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Lisin

Masterchef Junior (US)

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I am with Drogo in thinking the Atlantic article wasn't particular good.  The author points out that Dara was the "only girl and/or minority" to make the finals as if this is a long standing trend of all of two seasons.  Ramsay, Graham and Joe joke with the girls, but they also joke with the boys.  Ramsay pretty much mocked Samuel's inability to speak French last season, and he was especially critical of Logan (who, of course, wound up winning).  If you want to see the interactions on MasterChef Jr. as being based on sex or race you will be able to do so, and I'm sure some bias exists on a subconscious level because that's just human nature.  But to claim the show is overtly preferential to white males is misplaced, IMO.

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Here's an excellent piece on diversity on cooking shows, specifically MC Jr.:

 

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/02/masterchef-junior/385079/

Some of that article is a real stretch (seeing a pattern where there is none--for example, the "looks the part" thing), but other pieces of it are pretty interesting observations that are clearly unconscious actions by the all male judging panel talking down to female contestants.  It's also interesting how they talk about the editing.  People on this very board (and TWoP) always have noted that the black contestants are made invisible by the editing (in contrast the Asian contestants are actually featured quite a bit, and of course... ehem.... "whitey rules" the clips, if you'll pardon the crude imagery there I'm using to make a point).  

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I don't like the emphasis the article places on the "looks the most comfortable" line in particular, but I do think there are more examples of problems with the editing of MasterChef Junior and some truth to what the author was saying. I try to tell myself that it's not about gender or race and instead is about personality, how quieter kids will probably get less screentime, etc. but I do think there is bias. It doesn't help that Gordon makes comments like these about female chefs:

 

From the article http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/1999/jun/11/features11.g24

 

Though he has employed some women, you won't find many slaving over a hot Earl Grey with foie gras consommé in the macho, U-boat-like ambience of Ramsay's kitchen. Periods mean "they only work three weeks a month", you see. "PMT is a well known problem. Four days of the month they tend to have a long weekend." And "you can't get into the staff loo" if you hire them. And they have a tiresome habit of breeding ("how can you shout at someone who's four months pregnant?"). New Man job, Old Man attitudes.

 

 

And using the popup restaurant challenge in S2 as an example?  Samuel did a great job at team leader but Sean was zoned out and Oona was massacring squash blossoms.  The other team outperformed them and the judges saved one person.

Samuel was actually not a good leader during the challenge. His team had communication problems and he didn't do much to bring them together (which I think the judges pointed out), or to help Oona with her blossom problems. I remember a lot of posters being shocked that he was kept after the challenge, specifically because he was not a good leader. Sean cooked the steak for that challenge, which was excellently done and the highlight for their team. This is an instance where I think a kid did get sent home they were too quiet and not TV friendly.

Edited by wudpixie

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There are some trues in that article but there are also a lot of misunderstands. Personally, I think Samuel was saved because he had the personality that the audience love-to-hate not because he is a "white male"; all the black contestants are made invisible because quietness is in their nature probably more often than white contestants either or both because of the history or they actually was giving a hard time by white people in real life so that they built a wall to block out all white people and their fellow white contestants can't break it. Do you realize that Ayla and Adaiah become the last black contestant quickly in both seasons and both seasons doesn't have that many black contestant? I would like to know how many black contestants actually auditioned for the show compare to the number of white contestants did to decide if this is really a white people's hate crime.

Edited by alecbaldwin

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I doubt we'll get Masterchef Junior audition numbers, but here's some food for thought (pun intended.)

 

CollegeFactual's Pie Chart on Diversity at The Culinary Institute of America

 

While gender diversity is evenly split (1487 males and 1340 females) this appears to be an extremely white area of study.

 

63.9% White

10.8% Hispanic/Latino

8.1% Non-resident Alien

7.4% Asian

4.3% Black or African-American

 

The show's ratios are pretty much on-par with the real-life ratios. 

Edited by Drogo

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I think calling racial imbalance in casting a hate crime is a bit extreme.

 

They are going to advance contestants that they think the audience will root for or against, in this case mainly for, and who can cook. So they are looking for personalities as well as cooking talent. I am sure that there are a series of studies somewhere that will show that White boys tend to feel more secure and confident then girls and boys of other colors. We have all seen the headlines regarding how girls tend to be more quiet and less willing to answer questions in school. We have seen the headlines about the achievement gap between Whites and Hispanic and African American kids regardless of gender. So it really isn't a stretch to assume that a White boy on a cooking show is going to feel more comfortable being himself, answering questions, and more confident presenting his food then a girl or kids of different colors.

 

So the White boy will get more air time and be seen as more interesting by the Producers and hence advanced in the competition.

 

Is this all that different then American Idol where the White Guy with guitar seems to win a lot more frequently then a woman or a Person of Color?  Or that there seem to be a lot more White people who make it into the live shows then People of Color?

