Reality TV and I have been friends for some time. I was obsessed with the first few series of Big Brother (the regular one) when it first appeared on our screens. Back in 1997, when it was still looked upon as a social experiment and the biggest scandal involved Nasty Nick sliding a piece of paper across a table to try to influence his housemates’ votes.
(I forget the exact details but I recall vaguely that he either constructed his own writing tool out of household objects, like a prison shank or had sneaked a pencil in inside his luggage).
Whatever the story, the world went ballistic as he was ejected from the Big Brother house and I doubt he has been referred to as just ‘Nick’ since.
Those were the days. Reality TV, or its younger sister, Scripted Reality, has come on in leaps and bounds ever since (depending on how you look at it, I suppose).
I believe the first example of the latter came in with the American show Laguna Beach (which I never watched). This evolved into the infinitely more appealing The Hills (which I have devoured in its entirety more times than I care to remember, thankyouverymuch MTV). God bless you, LC.
This side of the Pond TOWIE trumpeted the next generation of orchestrated Reality Television, with the slightly posher (but only in upbringing and attire, if we’re honest) Made In Chelsea bringing up the rear. In between but since fallen by the wayside we’ve had everything from Desperate Scousewives to The Valleys. There was even talk of a Brighton based show of the same ilk.
It’s all pretty terrible. These people aren’t actors and they aren’t civilians either so all conversations conducted onscreen are awkward, no matter how heated. Since it’s all manipulated for our viewing pleasure.
The appeal of this type of entertainment for me has always been the fact that I can check in my brain at the cloakroom – and just enjoy the drama. Sometimes a girl just needs to look at pretty people arguing woodenly while looking out of shot. Them, not me.
Big B isn’t scripted though and I suppose that’s what brings me back to my point.
(I’m typing this draft to the sound of Perez Hilton simulating sexual intercourse, by himself, in the garden to wind up a bevy of ‘famous’ women including Patsy Kensit and some models).
It’s all just so grimy.
Perez, who you might know, is what we like to call here in England a bit of a penis. I say this purely because that’s all you can really say. His ‘personality’ is so large it dominates everything, only equaled in size by his gargantuan ego. Yet, there’s nothing going on indoors, I’m fairly sure. The people who shout the loudest always have the least to say.
I don’t know why I’m watching this time around. I’ve skipped out on the last handful of years, even the celebrity version because it all seems so tired. Scandalous celebrities keen to shed their ‘bad seed’ images, tabloid favourites keen to hold on to a little more fame time.
Sex in hot tubs, bed hopping; homophobic and racist slights. Borderline violence and a lot of shouting. OH THE SHOUTING.
Hand Mama two Neurofen, there’s a love.
This year has been turbo charged to say the least. In the week or so it’s been on air I’ve witnessed terrible misogyny and sexual assault.
I didn’t actually watch this episode when in aired, but on viewing the clip back (which is an audio clip, actually, no footage was shown of the actual act, in which a drunken housemate pulled open the front of another’s robe to reveal her bare breasts).
This was followed in quick succession by an older housemate being removed from the house for a series of disgustingly sexist comments toward the younger females in residence and a racist rant in which he used the ‘N’ word. No, not ‘Ninja’.
Last night Michelle Visage cried in the Diary Room about the behaviour of Perez, who in her eyes has set the LGBT community back 50 years. Rumour has it that he has quickly become the Most Hated Man in the country, although how do they qualify this? I’d love to know.
Personally I have an easier time hating people who are actually relevant, you know? As far as I can see he contributes nothing to the world, beyond gossip. Publicly, anyway.
As for the Wicked Witch of the show, the infamous Katie Hopkins, well she’s not really done much yet. I mean, of course she’s been blunt, that’s her whole spiel isn’t it? She has labelled Alicia stupid because she doesn’t read and there has been whispering around the breakfast table about bullying but I don’t know if she can be blamed solely for that.
And now they’ve sent in the Cavalry (to rescue the ratings?) in the shapely form of one Miss Katie Price. Which is perhaps the answer to the question of why I haven’t switched over yet.
Good old Jordan sent in to take on Katie Hopkins in a battle of the bolshy. The Beautiful and the damned. Or something.
I should be sorry. I should be changing the channel. Better still I should be switching off the gogglebox and reaching for a book.
But we all know I’m not going to do that. Maybe I’ll mute it though.