Two Australian shows, three nights of television. Which reality veteran wins?
New seasons of reality favourites Masterchef Australia and Big Brother Australia have hit New Zealand screens, posing a quandary for reality fans. Both shows are screening live-to-air at the same time, Sunday to Tuesday (Masterchef also screens on Wednesday), creating a dramatic head-to-head reality battle that we’ve not seen since the giddy days of 2019.
The world is full of dangerous choices, and maybe one day someone will invent technology that lets us watch television when and where we want. Until that crazy pipe dream comes true (tell it to the robot dog driving your flying car, Judy Jetson), we’re pitting these two reality juggernauts against each other – using Sunday’s premiere episodes as our guide – to discover which is worthy of your attention in that absolutely hectic 7.30pm night slot.
In one corner sits Big Brother Australia, the original social experiment that has evolved into the TV love child of Australian Ninja Warrior, Survivor and Love Island. Twenty strangers move into a house together, their every move monitored by cameras and microphones, but this year there’s no public voting, housemates decide the eliminations, and in shocking news, nobody did a bum dance in the first episode.
In the other corner is Masterchef Australia: Back to Win. This season features three new judges and 24 chefs who previously competed on the show, who definitely know the difference between a teaspoon and a tablespoon and can do things with balloons and melted chocolate that will blow your mind. They can probably even whip up the Pool Cake from the Australian Women’s Weekly birthday recipe book, and make it look good. I know. Geniuses.
Who will win the battle of the 7:30pm timeslot, and who will be left crying into a delicious bowl of their own salty tears? Forget the ratings, ignore the science – in these troubled times we prefer ridiculous criteria and meaningless results. Happy days.
Best use of potatoes: Masterchef
I tip my spud hat to Masterchef for knowing that scalloped potatoes make everything better. Imagine if Simon Dallow ate some during the six o’clock news, or they got a shout-out during the 1pm Ashley Bloomfield Show, or if The Floor is Lava replaced the lava with a bubbling sea of golden, cheesy carbohydrates. Winston should campaign about it. This is the sort of shit that swings a vote.
Best balls: Masterchef
Masterchef’s food balls slapped up against Big Brother’s ball challenge, but tasty balls will always win. It’s the law.
Most alarming one liner: Masterchef’s shat-gate
OMGordon Ramsay, who told a surprised Masterchef contestant they looked like they “just shat an egg roll”. Shat, as we live and breathe! Shat, on Sunday night television! You’d never get that on Country Calendar.
Best use of a spoon: Big Brother
I know what you’re thinking, because as far as spoons go, this should be no contest. Alas, this is not a spoon democracy, and because nobody on Masterchef had the wisdom to smack two spoons together and add a disco beat, Big Brother Ian’s snazzy spoon instrumental takes the win.
Strongest commitment to social distancing, even though it was filmed before social distancing was a thing: Masterchef
Elbow bumps all round.
Most emotional moment: Big Brother’s Angela has no tea
Cooking is emotional. My kids cry every time I cook, probably for different reasons than the Masterchef contestants, who were bought to tears by a delicious crab curry and a fancy pudding with red sprinkles. It was poignant, but not as powerful as when Angela realised there are no teabags in the Big Brother house. It’s a moment too raw to relive, but let’s just say it was the shat-shock situation all over again.
Best tactics: Masterchef
The gameplay and strategy of Big Brother is fine, but Masterchef rules supreme for its strong moral compass. Their chefs want to win with antiquated concepts like “talent” and “hard work” but let’s see how that goes. I mean, look at this eclair, it didn’t even come out of a packet.
Best use of dry ice: Big Brother
Masterchef loves mucking about with bowls of dry ice, but Big Brother is out the dry ice gate without a safety glove to be seen. It’s like a tsunami of dry ice in there. Save yourselves.
Tensest moment: Big Brother
Masterchef’s Jess couldn’t get her dessert petals to look right and Poh forgot to add chilli powder, but nothing was tenser than Big Brother’s footage of “Adelaide’s worst driver” Keiran try to change from first to second while driving over a roundabout.
Overall Winner: Big Brother Australia, mostly because someone said “pupates” on reality TV
But Masterchef Australia will warm the cockles of your wintry heart, so you know, watch what you like.
Masterchef AU airs at 7pm on Sunday nights and 7:30pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Big Brother AU airs at 7:30 Sunday through Tuesday nights.
Subscribe to Rec Room a weekly newsletter delivering The Spinoff’s latest videos, podcasts and other recommendations straight to your inbox.