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Because I don’t tend to watch TV Guide Channel at all – as in ever – unless it’s entirely by accident, I happily had very little idea there was such a programme as TV’s Biggest Blunders, much less TV’s Biggest Blunders 2, which was apparently transmitted back in September of 2011. So naturally it came as quite a shock to me a few days ago that I’d inadvertently punched in the wrong numbers on my remote and tuned in this channel completely by mistake thinking it was something else.

fn-rachel-colemanEven more shocking than stumbling blindly upon TV’s Biggest Blunders 2 was seeing the face of Rachel Coleman, bestowed with the title of ‘Pop Culture Blogger,’ staring back at me through her Fearless Fly glasses. Though at least one of you three may recall, please bear with me whilst I explain: back in, I believe, January of 2010 – or two years ago for those of you playing along at home – our young Rachel was a contestant on series 1 of Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America where she was then described as a ‘Marketing Website Editor’ hailing from Brooklyn, New York, and whom, toiling under the spikey white-bleached tutelage of Chef Anne Burrell, not only went from ‘kitchen zero to kitchen hero’ as winner of the competition, but also claimed a prize of $25,000 for her trouble.

A teary-eyed and devastated Jenny Cross, my hoped-for choice for the win, went off empty-handed to become a spokesmodel for Cupcake Provocateur. Her mentor, Chef Beau MacMillan, went on not to be on the follow-up series and also not the winner of series 4 of The Next I-ron Chef just a few weeks ago.

I suppose what shocked me most was wondering just how Rachel had got the status of Knowledgeable Television Authority™ when, as far as I could tell, she’d only been on a programme about bad home cooks a couple of years before. I have no desire at all to begrudge someone their fifteen minutes, but this sudden relative stardom seems to me as inexplicable as just how Mo Rocca and Brad Goreski are famous for being geeky and wearing comically large glasses. Is this all it takes? Is celebrity status (oh yes, yes I went there, I used it in it’s correct form) now only just a matter of being nerdy and wearing  goofy-looking clothes and a giant pair of glasses? Is it simply following in the well-travelled path of Woody Allen circa 1970 and cashing in on playing the neurotic intellectual? How do these Instalebrities (my coinage, thank you) with no discernable genesis just magically appear?

It also gives me pause to wonder about the constant internet rumours calling into question the veracity of many Food Network ‘contestants’ and whether the network is, in fact, staging more of their ‘reality’ programmes and populating them with actors to portray the helpless and hapless competitors as a means of heightening the drama and grabbing desperately for increased ratings.

I’m not suggesting Rachel was a plant  – not at all – I simply find the whole ‘suddenly famous’ thing strangely convenient and completely mindboggling…

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