Ah, MKR Sudden Death. The segment voted Most Likely to Make Viewers Wish the Name Were Meant Literally at the Realityie Awards. The televisual innovation that brilliant Channel Seven telescientists came up with to turn the interminable process of going through three long rounds of instant restaurants in order to trim eighteen teams down to fifteen, into an even longer interminable process. After this Sudden Death, MKR will enter the depressing realm of Masterchef rip-off.
It’s Caitie and Demi, the baffled friends, versus Lama and Sarah, the hate-filled cousins. “Sudden death, it’s always hard to see someone go,” says Valerie, who has never seen a sudden death round before, and has yet to see anyone go. But I guess she can extrapolate from the fake emotion shown by contestants in previous seasons.
Lama and Sarah begin their sudden death challenge by hugging and pretending they don’t hate each other’s stinking guts for a brief moment. Meanwhile on the other side of the kitchen Caitie and Demi explain to each other how important it is to be good and not to be terrible, and also, apparently, to “make sure we have fun”. This is of course the catchcry of the loser: “making sure we have fun” is what you say when you know you suck.
Demi says something about her Greek heritage, and Caitie nods amiably, wondering where in the world Greek is. From the sidelines, Valerie calls out “ya sou!” in a vile instance of blatant cultural appropriation.
The really unfortunate bit of episodes set in Kitchen HQ is that there’s a much higher proportion of screentime devoted to cooking, which all MKR viewers know is the least interesting activity that it is possible to televise. Proceedings are enlivened by Caitie peeling potatoes, relieved to have finally found an intellectual equal on the show. One of the footy mates yells out “You can do it!” in a Rob Schneider voice. He’s doing Rob Schneider on MKR. Watching this makes one feel like a teenager on Elm Street — praying you die in real life too.
On the other side, Lama, having minutes ago promised that she would be subservient to Sarah and do whatever she’s told, starts telling Sarah her views on prawns. Sarah looks at her with an expression of devastated betrayal: how could this woman who she has hated her entire life turn on her like this? A discussion of the prawns’ digestive tract leads to a rather cutting comment from Sarah regarding the faecal nature of the attitude that Lama has been directing her way since their relationship began. The relationship is very much a love-hate one, in that their mutual hatred makes them wonder what it would be like to feel love. Their argument moves on to the matter of ice-cream, as the olive oil ice-cream has failed to achieve proper consistency. “What’ll they do if they have no olive oil ice-cream?” asks Cyn, to which the answer is obviously, serve a dish that is much better because it doesn’t have olive oil ice-cream in it.
Manu wanders in Caitie and Demi’s workspace to destroy their confidence and upset their timing. He suggests they taste their food before serving it. Demi says they don’t have time. He says they have to. Demi says they don’t have fucking time, Manu, why is this so hard to get through your big oily skull? Manu pouts passive-aggressively, “So you’re not going to listen to me?” Demi decides to humour the big baby and tastes it. It tastes good raw, so she assumes it will taste good cooked. This is not a very reliable way of testing something, but she did say she didn’t have time, if Manu could LISTEN. Meanwhile Caitie does nothing of any use whatsoever.
Over the other side, Sarah notes that “the flavours are definitely there,” a sentence usually associated with a terrible dish that everyone hates. Lama silently rejoices in her cousin’s downfall.
Meanwhile Demi is rushing to finish the fritters, while Caitie looks up “fritters” on Wikipedia out of idle curiosity.
Time is up. Would you believe it, all the dishes have been plated up in the nick of time for the seven thousandth consecutive time on MKR. Now it’s over to the Island of Lost Souls, AKA the judges’ table.
Caitie and Demi’s zucchini fritters are tasted. “I think it’s great to have an entree that celebrates vegetables and not necessarily protein,” says Guy, incorrectly. In fact, that’s not great, it’s awful, but all the judges agree that they have terrible taste, and move on to Lama and Sarah’s depressed prawns. Colin loves the juice at the bottom, which has just enough liquor in it to give him a mild buzz. “It’s a winner for me,” says Guy, in tones far too confident for someone so unimportant.
Main course time. “We can do this,” says Demi to Caitie, who is just dumb enough to believe her. For main, they are making moussaka, garnished with a slightly aggravating pronunciation. “We need to move super-fast with this entree, Caitie,” Demo cries, apparently moving so fast that she’s managed to travel back in time to when they were making the entree. Could be a tactical blunder given this is the main course.
“We’re hoping it’s going to be a knockout,” says Sarah in a clip edited to make you think she’s referring to the main course and not to punching Lama in the mouth. So far they’re proceeding well, but bubbling under the surface is deep loathing. Also, bubbling on top of the surface. Suddenly, a problem rears its head: their ice-cream looks like mashed potato. Instead of the smart move — cutting their losses and telling the judges that it IS mashed potato — they decide to try to salvage their ice-cream. They’ve forgotten to add the olive oil, which is a problem when making olive oil ice-cream, but less of a problem when making ice-cream that any sane person would want to eat. They add the olive oil, too late in the opinions of Mell and Cyn, but if you value the opinions of Mell and Cyn you can frankly go to hell.
Caitie and Demi are prepping their dessert, and have decided to use cornflakes instead of the filo pastry traditionally used in the dish. All the spectators are incredibly impressed by Caitie’s outside-the-box thinking and outside-the-range-of-normalcy IQ. Caitie and Demi make some kind of stupid fashion reference to remind everyone how much they suck in general.
