Underneath my yellow skin

Mushy in the middle

I ilke reality shows that I call’ gentle competitions’. I’m more interested in cooperation than cutthroat competition. I watched Cutthroat Kitchen a few times, and I hated it. Not only did I hate the delibearte sabotage, but I got anxious from watching. Since I feel other people’s emotions, I don’t want to deliberately inflict myself with nasty ones, especially manufactored exaggerated ones.

That’s why I prefer the ones that are collaborative rather than competitive. Yes, ultimately, they are competing against each other, but that doesn’t mean they have to be mean. I used to twatch Chopped, but I started hating that it was so manufactured. The one twho said they were not there to make friends/came to win were nearly always out after the first competttion–second at latest. Anyone who was confident that they had done great were the next to go. In almost every foursome, there was usually one who was the heel. I think this is more an American thing, by the way. Britains are culturally more diffident and self-deprecating whereas Americans are more brash. It got to the point with Chopped where I could predict who was going to win with a roughly 85% success rate without knowing anything about cooking. Quite frankly, it got boring after a while.

This is part of the problem with these shows if they go on for a long time–they become samey. Yes, I know, that’s part of the comfort. Every episode is the same and there’s something positive about that. But, on the other hand, it can get boring if there is no innovation. This is a reason I leave groups and stop visiting websites–because there’s no evolution. When it reaches the point where I know who is going to say what in which situation, then I get bored. Granted, I am very good at reading people, but still.

It’s not their fault; truly, I know this. People don’t change on the regular. Or if they do, it’s slow and steady–not dramatic explosions. Of course people can have epiphanies and breathroughs, but that’s a rare occurrence.

Watching the fourth (and current, I think) season of Glow Up, I’m finding myself…not bored, exactly, but wanting more. The MUAs are brilliantly talent as usual, but the competitions are so safe. They talk about creativity and pushing boundaries, but they don’t do that in their own requests. And, because of the nature of these shows, there is a mush in the middle that is not palatable.

There is the top of the heap, the one or two who are clearly better than the others. Then, there are the two or three who are in the bottom–not quite as good as the others. That leaves three or so in the middle who are stridently fine. They are not great, but they are not terrible, eeither. They get to coast by on being ok until the quarters (though they are never called that) or the semis.

In general, the bottom two are singled out and evaluated or asked to do another challenge. Then the worse of them is sent home. This means that for the first four or five episodes, you don’t have to do your best. I’m  not saying that the contestants aren’t trying, but there’s a voice in the back of their mind that they don’t HAVE to be the best (though that would be great)–they just have to not be the two worst.

Here’s my idea. Pick the winner of the week and then everyone else is up for the chopping block. Yes, this would take away some of the gentleness and cozy part of the competition, but it would certainly make it more exciting. Glow Up tries to do this by having the Face Off chairs. The two losers of the first competition have penalties for the second competition (as a penalty for being in the Face Off chairs). If they don’t do enough to ‘beat the seat’ in the second compettion, then they have to face off against each other in the face off–which is a short specific challenge for the two of them.

I don’t get it, though. Why even bother with the second part? I get that the two at the bottom are penalized with fifteen minutes less for the second compettiion, but that doesn’t seem like enough to warrant the concept. It feels like a complete artifice, which, yes, the whole show is. But if you can beat the seat, why bother? Ok. Maybe having everyone but the one winner be in the bottom is too much. How about one person wins each of the first two competitions and the rest are up for the chop? Or one to two win each of the first two competition and everyone else is up for elimination?

I do understand that this might be too hard on the contestants. I don’t want them to be even more stress so if it adds too much to their stress levels, then I take it off the table. But I think it would keep people on their feet and not just be satisfied to get through.

Another thing  I would love is if there was a competition sent in by a viewer. Maybe not every episode because that’s a lot. But in the middle when it gets boring, it would liven things up.

i know I’m being difficult. Part of the charm to these shows is the reptition and the comfort. It’s like going to a Culver’s–you know excatly what you’re going to get no matter which one you walk into. It’s not the best food, no, but it’s decent and satisfying. Every time. In exactly the same way. The last time I went to Culver’s, I learned that you can get as many patties as you want. It’s not on the menu, but it’s available. In general, though, if I get a double burger with a gluten-free bun, fries, and a diet coke (a combo), it’s going to taste the same no matter which Culver’s I enter.

That’s why people like fast food. It’s safe, reliable, and comforting. You don’t have to worry that your order is going to go awry (well, I mean, there are ways that things  can get fucked up. Like when Ian and I went to Popeye’s for biscuit week…and they forgtet our biscuits. We didn’t figure it out until we got home), and you can get it fast.

It’s the same as a show like Glow Up. You know what you’re going to get every episode. The industry competition first, then the personal competition. The first is about conforming to what the client needs. The second is to express individual creativity. The two lowest contestants face each other in a focused singular challenge for the third competition. The loser goes home–rinse, lather, repeat.

I think now that it’s finished it’s fourth season, it needs to shake things up. I have this theory of seven that no series should go longer than seven (whether book, movies, or TV shows). I would say for these competition shows, they need to shake things up every few years. Keep the basics, but add flourishes to it.

it could be me. I get bored with things if they don’t change and evolve. Which is not the fault of the thing that I’m frustrated with. It’s my own problem and the reason I leave things behind without looking back.


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