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Posts from — December 2013

Celebrity Come Dine With Me Australia – Open Post

Celebrity Come Dine With Me Australia kicks off tonight on Lifestyle. Unfortunately I misplaced the preview disc  (sorry Lifestyle) so am unable to recap the first episode. Please discuss the episode here.

I am just about to go on holidays to the USA. Orlando in fact as my partner seems to get sent there each year for a conference. Helloooo Disney. The blog will proceed as normal as possible. The pro’s of having young kids mean I am unable to party and they need to be in bed early…. So no wild nights out in bourbon bars for me.

Thankfully I have the preview discs for Celebrity Come Dine With Me for episodes two and three so will recap those.

I will be out of contact for the next 15 hours flying to LA. Will check in then!

Happy New Year and hope 2014 is a great one for all of you.

December 31, 2013   32 Comments

Reality TV Top 10 Highlights Of 2013

These are my reality TV top 10 most memorable moments of 2013. Obviously people will disagree with some or all, but I am also wanting to know what were your reality TV highlights of 2013. This article was first published in Mediaweek Australia.

  1. Casting of My Kitchen Rules – Channel Seven were more concerned about casting then cooking ability on this season of MKR and it worked judging by the ratings. They created a balance between villains and heroes and cleverly signalled who those baddies were in carefully created promos to hook the viewer in. The show attracted much criticism by portraying the two non-anglo teams as villains with contestant’s Ashlee and Sophia and  Jessie and Biswa receiving a huge social media backlash. Sophia and Ashlee were polarising with their cutting sense of humour and could be compared to Warldorf and Statler from The Muppets.
  2. Networks Backing In Their ShowsHouse Rules the new reality show on SEVEN premiered to poor ratings and chatter it would be dumped to a digital channel. SEVEN showed confidence and stuck with it and it slowly gained a fanbase and on a few nights beat The Block. Expect House Rules to do even better in 2014. Network TEN also had a shaky start with The Bachelor Australia. They to stuck with it and it became the most talked about show and the finale gave TEN one of their highest rating shows of the year. It also reaped big numbers in viewings online.
  3.  The Block Sky High – Lysandra and Alisa, two policewomen from South Australia, showed that an all female team with no tradesperson could win a renovation show. The girls attracted criticism for their take-no-prisoners attitude but they were also doing it tough as they were renovating the worst apartment, as it was on the first floor of a six story sky-rise. The Block producers also showed they handled the death of contestant Bec’s mother sensitively and did not exploit it too much.
  4. Big Brother Australia Was Back To Its Best – The second season of Big Brother on NINE gave the fan one of the best seasons ever. Good casting, a fake marriage, and two romances, one which saw a lesbian turn back to boys. Also mixing it up was when fan favourite Ben was eliminated half way through the season. It was also interesting to see how the housemates were conscience of their storylines and were even trying to manipulate them and the viewer. Eventual winner Tim Dormer was particularly skilled at driving plot lines and appeared to pick a fight with the person he wanted eliminated that week.
  5. Commando and Michelle Bridges romance – Who needed reality TV on our screens when a dramality show was occurring in real life between The Biggest Loser trainers, Commando and Michelle Bridges. It kicked off with news that Commando had left his wife and kids for his work colleague, then he slunk home for a reconciliation. After Michelle put a stream of swimsuit shots of herself on social media the pair reunited fans are eagerly awaiting the next episode in this reality TV romance.
  6. Reality TV Romances – It was the year of reality romances that may actually continue once the cameras stop. The Bachelor’s Tim Robards and Anna Hendricks, the bachelorette he chose appear to be all loved up, as do Drew and Tully from Big Brother. Whether Jade and Ed also from Big Brother will go the distance is unclear however all them will realise the chances of them extending their 15 minutes of fame will increase if they stick together.
  7. Diversity In Casting On Reality TV – One of the highlights of reality TV is the diversity of casting. With the exception of MKR where the non-anglo contestants were shown in a non-favourable light, reality shows led the way in showing the real Australia on screen and we embraced it. Korean Dami Im win The X Factor, Ben who is gay being accepted by the alpha males in Big Brother as well as being the most loved housemate and Duckie and Shonalli making the finale of Australia’s Next Top Model albeit neither of them won.
  8. Lifestyle Channel Making High Quality And High Rating TV – The Australian content on the Lifestyle Channels were some of the highest rating shows on Pay TV. It was well made television which included the Australian version of River Cottage, Embarrassing Bodies Australia, Paddock To Plate, Celebrity Come Dine With Me Australia, Grand Designs, Selling Houses Australia, and Location, Location, Location.
  9. Masterchef Australia Casting and International PopularityMasterchef Australia may have fallen in the ratings in Australia but it is extremely popular overseas. This year it was a very multicultural cast including three Indian contestants in a nod to the popularity of the show in India. Rishi Desai originally from Kolhapur showed he was the complete package. The producers kept on showcasing personal Trainer Dan’s six pack but it was Rishi’s biceps along with his personality and cooking skills that made him the favourite contestant of the season. When he was eliminated there was a social media meltdown which still continues as the show airs throughout the world.

