The Winner’s Edit

Making the Audience Love the Winner

I know exactly who is going to win this season of Survivor. Well, I think that I know. He’s not the person that I like the best, hell, he’s not even the most deserving, but the way that this season has been edited has lead me to believe that ol’ Excitable Jon is taking home the million. Ol’ Excitable Jon that thinks he’s a wine connoisseur. Ol’ Excitable Jon, who will vote with whoever talked to him right before tribal. He just gets excited, that guy. He goes hard and falls hard. Ol’ Excitable Jon, whose girlfriend can’t bear children but “he will still love her anyway.”

He’s not the worst person to ever play the game, nor the best. He isn’t particularly annoying (he doesn’t spit and fart like Wes) and he isn’t socially clever (like Jeremy or Natalie or Reed) but he has been in the right place at the right time often enough to make it to the final seven. It helps that Jon and his girlfriend Jaclyn are playing together, and they often become the “swing vote.” It helped that Natalie told Jon to play his immunity idol on the vote that would have sent him home. (He wouldn’t have played it otherwise.) And yet, despite his mediocre gameplay and vanilla personality, Jon has had a ton of screen time this season. It’s what we Survivor fans (the type of fans that take to message boards of pop culture websites) call “the Winner’s Edit.”

What’s “the Winner’s Edit”? Well, it varies on every reality show. As the phrase “winner’s edit” suggests, the editors (and producers) of the TV show have cut the existing footage to favour the ultimate winner. Why do they do this? Because at the end of the season, the viewers need to be satisfied with the last episode. Can we believe X won Big Brother? If we can’t, the whole season seems like a waste of time. Continue reading

Top Chelf

This blog has waxed poetic about TV cooking competitions, the granddaddy of them all being Top Chef. An effective milieu of sport, food, back stabbing, emotional dressing down, smack talk, and ridicule. If you add 1989 wrestling and loose-fitting cardigans it would have all of my favourite things. But it does well on its own. It’s one of the shows I still watch “live” and I have to cook along with it. As I have to eat when the judges are eating, watching it having already eaten, or to eat later in the day just seems wrong. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Toast will suffice. But you better finish in time. Continue reading

Email Roundtable #23 – Q&A

In this edition of the Email Roundtable we each asked a TV related fantasy question. We also got some special guests to weigh in!

Jane asked: Which TV character would you pick to be your real life best friend and why?

Steph: I had a really hard time with this one…but i’m gonna go with Joan Harris from Mad Men. As snappy as she sometimes is with other women, I’ve seen some genuine lady bonding from her. I think she’s a good listener, blunt and fearless with advice giving, and an all around good time. She has a sense of humour and incredible style. Borrowing clothes and swapping juicy stories over Old Fashioned’s–sign me up! Mind you, I don’t think anyone else could ever wear a Joan Harris dress and not disappear into the bossom’s netherworld.

Graeme: I was going to pick someone cool like Raylan Givens from Justified but then I realized 1. he only cares about his job and 2. everyone close to him is targeted by the mob to be murdered. So I’ll go with ALF. Fuzzy, funny, sarcastic aliens are awesome.

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Email Roundtable #19 – Reality TV Homework Challenge

Remember two weeks ago when I assigned us some homework? No? Well, I did. I asked us to find a reality show that was interesting/different so that we could attempt to discuss them. The assignment was entirely selfish but hopefully the shows below interest some of you too!

David Chang

What is the name of the reality show you discovered?

Kerri: The Mind of a Chef

What is the show all about?

Kerri: It’s a bit of a cheat to pick a cooking show for this reality show challenge but hear me out: The Mind of a Chef is ostensibly a cooking show that aired on PBS in late 2012. Continue reading

Email Roundtable #17 – Smorgasbord

This week I thought we’d attempt to discuss three questions that have been on my mind recently.

1.) What are your thoughts on the way Netflix rolled out the first 13 episodes of House of Cards, releasing them all at the same time? Do you think things like this will become the norm? 


Jane: I remember when first hearing about House of Cards, I thought the idea was kind of strange. I guess it makes sense though. Television seems so immediately available now, be it through streaming, PVR or downloading.

