fri 19/08/2022

Made in Chelsea, E4 | reviews, news & interviews

Made in Chelsea, E4

Made in Chelsea, E4

The only way is RBKC for its dullest residents

Hot on the vulgar, vertiginous heels of The Only Way is Essex came E4's Made in Chelsea last night, where the stars were better shod but about as interesting as shoe leather. The first ill omen was the use of the angsty, vengeful riff from Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" - it wanted the passion and style of the music but could only grasp it on a fast-food level. Things got no better.

This show was self-defeating, as is any reality show where "interesting" people have to put themselves forward. Truly interesting people would never want to parade their lives in a flash of fur, so we were left with the dreck, the dross: people who think they're interesting. At least the stars of TOWIE have sufficient extroversion and insufficient dignity; the dullards of Made in Chelsea seem to think that brooding about designer problems is attractive.

Character A, bearded, brooding, was thinking of cheating on his girlfriend with Character B; they looked meaningfully at each other; B sang sad songs out of key in a pub which the producers mistook for profundity. Character C worked the door of a club in Chelsea, tossing the stooges who thought they could get in wearing jeans and passing through his friends as they click-clacked across the pavement. Mostly there seemed to be no one in the queue.

The programme suggested that these are lives we should envy: Character D launched a line of jewellery and Character E wrote a blog about it for her fashion magazine; Character F, with hair like a frisky filly cantering across an African plain, faked falling out of a boat at Henley. Champagne was quaffed and people said "totes" and "yah" a lot. Don't you wish you could have their clothes and problems? Made in Chelsea pitched itself in opposition to the non-U antics of TOWIE but failed to replace the humour with anything else.

What made everything so much worse was the lack of a narrator, which forced the characters into the most contrived conversational style, packing the sort of exposition and background into their chat which is unnecessary among long-acquainted friends. As unnatural as a narrator is, it can actually make the scenes seem more realistic because conversation is allowed to appear naturalistic. Add this to the staged situations, cardboard personalities and a visual style drawn from the least original of Cristal-and-hoes rap videos, and there is little that could be worse.

This was not anthropology, for we learnt nothing about the Chelsea tribe, nor was it drama, for they did nothing. It was the cheapest concept-retooling, a sparky format taken up several social notches and left to rot among the braindead of SW3.

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