I don’t know what it is with television, especially reality TV shows that are competitions. X Factor, American Idol, even the various things on the FOOD NETWORK. Why is it that the person with the best SOB story always wins?.
The other day I was watching an episode of Chopped on the Food Network and throughout the competition, one competitor kept bringing up his recently deceased father. The judges also found this appropriate. They said lines like “Oh my, he cooks so well even though his father died recently.”. Then he ended up winning. Why on earth is this necessary information to share?. Does it make him a better cook? Maybe his tears are magic salts. I don’t even remember any of his food, only his dead father. Maybe this sort of story is cute the first time, but it really isn’t once you start to notice it again and again. Even the dude’s opposing chef thought it was odd. It also makes you question the nature of these competitions. I had a food blogger friend who tried out for Masterchef but got rejected solely because his sob story wasn’t good enough. You can read about his adventures here.
As addictive as reality TV is, I question the integrity of it. For example on XFactor, you’ll only remember contestants by how they were described to you. The the immigrant girl from the Caribbean, the recovering meth addict, the 13 year old girl who was adopted from a crack house at an early age. Why were we told these things?
Do any of these things make you a better singer? No. But it will make you more memorable, and more likely to win over the public. And if you don’t have a great story? Well you’ll be kicked off like poor little Drew a few weeks ago.
Despite all the above, I can’t stop watching these shows, or the Food Network. Why can’t everyone just have hilarious stories like the contestants on Jeopardy? I don’t want to hear your sob story.
If for some reason I’m ever on reality TV, I better make up some terrifically lame sob story so I can win the jackpot. After-all, we all want to win right? If you help me think of a story I’ll share my future prize with you. For now, my parents got eaten by a dinosaur.