Lama is hoping that her puree will be nice, silky and smooth, just like the jacket she will one day make out of her cousin’s skin. “It’s very important that we don’t overcook the lamb,” says Sarah as if divulging an arcane secret of the chefs of olden times. Up on the balcony, Mell and Cyn start bitching about Sarah not using enough hotplates and Lama not doing enough work and how everyone is incredibly poor and can’t even afford spa treatments.
“It is a shemuzzle at the moment, an absolute shemuzzle,” chortles Sarah, unaware that the word is “shemozzle” and that nobody thinks she’s funny.
“I think someone needs to start plating,” says Manu, the classic backseat driver. Lama begins to do just that, despite being worried the lamb won’t have time to rest and will be snappy and irritable at dinner.
“I’m taking the moussakas out,” says Demi, in what seems like a reasonably sensible move. But tragedy strikes! Some of the moussakas have burnt tops! Demi panics and starts scraping off the burnt bits, before realising that this just leaves her with moussakas that don’t have tops. She sprinkles cheese on them, the madness having taken powerful hold.
Time is up and the mains are plated up, if you can believe it, in the nick of time.
The self-loathing reprobates on the judges’ table try Lama and Sarah’s lamb. Whatsherface with the blonde head is deeply disappointed by the dry couscous. Karen is devastated that more time has been spent on the couscous than the lamb: her worst fear. Manu professes himself confused by the fact the dish has lamb and peas and couscous all together: Manu is the kind of man who gets confused when he sees ducks fly.
The judges are agreed that Caitie and Demi’s moussaka is a success overall, and that the trick they pulled by editing disparate comments together in the teaser to make it look like they were all disagreeing with each other when actually they weren’t worked a treat.
Time for dessert, and Lama and Sarah high-five with obvious distaste at having to touch each other. “Caitie and Demi, what are you making for dessert?” calls Courtney, grinning like a maniac to disguise the fact she doesn’t care at all. Demi explains that it’s a dish called fumumamabmmmb or something like that, but they’re putting a twist on it with the cornflakes. Demi professes herself worried that the judges won’t like the cornflake element, in which case the obvious course of action would’ve been to not do it with cornflakes, but there you go, too late to behave like a rational human being now.
Meanwhile Lama and Sarah’s ice-cream continues to be an atrocity, and Lama continues her campaign to psychologically break Sarah. Her tactic, as subtle as a badger biting your face off, is to continually tell Sarah she’s doing something wrong, then immediately follow up with, “You’re the head chef!” Sarah is nearing breaking point.
Meanwhile Demi still can’t pronounce the name of her dessert. Caitie and Demi indulge in the odd spot of indescribably obnoxious fashion punning and all the spectators join in the fun because they too are cockholes.
On the other side Lama and Sarah are still arguing about the figs and barely restraining themselves from spitting in each other’s faces in the post-challenge cutaways. This team would work together better if it were made up of two homeless pensioners kidnapped at random from different countries.
Demi is saying the name of the dessert with disturbing frequency now. “We’re bringing cornflakes back in fashion!” Caitie giggles, a statement that achieves the rare double of being both untrue and meaningless, going on to just about top that effort with, “Dessert has gone from a normal catwalk walk to when the model trips on the catwalk.” Speaking aloud is not Caitie’s strength, but then again, neither is anything else.
Time is up, and Pete orders the teams to step away from their benches. But what happens if they don’t? Will a team be disqualified if someone runs a pepper grinder over a plate after time runs out? I bet they won’t. This is a sham.
Anyway, off the judges’ table, where doomed men and women are forced to pay for their sins by tasting horrible food in perpetuity. None of them like Lama and Sarah’s dessert much. Karen can’t taste the olive oil, which is a plus, but Guy is deeply disappointed by the fact that the ice-cream is not so much ice-cream as a puddle of sour milk that has already passed at least once through a cat.
On to Caitie and Demi’s Ummagumma. Guy isn’t sure about replacing the filo with cornflakes. “I just don’t understand,” says Blonde Thingy, delighting her fans with her famous catchphrase. Pete despises the very idea of cornflakes, of course. “If it were based on the desserts both these teams would be going home,” he whines, but it’s not based just on the desserts and if it were, that still wouldn’t happen because that’s not how the competition works.
Time for scoring, and tension is high as we wait to see whether we’ll get to see more of Lama and Sarah’s entertaining dysfunction, or more of Caitie and Demi’s aimless vapidity. Unfortunately, Colin tries to join in with Caitie and Demi’s fashion reference thing, and everyone starts sticking pins in themselves just to forget the pain of hearing that happen. He tells Caitie and Demi, “you need to get serious about food”, but Colin got serious about food and look at the sort of person he is now. Nobody wants that surely. All the judges bitch and moan about the cornflakes as if Caitie and Demi threw Molotov cocktails through their windows.
In the end, obviously Caitie and Demi win because they’re cuter and because Lama and Sarah are less an effective cooking team than a burlap sack full of angry weasels. So the perky halfwits live to fry another day, and the cousins go home to stab each other with pencils forever more.
Tune in tomorrow when Josh returns to throw fish at everyone.
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