10. The VoiceHad A Strong Second Season – The second season of The Voice was one of the highest rating of the year. This year Harrison Craig won. His crooning voice along with his compelling back story of a debilitating  stutter and a father who deserted the family resonated with a lot of viewers along with him being promoted heavily both on the show and in the mainstream media throughout the series.  The drama continued off camera when Joel Madden was caught with a small amount of cannabis in his hotel room. However it was not him that caused the kerfuffle it was fellow judge Seal who had a meltdown on Twitter about it saying he could not wait to leave Australia. He apologised later but it was all too late and he was not signed for The Voice 2014.

Tell me what were your most memorable moments of 2013 in reality TV?

December 30, 2013   74 Comments

Reality Tidbits – Sunday

Sad news for Yolanda from Australia’s Next Top Model as her father has been found. (Source: Sunday Telegraph)

Sophie Monk’s cyberstalker has been charged and quite frankly he sounds like a nutjob and not sure what took her so long to go to the police. (Source: Sunday Telegraph)

Kylie Minogue needed a special modifications to her chair on The Voice UK as she is so tiny. Expect to see the same thing here when she is on The Voice Australia. (Source: Sunday Telegraph)

The Duck Dynasty patriarch who was removed from the show is now back probably because the right wing in the US have mounted a fierce campaign to have him reinstated. (Source: Herald Sun)

Britney Spears is about to kick off her two year residency in Vegas however all anyone was talking about after the preview were her abs and whether they were fake and also that she might have been lip synching. (Source:

Reality TV scandals of 2013 from the US. Clearly there is nothing about Michelle Bridges and Commando in their list. (Source: Today)

Here is also a list from the UK which is a list of their best reality TV moments. (Source: Radio Times)

A new season of US show Couples Therapy is about to start in America. The cast includes Taylor Armstrong, Jon Gosselin and Farrah Abrahams.

Kourtney Kardashian wants her partner and kid’s father to go into rehab for alcoholism. (Source: Earsucker)

December 29, 2013   2 Comments

The Taste Season One – Episode One What Did You Think?

The long awaited viewing of The Taste kicked off on GEM with a  five minute introduction on how it would work. In brief it would be blind tastings and the judges would base their team selection on taste alone. Also the contestants were both amateur and professional chefs. The professional chefs appear to be ones that are not good enough to be on Top Chef but not bad enough to go on Hell’s Kitchen. 

Anthony Bourdain and Nigella Lawson who are well known here in Australia played up to their stereotypes. Bourdain was the bad arse and Nigella was coquettish with an edge. Brian Malarkey looks like the US version of Bill Grainger and Ludo is a charming french chef who seems to have a competitive thing going with Malarkey.

Like The Voice the judges were always more effusive when a good looking person was revealed.

The first contestant was allegedly a professional chef from Las Vegas, however the only wow factor was  the mass of ingredients which he managed to fit on on small ceramic spoon. It was a pineapple, maitake, ground turkey, sun-dried tomato, mac and cheese stir fry. Needless to say he did not get in. Bourdain said it was geninely revolting. Brian Malarky said it was a rollercoaster to nowhere and Nigella said she did not get it.

What I did not get was why the girls who was serving the food were wearing a very tight and very short dress. It looked like a uniform that you would see at Hooters if it ever went upmarket.

Sarah a food blogger from Florida made seared scallops with a peach habanero salsa. Apparently the scallop was cooked perfectly. Brian Malarkey decided he wanted her on his team as did Ludo Lebreve. Both of them seemed please she was such a looker and they then had to pitch to her why she should be on their team. She chose Ludo.

Kyle a professional chef made Chicken Fried Watermlon with pickeled watermelon rind. They through they had made a terrible mistake but none of them pressed the button. He was pissed off that none of them got his dish.

Khristianne was a personal chef to Charlie Sheen and also to the royal family in Saudi Arabia. She made Seared Scallops with Cream Corn and Corinader Chili Oil. Bourdain thought it tasted like restaurant food however he did not press to have her on his team. He seemed to be taking the cautious approach when choosing his team. Brian Malarkey was not hesitating and took her.

Jeanette  from New Jersey made Jalapeno kugel with mushroom sauce. She was an amateur chef with a back story about their business going bust and they were about to lose their home. However she was not going to win the $100,000 prize as none of the judges picked her as they did not like the twist she had put on traditional jewish food.

Todd who is the hottest chef in Miami  made seared tuna with ginger sweet potato puree. None of them picked him and they told him they had regretted not picking him. Nigella said “he was the one she needs”. Maybe she thought he was hot.

Renata is a home cook who made Chicken and Mashed Potato with cabbage, carrots and sauce. Nigella picked her she told the other judges her grandmother would have made something like that. Ludo told her his grandmother could cook better then that.

Markus was another professional chef with some crazy food combinations first there was a lamb medallion with crab and cranberry ravioli. Of course no one wanted him on the team.

