Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Mark Wright's Hollywood Nights: 'A kind of lads on holiday-styled 'structured reality' fry-up'

Likeable Essex escapee Mark Wright has got lucky with his new series, a kind of 'lads on holiday'-styled 'structured reality' fry-up. Lucky in the sense that's he's presumably getting paid for it.

Given that he seems to be ITV's golden boy, watching Mark doing stuff is almost a tv no-brainer, if you like that sort of thing. And he's probably realised that too, as he has a 'devised by' credit for the programme.

You can imagine the pitch, down at Sugarhut: 'Yeah basically it's me having a laugh in Hollywood'.

Of course he'll need a gang to make him look kind and funny and handsome. So there's Tommy, Neil, Nick and Georgie - cunningly disguised as his entourage, and given job titles such as driver, or bodyguard or, ahem, 'business advisor' and 'cousin' - and they are spending five weeks in LA, with Mark firmly in charge at all times.

If you had a bossy friend like that you'd tell them to get lost, but then you probably wouldn't be contractually obliged to keep within the so-called 'structured reality'.

It starts with the boys in the sauna, all gym muscles and fake tans, when Mark gets a call offering him a travel tv show, which he accepts - and suggests, if nothing else, how his business adviser can't be much good, given that the enquiry has gone straight to Mark rather than via him.

And then the next thing, they're on their way - no protracted contract negotiations, no passport applications queue, no nothing - and Mark's deciding which of his four mates will get the other spare first class plane ticket, like some sort of rubbish quiz show carried out at the check-in desk.

But then, as Mark W helpfully points out at the start, some (in other words, 'all') of this has been set up for our entertainment. But that's not quite true: let's just say it's been 'set up', and leave it there.

'The inevitable Big Mark Wright Cuddle'

But what's it meant to be? A comedy? A horror? An abject lesson in hubris? And will it all get quite dark mid-series when Mark and his crew find themselves down on their luck and end up trapped in the murky underground world of LA's gun culture?

Probably not - that might be pushing the format a bit.

Mark himself, God love him, is describing the show as 'documentary': when they stay at the run-down Hollywood Star hotel and end up hiding in their room in fear of a gun man outside - the drama! - they tell the 'policeman' who comes to investigate that they're 'filming an English documentary'.

But the experience is enough to make Tommy, aged only 20 and basically an Arg-substitute, want to go home, which in turn gives Mark the chance to play the caring big brother role he does so well, before a pep talk that concludes with the inevitable Big Mark Wright Cuddle.

He then teases Tommy for having got a girl's phone number.

'What did you tell her? That you were Mark Wright's best friend?'

So you see, he is a lad, cad, lady lover and caring big bro who looks as good as he knows he does - and there is nothing he won't do for his boys (Although let's also note that this same girl is now meant to be Mark's girlfriend - I wonder what young Tommy makes of that).

And as one of the confused-looking Hollywood actresses in the show - none of them sure quite what they're doing - says to him: "You're lucky you're cute ...and you smell great."

Good luck Mark you 'cute and great smelling' gent you, you've done well for yourself - and if you continue in his mould you'll be the next Peter Andre before you know it.

I wonder if Nanny Pat will have a cameo? 'I've brought your ironing Mark!'

Related stories:
Mark Wright's Hollywood Nights: Episode 2 - We're sort of having quite a good time, despite ourselves

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