Survivor was not the first reality show, but when its debut season finale played to more than fifty million people, it launched an arms race between networks to green light as many new shows in the blooming genre as possible. It was like the Wild Wild West at first. No one really knew what the hell they were doing when it came to casting and putting together outlines, but over the past decade or so, the format has been streamlined to the point where an overwhelming majority of reality shows have hyper-specific codes of conduct that would be ludicrous in the real world.

So, in honor of Utopia hitting the air twice this week, we though it would be fun to look at some of those rules and what specific game shows they’re tied to and talk about why they’re both so ridiculous and so necessary.

Mr. Mom
#1) Don’t Put Any Food On The Plate After The Buzzer
Contrary to popular belief, Top Chef is not about who can make the best food. It’s about who can make the best food, following a set of guidelines during a very strict amount of time. Sometimes the contestants are given hours. Sometimes they’re given thirty minutes. Regardless, the players are given the same amount of time and not one second over. As soon as the buzzer rings, no one is allowed to dish up anything, even if it means the contestant can’t serve his or her dish.

On more than a few occasions, people have made incredible looking dishes, only to see them thrown in the garbage because they were half a second too late. Or more commonly, contestants are forced to serve their dish to the judges without sauce or a side dish. Brutal.

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