Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Only Way is Essex - series 4: The good, the bad and the ugly

It's no good. Tv-ooh can't avoid it any longer. It's the elephant in the room, and it's stretching out its trunk as if to say, 'hhrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn', or, translated, 'you can't ignore me any longer, fool'. So let's not.

One one hand, The Only Way is Essex has always been a bit pointless, but now it's becoming a bit pointless AND a bit unwatchable, which as anyone will know is one of the biggest crimes you can get with television programmes, on account of the fact that their main function is to be watchable.

Tv-ooh has an enduring loyalty and some sort of inexplicable 'soft spot' towards Essex and has enjoyed talking about it both here and here, and so is still officially giving it a chance, but this current series, its fourth, sometimes feels a bit more miss than hit, despite healthy viewing figures.

Why? I'll tell you why:

The trio of simpletons in search of a storyline

Arg, Joey and Diag make chilli-flavoured sandwiches and fart into tents 'for a laugh' do not entertaining scenes make. But the fact that even Joey and Diags are laughing at Arg's interminable attempts at 'talking about his feelings', having been primed by a forceful producer standing just off camera with a red hot poker, taps into how we, as the audience, have all been feeling for years. Please stop talking Arg, especially about your feelings. You're not very good at it. Oh and put some socks on, your feet are in a right state, thanks.

Ching Chang Walla

Everyone else calls this Scissor Paper Stone.

Sam has a new haircut

Sam of Sam and Billie 'fame' (they are both businesswomen remember who run some sort of clothes shop which appears to involve standing around a lot) has a new haircut, a bob, that makes her look like Mark's mum Carol. "How are you coping with it anyway?" asks Carol, not unreasonably. It seems Sam is bearing up. Meanwhile, sister Billie appears after ten minutes in the toilet. Will this be picked up at a later date? Has she got 'bum trouble'? We dare not speculate.

Cara kisses Ricky

"I kissed Ricky," says Cara.
"You kissed Ricky?!" Lucy seeks clarification.
"I kissed Ricky!" confirms Cara.
"You kissed Ricky! Shut up!"
"I thought he was gay?" chips in Mario, helpfully.


New lads low on charm but high on petulant self-absorption (possibly)

Cara's brother Tom and new lad Ricky (see above) are both potential prize fools guilty of taking themselves a bit too seriously and thinking they are good looking and handsome. Both also seem to be filling the void left by Angry Kirk, who has never been mentioned since he left, despite his father Mick still appearing regularly. Does he realise he once had a son? Departed characters are forgotten characters in Essex.

Chloe's amazing witticisms arising out her of beguiling dimness, God love her

"Do you know what pancake day is for and why we celebrate it? Basically it means pancake day is 40 days before Easter, and people who are religious, I think it's Catholics, they do that, um, was it Eid, Zeed, Zen, what is it? Len? Lent. They give up something and in the olden days they'd use up all the stuff on pancake day and not eat for 40 days. It should be all about celebrating from Essex, that's what it should all be about."


Did she ever get her bum implants by the way?

The new camp gay who presumably is a like a replacement for Harry but with a job

The new hairstylist from the salon next door to Lydia's shop is called Bobby and looks like Gok Wan. He says he gets that a lot so it must be a self-conscious styling choice, to make people say, 'oh he looks like Gok Wan'. Bobby gets given a cup cake from Lydia. She says it's been on the floor but Bobby says he doesn't mind. Is this a hint at self-esteem issues or is he just fine with floor dust? Bobby and Lydia agree to 'go out' and a new on-screen friendship is born in 90 seconds. That's all fine, just as long as Lydia doesn't get back with Arg. We've done that particular plot line to death.

So will we be watching again?

Yes. Yes we will. Despite some of these plot threads not being as strong or as entertaining as one might like there are still glimpses of Essex fun, and it is this we need to cling on to.

Also, rest assured we will be monitoring Billie's time spent in the loo closely, too.

Previous related stories:
The Only Way is Essex: Maria's "worst week"; reality redefined (again); and a flppin' colonic for Arg. Give me strength
An inexplicably serious and thoughtful review of The Only Way is Essex series 3 episode 1
Only Way Is Essex: Series two - a verdict: the winners, the losers
Only Way Is Essex - the dumbed down, dumbed down
Only Way Is Essex: Reality/drama hybrid wins heart, confuses mind

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