The Only Way is Essex (otherwise known as TOWIE). Reality television, superseded only in its utter banality by Desperate Scousewives. Has the world gone mad? Or is it just that the standards of the British tv-viewing public have slipped to an all-time low somewhere beneath the delightful "100% Scouse showbiz blogger" Jaiden's shoe. Is anybody actually called Jaiden in real life? There'll a be a whole generation of little Jaidens growing up soon, who'll go to school with Paris, Beyoncé, Romeo and Apple (there'll be a few Bellas and Edwards too, won't there? At least they won't spend their lives spelling their names out for people). I remember a plethora of Kylies in the 1980s, so I guess things don't change much.
I wonder how many people out there think it's all real? That these people are hairdressers and all Essex girls have figures and hair like that? I can say that, since I am in reality (you know - the one we all actually live in) an Essex girl by birth. Yes, indeed. Billericay - the town made famous by Ian Dury. Plus I spent a few years of my life in Liverpool and many more within shopping distance of the city, so am qualified to comment. And I'm sure all these beautiful boys and girls weren't all professional actors originally, but I suspect they'll all be signed to agents now and waiting for their chances on I'm a Celebrity or Celebrity Big Brother. Tell me - how do people like Frankie thingummy get onto Celebrity Big Brother, anyway? The only thing he was famous for was being stupid enough to throw away the chance of a lifetime on X-Factor by allegedly misbehaving and getting booted out. I suspect he got more publicity out of that stunt than he would have done by being voted out in the normal fashion, so maybe it was a well-calculated move.
So what is it with reality tv? Do people aspire to live these lives? Not me. Give me a good tv drama any day. Or a nice programme about DIY or selling houses. But then, I'm old. My teenage daughter will probably disagree with everything I've written - but thank God she's got enough of a brain to tell the difference between truth and fiction.
Edited to add: Fallen Star - a novel that looks at what it means to be "famous" in the 21st century. And it does it so well, it's scary. Well worth a read.