 

Is it right? Nope

 

Is it a surprise? Nope

 

Are the Producers wrong for choosing people who they think will engage the audience at home over promoting social equality? I suppose that is the debate. This is not a professional sports team where what matters is the team winning. Winning teams = more sold tickets = more money for the Owners = the eventual addition of People of Color to squads in the 1950's and the like. The color barrier in Professional sport was broken out of a desire to win, not a desire for social justice. The teams that decided to tackle the race issue faced a good amount of hardship, until they won enough and other teams decided to add People of Color to their teams to improve their chances of winning.

 

A reality TV show, heck any show, survives because it has a large enough audience. If you choose to advance people who do not make exciting or interesting television, the show tends to not do well and the show is cancelled. So does Master Chef Junior advance or give someone who is quiet a ton of air time because they are a good cook and Black/Hispanic/Asian or do they give more air time to the cocky kid who speaks food lingo and gives a great sound bite?

 

I will agree that there is a racial bias in casting. Most shows, reality or otherwise, tend to be very White. I do not think that is a hate crime. I do think it reflects the desire for the Producers to make a show that will make money. Until we address the larger problem of how race is implicitly seen in the US, and probably Europe, we are not going to address why MCJ has not had a female or Person of Color as a winner and why there is an over all imbalance in casting.

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While personalities do play a part in casting, ultimately it's the best cook that wins. The most recent season of Top Chef proves that, with an Asian woman winning and her finale competitor being a gay black man. The winners of most cooking competitions tend to be men, and I don't see that as bias. I see it as the winner being the best chef/cook.

ETA: Ramsay has had several female winners on Hell's Kitchen, two of them being black women, that I remember.

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all the black contestants are made invisible because quietness is in their nature probably more often than white contestants either or both because of the history or they actually was giving a hard time by white people in real life so that they built a wall to block out all white people and their fellow white contestants can't break it. Do you realize that Ayla and Adaiah become the last black contestant quickly in both seasons and both seasons doesn't have that many black contestant? I would like to know how many black contestants actually auditioned for the show compare to the number of white contestants did to decide if this is really a white people's hate crime.

I wonder if there's a gender component there, or also maybe a more complex socio-economic one as well.

 

Lets face it.  We see plenty of "loud black" stereotypes in TV, movies and other entertainment venues.  I think we tend to think of that as the default--and I think in general for both genders.  But TV isn't always reality (and the people who make it in reality genres are always the exceptions who stand out BECAUSE they were different), so if you go back to the reality of how many African-Americans are raised, there's also a thread there, as you say, of "keeping your head down", and I think it goes double for the girls--who are also keeping their head down in relation to the men around them anyway.  

 

But also if you look at the socio-economic end of things, neither Ayla nor Adaiah struck me as coming from urban roots, and I've known my share of middle class black families who's reaction to separate themselves from people of that background (or at least the perception that they're all loud gangstas) was to groom their kids to be very mild mannered.

 

That said, editing can influence a lot of things.  No doubt, like all of them, those girls were sat down in front of a confession cam.  But if ANY confessional footage was played on the show for EITHER of them, it was so unremarkable and/or brief I can't remember even a moment of it.  Was that choice by the producers, unconscious by the editors, or some harsh reality of them being unable to spark on camera and come up with anything interesting to say?

Edited by Kromm
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I do think he was an exception by far, however.

 

Show personnel talk to the kids during the auditions and get a sense of how talkative they are. There is also the well-documented fact that producers on most, if not all, reality shows ask leading questions in the talking heads. I'm sure they could have found talkative children of color to respond to the questions in the THs. And maybe they did have such children and didn't show us much. I don't know. I do consider it in the realm of possibility, and I am disturbed by the lack of attention to Ayla this season and Aididah before her.

 

I could also add some things about the ways the girls and boys are treated, but I feel like I've made my point previously and I don't want to repeat myself. Bottom line is that I think the Caucasian boys are favored on this show, and while there have been a few exceptions like Corey, the imbalance remains.

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So bottom line is we will never know if the article did tell the all the truths or some part's truth, some part's bias; I will eliminate the possility that all the articale is bias (sorry, Drogo) and we won't discuss further about this because my head is start to explode.

Edited by alecbaldwin

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we are not going to address why MCJ has not had a female or Person of Color as a winner and why there is an over all imbalance in casting.

 

I agreed with your comments ProfCrash except the above.  We have no way to know if there has been a true imbalance in casting unless we can also know the racial/gender breakdown of the applicant group.  Maybe there is an imbalance.  Maybe the kids chosen are a legitimate reflection of the diversity of applicants.  I'm sure I don't know.

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we are not going to address why MCJ has not had a female or Person of Color as a winner and why there is an over all imbalance in casting.

