The Only Way Is Not Essex


Amy Childs, ‘star’ of the reality TV show: The Only Way is Essex has started recording for her upcoming spin off show: All about Amy, an eight part series which follows Childs “doing photo shoots, opening [her] own business and out with friends.” Exciting doesn’t even cover it. No, really…it doesn’t. Childs, whose Z-list celebrity status is owed almost entirely to her surgically enhanced breasts and for getting the nation talking about vajazzling, hopes that the series will allow fans to see the real her, but judging by her fake tan, I’m not entirely convinced there is a real side to her. In what way is having a camera crew follow you to the bathroom a depiction of reality, anyway? I am a fairly average person with a reasonably normal life, and I would expect you, my average, normal reader to agree that this doesn’t constitute an average life. Even Madonna doesn’t have TV crews follow her to the bathroom so it shouldn’t happen to a normal person! If it does, you should probably acquaint yourself with your local police station…

Watching a normal person doing normal things just isn’t entertaining, no matter how much makeup they plaster on, therefore, there is also nothing entertaining about watching someone as fake as false teeth, and about half as interesting (someone who once asked: “where is North London?”) choose a new hat for their dog.

Reality TV shows are much less a depiction of reality than a caricature of an unattainable, uninteresting life, devoid of purpose. Why would any intelligent, self respecting, or even conscious person want to waste an hour every week watching that? If you’re a fan of reality shows, you’re probably on the edge of your seat right now, gritting your teeth and shaking your fist, after all there are many perfectly acceptable reasons why one might want to watch such shows. Maybe you use them as a form of escapism; a brief moment’s respite from life’s daily challenges or maybe you watch them late at night after a long hard day, when you’re too tired to do anything else.  If reality TV is how you choose to relax you’d probably be better off sleeping, and if the shiny, plastic, lip-gloss coated lives of asinine airheads are the places to which you wish to escape, then you should probably take a long hard look at your own life because something is clearly wrong.

Even if you could find evidence that reality TV has any entertainment or intellectual value whatsoever, there’s also a huge moral issue. Firstly, I think that if a production company is going to label a show as “reality”, it should show just that, and if they complain that real, every day life just doesn’t appeal to a broad enough market, then they just shouldn’t bother. Add to that the fact that most reality shows are a circus of humiliation in which the cast are forced into uncomfortable situations, to then be badly edited into a more volatile and entertaining parody of themselves, all to line the pockets of the producers, and you have the makings of a very corrupt business.

Why then, do we let them continue? Why is it that The Only Way is Essex, Made in Chelsea, Geordie Shore and Big Brother, amongst countless others are accruing almost two million viewers each per episode? As more people tune in to watch these shows, the production companies are forced to find more outlandish and cunning ways to attract viewers and make money. Compare it to Viktor Frankenstein’s fictional monster, an ambitious attempt to create the perfect human; production companies are desperately trying to make the perfect reality show by adding more and more facets of humiliation until one day, inevitably, they will unintentionally create something truly evil.

Clearly oblivious to how truly awful reality television has become, channel five bosses hope that viewers will “take the bubbly bombshell to their hearts”.Well, I might, but I expect that my arteries of self respect and intelligence will be blocked by shrieks of “oh my God babes, my vajazzle has totes fallen off”, and that, I fear, would be fatal.

  • Francesca Elizabeth Pearson

    Ironic that these reality shows display people who don’t even live in the real world. Completely agree with you and my hatred for those shows unites with your own. Worse still, the constant Peter Andre/Katie Price/Kerry Katona TV shows… why would anyone with a brain watch them?!

    • Amber Lilley

      Exactly! What makes me angry is that I have some incredibly intelligent friends who are applying to Cambridge university-A* students-who watch these shows religiously. We must be missing something?!

  • Dave Bosworth

    well, ok, not quite the Truman Show chav edition but on a side note. religion IS television/pop culture/modern science for the ever-expanding earth masses. Intelligent/ Oxbridge-educated? no argument they want their meaningful slice of life to ease that upper-middle class guilt. :)