TV Club: MasterChef Junior: “Grandad Gordon”

When it first began, MasterChef Junior was a huge surprise. No one expected a show about child cooks to have the kind of crossover appeal that it has had. Back during the first season, my friends and I tuned in expecting a trainwreck. Next thing we knew, we were hosting weekly watch parties—complete with a MasterChef Junior drinking game—and rooting loudly for our favorites (Sarah—always Sarah). In all its sweetness, MasterChef Junior wasn’t like any other competition series on television. It maintains that singularity within the genre, like last week when Jimmy broke all the rules of reality series by saying he did come here to make friends. But based on how the current season has unfolded, I’m started to wonder if MasterChef Junior has lost its ability to surprise.

Most competition series have their tells. During the audition rounds of American Idol, if a …

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