Television’s Argument For Eugenics
Laughing at working class people has always been popular on British television, but ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ takes it to a new level, making ‘Jersey Shore’ look like ‘Don Giovanni’. Of course, these rubber-breasted robots and their knuckledragging mates don’t think they’re working class – they’ve got the vulgarity of the middle classes, so how could they be?
It’s fascinating stuff because it’s so hilariously contradictory. First, there’s the ‘docu-soap’ label, which here means ‘scripted for non-actors’. Anyway, as the Independent On Sunday pointed out, reality TV is basically YouTube for people who don’t like computers.
Then there’s the title – was there meant to be a pun in it? The most fabulously stupid member of the cast is the torpid plankton-brained Amy, who does something with hair or nails, I’m not sure. So dim that she sometimes seems to lose the power of speech altogether, she appears to have been carved from orange soap and has the thought processes of a crustacean.
Last week’s episode featured a pub quiz in which someone asked if a matador was a man who cleans mats, but is this the scriptwriters making working class people look extra stupid or did the comment originate in the cast’s own frosted-pink mouths?
Let’s not even go near the men, who seem filled with barely concealed hatred and are about to balloon into signet-ring covered middle age. The trend for faked-up ‘point and laugh’ shows is a depressing example of ITV’s lost way. If everyone in the West now thinks of themselves as middle class, who are we meant to be making fun of?