My Kitchen Rules Recap: The Dessert Song
It’s hard to see how tonight’s episode could possibly top the GREAT MSG CONTROVERSY, in which a team used an ingredient in a dish and somebody noticed — once a show has scaled such peaks of inflammatory drama, anything else is going to be a letdown. Still, there’s always the chance of a real bombshell coming along — maybe someone will wear a blue shirt with green pants, or drop a fork — to shake things up even further. Otherwise, we’ll be moving along as planned with MKR’s dullest ever group, as the soundtrack producer puts in long overtime hours to vainly make the whole thing seem exciting.
We’re in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia’s most panda-infested city. Lama and Sarah are proud to be MKR’s first Lebanese contestants, which is a pretty weird thing to be proud of really. Like being the first Zimbabweans to soil themselves on Dancing With The Stars. Lama and Sarah are out to prove that Lebanese food is not just the 3am kebab, something that nobody has ever thought to be true ever.
Colin discusses the menu with Darren Robertson, who remains uncertain of who he is and why he’s here. He explains what each of the dishes are to Darren, which is helpful because although he has recurring flashbacks of himself cooking, the details of his previous life are elusive.
Lama and Sarah promise “very traditional food”, as specified by the MKR Constitution, Section Eight, pertaining to the requirements for ethnic contestants.
They set up the instant restaurant. It reminds them of their families, because their families were also sponsored by The Good Guys. “It’s definitely got the wow factor,” lies Sarah. The cousins congratulate each other on how well they’ve done so far, which is bold considering they haven’t started cooking yet and are essentially expressing pride in their ability to buy things and set a table.
“Now is the time for me to start cutting the olives for the entree,” says Sarah. They’re always saying stuff like that on this show. I don’t know who they think gives a shit.
They just go on cooking for a while. A brief argument breaks out over the dough: can the friendship withstand this tension? Yes it can, and they just keep going. “I think we’re both a little bit annoyed with each other,” says Sarah, finally knowing what it’s like to be an MKR viewer.
The guests arrive and enter the instant restaurant. Demi is amazed, describing it as an “Arabian night” type arrangement. Others describe it as “like being in the middle of the desert” and “like being in a tent”, so Lama and Sarah’s commitment to stereotypes has paid off in spades. The guests’ entry to the dining room is accompanied by a jaded composer’s attempt at approximating Arabic music on a Casio, to complete the mood.
In the kitchen Lama and Sarah are busy doing something that I can only describe as “painting the edges of a pile of diced leaves”. But I suppose it’s all going to end somewhere edible. They wrap green stuff up in pastry thingies and etc.
And here come the judges, heavy percussion hammering at our ears to disguise the fact nobody actually wants to see these two men do anything. Cut to Valerie talking about how attractive Darren and Colin are — Seven hopes if they show her saying this often enough, someone will believe it.
As the cousins put the finishing touches to their entree, the audience slowly but surely falls asleep. There is a brief power struggle over who is in charge of the cooking, and not only is it brief, it’s meaningless.
Entree is served. The soundtrack strings saw away tirelessly, scraping the bottom of an empty drama barrel. Colin tells Lama and Sarah that there wasn’t enough filling, in the tone of voice of a man telling his wife that she no longer fulfils his needs. Darren tells them something or other but is far too colourless for it to matter.
For main they’re serving lamb something with couscous hummus something etc and so on. Apparently Sarah is in charge here, so Lama immediately throws her under the bus, washing her hands of all responsibility. It seems possible that Lama only entered this competition to humiliate Sarah in public.
In the dining room Mark explains how empathetic he is to Lama and Sarah’s horrible failure, because of some stupid story about his nonna. Valerie babbles something dumb about mother’s intuition and everyone nods wisely. It’s true that there’s a lot of pressure on the cousins to live up to cultural standards, but there’s also a lot of pressure on the guests to make interesting conversation on TV, and they’re basically just ignoring that.
