A Shire shocker, but what were we expecting?
It seems a large chunk of the population have spent the last 34 hours in the grip of loathing. Some of it is self-loathing, for giving in to the urge to tune in to the debut episode of The Shire. For others it’s unbridled loathing for the people of Cronulla generally, the “characters” on the show, and Ten for putting us through it all.
Last night I even watched Being Lara Bingle and felt significantly more intellectually fulfilled than I had 24 hours before.
But while the backlash against The Shire and its cast has been nothing short of unanimous, I’m starting to wonder why anyone had any hopes the show would be compelling rather than cringeworthy. It wasn’t even bad in the so-bad-it’s-good way. “Reality TV” ain’t what it used to be.
As much as the producers might have promised, The Shire was never going to be populated with members of the general population.
It was always going to be a magnet for the likes of Sophie and Vernesa, the trout-pouted mega-tanned bimbos who have copped a large proportion of national derision in the past day and a half.
They’re embarrassing, in the same way as the cast of The Jersey Shore in the US, who sparked national debate and prompted several prominant Italian/Americans to disown them as being in any way representative of their community.
But they’re not the only ones. As I pondered The Shire yesterday (yeah, yeah, I know) it was put somewhat into perspective by this story in the SMH about TV “star” AJ Rochester.
Rochester was the host of The Biggest Loser and some other horrible humiliate-the-fatties show before trotting off to the United States to see if she could make it there.
Well, Rochester has got what she wanted. She’s arrived, in the form of a spot on the cover of the National Inquirer, hailed as the mag’s Worst Beach Body.
You’d think she’d be embarrassed, but quite to the contrary, this was her reaction: ‘‘I’m on a cover next to Miley Cyrus, Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise, Coco and Demi Moore, even if it is for being fat. Whatever, America! I have arrived.”
This woman is a role model for Sophie and Vernesa, who would probably happily set upon AJ’s sizable arse with their magical fat-sucking machine while the three of them knocked back Midori shots and plotted their rise to fame.
Back in the olden days, around the first couple of seasons of Big Brother, you could still find the odd authentic, intelligent inhabitant of reality TV land. But then a couple of them got a bit famous and it became the vehicle of choice for vacuous drongos who want to be celebrities without doing any work or demonstrating any talent.
This ship sailed a long time ago. The Shire is just surfing along in its wake. The only real cultural lesson we can learn from it is that some people will do anything to get on television. This we already knew.
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