Too many quirky cooksBy Nestor Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Marvin Agustin’s new reality challenge show, “Karinderya Wars,” has just completed its third week of telecasts on TV5. How well is it faring, and who are the front-runners in its search for the best masa cook in the land?
Marvin himself is doing okay, providing just the right mix of experience, professionalism and inspiration that the “amateur” but experienced contenders need to get their act together and rise up to a higher level of culinary “performance.”
The nine finalists themselves are another case entirely, however. We must presume that all of them are veteran cooks, but some contenders get rattled by the rules and deadlines, and forget to buy such basic things as rice, salt and cooking oil!
Even worse, some of them are trying too hard to come across as quirky, sassy, colorful and combative characters—or, are they being encouraged or pressured by the show to be so?
Whatever the reason, the gambit ends up generally rubbing viewers the wrong way. For one, they aren’t experienced actors, so their “colorful” characters come across as self-conscious and “TH.”
The show tries to create little feuds and backbiting contests to keep things “interesting,” but nobody is uniquely “quotable” enough to elicit genuine viewer interest and excitement. So, our advice to the feuding finalists is: Concentrate more on your cooking, why don’t you?
Another gambit that doesn’t really work is the “comic relief” ostensibly provided by Marvin’s three loud and livid “assistants,” who are either gay or “fag hag” in projection.
Their snitty and churlish kind of “comedy” provides little “relief,” and is generally just an unnecessary distraction.
Also rather disappointing is the way that the cooking has been done on the show thus far. Most of the time, the three teams of finalists have been left up to their own devices in thinking up the menu for the day. As a result, pretty much the same staple dishes are featured, and the cooking aspect of the tilt consequently comes off as rather cavalier.
Viewers would get more involved if, from time to time, all of the teams were required to cook the same special dish, and tasters or jurors were asked to share with the TV audience what makes one team’s version better than the others’.
Finally, the show should find a better way to handle its crowd of “eaters.” Usually, they have to be dragged to the tables to partake of the menu for the day, and their “comments” are grudging or woefully inadequate—“masarap,” “maasim,” “Okay naman”—gee, thanks!
The proof of the pudding isn’t just in the eating but also in the describing, so the eaters have to be selected better, to boost that key aspect of the show.
With these and other improvements, we hope that “Karinderya Wars” will turn out to be a more involving and yummier viewing treat from here on in—so starvin’ Marvin and his show’s viewers can smile more and end each day’s TV feast with a loud and satisfied burp!
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