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Reading MasterChef

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Lecture given to subject MECM10003 Media and Society at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

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Reading MasterChef

  1. 1. R E A D I N G M A S T E R C H E F M E C M 1 0 0 0 3 M E D I A A N D S O C I E T Y W E E K 7 : R E A D I N G R E A L I T Y T V L U K E VA N RY N U N I M E L B . A C A D E M I A . E D U / L U K E VA N RY N @ M Y S PA C E G H O S T
  2. 2. W H AT ’ S O N T H E M E N U ? • What are people saying about reality television? • How do they support their claims? • How can we say something interesting about MasterChef?
  3. 3. W H AT P E O P L E A R E S AY I N G 1 . L I T E R A T U R E
  4. 4. – L A U R I E O U E L L E T T E A N D J A M E S H AY “Reality television … has become the quintessential technology of citizenship in our age”
  5. 5. – N I C K C O U L D RY A N D J O L I T T L E R “[The Apprentice encourages viewers] to become ‘empowered’ by struggling within and reproducing the norms of a harsh, unpredictable, precarious, increasingly competitive working climate”
  6. 6. – TA N I A L E W I S “the ‘solutions’ [MasterChef] offers largely involve the contestants learning to see themselves as risk- bearing entrepreneurial subjects”
  7. 7. – K I R S T E N S E A L E “MasterChef is … invested in deferring the attainment of professional status so as to ensure the continued provision of inexpensive labour and content provided by amateurs”
  8. 8. K E Y T H E M E S • Surveillance • “How much do we need to watch each other?” • Governance • “How are we asked to manage ourselves?” • Ethics • “What does it mean to be a good person?”
  9. 9. W H E R E D O S O M E O F T H E S E I D E A S C O M E F R O M ? • Michel Foucault (1926-1984) • Discipline and Punish • The History of Sexuality • The Birth of Biopolitics
  10. 10. WAY S O F S E E I N G T E L E V I S I O N 2 . F I N D I N G E V I D E N C E
  11. 11. C L O S E R E A D I N G • Photography • Staging • Lighting • Editing • Sound • Discourse
  12. 12. C L I P : M A S T E R C H E F A U S T R A L I A , S E A S O N 2 E P I S O D E 4 2
  13. 13. P U T T I N G I T T O W O R K 3 . G O I N G F U R T H E R
  14. 14. Q U E S T I O N S • What are the ‘rules of the game’? • How are events represented? • What discourses are produced? • With what effects? • For whom?
  15. 15. W H E R E T O F R O M H E R E ? 4 . G O I N G F U R T H E R
  16. 16. F U R T H E R Q U E S T I O N S • Medium theory: • “Does the medium (TV, VOD, VLC) change the message?” • Audience research: • “Do other viewers read media the same way?” • Production research: • “How do these representations come to be?”
  17. 17. – A R T D I R E C T O R “Whether it was in the big pantry or a top-of-the- room pantry or outside, the idea was always that it needs to be overwhelming to the senses. Both for the audience at home and also the contestants when they walk in as well and are overwhelmed by the choices”
  18. 18. – S T O RY P R O D U C E R “The boots they use, the knives… the butter they use, the milk. Every single thing you see in that show has been brokered, is a deal. When they're cooking with a pizza oven, outside, that deal has been brokered with the pizza oven people. You know, every single thing. None of this happens incidentally”
  19. 19. – F O O D P R O D U C E R “the hardest thing for me to adapt to and deal with was working on MasterChef UK where it was a food show and then coming back to Australia and starting on a reality-food TV show where food is the very least of anyone's concerns”
  20. 20. – S T O RY P R O D U C E R “by the end I honestly could not care less about anyone's desire to change their life through flan!”
  21. 21. R E A D I N G M A S T E R C H E F M E D I A A N D S O C I E T Y W E E K 7 : R E A D I N G R E A L I T Y T V L U K E VA N RY N U N I M E L B . A C A D E M I A . E D U / L U K E VA N RY N @ M Y S PA C E G H O S T

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