Anyone can be charmed by slick presentation. Unfortunately, I’ve been beguiled by E4’s Made in Chelsea. Normally I’d be enjoying how much I can spoil the show for other people by explaining how it can’t possibly be real, but with this show I’m not even trying to taint its perfect complexion.
Why? Because Made in Chelsea succeeds at making London seem more glamorous than Hollywood. Cutaway shots of white Georgian terraces show immaculate London streets, followed by Porches screeching round the streets and, invariably, an alcoholic beverage in some swanky bar. (Well at least they’ve got that bit right.) Best of all, I can watch this knowing that none of this is true: London is dirtier, crumbling and gloomy and yet I still admire their slick camera work. Hats off to the camera crew.
The show’s casting is also close to perfect. You’re made to like the characters just enough before you realise how shallow and bitchy they are. And vice versa. Spencer’s my favourite because he does everything wrong. Then, just when you think you can’t dislike him any more, his friends rip the piss out of him so ruthlessly that he’s instantly forgiven. Their lives might not be like real people’s but at least they’re all slightly flawed like the rest of us.
Of course there’s no way a camera crew “just happened” to be with two people in different places when they spontaneously decided to call each other. There’s something stilted about the conversations that even sly editing can’t fix. However, I’m willing to overlook this because of how ridiculous the whole show is.
If big brother was reality TV (real people in an unreal situation), then surely this is unreality TV (real people pretending to be in a real situation)? The show couldn’t be less real but I wouldn’t have it any other way.