‘Top Chef: Masters’ Celebrates The Communal Nature Of Art

After Project Runway bolted to Lifetime in 2009, Top Chef became Bravo’s signature reality competition series. As such, the network has sought to capitalize on the show’s popularity by creating various spinoffs, such as the sweet-tooth confection Top Chef: Just Desserts or the recent Life After Top Chef. Arguably the noblest entry in this cavalcade of successors, however, is Top Chef: Masters, which follows a format similar to the original show but features contestants who are already well- … [Read more...]

Reality TV: Making Western Civilization Smarter and Better?

I hate reality TV. Yes, there may be some "reality" shows with redeeming values, but on the whole, I find it represents a nadir of entertainment. It encourages and celebrates narcissistic, sociopathic, and unconscionable behavior in its subjects, and through shrewd manipulation (i.e., editing), makes it easy for viewers to develop a sense of smug self-righteousness as we watch the drama unfold before us.But not everyone agrees with me. For example, anthropologist Grant McCracken believes th … [Read more...]