Study human nature in Come Dine With Me South Africa S6

Come Dine With Me is TV’s funniest “nature documentary”

The Rapid Blue production team has ventured into South Africa’s wild urban jungle to set their cameras around local watering holes. Their experienced camera operators and producers slowly won the trust of some fascinating human specimens. Now, they’re taking us inside the living rooms and sacred food preparation areas where normally these humans’ closest inner circle is allowed.

Over the next couple of months, experienced nature show host David Lamb will be sharing the team’s observations on the hierarchical behaviour, mating and courtship dances and battles for status around “the kill” that they have dragged onto their dining tables to feed potential allies and new pack members.

Wiggle on that monocle, don your pith helmet, and let’s go on a safari with our guide, series executive producer Kee-Leen Irvine. “I think if Come Dine With Me South Africa were to be compared to a classic Sir David Attenborough series, like Planet Earth II (currently rebroadcasting on Saturdays at 10:05 on BBC Earth, DStv 184), or Seven Worlds One Planet, you would absolutely be able to draw comparisons in behaviours,” says Kee-Leen.


Establishing dominance

Our latest season highlights all sorts of personalities who really test themselves to come out top cat in the jungle each week. Take episode 1 for example – Gregg (spelt with 2 ‘g’s ALWAYS) can’t stop himself from flaunting his air of superiority around hosting etiquette, correcting fellow guests at every turn and exhibiting snobbery of the highest order when it comes to wine glasses. Maybe this is his attempt to set up a hierarchy with him at the top, because he feels his knowledge of food, wine and being the “hostess with the moistest” is the most superior.

Or taking a very different approach, in episode 2, we have Ingred, our sophisticated lady from Hout Bay who exerts her strength as a fabulous host through everything being beautiful. Her house, her outfit, her premium drinks and a cut of tuna fit for kings and queens to dine on. So she goes for the “impress” tactic to wow her guests into making her queen supreme and the matriarch of the pack.

Others adopt a more subtle approach, wooing their guests with fake compliments on camera but lashings of criticism behind closed doors. But then up pops Kayla from Cape Town, who doesn’t mince her words and goes straight for the jugular, every time in episode 6.


Feathering the nest

Admittedly this latest season takes you into some pretty phenomenal homes and the contestants really go all-out to make sure their “nests” are feathered to perfection and ready to impress from that first door knock on arrival, right through to their exit and taxi ride home. Episode 2 takes viewers into the Cape Town waterfront penthouse of the fashion guru and dog-obsessed host Juanine. Her views alone are fit to be featured in a Sir David Attenborough series, but all her small touches and theme of the roaring 1920s and its infamous speakeasies ensure that her night is nothing short of fabulous, and in with a very strong chance of taking home that coveted cash prize.

Another “nest” that will have people impressed is that of “Queen Avri’l” in Constantia, from episode 5, who decides if she can’t “wine” them into submission, she’ll opt instead to kill them with kindness.


Grooming and plumage

Fans of Come Dine With Me South Africa know that we have a very good track record of finding the best, worst, funniest and most cringe-inducing contestants from South Africa each season. Fashion or lack of it, fancy dress themes or wanting that shock factor through their clothes is something that most of our contestants embrace wholeheartedly. From Shogan, in episode 1’s classy Indian-themed evening which saw both him and his guests arrive dressed for a banquet, through to more outrageous fancy dress options with personalities like Elton John, Naomi Campbell and Arnold Schwarzenegger all making appearances, it will be up to the viewers (in their best Dave Lamb voices) to decide who excels and who epically fails at the “dress to impress” game this time round. Expect catsuits, rappers, abs best found on the covers of magazines as methods for our contestants to try their best to all stride with pride through their different episodes.


Courtship behaviour or rivalry?

When casting for a show like Come Dine SA, you always base your decisions on how you think they will interact with the other three contestants, as that is where the magic happens. Whether it be through sheer awkwardness, too much bravado, flirting unashamedly or using your talents outside the kitchen, through to performing operatic recitals, belly dancing or doing a quick fitness session in between courses, you really do see it all.

This season is, of course, packed full of hilarious interactions that then allow our voiceover comedian Dave Lamb to truly excel. Episode 1 sees thoughtful gestures condemned severely due to spelling mistakes of guests' names. Episode 2 sees our younger dinner guest turn round and say how much he doesn’t like one of the ladies, which sees both of them end up in tears. Episode 3 sees a single lady, who’s looking to mingle, openly share her admiration for the fine physique of a former cover star and bodybuilder who has nearly a million admirers on Instagram alone. Then in other episodes, the interactions are made more of a competition through the menus and whose will turn out best – like the battle of lamb in episode 4: rare or well done. Everyone has a different view on how it should be done, and they don’t hold back in sharing their “expert” views on the matter!


Social behaviour around “the kill”

“The kill” seems to bring out different reactions across the board this season. This time around, viewers will enjoy a lot of people showering the chef of the night with compliments on their beautiful salmon, which it turns out (behind their backs) should always be seared and never baked, or tender lamb shanks – which “magically” turn into meat as tough as old boots during scoring – or a pudding that diners praised to the host’s face as “rounding off the meal perfectly” but later revealed was just too sweet for the taste buds.

All bets are off when it comes to dinner table etiquette on this show – but whatever you do, don’t do a Miss J in episode 1 and deliberately serve a small portion for your one super-fussy guest, as that will only enrage the inner critic in them more and leave a slight sour smell in the air. It really is a dog eat dog world in the jungle of Come Dine With South Africa. You just can’t win, it seems… but someone has to.

Watch Come Dine With Me South Africa S6 on Wednesdays on BBC Lifestyle (DStv 174) at 20:00. Rebroadcasts air Sundays at 17:00 and Catch Up on anything you missed. 

Feeling those opinions while you watch? Keep the dinner party conversation flowing using #ComeDineSA on:

Twitter: @BBCSouthAfrica

Instagram: @BBCStudiosza

Facebook: @BBCLifestyleSA

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