Being Lara Bingle was pretty bloody good television
Lara Bingle. Controversial? Definitely. Polarising? Certainly. Gossip fodder? Absolutely. Savvy? You betcha. Not as vacuous as most people think? You’d better believe it.
The 24-year-old’s first foray into television debuted on screens across the country last night and while most were too proud to admit it, almost a million people tuned in to watch her show.
We set aside half an hour to sit down with our cups of tea and bucket loads of commentary and we watched it. All 925,000 of us.
It’s a figure that will strike fear into the naysayers and the haters, who will now have to concede that in fact, Aussies do give two hoots about what it’s like to Be Lara Bingle.
Yes, the “bimbo du jour” has appeal and intrigue and far more reach than any intelligible program the ABC can put on in an 8pm timeslot.
On Sunday night, Aunty ABC debuted Mabo, the indigenous telemovie which received overwhelmingly positive social media reception, intense marketing and walk-in-the-park competition in its timeslot, but it could only manage half the viewers the Shire girl raked in.
While Twitter and Facebook raved about the cracking storyline and the powerful performances of Mabo, the results were lacklustre at best.
But put a socialite in a swimsuit (or take her out of one), and bung her in a posh Bondi pad and you’ve got people tuning in quicker than you can say “Where the Bloody Hell are You?”.
“Network Ten will be stoked Being Lara Bingle rated 925K” wrote Emma Ashton of leading reality TV blog, Reality Ravings. “The publicity campaign worked well. Congratulations.”
You see, Ten knows its audience, and it was fully aware that this show wasn’t going appease the masses.
The network and Bingle Inc. didn’t make this show for the high-brow, nor did they make it for those who prefer Four Corners to Footballers’ Wives. They made it for the impressionable young women who are prepared to set aside half an hour of their Tuesday night to sticky-beak into the life of a Shire girl made famous.
So it’s no surprise to read that episode one was received well in the 18-39 demographic. Because twenty-somethings are predictable creatures.
Having been brought up on a staple TV diet of docudramas and reality shows, such as The Hills, The Only Way Is Essex, The Kardashians, Real Housewives and Jersey Shore, BLB was nothing new.
We’re used to having the lives of the rich and famous dished up to us in copious quantities. And we like it. So why not have one of our own?
Last night, Lara Bingle became the first and only Aussie celebrity to sell her soul to the cameras, offering her drama, her mishaps and her vulnerability up on a golden reality platter.
Audiences tuned in to see all the superficial things we so openly criticise her for - her wardrobe, her blonde moments, her mishaps and her insecurities.
They knew it was manufactured. They knew it wasn’t “reality” – but it didn’t matter. It was a snapshot into a privileged life beyond our realm.
Even the harshest of TV critics couldn’t avoid calling her show “strangely enjoyable”.
And that in itself, is proof that Being Lara Bingle indeed has a place on the small screen.
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