Monday, 21 March 2011

Only Way Is Essex: the dumbed down, dumbed down

Success can do funny things to tv shows, and to the people who make them.

Along comes a new programme untested, it finds an audience and then, if it's lucky, it's a hit.

Take The Apprentice. What began as a low-level and reasonably well intentioned BBC Two programme earnestly concerning itself with finding Britain's best new 'business brain' quietly grew in popularity to become something quite different: a prime-time BBC One super-hit, but with such a shift in emphasis it became more like a search for Britain's 'biggest twat'.

And, as confusing reality-stroke-drama-stroke-sort of UK version of The Hills The Only Way Is Essex returns for its second run on ITV2, complete with the status of 'hit show', the stakes - and audience expectaions - are raised.

OUT! go the boring characters we never paid much attention to anyway. IN! come new characters who the producers no doubt hope will capture our hearts/capture our minds/make us shake our collective heads in pity. It's all to play for.


It's too early to identify who might be popular out of the new characters -  they all kind of look the same so far, apart from Mr Darcy, who has the distinction of being a pig (belonging to Arg and Lydia), and Billie, who is Sam's elder sister and owner of a new Essex fashion boutique called Minnies - named after Billie's pet name for 'her bits' - of course - as well as bad boy Mark's mother.

Done up to the nines just to sit around a kitchen table, she may well play a crucial part in her son's rehabilitation into a one-girl-man (or not) (cough) -  that is, when she's not looking all glam and that or talking to her daughter Jess about Jess wanting her boobs done.

But could the burden of sucess be hanging heavy on the shoulders of The Only Way Is Essex, like a specialist lady-part adornment so beloved of main Essex girls Sam and Amy - the vajazzle - but gone a little bit mad with the jewels, and, er, applied to the wrong place? Perhaps.

Because worst of all, the first episode of series two is doing heavy handed SIGNPOSTS for the new viewer in a way we've never seen before. WE'VE GOT A NARRATIVE HERE VIEWER AND THIS IS WHAT OUR DIRECTOR IS DOING TO SHOW IT.

SIGNPOST: James 'Arg' has put on lots of weight so SIGNPOST we see him eating at every available opportunity as a prelude to SIGNPOST his best friend Mark badgering him into doing something about his excess weight.

If Arg's diet and a new clothes shop and Jess's mulling over a boob job are the main 'plot strands' this series then the programme's status as a hit could be short-lived.

Of course it won't be, mainly because we all bloody love this stuff.

But who would've thought it - it looks like the dumbed down has been dumbed down.

Well, that - or it's got a new director.

Never mind all that though - the official website has got some deleted scenes from episode one!!!! OMG LMAO WTF!!! :) ;)*

*feel my heavy irony reader, feel it

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