The clock is always ticking on MasterChef.
The clock is always ticking on MasterChef. Photo Contributed

OPINION: Reality TV keeps the pressure on

A RECENT roster change has afforded me the opportunity to watch some of the more popular prime shows that make for so much water cooler conversation. I've tuned into see that at the moment people seem to be cooking or building - frantically.

Hands flail, brows furrow and conniptions are had as disasters befall contestants by the slimmest of margins or are narrowly averted as the soundtrack tempo quickens.

Why do so many come home from jobs with deadlines and time pressure only to subject themselves to more of it vicariously?

I can see the appeal of these shows; the subject matter is widely relatable, there are personal narratives to get invested in, a few celebs here and there and you can learn a nifty trick or two to apply at home.

But it's interesting to see the passion for the race-against-the-clock genre at a time when there seems to be a parallel shift towards pulling back on the pace.

Taking time out to focus on mindfulness is becoming increasingly popular (adult colouring books are a thing now), there's the slow food movement of course - could slow TV be next?

We wouldn't be the first to try it.

Somewhat unsurprisingly the Scandinavians are probably the best-known for taking the leisurely approach.

A few years ago Norwegian broadcasters NRK aired Hurtigruten Minute by Minute - an unedited five-day boat trip that was reportedly watched at some point by more than half the population.

Then there was the show about the steady process of building a large fire from scratch and burning it, not to mention the program featuring hours of knitting. And it was wildly popular.

But what would we watch?

Well, I suppose we could watch our own renovations - often slow enough. There's golf. And they already televise parliament... hmmm...

On second thoughts, bring on the upcoming elimination rounds.

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