It’s a no-brainer that T.V. has changed over the years, and even so since I was younger. My favorites have always been the comedies like “3rd Rock from the Sun,” “Everybody Loves Raymond” and more recently, “The Office.”
It seems that these laugh-out-loud shows have been taken over by a new breed in recent years. By now, I’m sure we are all familiar with reality T.V. shows. After all, they seem to have taken over primetime T.V.
I remember getting my first taste of reality T.V. on American Idol when it began when I was just in middle school. Since then, there have been countless others. I question the actual reality of them, yet sometimes I find myself fascinated and on the edge of my seat wondering what will happen next. And that is exactly what the producers want!
The most common trend I’ve noticed in a lot of these reality T.V. shows are the three-judge panel critiquing someone doing something. It seems that “American Idol” started the trend, and everyone is trying to follow in their footsteps to get some of the money and success.
We have “America’s Got Talent,” where three judges watch people performing various acts to show off their talent. If the judges like what they see, the contestants move onto the next round, and if not, they get buzzed offstage.
Then there’s “Last Comic Standing” where comedians perform, and again, are critiqued by three judges. America votes and contestants are sent home every week.
Don’t forget “Dancing with the Stars,” where contestants perform dance routines in front of, you guessed it, three judges.
The most recent one of these reality T.V. three-judge shows is “Master Chef,” featuring British chef and T.V. personality Gordon Ramsay. This so called “foul-mouthed cook” can be seen on “Kitchen Nightmares” and “Hell’s Kitchen,” where chefs compete to be head chef at one of Ramsay’s restaurants. That show is currently in its seventh season.
Master Chef, however, could be compared to American Idol. Instead of the contestants singing, however, each contestant appears in front of three judges with a dish they’ve prepared in hopes of moving on to the next round. They have to have passion and the dish has to be delicious. “Master Chef” premiered last week.
All of these shows seem to have so much in common: Three judges (one of whom is usually mean), heartwarming stories about how contestants made it to the show to achieve their dream, and plenty of commercials intended to keep the viewer on the edge of our seat. (Did he make it to the next round or not? I have to know!)
The thing is, as much as I have enjoyed Ramsay’s tirades and the countless other things we have seen on reality shows, I fear that they are becoming too predictable. I guessed correctly multiple times on last week’s “Master Chef” premier that the guy who had worked so hard to get to the show for his wife and child, who cried and told a heartwarming story about cooking being his passion would move onto to the next stage of the competition, and that the girl who made fish and mango tacos would be sent home.
The point is, even though this is supposed to be reality, we may be running out of options to keep viewers watching. I may have been fooled with the dramatic commercial breaks again and again, but only so much time can go by before viewers can predict what happens and switch the channel. And how many more things can people do in front of three judges? We have singing, dancing, various other talents, comedy, and now cooking.
These shows can entertain and try the same ploys to get viewers watching, staying on the air as long as their network allows. It’s not that there’s nothing there to enjoy, it’s just that it might run its course sooner than we think.
I will have reruns of “Raymond,” and my “Office” and “3rd Rock” DVD’s when that happens.