Young, Rich and Househunting - House Porn Meets Class Bashing

While recession woes leave many of us unable to afford rent on a Wendy house, Young, Rich and Househunting follows the UK's richest as they spunk away £600, 000 on penthouses they've never been in.
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While recession woes leave many of us unable to afford rent on a Wendy house, Young, Rich and Househunting follows the UK's richest as they spunk away £600, 000 on penthouses they've never been in.

With the country still in the midst of what is best described as an economic clusterfuck, BBC3 - the thinking man’s ITV4 - strives to give us some relief from our crippling money worries and inability to afford our own housing.

Young, Rich and Househunting is an entirely unsubtle combination of house-porn and class-bashing; television to get angry to whilst cursing your own bad fortune. It’s A Place in the Sun meets My Super Sweet Sixteen; the idea, of course, being that we’re incensed by the ease with which rich people spend money on things we can’t afford and the lack of common sense they employ when doing so.

The first of this week’s budding buyers is 24 year-old Ed, a man who enjoys Rod Stewart, imported French shirts and playing ‘Airwolf’ in the family helicopter. Bankrolled by his multi-millionaire father, Mike, Ed is trying to make a living in the property market, his credentials including having once read an entire book on the subject and having a dad who’s made over £200 million in the industry. Essentially this is a game of real-life family Monopoly with fewer top hats but just as much tedium.

Amelia is about to embark on a gap year where she’ll presumably spend twelve months being chauffeured between various five star hotels across the Far East in order to ‘find herself’

Joining him are siblings Amelia, 18, and Henry, 17, who have a paltry £600,000 to spend on their first flat. Amelia is about to embark on a gap year where she’ll presumably spend twelve months being chauffeured between various five star hotels across the Far East in order to ‘find herself’. “When I get back it’d be nice to have my own flat and get out into the real world,” she says, naively imagining the real world as a place where good things happen to people.

And finally there’s 19 year-old Johnny, a self-made millionaire who may be the only person I’ve ever known to have bought, let alone read, Duncan Bannatyne’s book. Apparently it inspired him to start a care home business, which makes him a self-made millionaire who actually dedicates his time to helping people. Initially it’s hard to find anything to dislike about Johnny, which makes me think either the beeb have momentarily forgotten the main ingredient of their show or I’m not looking hard enough. He is wearing a grey cardigan I’m not crazy about I suppose, and although it’s not much it’ll have to do...the monochrome bastard.

From here on in it’s by-numbers television; a battle for the most vulgar display of wealth.  Amelia takes an early lead by Googling the words ‘flat’ and ‘King’s Road’  and making an offer on a place of just over half a million quid without actually bothering to view it. “I’m not really bothered about what the place is like,” she says as a silver spoon rattles against her molars, “I just want to live in Chelsea, it’s the centre of the world,” which despite being a claim based on no geographical awareness whatsoever is the one and only criteria for her house hunt..

Johnny, meanwhile, displays a little restraint, turning down flats for a variety of reasons; mostly because the bedrooms, the majority of which are the size of my house, aren’t big enough. I can only imagine they don’t provide enough room for Naked Cartwheel Thursdays or the play fort he plans to build out of banknotes.

Amelia eventually goes to view the flat she’s tried to chuck half a million quid at, unfortunately neglecting to find out where it is before hopping into the back of a cab

Ed has a little more success trying to kick start his empire, making an offer after being shown a semi by an old man in a trench coat (te-he). He then goes on to spend the rest of his day just being rich and stuff; probably ordering some more French shirts, a belt made from Indian leather and a pair of loafers hand crafted by Kazakhstan’s finest cobbler.

It’s not what you’d call enthralling television, and you can’t help but think someone may have pointed this out, as in the second half of the programme we’re plunged head-first into a world of haut monde obscurity.

Amelia eventually goes to view the flat she’s tried to chuck half a million quid at, unfortunately neglecting to find out where it is before hopping into the back of a cab. This leads to the world’s least interesting televised scavenger hunt. “I thought there’d just be a big sign, saying ‘Amelia’s house’,” she says. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what a private education buys you. Eventually she finds the place and spends a few minutes jumping up and down outside, presumably thinking this is how you open doors. You get the impression she the kind of girl who’d buy a car based on a line drawing, as at no point does she actually bother to have a look inside. Brother Henry, who is currently away at boarding school, must be the most trusting person in the world.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to inject a bit of life into television’s latest ailing horse, Ed’s dad Mike decides to pool together some loose change and buy a penthouse in Mayfair, neglecting his previous intention to buy all three train stations and the water works. It seems like an alpha male move designed to show the young up-and-comers who the big man is, a theory only accentuated when he gives Ed the task of decorating his new ‘crash-pad’ with furniture from the family-owned shop.

Instead he drives out of a showroom with a Lamborghini so flash everyone it passes stops to wonder if his penis is just small or actually inverted

So off Ed trots on a shopping spree where he considers buying a gargantuan silver Buddha statue - because if you’re going to trivialise a religion you might as well do it in style – before going on to sit in a selection of weird chairs where he possibly mulls over the merits of ordering a bespoke, Swarovski crystaled Vishnu. He eventually settles for covering the balcony in Astroturf and buying a marble horse head along with a massive poster of a gorilla. The overall effect is half way between a mini-golf course and the abode of a second rate Bond villain. Pleased with his success Ed decides to buy himself a treat, something he mentions so casually I think he’s probably off to get a bag of Haribo or maybe some porn. Instead he drives out of a showroom with a Lamborghini so flash everyone it passes stops to wonder if his penis is just small or actually inverted. Father and son celebrate over a bottle of Cristal, punctuating sips with occasional banter.  “This is what I drink every night”, says Mike, before failing to go on to explain how he shits Faberge eggs and wipes his arse with share certificates.

So, it seems the prize for the most obnoxiously rich contestant has been clinched. Not to be outdone, Amelia and Henry eventually buy their luxury flat, still without having seen the inside. A part of me likes to imagine it full of terrifying clown murals and the chalk outlines of previous tenants, although this may just be me being bitter. After all, I’m fairly sure that’s the point of the show. Johnny on the other hand shows something refreshingly close to common sense, failing to find a bedroom big enough for his sexual Olympics and opting instead to buy a BMW until the right flat turns up. It’s going to be a nightmare to sleep in but at least he saved a few quid.

Many questions remain as the credits role, the most obvious being, what exactly was the point to what we just saw? My best guess: reverse snobbery disguised as aspirational programming, which would have been fine if it wasn’t actually quite dull.

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