So I TiVo'd "Top Chef," the Bravo reality show that supposed to tide over "Project Runway" fans until they can come up with a new season of the wonderful fashion show. "Project Runway" is fun to watch because you're seeing people with real skills make something that you get to see in the end, and it's something -- a garment -- that is mostly about looks. It's true you don't get to feel what it's like to wear it or find out how well it holds up over time, but you basically get to appreciate the main purpose of the thing.
With "Top Chef," they are making food. And yes, it takes real skill to do that. But the thing they are making is to be eaten (and smelled). There is a visual aspect to food, but the guy who won the first week's competition just made an amorphous pile of beige. So, clearly, it's about flavor and the feeling of the food in the mouth. It's tiresome to watch people eat and then try to put into words what they are sensing. It's not as if these eaters are brilliant speakers, whose conversation adequately substitutes for the experience of eating. We can watch their faces, but you pretty much know the mmmm face and the disgust face. It's not that entertaining, repeated 20 times per show. And you know they'll exaggerate their reactions to try to make it more exciting.
Bonus Althouse opinion: I detest the TV talk shows when they have a chef on to cook something in a minute or two, and then the host holds the plate up close to her (or his) face, shovels in some food, and has a fake orgasm about it.