It’s about time that we acknowledged the elephant in the room - the two television giants that have infiltrated our respective cultures and inundated us with a truckload of terrible catch phrases and excessive male grooming. The time has come where we must choose between UK and USA reality TV. The time has come where we must choose between The Only Way Is Essex and Jersey Shore.
I know what you’re thinking: “Holy tough decision, Batman!” but if we are to continue our quest in concluding once and for all just who is better out of the Brits and the Yanks, then surely we must choose between the greatest minds of each, and what minds are greater than that of The Situation’s and Amy Childs’? See for yourself... She could be inducted into Mensa if she didn’t think that it was a venereal disease.
There are many of you in the US who saw the rise of Jersey Shore as a harbinger of the Apocalypse. “Who are these people, and why do they get paid to be morons?” you mumble, struggling to pay the rent with the low income provided by your torturous 9-5 job, while the pockets in Snooki’s too-tight-shorts are being lined with an extra $50k every time she falls flat on her orange face. But honestly, you’ve been let off lightly. The Only Way Is Essex is a different beast to MTV’s perma-tanned guido-fest and one that somehow manages to make Sammi, Ronnie et all actually look – dare I say it – bearable. Jersey Shore is a carnival of imbeciles. The Only Way is Essex is a parade of pricks.
Focusing on the adventures of a group of privileged 20-somethings living in the English county of Essex, which is notorious for its abundance of big-titted revellers and semi-pro footballers, TOWIE falls in line with programmes such as My Super Sweet 16 that recognise its stars as inherently unlikeable. Unfortunately, unlike My Super Sweet 16 the cast of TOWIE have inexplicably managed to garner themselves a fan base. How? Well let’s look at the line-up, shall we?
I’ll give you a moment to stare in awe at my craftsmanship.
Done? Good. Far left is Mark Wright, one of those guys who would probably describe himself as a “confident man’s man”, but who everyone else would describe as a “vainglorious nuisance”, whose appeal is limited only to other vainglorious nuisances and women with irresolvable self-esteem issues. Second from left is Amy Childs, the “surprise break-out star” from the series who now frequents morning programmes and talk shows in order to give her insightful take on the world. I recently caught a glimpse of one such appearance wherein a fellow presenter tried in vain to explain the definition of the word “supple” to her.
Second from the right is Joey Essex who, along with popularising the slang term “reem” (which Urban Dictionary defines as “To be cool/nice/sexy/hot/beautiful/good/amazing”), also has a haircut that vaguely resembled the top of an ice cream sundae. Last and probably least is Harry Something-or-other, who the show tries to paint as a lovable Court Jester type character, but fails to recognise that he has a voice even Fran Drescher would brand “really f***ing annoying” and looks like a cross between Mr Burns and a third-rate boyband member.
On the other hand the Jersey Shore which, whilst still celebrating idiocy, actually features people who seem like decent human beings. Sure, that decency may be difficult to spot after it is covered in three layers of fake tan, but it’s still there, and I must admit that I am a fan. While Jersey Shore still indulges in over-the-top drama and arguments similar to that of its reality TV counterparts such as The Hills, it still celebrates traditional family values and, unlike its forebears, its stars all actively promote the value of friendship.
Sure their opinions on sex may be primitive, and Sammi might genuinely be the most irritating human being to have graced our TV screens in the past 5 years, but the majority of them seem to be the kind of people who you’d bump into at a club and not find yourself wanting to pour boiling hot lava over them, which is a lot more than you can say for TOWIE’s dullards.
The USA wins this one in a landslide victory, bringing the score to:
Be sure to read last week’s UK vs. USA, too. Captain America vs. Harry Potter!