And they’re off! Setting off at a great clip for the eighth glorious season, here come the usual array of world-class twonks, trotting across the wobbly old Millennium Bridge with their business faces on. The women all leggy and over made-up, seriously over made-up, as if someone’s painted on them with Airfix paints while they slept; the men all thrusting bollocks and big hair and passive-aggressive sniping. Where, we all wonder, do the producers FIND these people? Does anyone actually KNOW anyone like this?
In fact a few series back I did know someone: Sam, or little Sammy as we used to call him when he lived next door to us when we were kids. Little Sammy had clearly turned into a first-class ass-wipe, like all the others. And he used to be so cute and quiet! But of course, one knows with the rational part of the brain that the whole thing’s an illusion, as scripted as TOWIE, and edited to buggery. “Are you any good at business?” ask the producers, off camera. “Um, yes, I guess so,” replies the young woman in the crisp white shirt. “Bet you’re really good at getting what you want,” suggests the producer. “Yes, I think so, sometimes,” says the woman, squinting into the sunshine and wondering why she is being filmed with the Gherkin behind her, surely that’s been done to death, not realising it’s because they want to make her look like a gherkin. “I bet you’re an animal!” says the producer, and the woman laughs self-deprecatingly. “Well, maybe…” “Say it!” says the producer. “Say you’re an animal!” And remembering the contract she’s signed, with its four million clauses and its do’s and don’ts and also wanting to step out of these absurd stilettos sometime today, stilettos more suited for a lady of the night than a lady of business, she says, quietly, “I’m an animal.” “Ooh, that wasn’t very convincing,” laughs the producer, “let’s try that again.” Gritting her teeth and raising her voice she yells, “I’m an animal!” And that’s the clip they show.
Knowing all this, why do people continue to go on it, and why do intellectuals like me * continue to watch? Because it’s staggeringly good telly, that’s why. And here we are again, another year, another shot of yelling women running across London in their hobble skirts; another load of the same mistakes (let’s list them, boys and girls: not working out the margins, not thinking about who might actually buy your stuff, buying too much stock, barging into random shops at the last minute trying to sell things, talking over Shugs, and allowing another team member to say, “Well, you’re in charge of that so if it goes tits up…”); another embarrassing brain-storm around a flip-chart; and yet another pair of ghastly team names that Nick Hewer will say with withering disdain. I can only assume one of those clauses in the contract says you’re not allowed to choose a name Shugs wouldn’t approve of, otherwise surely by now someone would have come up with, ‘Twonks’ or ‘We’re Only Here For The Telly Exposure.’
As ever, no-one can beat the Guardian for a blow-by-blow account of proceedings so I’ll just give some random thoughts on last night’s episode.
- That man-child with the Justin Bieber haircut (Nick)? I don’t think I can stand him for very long.
- That woman with the purple eye-shadow like Flash Gordon? I desperately wanted to sort her out with my Boots No. 7 eye-make up remover.
- The guy who said he was a puppeteer and then did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING? I don’t think I can stand him for very long.
- The allegedly hidden Katie? Was there ever a more clunky series of edits? Memo: Katie’s narrative is that she takes a back seat. Editing team: Sure thang, bossio. Let’s just not film her, and tell some of the others in her team to call her name a few times.
- That woman with the nasal voice (Jenna)? I don’t think I can stand her for very long.
- I wanted to like Bilyana because I have a soft spot for stroppy East European women (for instance, I am in love with Nali from Radio 4’s Clare in the Community). But when she led all the other women on the Long March she reminded me of a horrid girl I knew at school who was always making me go on pointless walks across town, and who kept saying, “We’re nearly there,” when we weren’t, god she was annoying.
- Gabrielle’s helmet hair? I don’t think I can stand that for very long.
- The ‘big teddies’ were actually very small. No-one but a twonk would think they were worth £15, or even £10.
- That Ricky Martin namesake who describes himself as ‘an alpha male’? I don’t think I can stand him for very long.
- Everyone in the world thought that girl’s drawings of scribbly animals were good. Except me. I know nothing about art, but I know what I like.
- I would so have bought one of their t-shirts for my kid, nonetheless, because it was a cute idea to have them customised while you waited.
- The know-it-all guy with no chin who wanted to carry out a coup over how much to charge for the teddy? I don’t think I can stand him for very long.
- It is SO maddening that every time, the crappy quality task wins and the high quality one loses. Never was this more depressing than when Whatsername a while back did a buffet with the poorest ingredients, saving pounds on buying horrible cheap cans of tuna, and won resoundingly cos she’d spent tuppence. I still feel upset when I think of it. And of course Shugs LOVED her, which is another good reason to despise Shugs.
- The black guy who said “Really thinking outside the box” sarkily when perusing the boys’ designs? I think he might be this year’s crush.
- Whoever writes Shug’s ‘hilarious’ patter needs a good kicking.
- Nick and Karen did sweet fa last night.
- Once again the utterly infuriating person who was canned turned out to be quite pleasant on You’re Fired. In fact, it’s SUCH a contrast I’m starting to think lobotomy rather than simply media training.
- Why does Dara bother with those boring guests?
- I still love Dara.
- And my tip from having watched more of these series than I care to remember? The person who will win was very low-profile last night.
* I once read a few pages of Noam Chomsky, so there.
Posted by Qwerty