.

That hardly sounds like someone bitter about being on Masterchef. His blog reveals someone passionate about life and food and not resentful of Masterchef. His comments are simply warning that if you decide to participate in reality television, that it comes with lots of caveats. It means you will not be in touch with your family, probably moved around a lot within hotels or to different hotels, have tough schedules that make you work late or early. And you give up the right to control your image. They do that to maximize entertainment value. So far that is not unusual for most reality shows. Of course anything that seems to criticize Masterchef and its creator Gordon Ramsay is fair game for gossip news sites and their like minded brethren on television. It made screaming headlines like this at Radar:

‘MasterChef’ Is ‘Fake!’ Former Contestants Speaks Out About Behind-The-Scenes Trickery

You can say the same about Dancing With The Stars. Live audience members have to adhere to a dress code(evening clothes, no jeans or flipflops, hair and makeup done right, good looking shoes, and of course your fingernails had better look good too). The audience is told to be enthusiastic and DWTS t-shirts are incentives to clap your hands. Is that a bad thing? Hardly. They want the audience to be well groomed and enthusiastic. And from the articles I read about people who attend, it is a fun time.

Another funny tidbit he allegedly said was that everyone wore the same thing every day. That reminded me of the old show Adventures of Superman. In that show, they wore the same clothes all the time because they taped the shows one right after the other. But if you watch MasterChef over the years, you notice that is not quite correct. They wear a rotation of clothes. It is possible they did do this in the early seasons (and possibly to make it easier to do voice overs or edits) but they appear to have stopped this. The reason is obvious. Fans are not stupid and have digital recording devices like TIVO™ that record shows. And they do notice things like when on Hells Kitchen they tried to pass off a phony edit as taking place later in the season but playback showed someone who had been tossed off weeks before there! And on MasterChef fans are going to notice if you have contestants wear exactly the same outfits each and every time. Everyone knows for instance that in the early parts of the show with lots of contests, they do not show everyone’s dish being judged in the elimination round and edit out the judges comments to just one to save on time.

In the end it looks like what gossip news likes to do: the drive by. They are like old fashioned gangsters in those big cars with tommy guns sticking out the windows. They aim and fire hoping it will get attention. And then they drive away leaving lots of people angry at what they did. That is how the so-called entertainment press operates for the most part. They take a small sliver of truth and then stretch it as far it will go for the headline. Sometimes it works and sometimes it gets them in court when they actually lie (and are caught red handed). And in this case, it was a drive by that in the end accomplishes nothing except get Ben Starr pretty steamed at how they patched together things he wrote about MasterChef to make it into something it was not.

1. ‘MasterChef’ Is ‘Fake!’ Former Contestants Speaks Out About Behind-The-Scenes Trickery(7 Nov 2014,RadarOnline)
2. Regarding the Daily Post Article(8 Nov 2014, Ben Starr blog)
3.‘Dancing With The Stars’ Audience Experience Dazzling As A Mirror Ball(20 Oct 2011, Washington Times)

The Robin Williams Media

Comedian Robin Williams performs at the USO holiday tour show at Camp Victory, Iraq, Dec 13, 2010.  Photo:United States Army(public domain)
Photo:United States Army(public domain)

When news broke of Robin Williams death, the news media all shifted into high gear to report on his life and death. In the San Francisco Bay Area, it dominated the news on all the broadcast stations. The media quickly told us all about his life and his death. Celebrities weighed on through the new media–Twitter and Facebook–about how saddened they were at his passing. Then we learned he committed suicide and soon details were revealed. It did not matter that the family wanted time to grieve. Nope, they went right out to report on details that were unsettling to say the least. And then the second wave stormed the beaches. We learned of his depression, drugs, and possibly financial problems. Then the third wave came ashore. These are the experts who talked about suicide and depression. People who knew Williams also filled in some blanks in this regard.

Robin Williams was perhaps one of the greatest comedians in recent history. Those of us old enough to remember recall him on Happy Days and latter Mork and Mindy. His improvisational routines were phenomenal and he was a good actor to boot in many movies, both comedies and serious roles. Unlike many in the entertainment field, he did not live in New York or Los Angeles but in Tiburon, California. He choose to live away from that world to be closer to his family. Which makes it all that more sad that he chose suicide. His family is no doubt beside themselves trying to figure the reason why. And of course the chatter boxes in the media are doing so as well.

The entertainment media, the same ones who breathlessly report on everything Kim Kardashian does or wears, are doing a high wire act. On one hand, they want to report the real details about Robin Williams but at the same time subtly criticize what he did. They go after anyone who says suicide is a selfish or cowards way out with glee, ripping them up the way Joan Rivers does with her jokes. But they do the same thing by reporting all kinds of negative stuff and that his death was an escape from these problems. Then they wrap it around some expert to explain how depression and suicide are linked to make it sound like they are doing a public service.

Humbug as Scrooge often says in A Christmas Carol. And they will heap more of it in the days and possibly weeks to come. For Zelda Williams, the daughter of Robin Williams, she got a taste of the nastiness that is out there when she tweeted about her fathers death. Then the trolls started posting graphic images of her father and she decided to get off Twitter and other online accounts. These no doubt are people who think themselves cool, as Greg Gutfeld points out, and yet take great glee in ripping to shreds the uncool. To themselves and like-minded friends, they see nothing amiss with posting graphic pictures of Robin Williams as a corpse. And ripping up his daughter in the process. I am sure they chuckle with glee at what they did. When the tables are turned, they are the first to decry the hatred and bullying the other guy is doing to them. And they demand something be done about them but when their own actions are called into question, turn nasty and spiteful upon anyone who is doing it.