Mother and son: Maria and Carlo Cimono. Photo: Supplied
What a bunch of cry babies. Night after night, the tears are flowing fast and a little too freely on our TV screens.
From a would-be master chef sobbing over a crumbed croquette that has failed to emerge intact from the deep fryer to a pretty blonde on Big Brother who appears to have gone through the gamut of a romantic relationship in less than six hours, Australian television is riddled with blubbering nincompoops.
There have been so many emotional breakdowns on MasterChef this year that it is difficult to single out one above the other. That said, Lynton splattered in mashed potato did give a pretty good show when he burst into tears, only to show up George Calombaris as lacking in the empathy stakes when the judge continued to bark at the poor sod when he was clearly a little the worse for wear.
Evidently, George is about as compassionate as ''den mother'' Charlotte Dawson over on Australia's Next Top Model.
Fellow MasterChef contestant Emma delivered an outstanding meltdown during a recent lunch delivery challenge in Melbourne, which managed to fill the show's producers with joy.
Emma, who was team captain, came unstuck when her teammate Samira screwed up on the wonton count. I know, can you imagine?
Emma clearly felt it was her fault and was reduced to a great slobbering mess of tears and unintelligible mumblings, wailing loudly and tossing in her tea towel as her prawn wontons went cold.
But just as the music tempo went from tragic drama to cheeseball cheery, Emma managed to pull herself together and got the wontons delivered. What a trouper.
The combination of a hot oven, messy mixing bowls and a narky judge would appear to provide the perfect storm when it comes to getting tears out of reality TV contestants. Channel Nine's MasterChef ripoff, The Great Australian Bake Off, has been delivering Logie-worthy tears during the past few weeks as contestants go into meltdown over a ''poor crumb'' and judge Kerry Vincent's laser-like death stare. Whatever Vincent is ''packing'' in that velvet Alice band (kryptonite perhaps?) it must be incredibly toxic, because when she is wearing it she can reduce a man to tears in seconds over the merits, or lack thereof, of a sponge.
Formal Wars has been something of a rare find since it launched on Channel Seven. The format is basically a camera crew following around two teenage girls as they prepare for their high school formal, the catch being their mothers have all the decision-making power when it comes to the dress, hair, make-up … and the date.
Now, as any parent can attest, there are no tears like the tears of a pubescent princess. The combination of a hormone-charged temper tantrum and a mother who would rather use the money to buy her daughter a new mattress than a pair of stripper-style heels makes for compelling viewing.
And it would seem grown men are as much of a handful, especially over on Please Marry My Boy, where mothers of such must try to find their dateless sons a would-be bride. The motivation for going on this show would seem mostly genuine from the point of view of the mothers. They come in all shapes, sizes and demographics, but are as one in their quest to find their sons appropriate partners.
This year we've seen devout Christian mother Doreen Secomb mortified by the behaviour of the ''fitness model'' who is beguiling her son with her feminine charms. Doreen must endure video footage of her son slobbering over his potential suitors.
Needless to say, jacuzzi-cam has been responsible for many a mother's tear on the show.
But possibly the most heart-wrenching performance belongs to Maria, mother of Carlo Cimino, who has delivered one of the most memorable performances on Australian television for some time.
It would seem Maria is more disappointed with the antics of the women competing for her 41-year-old son's affections than Carlo, especially when one of them asks if her ''boy'' would relocate to be with her. You can almost feel the pain she is going through as she watches the secret video footage of her son's dates. At one point Maria, clutching a sodden hanky, tears streaming down her cheeks, looks down the barrel of the camera to tell the world, ''My heart, it's a broken … it's a no good.''
Maria, we feel your pain.