Reality shows have been the butt of so many jokes for years, and I will admit I am in fault with doing that. But how can you not when the genre has consisted of obviously scripted trite like "The Bachelor" and "Jersey Shore?" However, within the past few months, I've oddly grown an attachment towards one subgenre. Ironically, it's a topic I have little to no interest in, but it's something I've gotten fond of either way, and that's cooking shows, from the competition shows to the Ramsay shows to the Fieri shows.
What's strange is many of the shows have the tropes found in most reality shows that I can't stand. There's obnoxious music playing every second, boorish, over the top hosts, cliched sob stories, and a repetitive formula that rarely, if ever, changes. When you watch one episode of "Kitchen Nightmares," you've basically seen them all, and it. But oddly enough, much of the programs found on the Food Network and FOX still entertain me. They're not high art, but they get the job done in killing time and giving some brief entertainment.
I'll admit it was hard for me to figure out why I've become more engaged in these types of shows, but I feel like I can chalk it up to a few specific factors. One of them being the obvious fact there's tasty food every episode. Whether it's Chopped or The Chew, each program promises tasty-looking food, so having some delicious eye candy in the background for a few minutes is great, especially if you're a college student trying to get some papers done and needs something pleasant to look at.
There's also the different hosts. From well-known personalities like Bobby Flay and Anthony Bourdain to living memes like Gordon Ramsay and Guy Fieri, most of these shows feature a charismatic lead who exudes personality and memorability. Honestly, half of the reason why I watch "Kitchen Nightmares" is because I like seeing Gordon Ramsay yell at stupid people. Without such a great personality, much of these cooking shows would just be generic food making.
Not to mention, ironically, there's a strong sense of homogeny in most shows. True, Masterchef and Cutthroat Kitchen aren't exact copies of one another, but most cooking shows have a specific formula. Either it's some TV personality making a cuisine or a bunch of amateurs fighting to compete for the judges' approval, but in spite of some different aesthetics, many of them blend together, and seeing as how the concept is a fun one that gives plenty of good possibilities for every episode, it still gives enough of a variety that it doesn't become stale.
In short, my interest in cooking shows seems to have come as a nice, enjoyable and quiet little pastime inbetween the stress of classes and exams, and I'm glad I found a good alternative from the hustle and bustle of college life.