I have always loved reality TV. Back in the day when it was just Big Brother, my friend Jane and I would spend each and every Sunday night on her couch eating Thai curry and Cookies & Cream ice cream, watching the eviction episode.
We had our favourite housemates who we’d occasionally spend a couple of bucks voting for and we had our “not so favourites” who we simply just wished would get booted.
Australian Idol followed soon after this. And again, we got right into it. We even went to a live episode! Then, all of a sudden anyone who sneezed got the opportunity to feature in a reality TV show of their own. The Biggest Loser, The Apprentice, Amazing Race, The Block, Project Runway… the list goes on! Reality TV soon opened up to cooking and that’s when I became SERIOUSLY hooked. My firstborn’s breastfeeding routine was literally determined by what time Masterchef was on.
2010, Season 2. I will never forget it.
I get asked quite a bit by my blog readers (as well as people who actually know me, my friends and family), about when I will be auditioning myself. And to be perfectly honest, the answer is a big fat “never.”
At the risk of sounding cocky, it’s not because I don’t think I could do it. I know I could do it, in fact I would LOVE it. I’ve never been one to shy away from a camera and I certainly have never been one to run in the opposite direction of a well stocked pantry and a perfectly equipped kitchen!
So why wouldn’t I do audition? There’s one reason. And one reason only. Social media.
Let me explain. One Sunday, a couple of years back, I was sitting on my deck reading the paper, coffee in hand and sun on my face. I literally remember the exact moment. I sat bolt upright. I could not believe what I was reading.
Two contestants, a married couple with small children, on a popular Aussie reality TV cooking show had been forced to change their surname and move house due to crazies sending them abusive threats via social media.
What the?! Yup. You read it right. Shocking, I know. A group of viewers of the show had that much hate for this couple that they had taken to harassing them online via fan pages and their personal Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Cut to two years later, 2013, and I was on twitter reading through the stream of #MKR tweets. I seriously could not believe my eyes. The racist, sexist, abusive comments in 140 characters or less were just downright petrifying. First I was scared. Scared for the contestants, imagining if I was them how I would have felt. Threatened, watched, hated.
Then I became very angry. How DARE people write such nasty, mean, bitchy things about people they DO NOT KNOW. And then when they anger subsided, I tweeted out myself, asking people why they were attacking certain contestants’ nationalities as opposed to their Chicken Schnitzel.
A few people tweeted me back. Most agreeing with me but some disagreeing. Some people said that by being on the show those people were opening themselves up to be judged.
Simple as that. Others blamed the producers of the shows for casting “characters that are so easy to hate.”
I don’t agree with either of these concepts. I don’t care what editing or “character casting” has been done, people should take responsibility for their own tweets and Facebook messages and not hide behind excuses. If you’re going to throw a nasty comment into the WWW, own it.
Anyway, bottom line is, my skin’s pretty thick, thick enough for someone to tell me they don’t like the look of my lasagna or the taste of my cheesecake. It isn’t, however, as thick as it would need to be for me not to feel hurt by thousands of people tweeting about the size of my nostrils and the pitch of my voice.
If you were on a reality television show, which would it be?
Phoodie’s culinary obsession began when she was 3. A move to London in 2009 was the catalyst she needed to throw caution to the wind and enrol is the world famous Le Cordon Bleu cookery school. Upon her course completion, she worked with some of the UK and Europe’s top chefs assisting them in the classes they ran. Phoodie is a cookbook, restaurant, and supermarket obsessed blogger and Mum of 2. Phoodie blogs here, is on Facebook here and tweets here.