Last week, I wrote about returning and new shows in January, a month that’s become more and more September-like in TV land.
But there was an omission from the list of returning programs: ABC’s food competition/reality show “The Taste,” which returned to the air Sunday. To be honest, the biggest reason to watch this show is co-host/mentor Anthony Bourdain, one of the greatest chef commentators in the foodie world. I love the guy, his acid tongue and his brutal honesty.
And I miss him horribly as a judge in his former gig on “Top Chef.”
“The Taste” is just one in a long and ever-growing line of food competition shows that have started a television revolution. There are a lot – a lot! – of food-fed contests to be found across the airwaves. Viewers are – forgive the obvious – eating them up.
There’s just something fascinating about watching people cook and then others judge their culinary creations. Which, really, is totally ridiculous if you think about it. As viewers, we can’t taste what’s being judged. So what do we care? The whole concept is a bit of a passive take on the typical reality/competition genre. When contestants are vying against one another in one of the myriad vocal competition shows, we can hear and assess along with those on the stage and decide if the judges are correct or are totally daft. Ditto with fashion, home or other design-based competition shows. We can see the creations and know if we think they’re heavenly or hideous.
But with food competitions, all we have is a visual and the word of the judges doing the eating.
Kind of weird, right?
Except the real draw of any competition show on television is the personalities who make it up and the interest level of the challenges that put those personalities through their paces. So we don’t have to taste Carrie’s fish fritter to understand that she was sent home last week from “Top Chef” because she missed the mark on the challenge – to highlight the seafood. But we can be frustrated because she was one of our favorite people to watch on the show. (Mostly because she was really, really sweet).
I was kind of amazed to check the list of food competition shows that I record and watch. It’s long. And it’s going to get longer.
For absolutely no good reason, I’ve never watched “Master Chef” on Fox. But that’s going to change when season five begins in June. “Master Chef” will join the following on my DVR. It’s a wonder there’s room for regular dramas and comedies.