There sat the three of us in the loungeroom, air mattress beneath us, and an array of pillows sitting around us. My 10 year old neighbour ‘Grace’, 7 year old sister ‘Jade’, and 9 year old self, excited to commence our movie marathon of chick flicks selected for our school holiday sleepover. However, this could only commence after we had finished watching the first ever MasterChef Australia Grand Final.
2009 held the first MasterChef Australia series attracting an average of 3,745,000 viewers throughout the series. The series intrigued both of our families, symbolising a routinely viewing in which we sit with the members of our family on weeknights to watch the 60 minute episodes at 7.30pm. Therefore, watching the grand finale was an integral part of our sleepover plans for that night.
After eating what I classify the best lasagne in the world (my mum’s lasagne) for dinner, we threw on our pyjamas and rushed to set up our little fort in the loungeroom. Along came 7.20pm and we prepared ourselves with a bowl of strawberry clouds, and sour straps which sat infront of us as we anxiously sat waiting. Being the arrogant young girls we were we kicked my mum, dad, and brother out of the loungeroom, making them watch the finale in the rumpus room.
Even though us three girls never put the skills learnt on the show to practice we were engrossed by the shows memoir over the past 10 weeks, which we shared with our families. These memories embarked on the relationships built between the contestants and our family members within the series.
But why did we as young girls still feel the need to watch the finale even without our families physical presence?
The nostalgia associated with MasterChef was an integral part of this question. Watching this show each weeknight for the past 10 weeks brought together our families and held many memories. Even though we disclosed no interest in recreating the dishes prepared throughout the series we all had our favourite personalities in the series meaning we could not miss the finale and forget about them. These memories made the finale an integral viewing, even in the midst of our sleepover party. The article ‘A normative study of family media habits’ accentuates the value of family time in front of a television with the quote “Family members interact with each other and with the television, both individually and as a family unit”(Gentile & Walsh 2001 p.158), highlighting the emotional connection our families shared with the television show.
8.55pm approached and we sat eagerly for the announcement of the winner.
Who would it be… Poh or Julie???
Grace and Jade both wanted Poh to win, whereas, I wanted Julie to win as her cooking reminded me of my mothers.
Feeling victorious as Matt Preston slowly revealed the winner, I found myself running around the house letting everyone know of how proud I was that I had picked the winner ‘Julie Goodwin’.
The episode finished and we watched the balloons fall and plummet all over the two grand finalists. My neighbour reached right for our home telephone to call her household and hear their initial reaction of the finale’s results.
Simultaneously viewing television shows offer a ready opportunity to share the same experiences (Kubey 1990, pp.320-321). MasterChef brought together both my neighbours, and my own family, indicating a time we gathered together to review and enjoy a television series.
EyewitnessTVPresentation, 2017, ‘Channel Ten – MasterChef Australia: Top 24 & MasterClass Openers (Season 1) ’, online video, 25 October, Youtube, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idspo-jcLWI>
Gentile, D Walsh, D 2001, ‘A normative study of family media habits’, Applied Developmental Psychology, vol 23, no.2, p.158
Kubey, R 2009, ‘Television and the quality of family life’, Communication Quarterly, vol 38, no.4, pp.320-321
Raver, R 2009, ‘MasterChef Australia – Julie Crowned The Winner – Surprised?’, Reality Ravings, weblog post, published 19 July, <http://www.realityravings.com/2009/07/19/masterchef-australia-julie-crowned-the-winner-surprised/>
Triangle Cart, 2018, X-Treme Candy Sour Straps Strawberry, image, Triangle Cart,<https://trianglecart.com/product/x-treme-candy-sour-straps-strawberry/>
Woolworths, 2018, Chunky Funkeez Strawberry Clouds 190g, image, Woolworths, <https://www.woolworths.com.au/shop/productdetails/729084/chunky-funkeez-strawberry-clouds>