Tuesday, 4 December 2012

TOWIE live: 'Structured' reality without the structure creates an actual shambles

A 'live' episode of structured-reality hair-do The Only Way is Essex was always going to be an easy target for critics, but no-one could have expected the generally shambolic nature of what was presented before us.

As if anticipating that, the show was careful to point out it was in aid of 'charity', and had the premise of 'the cast' performing in a sort of musical talent show.

Presumably this was also a tactic to give the show's director some action to show on-screen if any of the other 'scenes', between 'characters' who mainly tend to talk about their relationships with each other, went awry.

But part of the reason we all tune in to this is in the hope of mistakes - and the mix of missed cues, wandering extras, prompts from off-screen producers, vacant faces, failing mics and possibly watchable 'on stage' performances interrupted for mainly unwatchable and awkward conversations - all made for something quite difficult to watch.

Not difficult to watch in the way that a documentary about orphanages in eastern Europe is difficult to watch of course, but you still end up fearing for the future of all those involved.


Perhaps this whole TOWIE live episode idea was a bit too ambitious - why not just call it a Christmas talent show and scrap all the 'back stage' stuff? As shown in excruciating detail, the cast are not actors - although some of them aren't bad at singing and that.

The lesson here - if there is one - is that structured reality tv only works if there's actual arranged, edited and stylised structure, otherwise you might as well stay in bed.

In the meantime, let's watch some of the bad bits again. You know, because we can.

Someone on YouTube has even gone to the trouble of editing together this short 'compilation'. 

Who doesn't love a bit of schadenfreude.

Now let's never speak of this again.

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

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