Frankly, a young person of color not winning is no big deal, given the current sample size and (at this point) still relatively low number of seasons. They're not even numerically under-represented.  The issues are casting choices, filming choices, and editing/airing choices. Having them on the show simply as background characters--never hearing them talk or express a point of view--is what's disheartening and a little bit sickening. If the ones selected through casting aren't talkative enough, you fish some more for kids who are.  Or you coax some more talk out of them with the leading questions we all know happen, and make sure the judges engage them at least a little bit in the candid footage. 

 

Now a female contestant not winning?  That could be more serious.  That's 50% of the population right there.  Don't tell me the male contestants are ALWAYS better every year.  Bull.  Shit.

Edited by Kromm
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But if we look at the bigger picture, 4 out of 5 MC winners is female, no male winner until season 4 and the last finale we had 2 female finalists. is it because of that so the two winners of MCJr are male and last season we had 2 male finalists? Because the show is gender-bias? I have a better explanation.

 

Since white male tend to feel more secure and confident about themself more often than white female, they tend to develop a real passion and a for cooking and a plan to make it becomes a professional a lot sooner than white female. That's why you usually see restaurants owners and the kitchen staffs be male and cookbook authors be female. On MC, we usually hear female contestants say they've been cooking since forever for their families, their husband... but never thought about making it becomes a professional until recently, more than they didn't want to put themself in a massive debt and go to culinary school. Because of that, we usually see "male chef" and "female home-cook" even though they're as good as each other at cooking and in this case, "male MCJr winner" and "female MC winner". 

Edited by alecbaldwin
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And we are now starting to get complaints about the racism/sexism discussion, which has become repetitive.

 

If you've said your piece, you don't need to say it again. In fact, if you've said your piece and I see that you say it again after this mod note, I will delete your post.

 

Instead of dragging out the "dead horse" cliche, I present to you instead a "dead parrot" video. This discussion is like the dead parrot. Nothing to see here, move along, etc.

 

Thanks.

 

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Next time on Masterchef...

The home cooks are tasked with one of the most difficult proteins ever:  THE DEAD PARROT.  

 

dead-parrot.jpg

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Ugh, I wonder who they will get to replace him.  They failed with Joe's replacement with Tosi.  I wonder if this show will be done soon.  I would love for them to say they are replacing Tosi and Graham.  Bring in two chefs and not just one who is focuses on pastry.  That's just my dream.

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I wonder if all the nonsense stunts this season were the last straw for Graham and he decided to bail.  He has a good reputation as a chef and I don't imagine demeaning slapstick crap is useful to his image.  I've noticed that he has started showing up on FN off and on.  Maybe that's because he knew he was going to leave MC.

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I commented all last season of regular MC that Graham didn't look happy at all, so I was waiting for this to happen, actually.  I thought he lost his spirit because of Joe leaving plus he didn't like Tosi as the replacement.  I'm sure all the constant goo in his face on MC Junior this season didn't help either.  When I told Mr. Snarklepuss he said, "I was wondering when that would happen".  No surprise to him either.  I too wonder if the MC shows in general has peaked and will slide down now in the ratings.  Unless they get someone FANTASTIC to replace him.  My fear is it'll be someone like Richard Blais because he is just EVERYWHERE and I can't take him anymore.  Or even worse - Mullarkey - perish the thought!!  I'd love it if they got Bourdain but I can't see him working so well with Ramsay.

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Unless they get someone FANTASTIC to replace him.

 

How about Ludo?  He and Ramsay would probably kill each other by the third episode.  That would be fun TV.

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Addison, Amaya and Zac.

Gigi Hadid on a cooking competition? Is she going to toast almonds and squeeze lemons?

 

I don't get it.  Is this a knock on models because the presumption is that they don't eat and all have eating disorders or a knock on their brain power because models are too stupid to know how to do anything besides walk a runway?   Just wondering if I missed some sort of Gigi Hadid can't cook moment or if we are just treading in model stereotypes.

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It's a specific reference to Gigi's family on RHOBH- Yolanda Foster has infamously recommended cleansing lemon water and eating 1-2 almonds to her model daughters.

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Ari, Gigi's mother, Yolonda Foster (RHoBH) has been ill from something for years, and advocates eating a handful of almonds per day as part of her healthy diet. It's a long story, and not a good one.
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Next episode is 2 hours. Jan 8 / 8pm ET

From Fox.com:

The remaining junior home cooks will face a deviled egg challenge & a mystery box challenge

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Addison, Amaya and Zac.

Gigi Hadid on a cooking competition? Is she going to toast almonds and squeeze lemons?

 

 

The final three perhaps?  

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1 hour ago, Drogo said:

excitedguy.gif

QbAV_f-maxage-0_s-200x150.gif

excitedelaine.gif

This is me after learning that Joe will be back as permanent judge on this show! The link was originally posted in the Masterchef finale thread. A big thank you again to @Drogo for providing these gifs!

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