Archive for January 21st, 2008

Come Dine With Me

January 21, 2008

I’ve been sitting on my appreciation of this particular show for quite some time, but I can contain it no longer. It’s time for the walk of shame. Like a voluminous fart, finally released with great relief after a day spent with the in-laws, the truth must out.

I really, really like Come Dine With Me.

What’s more, if I’m wasting Sunday the way Sunday is meant to be wasted, I can’t resist the temptation – flicking over to More4 in the early afternoon, bracing myself for the Come Dine With Me marathon. All the cool kids will be doing it soon enough. It can’t just be me who becomes heavily immersed in a series of filmed dinner parties on the day of rest, every week?

Two and a half hours (ie – five episodes condensed) sounds heavy going, but the show is so heavy with filler and catch-up that it’s almost as if you’re not watching television. You’re just being fed a series of easily consumed baby-food spoonfuls.

As with all reality TV, this is heavily edited to make it as amusing as possible and to imply that, over the course of a three-course meal, something uproarious occurred every five minutes. But it’s reality TV that makes no attempt to prove its integrity. That fact is confirmed when you consider Grub Smith (that bloke who used to do the sex columns for FHM) does the voiceover, which plays continuously throughout. He spends the entire time mocking the diners. As you comment ‘you don’t look like you need an extra portion, love’, Smith’s voice will say the exact same thing a millisecond later, like some weird pre-delayed echo.

The fact that five strangers are forced to meet every weekday meeting in a single week is really what makes it all work. In the same way Wife Swap pits complete opposites against one another and waits for a spark, CDWM shoves members of the public together willy-nilly and makes them converse, eat, cook, fight, moan and drunkenly flirt on five consecutive evenings, as they wallow in the boozy claustrophobia of the exercise. In fact, it becomes so oppressive that the final cook is always at a disadvantage. By day five the contestants are all so hungover and overfed that being marked down is inevitable. Add to that the arguments they’ll have had, usually starting on Day Two, and the final cook is never going to come first.

On yesterday’s marathon we saw a fat, pretentious twat called Pippa cook what was meant to be a chicken pie for the diners, though, alas, she forgot to put the chicken in before baking. When one of her guests arrived at 6.15 – 15 minutes early, she was made to wait in the cold rather than being welcomed in with a glass of warm booze. I’d have put a brick through her window if she’d done that to me.

Stuart was another contestant, his menu evidence that he still inhabited the brain of a pissed student. The less said about his bacon and egg korma, the better, I feel.

He came equal last with Vera (the diner left out in the cold by that rotund bell-end, Pippa). Vera was a lovely old, no-nonsense boiler who, when making a compote, took some strawberry jam and added a bit of tap water. Genius. She was docked a whole heap of points when her little dog walked into the dining area, trumped out a killer fart and then waddled off, ruining everyone’s’ meal. Who needs words?

Paul should’ve won it. He made the best food, extremely well presented, but his bravado was probably his downfall. He ended up losing to Craig, a bizarre contradiction of a man. An androgynous student, South African but with an Etonian accent, part Prince Harry, part Mark Almond, I didn’t really know what or who he was. I think he managed to win by insisting he was allergic to everything including crockery, whilst confusing everyone to the point they could only see a disapproving blur when they looked at him.

He won the £1,000 prize but really, he’s the ultimate loser. He was bullied by a drunken Pippa into arranging a date, despite their 20-year age difference and obvious incompatibility. The thought of his skinny frame enveloped by her rolls of white flesh is quite enough to put anyone off their three-course dinner.