In an old job I used to work a lot of night shifts, and discovered that the gods of late night TV were fickle. They’d occasionally bless you with a late night showing of some obscure movie or a repeat of a quality show, but often it was a wasteland of repeats, infomercials and tedium.
The best options were usually trashy TV- reality shows, light hearted documentaries or the soap operas. At 3am all you really want is something to keep you awake. Nothing too challenging or grim, ideally something fun and light. The two best channels for this were E4 and the now defunct BBC Three.
One personal favourite was Snog Marry Avoid?, which ticked the boxes- light, dumb, easy viewing. But last week I caught an old episode on TV.
It was awful.
I remember it being quite cheerful, jokey and fun. But watching it again it left an extremely unpleasant taste in the mouth.
For those unfamiliar with the show the premise is simple: People are brought in to POD aka Personal Overhaul Device, which was a computer that would give them a “make under”. It announced itself as being pro-natural beauty and declaring “war on fakery”. Hair extensions, lots of make up, fake tan, fake eyelashes- these were what the show was against and it would transform them into more natural vision.
Now, originally I considered this all quite good fun, but maybe I’m going soft but it really isn’t. While still nicer than the US version, which I had to stop watching halfway through one episode, there is a rather nasty side to the show, even if they mask it with montages, upbeat music and Jenny Frost’s cheery presenting.
First of all, the whole premise is dodgy as hell. You’re basically telling people how they should look (it’s predominantly women, but they did have a few guys on the show), and that’s not cool. Watching it back it feels like a massive attack on individuality and choice, with “fakery” being bad and a more understated look being good.
They’d choose extreme cases (girl who applies three layers of fake tan, guy who takes 2 hours to get ready etc.) but even these seem a bit mean spirited. They liked how they dressed or felt comfortable that way why give them grief for it? What makes the natural look so morally superior?
Secondly, the title of the show highlights the meanest part.
Once they’ve dragged the person in front of the camera they’d explain that they’d asked 100 people whether they would snog, marry or avoid the participant (I’m guessing “f**k, marry, kill” would have been a bit too risque a title). We then get a couple of talking heads where the public insult them or explain they would avoid them as they were “trashy” or fake.
It’s quite hard watching a young person hearing people talking smack about their appearance so bluntly. While some fire back you can genuinely see that some of them are getting quite hurt by the criticism, and can you blame them? Imagine having to stand there while some stranger says they’d avoid you because you look a mess.
Making it worse is the fact that they then hit them with a percentage, usually quite high for avoid.
As it’s usually women in front of POD, it’s basically telling them to change for men’s approval and ignores the fact that some of those participants may be lying. I think a lot of the guys were being less than honest about which girls they would snog given the chance. Regardless, just because 80 guys say they would steer clear that still leaves 20 who’d snog you, which isn’t that bad.
The next part that sucks is that POD is actually a bully. She makes quite nasty gags about what they look like and ridicules them. Jenny Frost is the good cop, making a few light hearted gags about how long it must take them to get ready or how much of their hair is actually theirs, and then POD comes in like an insult comic who then turns preachy.
The contestant is then stripped down to a robe, robbed of anything that is unique to them and scrubbed of make up until they are a blank canvass for the show to turn them into a more acceptable version.
For a show that bangs on about people following trends it seems to be determined that women everywhere should wear pretty dresses and only have tans in the summer. That makeup should be applied in a minimal way and that everybody shun hair extensions.
There’s a dull quality to many of the make unders. It turns them into bland, mainstream versions of themselves. For example, here’s Jodie Marsh:
Often this is for reasons like the person has to be “taken seriously” or fit a perceived idea of how someone should look when they’re a mother or professional. Rather than questioning whether it’s fair to judge on appearance the show just decides that they should change to fall into line.
There’s no thought given to the fact that the make up and loud outfits are in any way helpful to them. That it serves as a mask or armour for their insecurities or a way of showing their personality, nope, it’s just shown as being stupid and ugly.
Last of all is a definite streak of slut shaming, with countless of the girls being called out for wearing skimpy clothes. Even back when I was watching the show and enjoying it I thought this was a weird aspect. Being scantily clad wasn’t being fake, was it? And again, this was where the show sided with those who made judgments based on looks.
With a fresh look the cheery, fun vibe starts to crack. The montages are crafted to make them look ridiculous and feature their friends and family ragging on them. Then the partners get involved, talking about how they dress, which smacks of hypocrisy. They started to date the person as they were and now want to change them? That seems like a d**k move.
Jenny Frost talks about how bad the fakery is, but she’s not out there without makeup. It’s all bollocks.
You could make a show about natural beauty, and discuss things like society’s pressure on women to look a certain way. The risks of some treatments and the problems of how important looks are, but this show does none of these things.
