‘Hey Andy, fancy reviewing TOWIE?’ said one of the chief Saboteurs the other day. I politely declined – I’d only seen a few minutes of it when it first started and it left me feeling confused, afraid and angry. I’ve shunned it ever since.
‘That’s great,’ they said – ‘you’ll be perfect for it then. And we’ll send you a Twix’. I was won over. So here’s what I managed to decipher last night, during one of the most traumatic and bewildering 45 minutes of telly-viewing that I’ve ever experienced.
1. Joey is under house arrest
In scenes reminiscent of 1960s cult classic The Prisoner, Joey ambles around a sparsely-decorated ‘pad’ replete with an outdoor pool. The weather is, at best, grim yet Joey insists on sporting oversized shades, the kind that George Michael jettisoned in 1988. Or perhaps he’s being made to wear them as part of his punishment. We do not know what Joey’s crimes are but he is occasionally visited by other characters, who bring him gifts. Are they bribes? Is he perhaps the King of Essex?
2. Want to get ahead? Get an arse job
There’s obviously nothing more that can be done that will improve the face of Chloe. It is perfection itself, if slightly cartoonish and bereft of full and complete movemental capabilities. And so she has turned her attentions to her a*se, visiting a man called Mr Berry, who claims to be able to pump it full of stuff and make it better. Later, Chloe sings Nothing Compares To You at the karaoke, possibly directly out of the aforementioned sub-standard arse.
They’ll be able to give them ‘cuddles and that’ speculates Kirk. Romance is alive and thriving in Essex.
3. Cupcake counselling is the new fish pedicure
Lydia is a deeply troubled young woman. Her relationship with James is floundering because James enjoys spending time in the boxing gym with Mark. They’re not gay. THEY’RE NOT GAY. This much is obvious. But she has chosen to air her grievances with James in a partially-decorated ‘space’ that is furnished only by a cake-laden table. What is this – modern performance art? And does her mother need to be there? Does the mother EVER need to be there?
4. Want to impress a girl? Take her fishing in October
Time was when a first date involved a bunch of flowers, a trip to the cinema and the holding of hands. In Essex in 2011, things are very different. Karaoke organiser Kirk and Joey (now shorn of his shades and released from his house arrest) are pitching woo at a couple of agreeable young ladies in the ‘Shuggerut’. Their big plan for a ‘foursome’ is to take the girls fishing, with tents in which to shelter from the f*****g freezing weather that is forecast for the coming week. They’ll be able to give them ‘cuddles and that’ speculates Kirk. Romance is alive and thriving in Essex.
5. The whole thing exists solely in the mind of the old woman
She only appeared briefly, looking out of place at the karaoke night, but she’s clearly the key to this whole thing. Somewhere in Brentwod, there is a 75-year-old woman lying motionless in a hospital bed. Doctors do not know what it is that afflicts her or whether she will live or die. Perhaps she has been there for decades. But somewhere deep inside her subconscious, the goings-on in Essex are being played out. How have they ended up on our TV screens? It is beyond our comprehension.
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