Excess in Essex the new reality

June 8th, 2012

While America has its trailer trash, the English county of Essex has its chavs. not that The Only Way is Essex, aka Towie, plays this perma-tanned, breast-enhanced, binge-drinking, bleached-blonde bunch as a poor lot; no, they are portrayed as the tasteless, crass, brash and tacky nouveau riche.

Think Beverly Hills 90210, only set in England without the scripted lines. If you are well read and always looking out for stories that make the international headlines, then you’re likely to have heard of the Towie crew. they are a bunch of good-looking young adults from privileged backgrounds who do not flinch when it comes to expensive price tags, and lush parties are their way of life.

With the first season starting tonight on BBC Entertainment, we caught up with some of the regular faces on the show to find out why we should look out for Towie.

“You will see a lot of flashy cars, big watches and fake boobs. The tans on the people who appear on the show may be fake, but the people are real,” said Lauren Goodger who is the most talkative of the group.

She went on to to say that the group who form the core of the show is comprised of six friends who are interlinked in one way or another.

“Essex is a small place so everyone knows each other. we shop in the same places, eat in more or less the same restaurants and we go to the same clubs,” said Lydia Rose Wright in a thick English accent.

“as a girl you can’t be with a guy who hasn’t been with somebody else,” she laughed.

You must be wondering what this show about. we have had the Kardashian sisters, Kendra, Kimora, Kenny Kunene and Nonhle Thema on reality tv, what else could we get from yet another supposedly reality offering?

“We’re not only kids who come from homes with rich parents. You may see us driving a Ferrari at 24 and think that’s all there is to us, but there is more. we are very ambitious and hope to make successes of our own lives and I think the girls in our group are more ambitious than the guys,” said Sam Faiers.

Without giving too much away, you will see normal things such as relationships blossoming and failing as the series goes on. The characters frequent bars, malls and beauty salons as if they were paid to show face. Because of their tightly knit group, everyone has an eye on everyone else and you’d think you were watching a sub-plot of The Bold and the beautiful.

While the guys go out to play some sport and buy expensive things to make themselves feel important, the girls spend most of their time in beauty salons getting their bodies transformed to impress the guys. Some of the transformations are things you and I know about – eyelash extensions, nails, that sort of thing.

But sometimes these girls do bizarre things to set trends. in one episode they agree to have a vajazzle done. a what? Yes, it’s something you do not want to hear about when you are about to eat. in a nutshell it is the attachment of crystals, possibly with glue, on the vagina.

“It comes as part of the package,” said Wright, commenting on how showing a lot of skin doesn’t bother her.

“Everything we do makes for good content. Remember, we are not acting. we are just going on with our lives and the camera just happens to be there,” she explained.

Given that the show is in its fifth season, obviously it was a huge success in England and other countries where it is broadcast. The usual faces on the show have all since made names for themselves and appear on other TV shows and magazine covers.

“It was quite amazing that this show became a huge talking point. we didn’t know what to expect when we launched it,” said Goodger.

“People can never seem to agree on whether the show is true or fake. what they need to know is, it is as real as it gets. we have conflicts like anyone else and have all learnt to be thick-skinned,” intervened Faiers.

The show’s success has meant that its stars can’t frequent public places the way they used to. If they do go out, fans swarm them and they admit that it can get a bit too much.

“Some of the fans mean well, but others don’t. You just have to deal with it. It is a part of the business.

“a lot of doors have opened up for us in the form of business opportunities and we are happy that it is all happening this way,”said Goodger.

If you can get past the heavy British accents, Towie could be a refreshing option away from the US avalanche of reality TV that we have become used to.

• The Only Way is Essex starts tonight on BBC Entertainment (channel 120 on DStv) at 8.30pm and continues at 9pm.

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Excess in Essex the new reality

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