I'm very fond of Ramsay's other shows. Gordon's Kitchen Nightmares, Hell's Kitchen, Gordon's Great Escape and more.
There are several issues with this series, and the most significant is that it's US made. Rather inexplicably, all the US versions of said shows are edited in the same, very American and outright dreadful way. There is no difference between episodes or even the shows in that regard. The usual Hollywood narrator quickly gets tiring, there are only a handful of repetitive sound effects which applied to the same moments throughout the show - mostly to combatants' and the judges' reactions to comments and odd behavior. To make things worse, the reactions are also the same. The result watching it is very tiring, like a visual broken record. The cuts are quick and overly dramatic, as if I'm watching a blockbuster action flick. Obviously, I'm not and while some drama is to be expected, the blatant use quickly make the show ridiculous and I feel outright stupid watching poorly seasoned tartar and undercooked chicken in such a dramatic setting. It's so bad it's insulting.
The storyboard is at it's heart not too bad, but it also suffers from repetitiveness. Most of the challenges are the same, albeit set in different environments. They are also linear and not very sporadic which make them predictable. Whenever there's a freestyle cooking challenge, I expect an elimination contest and subsequently a team challenge. Repeat. Masterchef US's storytelling is like Hell's Kitchen US's short menu - scallops or elimination contests, wellington for freestyle cookings and new york strip for team challenges. Really uncooked and lacking in imagination.
The people are portrayed at a fault and their personalities eschewed to create characters that provide intrigues. Some participants are always arrogant, others always cry and some are never recognized by the trio of judges, making this editing going on really easy to spot when a contestant suddenly achieves great respect and skills out of nowhere. The focus of the show is clearly on intrigues when it should be on food and chef skills. In a sense, even the characters are repetitive.
Product placement is also readily apparent. The camera pans across Global knives and Viking appliances, but the most disgusting instances are frequent occurrences where Graham Elliot pitches the apparently new Masterchef pans' non-sticky surfaces. I've seen it at least three times in season two. Same pitch, same lame response from contestants. It's brutal.
I have a lot of issues with this show, but there's one more minor editing problem that just boggles my mind. All the contestants always finish their dishes exactly on the clock. In each competition, Ramsay counts down and they all put their plate on the workbench exactly when the clock stopped. Every. Single. Time! This is to shake things up for the viewer of course, but to think that we're that easily fooled is offensive, just like the rest of the editing problems. Masterchef ridicules itself even further by counting down the last 5 seconds visually on a large clock face to then stop at 00:00. Problem? The units are in minutes and there is no hand for seconds. It looks amusingly stupid.
All the things mentioned above are reflective of each and every episode. Watching two or more in a row is painful. In fact, watching any US remake of Ramsay's program makes for the same experience because of the ubiquitous dreadful editing.
To conclude, the saddest part is that Masterchef is a great concept, executed horribly. Watching unique people of all varieties cook great food to Ramsay's socially inept personality should be a winner for all food lovers. But alas, this show isn't.
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