I’ll admit it; I love a good juicy bit of reality TV. Watching dramatic weekly episodes packed full of tragic tales of sour break-ups, listening in on revealing testosterone-filled conversations between men that women were never meant to hear and watching people get caught in embarrassing situations can momentarily make you feel a little bit better about yourself. The entertainment is a cross between the lows of Jeremy Kyle and the vibrant characters of Big Brother but hosted in bars and clubs that you will have probably visited yourself, which allows you to suspend your disbelief and pretend all of it just might be real.
For example, I like Made in Chelsea (despite the overall concept being quite atrocious: kids getting even more rich solely based on the fact they are already rich somewhat baffles me). I like it because I don’t think the cast take themselves too seriously. Sometimes I think I catch a glimpse of a smirk beginning to crease in the corner of their faces just before the camera cuts at the end of scene, as though they begin to really get into character by improvising some seriously pompous lines that even shock the director. It’s a posh peoples play and they are getting fame and fortune by being themselves and getting paid for it. Who wouldn’t.
Getting home and putting on a TV program that requires zero brain power, with the only necessary energy required being to open a screw-top bottle of wine and let out the occasional unsympathetic chuckle in response to the on-screen life woes. Poor you, I often think, whilst listening to them complain for the hundredth time about the absolutely awful lives they live, simply because their ex-boyfriends are too busy whipping their hair back and forth and pretending not to be gay, whilst they all sip Moet together on cowhide rugs, and in their free time launch diamante jewelry collections and shoot music videos with some spare cash that they’ve found lying around.
Some reality TV cynics may ask, what on earth could be worse than this? The Only Way is Essex may be a close contender – but no – there is something on the horizon that is much, much worse.
Think of something that might not be as jovial as embracing a group of light-hearted toffs or Essex ‘birds’ who live in a tipsy whirlpool of emotion. Imagine another young-persons program on a social mission to be desperately deemed as the ambiguous term: “cool” Think Skins, but older and therefore should be wiser. Welcome to…The Only Way is Dalston.
In TOWIE we are invited to look upon the glamorous world of the Sugar Hut, PVC dresses, fake tan, the infamous term ‘reem’, laughing at embarrassing engagement parties and the trials and tribulations of an epic one-and-off break up fit enough to be in the Guiness Book of World Records. These things at least spurred online conversation, featured a token hilarious grandparent, and even allowed our parents to ask us what on earth a Vajazzle was. Similarly with Made in Chelsea, at least we have the comic relief of Francis Boulle, who comes equipped with an office, whopping inheritance and modest title of CEO (all whilst looking about 12 years old), who appears to do nothing but embarrass himself in front of his exotic ‘intern’ and pose for self-potraits whilst strategically holding fruit. We also have Mark Francis Vandelli who’s infectious laugh has us in fits, as well as his endearing yet concerning way of speaking to his maid, by yelling in over-accentuated Italian when a lightbulb is in need of fixing. Not to mention his casual flitti ng to and from his modest sea-side resort in Cannes, because well, he can.
However, with this new East-London series about to hit our TV screens, it looks to me like we have a team of serious artistic fashionistas on our hands, who are deadly serious about appearing to be the height of cool, living on the edge with their ‘Shoreditch back and sides’, and wouldn’t be seen dead without a vintage fur, retro sunglasses , pocket comb and bed-head that has taken a good half of the day to style. I wonder how this particular cast would react when asked to do a celebrity meet-and-greet at an Oceana in Slough. If these potential cast members are anything to go by, they will be too busy shining their Raybans, rolling their eyes or knitting a scarf perhaps.
“In love with Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete. So funny & smart, and reminding me of some of my own cringe teen Internet exploits!”– Anna James, former literary editor of ELLE
"Funny, honest, and nostalgic!"– The Debrief
“Emma Gannon is a bright spark of light in the world. I seriously dig everything she makes”– Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Big Magic