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 Finale.
Image (Left to Right): Myself, Grace (neighbour), Jade (Sister)
2009 held the first MasterChef Australia 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.
Youtube Video: For a trip down memory lane watch the 2009 Masterchef Intro
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 memoir bestowed from the past 10 weeks. These memories comprised of 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 our families together. Even though we disclosed no interest in recreating the dishes throughout the series we all had our favourite personalities suggesting we could not miss the finale and forget about them. The show was “a space for institutionalized practices of intervention’– notably, media education, parental mediation and devolved content regulation” (Luke, 1990, p.282) as it was a program which informed it’s audience of new cooking skills.
Our shared 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 communal 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.
Image (Left to Right): Grace (neighbour), Myself, Jade (sister)
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 quickly for our home telephone to call her household so that she could hear their initial reaction of the finale results.
Simultaneously viewing television offers a ready opportunity to share the same experiences (Kubey 1990, p.321). MasterChef brought together both my neighbours, and my own family, indicating a time we gathered together to review and enjoy a television series. Even though current studies show signs of technological determinism surrounding television through the; displacement of reading, exercise, and social isolation (Barker & Petley, 2001), my experience perceived the television as a meaningful place within ‘the family’.
Barker, M, & Petley, J 2001, Ill Effects: The Media/Violence Debate (2nd Edition ed.), New York City, New York: Routledge
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
Luke, C 1990, Constructing the Child Viewer: A History of the American Discourse on Television and Children, 1950-1980, New York: Praeger Publishers, p.282
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/>
Verjoustinsky, S 2009, image
Woolworths, 2018, Chunky Funkeez Strawberry Clouds 190g, image, Woolworths, <https://www.woolworths.com.au/shop/productdetails/729084/chunky-funkeez-strawberry-clouds>