The ‘reality’ show is back that that really tests the ability of even its own audience to be able to stomach for a single second longer how its participants act, sound, think and behave.
No, not Geordie Shore. Made In Chelsea 2 is here. Which really begs a serious question about the quality of manufacturing in Chelsea. Not to mention the inadequacy of the materials. And the show is back with the same caveat attached to it, and it still sounds like more of a threat: ‘Some scenes have been created for your entertainment.’
Unfortunately, none of these scenes appear to have been included in the programme.
If any of the scenes had been created for my entertainment, surely they would feature Freddy Mercury look-a-like Hugo being slowly fed feet-first into the snapping, spit-decorated jaws of starving Alsatians. Or Francis - whose motto ‘Capitalism makes you beautiful’ betrays the truth that his face marks him down as a natural socialist - would be shown being torn asunder by two Range Rovers and his steaming entrails used as warm skipping ropes by cold handed Cockney orphans.
Sadly, MiC hasn’t been created for my entertainment or, if it has, the makers don’t have any idea what I want to see. Instead, it seems that this series has been created for those viewers for whom watching Kerry Katona pull brain pulp down her nostrils with long-nosed pliers is just too exciting. Or can no longer bare to see Paddy MacGuinness inhale mice-meat through a straw for charity while shouting, ‘It’s like t’cocaine a t’poor!’
Made In Chelsea opens with Ben Fogle body-double reject and human Labrador puppy facsimile, Jamie, recounting the horrors of flying back from Spain on a budget airline and having to sit next to ‘the fastest girl!’ Clearly his usual carrier of choice - Beauteous Airlines - has a strict ‘no fatties’ policy. The fat and the poor being stopped at the gate by airline officials and, two hands on shoulders, being physically turned around and pointed in the opposite direction. Or possibly just turned toward the wall, like the picture of the Pope when Catholics are rhythm-methoding the bejesus out of each other.
Instead, it seems that this series has been created for those viewers for whom watching Kerry Katona pull brain pulp down her nostrils with long-nosed pliers is just too exciting
Any programme that within the first five minutes has a man named Ollie, lounging about on a rooftop garden in white jeans, say ‘My eyebrows are a facking di-zarrrrster!’ obviously has a lot going for it. What it mostly has going for it is the ability to generate the eminently usable energy of hate. I’ve been running a large-bore drill off mine for the last seven hours. Pretty soon I’ll be through into a bank vault. In Chelsea. I can then steal all the money and condemn the cast of the show to a life of only twelve holidays a year.
Neither do the cast make it easy for themselves. Cheska - possibly named after a combination of Chelsea and Alaska (like her sister, Alsea) - even serves up the exquisitely made-for-measured line of ‘Hang on, isn’t fishing the most boring thing you’ve ever done in your life?’, thus causing the audience to collectively bite the back of its hand in painful restraint: Must. Resist. Reply.
Though Cheska’s line does inspire this treasurable response from bisexual Ollie: ‘I have two passions in life - my friends and my angling.’ Again, one can almost hear the collective gasp at the fact that ‘eyebrows’ wasn’t one of the two passions. And also a collective sigh of relief when it turns out that he is actual talking about angling only for fish.
Jamie, poor lamb, is shown being given a dressing down by his accountant for taking three holidays in one month (which begs the question: how is that even physically possible?) We also learn that young Jamie is heir to ‘the McVitie fortune’ - at which point I presumed that the entire watching public - me and someone else - instantly vowed to never, ever, ever again buy a packet of digestives. Exactly how many packs of hob nobs need to be sold, I wonder, to enable Jamie to go on holiday three times a month? (And that’s what McVities biscuit eaters should now consider themselves - enablers.)
Cleverly, the cast have okayed the inclusion of Francis Boulle, presumably on the grounds that even though he is the much less physically attractive of the bunch - thus lowering the average - he is also so naturally loathsome that he not only makes David Cameron less like a salesman, but also makes anyone within a five-mile radius look positively charming. Good move to have him involved. Bit like turning up for a speed dating event and bringing with you The Elephant Man: statistically, it can only improve your chances.
Tragically, truth be told, the rest of the participants seem perfectly okay, and barely worthy of dislike, let alone anything stronger. They don’t seem to have killed anyone, at least none that we know of, (though Francis seems to have ingested the spirit of Draco Malfoy). And while it is not their fault that they are young, attractive and wealthy, it is their fault that they agreed to appear in a programme that depicts them as nothing other than young, attractive and wealthy - and expects us to find it amusing or interesting or noteworthy to be those things at a point when the country is governed by a party that appears one step away from recommending that poor people burn each other for warmth this winter.
Bad timing. Wrong country.
This kind of aspirational ‘lifestyle’ babble-ogue takes easy flight in America, where the desire and the quest for success is so encoded that it appears not to breed any resentment in others. Back in Blighty, however - a small, foggy, rain-sodden and wind-lashed island of sarky, ironic smartarses - that particular flight is only going one way: straight into the ground, the wings and fuselage riddled with bullets from anti-aircraft guns manned by the country’s citizenry.
What Made In Chelsea also makes abundantly clear is that no amount of the boys’ high-fiving or use of the words ‘dude’/‘man’/‘babe’ or repeated mentions of ‘The Game’ or the wearing of v-neck t-shirts or rolled-up plaid shirt sleeves or self-conscious use of ‘bird’ and ‘mate’ is ever going to make them cool. Money and privilege instantly atomises the possibility of that. Which is a tad sad because it appears to be the one thing they most want.
But, unfortunately for them, it’s one thing that money can’t buy.
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