THIS episode of MKR, set on the highly sponsored seas, is about two things and two things only:
1. Contractually obligated establishing shots of a cruise ship.
2. PRAWN WARS. As Josh, Tyson and the Amy's fight to see who can cook the best prawn. It's the No Love Boat, guest-starring:
Because you can't spell 'PRAWN' without 'WAR'. Or 'RAW', but that last one won't be a problem, will it Josh?
On the battleground today, teams must make and serve canapés to cruise passengers on deck within an hour, using a hotplate and grill fuelled only by the slightly warm breath of a baby sparrow.
"I'm absolutely ecstatic", enthuses Josh. "Back in the ocean, where we belong". Most viewers would agree with him. A big, deep, ocean.
It seems as good a time as any to prepare ourselves for Prawn Wars by checking what Josh and Amy say about their abilities on the MKR website team profile page:
Let's see how that pans out.
Lots of other things happen in this episode - Kyle has trouble getting something hot for the first time in his life, Betty and David use the word "poke" in a non-Facebook context for the first time in their lives, and popular-vote winners Della and Tully tell us their finger-based secret to knowing when a steak is cooked.
But that other stuff pales in the shadow of Prawn Wars, or its subtitle: Striving Towards Meh.
The war focuses on the boys, leaving the Amys to fiddle with accompaniments and make facial expressions. The blokes enter the war with a nice bit of trash-talking to camera.
"Josh has always talked about being a king of seafood, so our goal is to try and beat Josh" opens Tyson, countered by "Amy and Tyson's prawn dish sounds pretty average" from Josh's corner. The lads undergo a towel-down while an ambulance is called after the brutality of the exchange.
The battle continues as Josh decides that round two is about how quickly each warrior can peel prawns.
"Hey how many you got done there, Tyson?" inquires Josh, using his customary crisp and accurate diction.
"Yeah good mate, you?" responds Tyson, as onlookers flinch squeamishly.
By the time the prawns (the pawns in this game) hit the grill it looks like Tyson is ahead. His prawns: fleshy, plump and pink.
Josh's prawns: burnt, shrivelled, and sad.
The score almost evens out in the middle of this majestic tournament when left-hand Amy realises her polenta isn't going to crisp up so Plan B of soft polenta must be activated, a strategy I think first used in the Battle of Hastings. Meanwhile Josh blames right-hand Amy's marinade for making the prawns char, a strategy I recognise from the playground at my primary school.
"I like that burnt garlic taste" says Josh, reminding everyone of the time Hitler said "Let's get married in a bunker, Eva, everything will be fine".
When the show's food stylists - like the Hawkeye and B.J. of this war - patch up the two dishes for the fancy photographs, there's not a lot between them, to be honest.
But you can tell a fair bit by looking at Colin's face during judging. When Colin tries Tyson and Amy's prawn and says "there's nothing off-putting about this dish" - surely the highest accolade a chef can hope for - he makes this face:
Whereas when he tries Josh and Amy's prawn and says "Ba-bowwwwww" like it's a dud answer on Family Feud, he makes this face:
By the time the judges announce their findings, Josh's enthusiasm for Prawn War still can't be dampened. "Standing in front of Pete and Colin today, I'm not as nervous as I usually am", he says. "I'm in my element here. I see the ocean, and I feel like anything they say can't wipe the smile off my face".
Anything they say like, for example, Tyson and Amy cooked their prawns beautifully?
Anything they say like, oh, I don't know - you're one of the lowest scorers and you have to cook in sudden death?
He's fine though, you guys. Josh is fine. So fine that when Colin raves about Della and Tully's beef and nori butter dish and says he does a version of the same dish himself, Josh accuses them of cheating and plagiarism.
Josh. Honey. You cooked Thai prawns with vermicelli noodles. If I throw a pebble in any direction from my backyard I can hit three different takeaway joints that make the same thing.
Grow up, Josh. Being a sore loser is like being a burnt prawn: Nobody likes it much.
Jo Thornely is a writer who loves it when you explain her jokes back to her on Twitter. Follow her @JoThornely
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