Who are the real idiots in all this reality?

The Only Way Is EssexTom Pearce, star of The Only Way Is Essex (TOWIE), recently said of the show and it’s cast…”Were Not All Uneducated Idiots” but as Pearce also pointed out, when Jessica Wright mistakenly tweeted rest in peace following the death of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il, “you could almost hear the stereotypes being sharpened” (see here).

I would like to think there will be many people who haven’t wasted their time watching the show however; I can’t think there will be many who haven’t actually heard of it. Almost every newspaper contains vast amounts of inane opinionated drivel about its content, and all on a far too regular basis. Some media organisations actually produce dedicated sections to all the latest TOWIE ‘news’ and scoops?

Despite its mega-success, knocking shows like TOWIE – and the people who appear in them – has become a national pastime…(Tom Pearce)

I have to admit that in the past, I have been one of those dissenters and critics. But what many of us fail to realise whilst we’re taking a pop at them is, in many respects they actually reflect aspects of our social makeup, even if those aspects might be the ones we’re not particularly keen upon.

It is also understandable, given the undoubted popularity of shows like TOWIE and Geordie Shore, why they consequently attract the red top and tabloid coverage, after all the media are simply producing what the masses crave for. But perhaps surprisingly, even the broadsheets, who supposedly peddle their wares to the more educated amongst us, aren’t immune to doses of  TOWIE fever from time to time.

TOWIE: a ‘reality’ TV series described in The Guardian as showing “real people in modified situations, saying unscripted lines but in a structured way” (wikipedia.org).

All innocent escapism and fun I suppose but, TOWIE has been criticised for its negative and stereotypical representation of Essex. Some Essex residents have expressed their disdain for the show saying it wasn’t a true representation of the area and the people that live there. But in reality they are wrong, shows like TOWIE and Geordie Shore do reflect real life.

I once worked with a young girl who was probably quiet naturally pretty but you would find it difficult to tell. I don’t suppose anyone apart from her parents, had ever seen her prior to a multi-hour preparation self-period each day. The masses of make-up, reapplied at every opportunity, usually resembled a trowel applied rendering. A surface covering which could easily have formed the assessment piece for an apprentice builder during qualifying exams!

She might not have achieved much academically thus far but she was pleasant enough, She wasn’t unintelligent or educationally challenged in a formal way unless it suited her. Then she could be prone to displaying those traits, especially if she felt she could get out of a work task or gain some pecuniary advantage from it.

This girl’s sole desire in life was to move to Essex, open a beauty parlour, get a boob job and marry a wealthy hunk who would buy her nice (expensive) clothes and cars. Her whole understanding of life appeared to come from the TV and shows like TOWIE.

Now there is nothing wrong with having dreams I suppose. I often tried to explain, to no avail, that much of what she dreamed about was plastic, fake and/or surgically enhanced. Facts she was wholly unconcerned about, unsurprising given her breast enhancement expectations I suppose. But all these thought process are indicative of those held by vast rafts of our society, in particular within the young.

Worryingly, these the people are singularly preoccupied and totally focussed upon image, appearance, fashion and fad. Any talk of academic ability, social awareness or understanding of and empathy with real-life issues is totally taboo. Cash and celebrity status are the sole driving force amongst a large proportion of our youth. Failing that there is always the baby route. From that latter comment you will understand why I say; in my experience most of these airheaded individuals tend to be orange tinted scantily clad vacuous bimbo’s tottering around in ludicrously high-healed shoes which are tearing their feet to shreds and in any case, they actually struggle to walk in!

But is all this a modern-day phenomenon? Not really, since time immemorial girls have always harboured these desires. They have a gene that creates the inherent need to look good, to appeal to the opposite sex, to secure their future and possibly, maybe even build a nest. It’s just their methodology that has changed, today things are far more overt and in your face than was ever previously the case.

No more cute shy or demure young ladies waiting to be ‘selected’ by their prefered beau. No, today’s Ladette is all about getting out there and having a blast. Fun with a capital ‘F’ no matter what the financial cost or impact upon their personal health, and mostly irrespective of the consequences and effects upon others.

It also appears that many women see other women as the enemy, even when they proclaim a personal friendship. Because of this they often find ways to smash down anyone who stands in the way of their goals; their enjoyment, their dreams or aspirations. Many of these traits, especially the latter ones, are also increasingly prevalent within the male of our species.

This is the ethos and raison d’être of many of those who form the foundations of our future generations, and much of it is actually being fuelled by the ‘reality’ crap on TV.

However, perhaps the constant run of reality shows have actually reached the plateau of their popularity? Maybe interest isn’t what it was, despite all the marketing efforts of cast members and production teams? Could the viewing public finally be looking for something a little more emotionally, educationally and socially challenging and stimulating?

Has TOWIE lost it’s sparkle? … as the latest run of ITV2’s constructed reality behemoth The Only Way is Essex comes creaking to its conclusion, the joke seems to be starting to wear a little thin… here are five reasons why TOWIE has lost its lustre…(The Guardian TV Blog)

I for one am happy to say; I’m glad TOWIE could be “losing its vajazzle” – it’s not before time. It’s just a pity the whole genre doesn’t appear to be suffering from the same waning popularity. 

So who are the real idiots in all this ‘reality’ show controversy and, does any one really care what real life is actually about any more? You would have to say it’s us, the viewing public, who are the muppets in all this. It’s so sad that so many people lack the ability to see (let alone understand) many of the real issues impacting upon our society. Most of the interests they do hold are simply ones of self-interest.

Today everything seems to be about having fun, often at someone else’s expense and because of that fact; I for one don’t foresee any great sea-change in this plastic framework of our virtual society, at least not in the near future.

And yes, I know I’m approaching that point in my life where most Essex mouled lads and ladettes will scream at my comments; “Shu’up Grandad, get with IT this is where it’s at” – I’m just not sure where we’re AT is where I really want to be. I also can’t see that much of it is good for our society as a whole!

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About Dave Hasney

National Coordinator for UK SMART Recovery - Previously a Recovery Worker and prior to that a Management Consultant and H&S Practitioner - Kept sane by Angling, Good Food, Real Ale & Wine - Cynical thoughts sometimes developed from others.

Posted on 16-06-2012, in Society Babble and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Having never watched any of the shows that you mentioned, I am claiming the moral high ground here (for an independant Scotland of course, but more of this later when time allows) and declaring that I am no muppet 🙂 Slainte

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