Monday, 31 October 2011
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
Tuesday, 25 October 2011
Wednesday, 12 October 2011
Suprise, suprise, I was watching The Only Way is Essex this evening, a guilty pleasure of mine and most others my age, I have realised just how big a phenomemon location reality has become. Or moreover, reality tv that documents a lifestye. Essex, Chelsea, and now rumours of some sort of Hipster series with a posse in the east end of Dalston.
Some people disregard shows like TOWIE as fuel for the airheads, which for the most part, can probably be agreed. It is hardly hard-hitting and provoking. In contrast; it creates a means of escape into a world we are not familiar with. Admit it or not but we are fond of the show because we relish the resulting sense of self-righteousness. We cringe at the thought of engaging in acts they do; we feel like better individuals, whilst having a laugh.
I am now in my third year of university and brainstorming project topics for my final project. I wanted to write about lifestyle and social practices and I got thinking about our new obsessions with these types of programmes. What we think about these modern cliques, and in particular, what are our attitudes to class. Never before have I seen extreme ends of the social spectrum adored and observed with such scrutiny and delight. Whereas both the circles of Essex and Chelsea are rich, vain and clearly enjoy the finer things in life, they are so distinctively different; one is a glamourised chav town and the other a nauseating ego city. Because of the new found attention both places have attracted, it is no suprise that hoards of Essex-ites and West London sloanes have been popping up more frequently. Is this intentional? Are we so fed up of an unattainable celebrity culture that our new celebrities have become ourselves - and if so, is that necessarily a bad thing? It is fair to admit people have always wanted to better themselves but such obsession with class elevation has not been so rife since the Jane Austen era. In our thouroughly modern society, we may in fact be resorting right back to the most modest of eras.
However tonights episode stuck out for me because it did, dare i say it, seem to give off some inkling of a moral message. Forgive me for making such a generalisation, (though to be honest generalisations are exactly what shows like TOWIE are created to do,) but it is safe to say the perception of the Essex gals are: look fake and act stupid. There is no shortage of faux breasts and hair pieces that probably once belonged to a little Indian girl, but it seems it is not enough for them. One character Chloe, tells a friend how she wants to invest in bum implants. Young, skinny, ‘attractive’, and to be honest not actually as dim as many of her peers, she complains she is “nearly 30, not married, not engaged, no bum.. nothing”. Of course I feel a fool for not categorising those altogether before, naturally. Another character, Gemma, goes to the hairdressers admitting “I’m going blonde, I just can’t handle the brown”, for it is true, being brunette is a difficult way of life. Nevertheless the show proved to be almost emotive when she broke down in tears over her weight problem. Admitting she found social situations hard because of the fear of bitching she would endure should she be seen eating a burger, it seems the lifestyles of this new breed of the rich and famous aren’t so polished after all.
Perhaps this humanised, relatable behaviour is the reason for the popularity growth in pseudo-reality shows like this, or perhaps it is because as humans we mentally prosper with gossip. This is the next stop on from soap opera, but soap opera it essentially remains so can we really use them as a basis of our own lifestyles? It makes me ponder on the future, and this is what I hope to explore these next few months.