MasterChef USA / Reality TV

MasterChef’s MasterPlan: Is Reality TV Getting Smarter?


Is it any more of our business that Courtney Lapresi, season 5 winner of MasterChef USA, was a stripper than it is our business that Renee Zellweger changed her face?

“The show was fixed. The stripper won.”

After judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot chose Lapresi as the season 5 winner of MasterChef USA, which aired September 15, viewers virtually dragged her by her hair off of MasterChef’s social networking page and dumped her on the side of the road.

What bothered viewers most about Lapresi? For the past month, I’ve compiled random complaints from social networking sites until comments died down. Here is what disenchanted fans had to say:

“I have lost all respect for the MasterChef judges and if they show the same kind of favoritism on the next season, I will not watch it. Whenever Courtney smiled at them (which was always) the judges’ faces lit up like Christmas trees. It was the most disgusting season ever.”

This viewer gathered another interpretation as to what Courtney did for the judges other than smile:

“Courtney’s dessert was a joke. Can’t believe Joe sold out for a blow job from a coked out stripper.”

A male contestant was eliminated because:

“He probably wasn’t giving Joe a lap dance.”

Some fans pled for a change: is it in the MasterChef cards for one of the three male judges to be replaced by a female judge? This may be the elixir to stifle favoritism’s cough…but what if there were to be a male stripper or male model (or a topnotch literary author for some of us) for next season? Would a female judge have picked a man in six-inch heels or a best selling novelist to win?

Comments regarding Lapresi’s occupation grew worse:

“I guess the judges must have been private clients of Courtney’s in her naked dance acts at the gentleman’s club where she worked because that witch is horrendous!”


“Courtney go suck your stripper pole. Elizabeth is the real winner. Judges, what were you thinking?”

The answer to what the judges were thinking came in the form of this:

“The judges were all thinking with something other than their brain.”

Sisterhood surfaced somewhere, too:

“Females need to quit being so nasty and judgmental regarding other females. It would change the world.”

And a horrendous blend of anti-Semitism & misogyny:

“She’s not even good looking, that jew face and nose. Ugly lil cunt.”

Comments regarding the judges’ integrity seemed to conflict with comments that the show was scripted or fixed.

“Of course the show is scripted and rigged. ALL reality shows are. Very few “home chefs” could cook anything “on the fly” and know the correct terminology for these dishes.”

Good point. I’ve been baffled as to how anyone could suddenly whip up a stellar chocolate soufflé out of the blue without a recipe in front of them among other countless culinary masterpieces. Most dishes we’ve seen take professional chefs months to perfect.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: if each episode takes roughly three days to film at about 14 hours per day and only 45 minutes of footage are aired each week…what is happening the rest of the time?

Reality TV is supposed to be dramatic and entertaining, in other words, written to dupe the viewers into believing what off-the-wall behavior they are watching is real in order to hook them and garner ratings.

Elimination shows also garner the viewers’ emotions: you champion for an affable underdog, you weep for an eliminated frontrunner and in Laprisi’s case, hoards of people were left imbued with outrage and hate.

MasterChef wants to drill it home that these contestants are desperate to win the greatest culinary competition on the face of the planet, on the back of the planet, on the side of the planet, and future planets yet to come.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: the contestants chosen are touted as the “best home cooks in the country” when in reality, they are the best home cooks who turned up for the audition.

Then came the issue with the shoes:

“She (Lapresi) claims she had to strip to pay her bills…yet each and every pair of those Louboutins is $600+”

The response:

“$600+? maybe she had more Joes in her life before MC.”

But what’s in a shoe?

“Nobody is going to buy a cookbook from a stripper in heels…”

Was Lapresi’s appeal to pity convincing?

“Admit it, everyone is right, she played the “poor me” contestant but could still walk around in a different pair of expensive heels every week? Come now!”

So, what will Lapresi do with the quarter of a million bucks she won?

“She’s gonna buy higher heels for her stripper job!”

Either the person behind the camera who zoomed in on those Louboutins Lapresi wore on each episode had a.) a shoe fetish or b.) very good taste.

I won’t mention the episode where the camera honed in on a guest’s yellow pumps (which Lapresi’s glittery Louboutins seemed to mock.)

And what would comments be without the role-model paradigm? The blame game. The shaming of MasterChef by holding them responsible for hurling young minds into the gutter has become a requirement:

“My daughter is an aspiring chef…I have taught my children to work hard and do their best and you will be rewarded with a sense of accomplishment…Where is the honor in this?…What you have done is sad and quite infuriating….You should be ashamed…”

“After watching the finale and watching Courtney win, my son and I have decided never to watch this show again….”

Oh, and the words “hooker,” “prostitute,” “lap dance” and “dirty old men” surfaced in comments everywhere. A handful of viewers had taken the liberty to change Courtney’s name to “Cuntney.”

Bless the #FirstAmendment #RealityTV #ChristianLouboutin #Gentleman’sClubs

MasterChef set the stage for what passes as entertainment in America, where the platform for a squeaky-clean culinary competition got trampled on by muddy soles leaving traces of hate, sexism and cyber bullying from television viewers who have immersed themselves in one of America’s favorite pastimes.

“This competition is serious. You are fighting for your lives…”

What better way to repress the horrors taking place around the globe?

“No other contestant in all the seasons of MasterChef has gotten this much attention!”

No doubt picking Courtney Lapresi to win was a smart move. Although scores of fans vowed never to watch the show again, I wonder how many viewers will tune in next season to witness what character will lift the next MasterChef trophy. If the fan base increase since the season 5 finale on the show’s Facebook page is any indication, then I’d bet a lot.

What do you conclude?

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