The global health crisis has turned our world upside down. As a full-time football journalist covering Liverpool FC, I have been left twiddling my thumbs and looking for odd jobs in order to prevent a full The Shining style breakdown. Reality Titbit editor, Liam, had what he called a “great” idea to distract me with. He suggested I fill the Monday Night Football void with Made in Chelsea 2020.

As a local Liverpool fan with no interest in reality TV, his suggestion piqued a morbid curiosity. Will this experiment make me despise the SW3 postcode a little less? Will I even make it to the end? Will I know what on earth is going on?

Wish me all the luck in the world, yours ungratefully, Brendan Hodrien.

Meet the cast of MIC – according to Brendan

First impressions are everything and mine was; “of course this is sponsored by Sensodyne”. What followed the sponsors left me confused, angry and hopeless. The hour seemed to drag on for eternity and stop abruptly as if it noticed that I wasn’t following the so-called dialogue properly.

I watched the ‘previously’ segment intently, desperately trying to find some footing to ground myself with for the 60 minutes ahead. I don’t know why I bothered. At one point, one Haircut Guy (Miles Nazaire) said to a Giggle Girl (Emily Blackwell) that he would teach her how to squat. At the start of a new series, how is gym technique a plot point worth revisiting? 

NEWSFLASH: One of them is called Binky – and no more than a few minutes into the show and I was already questioning just how real this all was.

I met Binky as she swanned into dinner, where her friendship group appeared to have no idea how to act around the new mum. But what struck me the most about this scene was how different being a new mum is portrayed for the upper classes. Do you think a mum with a baby and a new-ish boyfriend would be depicted with the same empowering tone on Benefits Street as they did in this Made in Chelsea episode 1? This is the one thing I agree with Made in Chelsea on, more power to mothers with lovers, but let’s not deny that posh mums enjoy special treatment.

As the hour dragged on I became staggered by the show’s lack of self-awareness, its inability to understand what is appropriate for them. It is the televisual equivalent of a private schoolboy with dreads and his sister blackfishing with fake tan. 

One of the first characters I was introduced to was Jamie. I’m well aware that one of these people owns a cat-shaped sweets brand and I asumed that Jamie is the Candyman due to his Iced Gem head. He’ll be referred to as the Candyman from here on out.

I’m not entirely convinced that they didn’t splash the entire budget on getting Adrien Brody to play Smarmite Harry (Harry Barron); this would make sense as, for very wealthy people, there were only a handful of outfits that weren’t atrociously put together. Literally, most of the cast were dressed like they’d been dragged through Reiss three years ago and then vowed never to mix with commoners again.

  • Giggle Girl (Emily Blackwell)
  • Candyman (Jamie Laing)
  • Haircut Guy (Miles Nazaire)
  • Binky (Name stupid enough as it is)
  • Knitted Jumper Guy (Sam Thompson)
  • Smarmite Harry (Harry Barron)
  • X Factor Zara (Zara McDermott)
  • Tight-Tee Guy (Harvey)
Screenshot: Made in Chelsea 2020 episode 1

Screenshot: Made in Chelsea 2020 episode 1- Smarmite Harry

The old Made in Chelsea conundrum – real or scripted?

It is quite hard to unpick this drawl because it feels as if they were all having the same conversation for an hour but in different formations of the same social circle. Occasionally, these small groups would break off into smaller, even less consequential squabbles.

Here’s how communication in Made in Chelsea works:

 

Person A is upset with person B, so person A explains this to person C, who in turn tells person B, person B then approaches person A for peace talks which seem to resolve either in catastrophic sexual tension or unconvincing reconciliations and vacant stares.

Which brings me to another thing – why is this edited so manipulatively? Or do they genuinely all just stare into silence for long periods of time when the conversation gets a bit awkward?

Throughout the episode I found myself audibly gasping at some of the things I was confronted with. One of the Knitted Jumper Guys (Sam Thompson) said he wanted to name his dog ‘something bitey’ like ‘Jamaal’.

Do I really need to explain why a trust fund baby from West London shouldn’t be naming his dog Jamaal because it’s ‘bitey’?

Screenshot: Made in Chelsea 2020 episode 1

Screenshot: Made in Chelsea 2020 episode 1

Review | Made in Chelsea 2020 episode 1

The women only seem engaged with what somebody has to say if they’re lapping up gossip about their ‘friends’ and the men only seem to be good at flirting with each other – nothing wrong with that, in fact, this show would be a lot more interesting if the dudes all just dropped the charade and reverted back to their public school showers days instead of treating the women like playthings. 

Towards the end, Tight-Tee Guy (Harvey) actually made a point of announcing to one of the girls that he couldn’t select her because he had been denied permission by her freaking housemate. All I heard was ‘I was going to have sex with you, you would have been over the moon but alas I must break your teeny tiny heart as I cannot select you’. Who does this guy think he is? 

There are far too many lamentations to fit into my word count. I didn’t even get to unpick X Factor Zara’s (Zara McDermott) lunacy. It was one of the longest hours of my life and I just hope that these weekly reviews will count towards some sort of divine penance. What I’m struggling with most is: how has this gone on so long?

If this was series 1 I would empathise somewhat, sometimes execs get it wrong when lurching for the zeitgeist. But how has this continued, in this fashion, for so long? Literally, kill me now.

 

*** notes from the editor: Brendan will be back for episode 2, and he is completely unaware that there are 12 episodes in the series.

Screenshot: Brendan Hodrien

Screenshot: Brendan Hodrien

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