One professional chef had the shits that she did not get through and that a person who had cooked mashed potatoes did.

Mia went to Harvard but is also a Yoga Instructor. I am just going to presume she is also working somewhere else. She made Indian Spiced Lamb. No one wanted her except Bourdain who told her he had wanted more of her dish.

It is not the best cooking competition show on television but it is entertaining enough in the sleepy non-ratings season and does give the viewer an insight into American cooking. NINE have the rights to make an Australian version of the show, however a local version is very unlikely to occur!

What did you think?

The Taste on GEM Sunday nights at 6.30pm.

December 29, 2013   32 Comments

Matt Preston Gives His Grumps List For 2014 But Others Were Grumping About Masterchef

At this time of year there are lists with best of 2013 and trends for 2014 for the record the Pantone Colour of 2014 is Radiant Orchid. In The Australian they had Grumps of 2014 with Matt Preston giving his list.

However it was a tad ironic that a couple of other people who were selected to share their gripes alongside Matt had a bit of a whinge about Masterchef.

Matt Preston who is a judge on the show grumps were:

I don’t want to drink: Caffeine drinks dressed up in the can like they’re trying to join an outlaw motorcycle gang. Overpriced Australian wine. When a bottle of my favourite gin costs less than a bottle of good pinot you’ll find me drinking negronis in protest.

I don’t want to hear: Sommeliers that talk so much about their “amazing wine choice for this dish” that your food goes cold while they are rabbitting on … Honestly, I don’t care about whether it’s from the Left Bank or Right – just pour me something good that enhances the food.

Expensive food that’s all about the concept and the art but totally forgets about tasting delicious. It’s a restaurant, not a gallery, lads!

Those dreadful “gourmet burgers” that aren’t as good as the originals and are all about twee marketing concepts.

Enough with all the ash in fancy restaurants! It was fun when Copenhagen chef Mads Refslund first made his “burning fields” root veg dish five years ago, but now it’s just another ashtray.

Muffins – they are usually nothing more than a dense formation of chaff, and just as appetising.

I don’t want to read: Vindictive and anonymous reviews online. Online reviews should be the vanguard of reviewing. Their value comes from telling us about somewhere good and undiscovered rather than just retreading the same ground of John Lethlean et al.

Over-excited food criticism that oversells a nice new place as the future of dining. Relax guys, the fact it’s a nice new place is enough for me to want to go.

I don’t want to watch: Poorly made, recycled versions of overseas shows that we love. We are Aussies. If we make them, we should make them better.

I don’t want to see: The loss of a man’s right to have his organic farmland uncontaminated by a neighbour’s GM crops. With this in mind, let’s get behind WA farmer Steve Marsh and his coming court battle with Monsanto.

However Bob Hart a food writer and BBQ guru had as one of his gripes as Masterchef:

Don’t want to watch: I have no idea how a program as promising as MasterChef turned itself into a nonsensical parody of itself and an example of the true horrors of “reality” television, but it has clearly done so. And while many of the decisions made in the course of this deranged festival of bad product-placement are inexplicable, they become even more so when the victors are permitted to conduct their own TV shows without the apparent guidance of a responsible adult. I am, however, looking forward to Jamie’s new two-minute menu series every bit as much as the next lunatic

Elizabeth Merryment of the Sunday Telegraph also had a swipe at the show as well as Matt:

Don’t want to watch: As for the nauseating repetition of words and phrases such as “I love the crunch, the balance of saltiness and sweet” on a certain television reality cooking show, well, thanks Matt, but I’ve had my fill. Roll on 2014.

Mark Best chef/owner at Marque in Sydney may not have been specific but he was a tad scathing of chef’s who he had thought had sold out:

No thanks: A Coles feast of maple-glazed barbecued salmon, roast pork and apple sliders and a classic pavlova? No Curtis Stone, I won’t have a “very Merry Christmas with these festive delights”. In fact I would rather saw my arm off with a Christmas sticky tape dispenser than have that blue-eyed, rottweiler grin intimidate me into partaking in your type of Yuletide cheer.

Heston, I love you mate, but Jesus wept, 300 quid for one of your Chrissy puds on eBay? Something stinks in the state of Denmark!

While I’m on it, hopefully Nigella’s recent troubles mean I will not have to witness the domestic goddess licking ham glaze from one elbow and her five-minute chocolate sauce from the other, by the light of the refrigerator, ever again.

Jamie, I’ve sort of admired you up to when you decided to save the chooks by embedding yourself with Woolworths. More mercenary than pukka, old son.

Closer to home, Darren Simpson. The KFC signature burger was, I thought, the bottom of the family meal bucket. Then along comes the Weber Bunnings commercial. Darren, Darren, Darren … hot hot hot, not.

Not that Curtis is going to give a shit what Mark Best thinks as he has been annointed by the Sunday Tele as one our stars to watch in 2014. He is opening a restaurant in Beverley Hills, Los Angeles soon.

What are your grumps of 2014?


December 28, 2013   35 Comments