Compared to season 1, My Kitchen Rules season 2 is exploding. MKR dropped onto our screens largely unannounced in 2010 and grew a dedicated following (not least of which was the hungry MasterChef crowd waiting for their second season of that hit show). The appeal of the hosts – no least of which Manu Feildel and his broad French/Australian amalgam accent – and the simplicity of the show drew viewers in and recorded respectable results.
In 2011 it’s returned with a vengeance, and a panchant for imitation. The sincerest form of flattery.
While the first season set out to establish the show, offering it’s own great first twist of 6 couples then SURPRISE another 6 couples all competing for the prize, the second season has ditched the big twist and gone straight into the known format. However once the ‘instant restaurants’ were completed (none of it looked instant to me), it’s essentially a cook-off with the remaining 11 teams. First season that was enough. Second season, it’s time to go all MasterChef on themselves.
The outside/location challenges. The challenging cook-offs. While it’s no direct copy, and certainly not a complete one (MKR doesn’t for example, have an insane smiling little Greek chef bouncing around Ramsay-esque on the judges line), the show is lifting elements from it’s more established competitor and sifting/mixing/stirring/baking for 48 minutes on high until complete.
Bottom line, it’s a cooking show. Unless they were going to make the contestants cook in zero gravity or only with elephant dung (Bear Grylls style) there will always be comparisons. The edge that MasterChef has on MKR at the moment is that it did it first, and set a very high bar… one which MKR, though rating very well for Ch7 at this stage, hasn’t reached. The show is doing well but it’s only delivering 3 hours a week (which admittedly is a lot) but it’s not all compelling TV. The competition part between contestants seems a little forced in MKR, and those that talked a big game in round one don’t get to really talk too much else in the later rounds – it’s all heads down, bums up cooking.
A true competition would take place to see MasterChef vs MKR… and we may see it yet with season three casting now underway. But will Ch7 force us to overdose on too much of a good thing? Only one season in 2010 worked well; to drop two seasons in a year would offer direct comparison between the two, and in the world of reality television that’s an extremely harsh reality to face.