Some scenes are created for entertainment purposes” – a disclaimer of sheer honesty, a symphony of orchestrated situations to my ears. In Made In Chelsea or The Only Way Is Essex, mundane domestic tasks are no longer dull, they’re the setting for many a melodramatic furore. Last week, Mark Wright made a cup of tea while discussing his dejected mojo with his dad whilst wearing heavy-duty makeup. I was riveted.
I know all too well that the stars of these programmes would, in the Venn diagram of TV personalities, lie somewhere between wannabe actors and Candid Camera victims. They know what they do: they have awareness, they have unagi. I can follow them all on Twitter, dedicating unlimited amounts of time to watching them ‘be’.
As a defiant member of the curly club back in the real world, my hair has taken in the starring role in many trainee hairdressers’ nightmares. “How much do you want off?” asks my naïve new hairdresser. A pointless question, since however much they lop off, my hair springs back to half the length and a totally different shape as soon as it’s dry. Earlier I looked like King Charles I. Later on, perhaps I’ll resemble a young Elizabeth Taylor. Only time will tell. It’s like battling with the entire Spanish armada from a tug boat – so why resist? My hair does what it wants, and I take pride in its independence. I once thought it would secure me the fourth place in Destiny’s Child. (Alas, alack.)
If this were an episode of MIC or TOWIE, I’d be accompanied to the hairdressers’ by my best gal pal, coincidentally bump into a frenemy and get accused of disrespecting (verb). Instead, I get idle chat about the weather as my hairdresser visibly gives up on cutting in layers and my former parting becomes a zig-zag across my scalp. At the optician’s, Mark Wright and Arg would be reading out dirty words – “A-R-S-E-W-I-P-E” – instead of spelling out the real letters.
Big hair, yes. Of being personally involved in big drama, I am not a fan. But for the last ten years, despite knowing better, every time my (attractive) optician shines the little spotlights in my eyes all I can think is that he’s leaning in for a kiss. Stifled breathing and a severe urge to giggle follows, resulting in a sound similar to a heavy asthmatic wheeze. Caggie Dunlop or Sam Faiers would almost certainly let romance take over, but having restored my breathing after feeling blinded by the various coloured lights, I get told that the inside of my eye looks extremely healthy. Fantastic.
My Dad would quite mistakenly call investing my time in semi-reality TV “mindless drivel”. It’s amusement 24/7 and thanks to Twitter I don’t have to wait a whole week before my latest Joey Essex fix: it’s “Lunch time… Not nandos… Not a dairy lee luncherble…. I’m having chicken breast with spinig and broccoli.” I am served daily insights, getting to know my favourite characters rather than have to judge them (no one can deny that they are primarily there as subjects to public judgement/ridicule/praise) purely from the severely edited footage. This is flexible interaction. It’s better. Trust.