Depressed beyond Wallace.
I hate to admit it, but I’ve had to give up on Masterchef.
It’s starting to make me feel sad.
Every time I tune in it feels as if I watching the last days of John and Gregg’s relationship. To my weary eyes it seems as if the dazzling spark that once existed between them like a freshly ignited bowl of Bananas Foster has slowly turned into a plate heaped with ashes.
Maybe it’s my own returning depression I’m seeing, but when I look into John Torode’s Droopy Dog face I see a man who has lost the smile that once danced in his pale blue eyes, whose interest in Gregg and his cockney antics has become muted to the point that he seems to barely tolerate the egg headed ingredients expert.
Perhaps it all happened when they seemed to trade bodies; it’s hard to believe now that he started lifting and rediscovered his angles but Gregg used to be the cuddly one in the couple.
John, on the other hand, has surrendered to the encroaching forces of middle-aged spread which cannot be hidden, even by his perfectly tailored sports jackets which I assume are something smart, like John Rocha at Debenhams.
Gregg is acutely aware that something is wrong.
He’s been trying desperately to win back John’s dwindling affections by exaggerating all the characteristics which made him so lovable to the Antipodean chef back during their honeymoon phase.
Unfortunately, he’s coming across as manic. I had to avert my eyes before Gregg turned up to the studio dressed as a Pearly King, pushing a barrow full of veg, and wildly barking “mate, that treacle sponge was like a hug in a bowl”.
Where Gregg once had a cheeky little swagger, he now has a blustering alpha male bravado; where he once lightly peppered his speech with the occasional cockney bon mot, he now drenches his dialogue with hammy catchphrases as if he’s a tired old prop comic, far from his eighties heyday, reduced to plying his trade on a third rate cruise ship.
Gregg has become the Über-Wallace, a heavily muscled cross-fit obsessed shadow of his former self.
In the early episodes of the latest series it seemed that when talking to the male contestants Gregg had traded his friendly avuncular approach for the sort of low-level testosterone laden ribbing you might expect from a group of ‘lads’ working in telesales, who thought The Wolf of Wall Street was an instructional handbook and that soaking oneself in Lynx Africa was an acceptable substitute for a thorough soap and showering.
Perhaps Gregg’s gym fixation has turned him into a rogue alpha? Were his hotel bar fisticuffs a portent of mild food bullying to come? Or, was his shirtiness with some of the amateur chefs just a means of displacing the heartache he was experiencing due to John’s inexplicable coldness?
Whatever the cause of it all may be, it’s clear that the magic is over. Torode’s love, once so readily apparent in the warm sideways glances he exchanged with Wallace, has been replaced with a veil of contempt for Gregg’s increasingly boorish behaviour.
It could be that John will soon follow Michel Roux Jr. and leave the sinking ship of Masterchef to pursue less emotionally taut endeavours.
There is, perhaps, a glimmer of hope for them if they can address whatever it is that has transpired between them.
It might just them spending some time away from each other’s company, Gregg on his fruit and veg stall, John in his Melbourne restaurant, for them to appreciate that apart they’re fairly unremarkable middle-aged men, but together, when they’re in the groove, they assemble like Voltron to make an unstoppable culinary killing machine.