In the kitchen Sarah adds one cup of couscous to one cup of water for her own perverted purposes. Lama explains that traditionally tabbouleh isn’t made with couscous, but “this is Sarah’s dish so that’s what we’re doing”. Or in other words, “traditionally, a person shouldn’t deliberately ram a sharpened stick into her eyes and then jump into a vat of acid, but if Sarah wants to she should definitely go ahead and do that”.
Lama continues to make viciously passive-aggressive comments about Sarah’s recipe, both in the kitchen and in the post-meal cutaways, confirming the viewers’ growing suspicion that Lama’s one goal in life is to destroy Sarah. Meanwhile in the dining room Cyn tells the other guests that they’re all dirty amoral liars, which causes a little bit of offence, but Cyn didn’t mean any offence: it’s just her way of letting everyone know what a bad person she is.
Colin enters the kitchen to see how badly Sarah is fucking everything up. He asks whether Sarah always puts currants in the kofta. Sarah says she does. Lama says she doesn’t like currants in the kofta. Colin asks why you would put currants in the kofta. Lama explains that Sarah can do what she likes because she hates Sarah’s guts. Colin tells them to hug. They hug, happy to express physical affection in the short-term for the sake of the end game: murdering each other.
Back in the dining room Cyn calls the menu “simplistic” and notes that it’s important to get every element right. Which is fair enough, but when Cyn says it it sounds like she’s calling everyone in the room a dole bludger and demanding their houses be repossessed.
Main is served as the cousins try as hard as they can to pretend to like each other again. The judges taste it. Colin demands to know why they changed the traditional kofta recipe. They have no answer beyond a nervous giggle and a general look of terror. Surprisingly, Colin’s angry questioning wasn’t the precursor to a shock twist where he reveals he actually loved it — he found it distasteful and personally hurtful. Darren didn’t like it either. At least I don’t think he did, I wasn’t listening.
Caitie found the lamb somewhat chewy, but wonders whether that’s what lamb is supposed to be like, because Caitie is incredibly passionate about food to the extent that she’s never eaten lamb. Marie declares herself filled up, but dissatisfied, in a grim reflection of her marriage. Finally Cyn tells everyone about the Lebanese restaurants she’s been to in the mistaken belief that anyone wants to know.
Now it’s time to watch some more cooking, so God help us all.
In the dining room Mark and Courtney finally fall prey to the parasites in their brains, and begin dancing in an attempt to get themselves on a future compilation show titled 100 Years of Australia’s Shame on TV. Mark crashes into the furniture and we appropriately cut to Lama and Sarah fucking dessert up in the kitchen.
In the kitchen Sarah is busily stirring the pot to the extent that bits of the pot are coming off and bobbing around in the custard. As she and Lama debate what to do about the problem being caused by the vigorous stirring the of the pot, she continues vigorously stirring the pot. In the dining room the guests are impatient, having waited an hour and a half for dessert. Amateurs — in the other groups nobody got impatient till at least three hours.
It’s two hours since main, but at least they’ve already eaten. “If dessert is just a custard, then two hours is too long for just a custard,” says Cyn, one of the most uncompromising custard-judgers Australia has ever seen. Mell and Cyn argue with Brett about whether you can give someone a zero if they actually serve you something: Brett thinks plating something up deserves at least a point, while Mell and Cyn think that humanity is a virus that needs to be eradicated.
Two and a half hours since the guests first began anticipating Lama and Sarah’s final insult, dessert is served, to the strains of the music from a movie about people dying in a desert. “I don’t know what to say,” says Colin, although surely, “I’m an obnoxious twat with dumb hair” is an option. Then Darren says something tedious. Dessert is revolting and Lama and Sarah’s ancestors are spinning madly in their graves.
It’s time for the hilarious scores. Lama and Sarah are feeling “pretty deflated”, but on the upside, they have made each other look awful. From the guests they receive a score of 18 out of 50, which is somewhere between “diarrhoea” and “salmonella”. The judges award them 21, making a total of 39. Lama apologises to all Lebanese women, but I don’t think anyone was under the impression any MKR contestant is representative of any particular community apart from that of the congenitally annoying.
Tune in tomorrow when two more dull people do something.
If you like this recap, please check out my upcoming Melbourne Comedy Festival show. Tickets here.