Are there too many cooking shows on TV?
In the UK this week (wc 9th Dec) from Monday to Sunday on the main 5 channels – BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 – there is a total of 37.5 hours of time dedicated to specific cooking/food based shows, that equates to over 8% out of all the available 455 TV hours between 9am and 12 Midnight this week. However a significant amount of these 37.5 hours are prime time slots which makes the impact more significant. The 37.5 hrs also do not take into account any time spent covering cooking & food within non cookery based chat shows which is also significant.
Do you know what time this week has been dedicated to TV Shows on training, encouraging exercise, inspiring people to exercise, showing them how to exercise for a better lifestyle?
Nil, 0, Non, Zilch,Nothing !
Oh well you may say that’s because we don’t need it, you may think we in the UK are a pretty fit nation, walk down an average high street and you expect to see people everywhere buzzing with energy, great complexions, fit as fiddles, glowing like Ready brek ambassadors (don’t eat that by the way it’s crap). Well if you still think that, you’re just a plain and simple moron!
On the high street, you are now more likely to see a young girl, shuffling over the cobbles, looking like she has had a bad day working in the Orange section of a local dye (DIE) factory, having just eaten the top shelf at Sayers and is (with hands of an Orangutan) trying to pull what seems to be a pair of curtains up her backside to cover up a thong which you could tie up a Shire Horse with.
It is a shame, it is an outcry – her life is just beginning and she is not looking good for the long haul but she is no expert she goes with the flow, she watches the TV – this is her first time on this planet and she needs help, even if she doesn’t know it yet.
Yes this snapshot is just one week of TV and a week near to Christmas I hear you cry but look, there always seems some reason for the mass poliferation of cooking shows to be aired and some of the most watched prime time shows like The Great British Bake Off & Master Chef are not on this week (apart from the odd non prime time repeat), imagine the weekly figure for when these are on in their full glory.
I like food, I like eating it, most people do but I am bored sick of looking at what to watch and seeing a deluge of cookery based programs. This sunami of seasoned cookery TV time is mental. Do you think advertising works? Do you think sublimianal messages work? Do you think there is a huge industry which expolits it? Do you think the immensily powerful food corporations have a say on what is put on TV? Do you think they pay for a high percentage of all advertising?
I think most people unless they have been in the wilderness for the last 100 years know the answer (if you have then the answer is YEY HOW YA, YES).
What do you think is the effect of a large section of the general public being constantly exposed to this, on subjects like how to make the best cake, pie, chocolate pudding etc etc ?
When you watch a food show you get hungry it is a primeval instinct, it makes you think more about food, regardless of when you last had a meal you feel like you have not eaten for a week.. salivating over the screen watching your favourite delight come to life like some rabid dog. Hey one day TV’s will be able to produce scent and then your room will fill with the smell of freshly baked bread when a relevant advert / show comes on and then we are all truly knackered (as no one likes the smell of sweat). I say all, because even for the fitter / healthier ones which resist, they will be forced to pay into / deal / contribute, to the ever escalating obesity epedemic (it is not a problem, it is an epidemic by the way). Wonder if the advertisers / food corps will pay into the NHS slush fund to compensate proportionately.
Listen, I am not being a kill joy, I know we all need to know how to make the perfect meringue! Just balance it out a little, Come Dine With Me is fantastic entertainment and much of the stuff they make puts you off food which is great, but where is the output, the energy expenditure, the inspiration to do something physical coming from? People are becoming highly desensitied to excessive food intake and this is a big problem.
We don’t need to be encourgaed to eat more, people are pretty good at that, it is a natural survival instinct, just that the average data inputter doesn’t require the calories of an Arctic Explorer to do a days work in the UK.
Now is it a chicken and egg scenario ? Do people watch these shows because:
A. They really do love them?
B. They are just better than the alternative shows on offer?
C. They were forced (a long time ago), by a lack of alternative, to watch these shows and/or their favourite celeb involved with cooking and they now think they do or do love them?
D. Various combinations of the above?
How would the real TV watching masses tell the commissioners that they want to see more training / healthy living advice shows if there are NO exciting ones to switch over to in PRIME TIME – they are prevented from voting with their feet. Are they so into their bad habits that they do like the shows and don’t really want to move away from them without a significant pull? Do people know what is good for them? How do you know what you are missing out on when you can’t imagine how good a show is, which actually doesn’t exist yet. It is a complex question as there are many variables but my simple view is this, commissioners need to take the lead, they need to lead with interesting, entertaining and engaging EXERCISE INSPIRING formats which will start to balance this out even just a little, it can be a lot more exciting, it can have celebs, it can be very funny, it can be highly entertaining, it can be everything you want it to be, but rather than watching an oven and a steaming plate of brown gue come to life, you can watch something a bit more inspirational and something which will help save your life.
There is a moral and very important societal obligation to change this situation for the better, the powers that be, those that have the influence to make a difference need to make the first step. That is, if we don’t want to be increasingly surrounded with cake eating, pie wrapping, soup gargaling masses, being inspired to make the perfect filling or the smoothest cheese sauce all the way to an early grave.
When was the last time a perfect Cake mix made you want to go out and achieve more, feel alive, take control of your health, look better, feel better, do better?
If you can make this perfect Cake mix, I promise you, you will look and feel great, you will radiate energy and be a better person all round, just watch, learn, eat and repeat and when you have mastered that we will move (on a forklift) onto mastering all that is PIE 😉
Or will the huge food providing, media influencing advertisers/corporations continue to have their way until forced government intervention takes over, which by the way will be too late for any adults reading this and probably too late for your children reading this too (life expectancy has reached a peak and is now dropping in the UK, your children are no longer expected to live as long as you will). Obesity is one of the main reasons for this trend or to put it another way, TOO MUCH CAKE and not enough EXERCISE! It is an outrage that with modern medicine and technology this is now happening.
Commissioners – the viewers aren’t going to suddenly all switch to Police Camera Action and expect you to pick up on ‘the desire to be more active vibe’ you need to take the lead.
The cheap option is just to swap some of the cookery shows to constant reruns of early Rocky films, to encourage even the most bulbus couch potato off his/her ass, away from the The Great British Master kitchen and into the vauge relms of doing some exercise, even if it is punching the air or a neighbour. I know the advertisers won’t go for it.. so at least make an exciting fitness / exercise inspiring show or two instead.
P.S Mass spectator sports such as Football don’t count. A very very low percentage of TV spectators are actively playing, training or even inspired to start changing their lifestyle for the better as a result of watching it.
Rocky has a far better effect.