Amidst the endless tempered chocolate, the countless sheets of homemade pasta and the charming French accent exhaling from Manu’s mouth, popular televised cooking competition ‘My Kitchen Rules’ (MKR) has its fair share of “villains”. These are the contestants which the nation has responded to with hatred, because they’re unashamed to toot their own horn, start arguments with other teams, become bitter about low scores, refuse to try meals, master the eye roll, claim that they’re “just being honest” after making mean comments, and sometimes even fall into strategic scoring.
Many of these contestants have since told Australia that they were purposefully edited by the show’s producers, against their will, to fulfil the show’s villain role. Season 3’s contestant Tom Carr told the Herald Sun, “It’s really disappointing that Carla and I are being portrayed quite badly.” Two seasons later, contestant Kelly Ramsay told News Corp that “things [on the show] are often taken out of context”. Similarly, this season’s carb-conscious Jessica Tichonczuk told the AAP that only “half a sentence or half a conversation goes to air…whatever half they [the producers] want.”
Another excuse I’ve read is that being part of the show is physically and emotionally exhausting, and this causes vulnerable ‘hangry’ and tired people to say surprising, scandalous things. But nonetheless, Steph Mulheron, season 4 winner, told Mamamia: “Things on the show are sometimes blown out of proportion. But, at the end of the day, those people said what they said from their own thoughts, and that’s what they wanted to say.” Truth! Last year’s winner Will Stewart also told Mamamia, “What people are saying [on the show], they are saying those things….what you see is what you get. It’s not forced in any way.” Evidently, none of the show’s producers told these contestants what to say.
Each of these contestants chose to voice their harsh and horrible opinions in their own way. They decided to score other teams unfairly in order to better their own chance at success. They shamelessly allowed certain expressions to appear on their face in response to others. They opted to be proud instead of humble. The competition brought out the worst in them. My theory is that these contestants have watched themselves on the TV screen and been so shocked, confronted and embarrassed by what they saw that they needed to blame someone else for their actions and words. The “editing” thing is just an excuse because they didn’t realise what they were capable of.
I’m being tough on these people. But I’m not singling them out. I believe that everyone is capable of playing the villain role on reality TV if they really let loose. Everyone has judgemental and nasty thoughts about others. Everyone has the desire to win at any cost. Everyone believes they’re right and you’re wrong. It’s just that, while most people keep their opinions in their head, or wait until the camera stops rolling before opening their mouth, Tom, Chloe and Jessica (and all of MKR’s other “villains”) were simply more upfront about it. No need to blame editing and tricky camera angles – it’s just plain ol’ human nature put on display for all to see. And it’s not pretty, which is why it’s hard to face and even harder to own up to.