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By Film Team
What’s that noise you can hear? That’s right, it’s the scraping of the bottom of the barrel of originality. In the last few years ‘structured’ reality TV programmes have boomed, rocketing average people to near C list celebrities. Sure, the rest of the world may turn their noses up, but here’s the problem I face – I love these shows! And judging by the number of these shows and their viewership figures, I’m not alone: we are the silent majority, and here’s our manifesto.
The Real World was arguably where these reality shows all began, although it was before most of our times. Starting in 1993, it was hailed for depicting real life events that young adults faced, such as relationships and sexuality. The Real World sparked it all off and continues to this day on its 28th season. But the next major show didn’t come along until 2006- The Hills. Who would have thought following gorgeous girls and handsome men in their casual everyday lives would be so interesting? It wasn’t. So they were directed to create more drama and, lo and behold, the series took off- and with it a new generation of reality TV.
While America continues to produce other great classics like Keeping up with the Kardashians, it’s the British shows that I’m truly fascinated by. I instantly fell in love with The Only Way Is Essex and loved the fake set ups, awful acting, and increasingly ridiculous scenarios the characters ‘just happen’ to find themselves in.
Admittedly, TOWIE has so far been the high point of British structured reality shows. I was excited when I first heard about Made in Chelsea, but I have to admit that it has failed to deliver. Can you imagine, then, how I reacted to hearing a reality show was to
be made called Desperate Scousewives? Brilliant name, terrible show. Coming from someone who loves trashy TV, that programme is utter tack- it takes the gold. With TOWIE and Made in Chelsea you feel like the producers and the participants are making an effort: the clothes and make-up may not be to your taste, but you can’t deny that they’re at least half decent. Desperate Scousewives is nothing more than women dressed in New Look dresses, sleeping with each other’s’ ‘fellas’, and then arguing about it with such aggression that, combined with the accents, some subtitles wouldn’t go amiss.
Does it seem like I’m criticising? Actually, I’m not. I’m applauding, if anything. Sure, at times I find these shows bordering on the physically painful, but I’m gripped. The fights are real (which is saying something, considering the amassed fake boobs and hair extensions), and the emotions are raw. I think such programs help to satisfy the nosiness in people. You can watch the lives of these people and read about them in magazines, keeping up to date with everything they’re doing. I know more about what Lauren Goodger does on a weekly basis than I do about some of my friends. I’m not saying this is healthy- it’s a sick, sick, obsession, and yet it feels so good.
And honestly? As much as I might laugh at these ‘actors’, I have to admit that they’re having the last laugh: I’m utterly hooked, and I don’t plan on giving them up anytime soon.