“MasterChef” and Remembering Season 5

I’d been a fan of Gordon Ramsey reality TV since “Hell’s Kitchen”… didn’t really get into it until the Season 1 finale, but still… just enjoy anything he’s in.

Also a huge fan of “Masterchef.” Been watching since its inception. I’d seen some Food Network competition shows before that (Iron Chef America, Chopped, The Next Food Network Star).
Gordon Ramsey was all I needed to sign on, but I was also eager to see Joe Bastinach, the guy promoted as being someone even meaner than Gordon.

In a quiet confident sort of way, that is true. Joe can be super intimidating when he means to be in a “you don’t want to see him angry”. Even without the yelling, it makes you take a step away. It’s also kinda cool when he gives it to someone who really deserved it.

The other thing that I enjoy about it: seeing all the food, the different dishes these people put together with what they’re given. It’s thrilling to see them to get it right and equally so when they get it terribly wrong.

In the finales, I’d picked the winner 4 times out of 5. (The time I got it wrong was Season 2. I was super impressed with Adrien and really wanted to see him win).

And like with most reality shows (oddly something that never comes up on American Idol, The Voice, SYTYCD or DWTS), there’s cattiness. There are people you really hate and want to get rid of, something often agreed upon by the other contestants. (I don’t get how people can get through the singing shows without wishing ill on the other people because they want to win… I’m sure I’d be in that position if I was, but I realize that’s the result of my own insecurities about my singing ability).

Season 1 had Christian, who was very self-assured, self-involved and believed he was above everyone else…
Season 3 had Ryan, whose only comrade was Tali who was there way longer than he should have been. He wasn’t quite as arrogant, but he wasn’t in the same skill-level as everyone else.

Then Season 4 had Krissi…
I liked her right away, but as the season dwelled on, whatever love there was was lost on me.
She may be from Philly, but Doylestown was closer to where I lived and also where Bri (my favorite contestant to win, other than Luca who DID go on to win) is from.

Bri was a humble vegetarian who always stayed true to who she was.
I suppose the editing crew on FOX could be blamed for this, but whenever Bri was up for something, Krissi would tear her down in the confessional… That bullying was so hard for me to watch… almost rattled me to the point where I didn’t feel up to watching another season. (The next time we returned to the Masterchef kitchen was for the JUNIOR addition, so amazing that all the negative was gone in an instant).

I believe people have right to be arrogant if they have the skills to back them up. But whether that’s true or not, I don’t believe it’s right to tear someone down because they have different ideals than you…. certainly not if that’s the only thing you have to say on camera.

Now onto this season… I thought I went crazy when Luca won Season 4 because I’d wanted him to succeed since he auditioned for season 3 (thrilled then when Christine win, overcoming all the food challenges with such expertise and poise… amazing in itself, you’d think the enhancement of the rest of her senses gave her an unfair advantage- opposed to her blindness being a disadvantage because it really wasn’t)…

I was super thrilled and still thrilled that Courtney won this year.
Before I knew anything about her, when she stepped into the Masterchef kitchen, I called her as the next winner. Finding out she was an Italian from Philly made me support her even more.

I really got into Twitter this season, following the #masterchef feed to see what people were thinking about this and that. The commentary was good fun and most of the time, I agreed that certain people weren’t going fair, shouldn’t go far and so on.
Then there was the negativity.

The one contestant I really didn’t like this season was Cutter, but mainly because his food was sub-par so many weeks in a row he just didn’t feel like he was as deserving to be there. :shrug: at least he wasn’t super arrogant about it.
Leslie had an attitude that was evident as early on as the trailers. But he had the food to back him up that I was actually hoping for him to be in the finale with Courtney.
Ahran got her first bit of screenshot during a mystery box where she was saying how she deserves to be in the top 3 more than Courtney… I’m thinking “the first time we’re hearing from you and you’re going after my favorite contestant”… FOX really does have really horrible editing that deliberately makes us go after them… to her credit, she did put up some well-done dishes and her butting heads with Leslie did eventually cool off and they became friends. Heck, it was an emotional sense and the low point was when she went home in a pressure test with him.

For whatever reason, my sister HATED Elizabeth. Clearly something she said in one of the earlier episodes turned her against her in an instant. I didn’t quite get it myself because she cooked really well.
Her comment about “stabbing kittens if Courtney wins a mystery box” made me take a step back. It didn’t help that the Twitterverse was backing her up.

Courtney had been called “arrogant” and “teacher’s pet” and such… I knew her decision to save herself from a pressure test (the same 3-way-prawn one that sent Ahran [and Victoria] home) would be controversial. I know it was when people did it in Season 4 (Luca called them on it in his confessionals, but I wouldn’t expect anything else. His nationality made a real gentleman about of him).

I can understand why people would attack her if they believed she copped an attitude (I honestly didn’t see it that so say if you will my fandom blinds me to all that)… but it’s so much more than that.
Ironically, the one thing I never held against her is what everyone is still attacking her for.

Now it’s gotten to the point where I’m getting attacked for supporting her.
People have literally made up flaming Twitter accounts to… not even speak ill of her… I’ve gotten notifications from people that included nude photos of her.
I had it happen to me yesterday, a week ago, and it just happened again today.

I’m literally shaking as I type this because I fucking hate it. The bullying, the “slut-shaming”… now they’re attacking people who support her, as if a bunch of old photos are going to scare me off.

Reporting abusive behavior on Twitter was a complicated thing to research and not very clear. I filed one report and the auto-response said nothing would be done unless if it was directly attacking me or I represented the party being attacked.
The only thing I feel like I CAN do at this point is turn a blind eye to it, block the accounts and hopefully these people will get bored and move on.

I’ve grown a pretty thick skin over the past 7 years, fielding negative from Prince’s former fans who claim he doesn’t have it anymore… ignoring all the comments on RDJ that bring up his “addicted” past… I can handle this.

Why there is such a thing as “slut-shaming” and why people hate on strippers like Courtney was on general… I honestly don’t get it. I mean, I realize there’s a stigma, but I’m under the impression that sometimes you don’t have a choice. You gotta pay the bills somehow, right?
I’m not even negative about prostitution :shrug: I am alarmed about how girls are conned into the profession, how they’re abused verbally & psychologically by their handlers, hooked on drugs, and that child trafficking exists in this world is alarming to me.

But I have another reason, probably the biggest contributing factor, I’m taking this position.
I’d been working on a story involving those things for a couple years now.
My characters are Latin dancers at a bar run by one of the powerful mob families in this backwater South American town. And occasionally they do hook up with clients as favors to the mob brothers in charge. [This might sound unrealistic but they do this of their own choice… a) because it earns extra money to help enhance their shows and b) they have excess baggage that it helps them deal with].
And I might be playing into clichés by saying they all come from dark pasts… I know that’s not true in all cases in real life

***

The same day I was looking up all the past Masterchef seasons, reminiscing and so on, I looked up what some of my favorite contestants were up to. Saved a couple of websites.
I also printed out [Season 1 winner] Whitney’s chicken parmesan meatball recipe and Courtney’s gnocci recipe to try out later this week.

I’d thought about getting Luca’s cookbook, but haven’t gotten around to a real book store to look for it (so few of those left), but for Courtney’s, I go through Amazon. Super excited for it. Her food looked so pretty and yummy that I actually got excited to cook more than just the occasional stuffed shells (my signature dish… too long a process to do on any cooking show, sadly).

So yeah, I hope Courtney keeps fighting the good fight and I’ll do my best to buckle in face of the consequences… like I said, it should stop after a while… people get bored and move on from these things eventually

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