Back to the future for My Kitchen RulesTV and Radio
My Kitchen Rules' first contestants Craig, left, and Kerrie in their Victorian home with judge Manu Feildel.
What is it?
The fourth season of the successful MKR franchise promises (in a booming doomsday voice-over) to shake things up by having "unexpected guests", in the form of two "gatecrashers", who promise to eliminate contestants one by one (even though it's a two-person team show), a new judge and dun-dun-dah eliminations at the end of the instant restaurants – meaning two teams from the 12 competing teams will not go on to compete in the My Kitchen Rules kitchen.
Of the 12 teams only six have been properly introduced so far.
Serving it up again: Manu Feildel (left) and Pete Evans, hosts of My Kitchen Rules.
Already there is catty gay-boy Jake from Queensland, who's ready to "bring it on moll" to whoever challenges his boastful knowledge of all things food, with his agreeable sister Elle in tow.
There are Indian-Bangladeshi Bobbsey twins, Jessie and Biswah, who aren't related but are easily mistaken as sisters and, in their own high opinions, the "true Spice Girls". Despite loving everything gold and Bollywood, they can't stand vegetables and too much food, which should make for interesting dishes.
We have Mick and Matt, the Tasmanian father and son team, who just come off as really nice blokes that haven't read much off a menu beyond fish and chips.
There are West Australian dating hipsters Josh and Andi, who are "chalk and cheese" in nature and secretly out to get everyone with their fence-sitting opinions, according to Jake.
While Lisa, of the South Australian dating duo with Italian Stefano, is also clearly in Jake's cat-like sights having earlier been called "moll", it was her limited-speaking boyfriend who provided most of the entertainment at the table because of his love of "goat", rather than the cheese they were eating.
Competing first were Victorian "high-school sweethearts" Kerrie and Craig, whose 50s physiques were cringingly introduced on the back of a scooter to a Leader of the Pack soundtrack. (There was no sign of the scooter when they later had to shop at the Queen Victoria Market for wallaby.)
While French judge Manu Feildel made Jessie and Biswah openly swoon (don't get too excited Manu, Stefano produced equally adoring commentary from the dress-up dolls), the show did little to win me over.
Yes there is enough personality in Jake alone to make for interesting, not to say bitchy, TV. But Kerrie and Craig were the feature couple last night and their dynamic was like watching a poorly-scripted Packed to the Rafters, with more "darls" than a chickpea curry festival. It would have been sadly comedic if Jane Turner's Kath Day-Knight and Glenn Robbins' Kel Knight hadn't already beaten them to the punch in Kath & Kim.
Although I watched the episode hoping for something new, I was instead transported back to Circa '75, with terrible fake afro wigs, lava lamps and disco balls. Kerrie and Craig's instant restaurant, named after the year that they met and fell in love, though successful score-wise, only served to provide the theme for this season's MKR – full of poor-taste stereotypes.
With Jessie and Biswah clearly chosen for their Vernesa Toroman and Sophie Kalantzis (from the The Shire) appeal, and Jake being the younger version of last season's Dr Evil (Peter Hamilton), and who wouldn't be out of place starring in The Only Way is Queensland, the show reeked of television selling the same product over again like Back to the Future sequels.
But unlike Michael J. Fox, I could not escape in my retrofitted DeLorean DMC-12.
Although it has only been the first episode, if Pete Evans' joke is anything to go by there isn't much "Stayin' Alive" for me in this show.
In a sentence: British darling of cookery, Delia Smith, would make an appropriate judge.
Best bit: Realising that Puberty Blues meant 1970s insults were back in fashion.
Worst bit: Aside from Evans' "Stayin' Alive" joke, that this bunches' cooking or plating techniques could ever size-up to MasterChef: The Professionals.
Worth watching again: Not sure. All I know is that Back to the Future II still managed to become Back to the Future III.
Grade: Two "darls" out of 10.