Is this the real life? Or is it just bad TV?: Party HousePosted: April 18, 2014
Here’s the thing, I’m not adverse to a bit of trashy “reality” TV- The Hills, TOWIE, Made in Chelsea and The Valleys– I’ve got sucked into each of them at different times. The concepts are simple- a bunch of “real” people are placed in scripted scenarios and the drama plays out, the fact that these people tend to be playing a version of themselves somehow makes them more engaging than your average soap opera, despite them being pretty much the same thing, only less dramatic/OTT.
However, E4’s latest entry into the genre Party House is unlikely to set the world alight.
And there’s a very simple reason for this. It’s poorly executed.
First of all, kudos to the channel for their trailers, which featured the incredibly catchy “Bangerang” by Skrillex and pushed the dramatic confrontations and excess to the fore. A series of house parties at a fancy pad? Booze soaked barneys and drunken debauchery? Sounds like fun.
But the problem is that instead of following the same bunch of party goers through the series each episode will instead focus on a different group of mates.
The whole reason you get sucked into reality TV is the same as normal shows- the characters. I care about Binky and Ceska falling out, I want to know if Jack and Lateysha are going to get together and I want to know if Lauren and Heidi make up in the end. All I’m saying, if I’m seeing these cats for just a single episode they better have a solid story to hook me in.
One shot reality TV can work, but you need a clear, interesting narrative, for example Don’t Tell The Bride. Where a groom has to arrange a wedding in three weeks for 12k and without any input from his wife-to-be. Right away there’s drama- will he pull it off in time and within budget? Will he remember everything? And most importantly will she like it and will it go off okay? That’s some quality trash TV right there, folks, and I’m addicted to this show.
So, what was the plot for the first episode of Party House. I’d imagine as the big kick-off episode you’d go in strong with your best/most interesting story, but if E4 have done this the rest of the series is going to be pretty dull.
The story revolved around Laura and her group of London mates, who were going to be hosting the first party. Laura kick started the show with a little voice over that brought us up to speed- she loves her mates, Lillia and Lucca (too many Ls) but boys make things complicated. Lillia is sort of dancing around developing a relationship with Martin, while Lucca is kind of into Shoey (yeah, that’s what he goes by, I’m guessing his first name must be something really bad like Cuthbert or Adolf if Shoey is preferable). The complication comes from the fact that Laura has also shacked up with Shoey in the past. Oh, and with Martin.
I’m not into slut shaming, because male or female you can shag whoever you want, as long as you’re safe and not a dick in going about it. I just think it’s a bit rich to complain things have got complicated when a large part of that is due to you having shagged most of the major players.
Whatever, minor quibble aside let’s see how things develop, shall we.
Oh, look they’re hanging out having a chat. I have to say Laura and Lucca actually seem alright. Hang on, here comes Shoey. Man, is it me or did the room just get douchey all of a sudden?
Later on Lucca will comment that Shoey is “good at stuff” in the bedroom. Well he must be a goddamn marvel, because personality wise he seems utterly lacking in anything approaching charm or class.
Anyway, let’s see how things are going with Martin and Lillia, who are shopping for party outfits. At a thrift store. Curse you, Macklemore!
Then it hits me like a ton of bricks. These people are a bunch of hipster douches. I mean, why else is Martin wearing a fur coat and a tie-die shirt. And why is Lillia wearing that daft hat? And is that guy wearing a tutu. Oh, you whacky bastard, I bet you’re tons of fun!
I can feel myself turning on this show already.
There’s a definite awkwardness between Martin and Lillia, but it’s hard to tell if this is the result of attraction and history or poor acting and nerves. Whatever, I’m not rooting for them.
Let’s get back to Lucca and Laura discussing Shoey’s bedroom prowess. Man, this is awkward, Laura looks uncomfortable and a little jealous. The other girl present has the best response, expressing utter disgust at the thought of “that ginger man’s naked body” or similar.
The boys are playing table tennis, because I guess there’s only a finite way to set up three characters talking where you can cut around them, so it was only a matter of time. Maybe this playing games will be a running theme- table football next week, air hockey the week after, maybe pool, or that game from Never Say Never Again?
Whatever, over the course of the conversation Shoey finds out that Laura shagged Martin. And he gets all jealous and pissed off about it. Which is a douche move. Seriously, only realizing that you want the girl when someone else has/wants her is a dick move, even when little Michael Jackson did it in “Want You Back”.
Don’t go for him, Laura! That’s a classic dick trait, and the only way you can hold his interest is to constantly have other guys buzzing around you. Also, can you really be intimate when halfway through you have to call them Shoey? Say any sexy dirty talk phrase and then add “Shoey” to the end. Instant mood killer.
So the party arrives after the break and the crew are arriving. E4 then treated us to flashbacks which explained the background, which is pretty helpful if you’re the dude from Memento.
Each member arrives, we see a black and white flashback and their name on the screen. Oh, look here comes Martin. Carrying a deer statue.
You wake up after a night out with a deer statue- there’s a story and probably a good night out behind that. But you arrive at the party with it. Dude, you’re trying too hard to look all “random” and quirky, and the fact you’re trying means that it’s pretty clear that you’re neither. And that’s fine man, embrace your ordinariness and who you really are.
Coupled with the thrift shopping, this was where I lost patience. I mean, I used to go to house parties fairly regularly and my clothing decisions were based on a very simple criteria:
- Do I look okay? Or as okay as I’m gonna get with this face and body?
- Are they comfortable?
- Will they be comfortable when I fall asleep/pass out in them?
- Am I okay with the fact they may end up covered in booze/food/vomit/blood/whatever?
I never thought about going and buying a fur coat or a funny hat because (a) it meant less cash for booze (b) I’d probably look like a dick and (c) my friends would delight in pointing out that I looked like a dick.
The fact I knew that the next week we’d be focusing on another bunch of people meant I had even less reason to care. Like I said, I wasn’t rooting for Martin and Lillia, and with the introduction of the deer I definitely wanted him to end the night alone. Or shagging the deer in a massively embarrassing moment.
As for the Laura-Shoey-Lucca triangle, who was I rooting for? Nobody. I mean, I might have been rushing to judgement but Shoey didn’t seem that likable, so the best outcome for me would be a Laura-Lucca hook up, but having seen a clip of Laura and Shoey in the pool I kinda knew that wasn’t on the cards.
So, yeah, I stopped watching. And probably won’t go back. Unless I stumble across something much more interesting happening when I’m channel surfing or I get trapped under something heavy as an episode starts.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.