Billy Bob Thornton doesn't watch Food Network's Cupcake Wars, even though the popular program has been on for nine seasons. The reason, he said, is due to the unkind nature of reality competition shows.
"We're living in a time that's just become judgmental and everybody wants to see failure," the 58-year-old actor said during an episode of Oprah's Master Class that aired Sunday. The Fargo star continued, "They want to see people knocked off the hill. You can't have a television show without a competition because they want to see who cries this week and who goes downhill, who gets kicked out."
Thornton argued that reality TV is making society meaner.
"We don't need one show about cupcakes, as far as I'm concerned, but you know what, if you want one—okay, that's fine. Let's have a show about cupcakes. But does it have to be a f--king competition? Do you have to have cupcake wars? You know?" he asked. "And I'm sure people who have been in war kind of take offense to that because seriously, it's not that goddamn dangerous to make a cupcake."
What does he hope will change? "I guess I'm just really ready for people to kind of settle down and know each other again and root for each other as opposed to look for the faults in each other," he said.
According to Thornton, his desire to live in a kinder world inspires him to make "stories from another time and another place." He added, "There's a lot of great stuff in life from the top to the bottom and from the left to the right. Life is magical and I guess my thing is I wish that people wanted that magic."
Meanwhile, the cupcake visionaries who have gone to battle don't seem to be taking offense.
"I can see his point about competition and reality shows, but each time I've been on Cupcake Wars, I've always felt the most competition with myself—wanting to create better cupcakes than I had before, with more elements involved and different dimensions of flavors that the judges hadn't yet seen," Kyra of Kyra's Bake Shop (a three-time Cupcake Wars winner) tells E! News.
"Having an exclusively gluten-free bakery means that because I was competing against 'regular' cupcake bakers, I had more to prove."
Oprah's Master Class airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.
—Additional reporting by Sara Kitnick
(Originally published July 21, 2014, at 7:36 a.m. PT)