It just sits there, smugly looking down its nose at those involved, ridiculing and humiliating them based on their looks. It wants everyone to fit within a narrow field of what’s considered attractive and criticises anyone who falls outside those confines.
If you like to wear makeup and fake tan, then crack on. If people judge you on what you wear then screw them, that’s their problem.
Watching it again the show is terrible, and I’m going to avoid it from now on.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
I can appreciate that being a parent is a tough thing to do, in fact, the idea of being that responsible for another person terrifies me. If you mess up as a parent you can mess up someone’s entire life.
But I’d like to think if I did become a parent I’d keep my individuality, perspective and consideration for others, beacuas I’ve noticed a lot of parents don’t. Today I saw one example of parental selfishness and one incident of terrible parenting.
First of all was the selfishness, there’s this attitude some parents have where they seem to feel that the entire world should make way for them and their spawn, and that this entitles them to more.
I see this a lot, whether its Katie Hill whinging about there not being enough “mother and child” spaces or the people who say all the lads mags should be covered up to stop their little kiddiewinks being exposed to the female form. Let me tell you something (brother), there are considerably worse things you should worry about your kids seeing than Jodie Marsh’s hot body, and way to teach your kids to see the human body and sexuality in general as something disgusting and shameful.
I see it in work as well, where some of my coworkers seem to think allowances and shifts should be sorted to cater to them and the needs of their offspring. Sure, things sometimes have to be moved around but I don’t think its fair that I should have to lose out or be inconvenienced because I haven’t knocked anyone up yet.
And then take for example what I saw in a local shop today. The shop I go to is not far from a primary school and I wound up going there just after the end of the day. And about 20 mothers all decided to stop off for some bits and bobs.
I get that going on the way back from the school run is more convenient (whatever happened to school buses? Surely its more environmentally sound than all these people going in their cars) but think about it. You’re messing it up for everyone else and also, this is a small shop, filling it with tired, grumpy or hyperactive kids is not helping anyone, why not go on the way to picking them up? That way you don’t have to try and herd the brats around the shop.
Which brings me to the awful parenting I saw today. I was in the queue when this frazzled mother joined behind me, and started yelling for her daughter to come to her. Bad enough she’d apparently named her child after bland country singer Shania Twain, but she was yelling in a crowded shop, which is just rude.
Shania’s little brother was with his mum, and asked if they could do something, I’m not sure what I don’t understand childish jabbers and she responded if Shania hurried. At which point she resumed yelling for her wayward daughter before saying, to the boy:
“If your sister doesn’t hurry up and get over her I’m going to beat her like a ginger stepchild”
Now, while I was happy that I’d heard one of my favourite expressions being used, I couldn’t believe she’d said it to a kid who was at most 4. Seriously, not cool.
Sadly, this is only number 2 on the list of bad things I’ve heard parents say as I once heard a guy say to a toddler “Don’t be a twat all your life” although I think the kid probably wasn’t able to understand it, but still, its a little kid you’re talking to.
There should be a pre-parenting test or something.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO
Whenever I see a celebrity trending on Twitter my usual response is- are they dead?
This happened in Sri Lanka when I saw that Lemmy was trending and had a serious panic that the rock god had shuffled off the mortal coil, but it turned out he hadn’t people were just discussing the documentary about him. I guess I should have had more faith in him.
So this morning when Jodie Marsh was trending I clicked to see why people were discussing her,
I know she’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I’ve always had a soft spot for her. Okay, maybe not a soft spot exactly (cue Sid James laugh).
I think part of the reason I like her is because she’s always seemed a bit more sincere than Jordan, her major glamour rival. Jordan’s tried to portray herself as some kind of victim in order to go mainstream, whereas Jodie seems to have come to terms with the fact that people see her as a slag. In fact sometimes she appears to revel in it.
Yes, she’s tacky and cheap in lots of way, but so’s McDonalds, and sometimes you just want a Big Mac.
I liked that she shaved her head and went lesbian for a bit, that she covered herself with tatts, that she decided to become a tattoo artist without being able to draw- She’s like a whirlwind of half-baked schemes and attention craving stunts.
So I was quite amused when she announced she was becoming a bodybuilder, I’ve always kind of liked the amazonian look, and to begin with she did look pretty good with some muscles.
But in typical Marsh style she went a little too far, and today she appeared in the papers winning a bodybuilding competition. And she looked bad.
Now don’t get me wrong I’m not ragging on muscled women, I mean, I’ve admitted to having a crush on Chyna back in the day.
I’m not sure its the muscles that make her look daft, its more that she looks like she’s been swimming in marmite or something. What I’m basically saying is, I still would.