Katie: It’s what the people want, right? Getting a new show all at once must be like the first time Charles Dickens published a book all at one time. “Awesome! I don’t have to wait!!!!”

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Television: An Apology

I watch a lot of television—by my calculations too much. This wasn’t always the case. For the majority of the last 15 years I did not own a television. That all changed two years ago when my fiancée and I bought a nice big television. We bought the television because, well, it would be a hell of a lot nicer to watch than the both of us trying to cram in front of the laptop. This is not to say that I did not watch TV for fifteen years, only most of my TV viewing was restricted to what I could rent at the video store or download or stream when it became more prevalent. “So what’s the problem?” you may ask yourselves. If the existence of this blog is any indication, we live in an era when some of the best TV shows in history are being made.  I strongly believe this to be true. We also, however, live in an era when more TV shows are being made than in any time in the past. For every Girls there is a Honey Boo-Boo; every Treme a Pawn Stars. The problem becomes, not that I now own a television but rather, that I now have cable to go along with the television—and extremely shitty viewing habits. Continue reading

Email Roundtable #10 – A Few of Our Favorite Things of 2012 – Part 2

In the interest of it being a particularly busy time of the year and because it is also the time of year for lists we thought we would forego our regularly scheduled Email Roundtable. Instead, we have each asked each other about a few of our favourite things from 2012. We attempt to discuss those things here. **Warning: this article probably contains spoilers**

Jane asks Kerri: What was your favorite challenge on a Reality Show this year? 

I really had to think about this one as I really don’t watch all that many reality shows these days. However, I do think that the way that the current season of Top Chef began was pretty brilliant. Continue reading

Food on TV, and a love letter to Alton Brown

While watching my fiftieth or so episode of Good Eats, I realized that I had never once prepared a recipe shown on the show. Same for Chef at Home, Top Chef, Iron Chef America…  It was delicious entertainment. But I felt guilty. Should I be cooking along? Or is it okay to sit back and enjoy the view?

For me, the pleasure I get from watching cooking shows is watching a professional create something beautiful from something simple. The chef takes ingredients and procedures that I understand, and from those known elements the chef produces a dish I don’t quite understand. Yeah, I “understand” how to brown butter for a sauce, but I don’t get why it’s so goddamn delicious.

It’s magic as far as I know. I have proof that it’s magic, as I have watched on multiple occasion my brother, a chef, create the same delicious sorcery in plain view. I see what’s happening but don’t quite “get it.” This experience is replicated daily in the relationship between television chef and home cook.

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Email Roundtable #7 – The Fantasy Reality Edition

In this “all-game” version of the Roundtable we attempt to discuss the reality shows we would like to be on. 

(Disclaimer: during this Roundtable, Jane was having some email issues but still, as always, did a wonderful job).

Kerri: Thanks for the suggestion for this Roundtable, Katie. In keeping with the reality show theme, I think we will make this an all-game version of the Roundtable (of course, we will still have our regular shout outs at the end). The first part of the game is (per Katie’s suggestion): which reality show, past or present, would you like to be on or think you would do well on? 

Katie: I have a lot of answers to this question, so please bear with me. The first is a game show, and it is the easiest game show on TV: Wheel. Of. Fortune!! I would love to be on Wheel because I know that I would dominate. It is so easy to win a lot of money and the contestants never really seem that smart.

Kerri: Personally, I would kill to be a judge on Top Chef. I know that’s kind of cheating. But, I mean, really? Would there be a better job? Or, better yet, a judge on Top Chef Masters.

Speaking of which, I’m enjoying the new season of Top Chef quite a lot so far. They have been shaking things up a bit, which is great and they came up with an ingenious idea to pick the contestants at the start of the season. I like!

Katie: To properly answer the question, I think I would do well at Big Brother. Being good at physical challenges isn’t much of an advantage, so I’m good there. Also, I consider myself a pretty good listener – so in a house full of loudmouths I feel I would do ok. The biggest problem would be the smell of 12 adult humans living in a small house. I’m pretty sure the smell would get to me. I can’t stand dirty people.

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