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.
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Not since that vibrant community festival involving Cronulla locals and middle eastern visitors in December 2005 has Sydney’s Sutherland Shire been portrayed as such a happy, forward-looking kind of place.
The Shire debuted on Channel Ten last night, showcasing under bright tanning salon lights the talented, hard-working and incredibly plucky youth of the infamous southern Sydney beachside municipality.
Not before time too. For too long we’ve been swamped by quality American shows like The Hills and Jersey Shore. Now, at last, we have our own. The Shire is about our young people, and about the pursuit of their dreams, their hopes, their ex-boyfriends.
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Fake boobs, tattoos, cat fights, home-wreckers, trips to the mall, visible panty lines, Brazilian waxes, endless domestics and lashings of designer fashions.
Let’s not beat around the bush, we love reality shows because they’re trashy.
They’re escapist. Like a lazy person’s romance novel, with tattoos and bitch fights - so wrong in absolutely every single way. And that’s what makes them sooo good.
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