I seem to be missing out on something – everyone I know seems to be talking about ‘The Only Way is Marbs’, a spin off from ITV’s ‘The Only Way is Essex’. I’m proud to say I have never seen either. Regular readers of our blog will know that I do watch quite a lot of crap TV, but this new phenomenon of ‘scripted reality TV’ just seems to be a new low. It isn’t reality, it’s scripted – but it certainly wouldn’t be interesting enough to make a drama out of. So what’s the point?
Anyway, feeling a bit left out, I decided to look on ITV’s website to see if there was a summary of what happened in the show, if only so that I could nod along in a slightly patronising way then next time my friends started talking about it. Here’s an extract from that:
We might also find out whether Arg and Gemma have a future. Judging by Gemma’s “candy” poolside confrontation, it looks like Arg may have to go elsewhere for some “handy” loving. That elsewhere is not with Lyd though. She’s loving Tom K’s company. Ricky and Jess are enjoying being together too…
Wow, this is gripping stuff. Can’t believe I missed it! So many innuendos, so little time! Anyway, I concluded that people will watch absolutely anything. As usual, I was enjoying a nice bottle of wine while contemplating this dilemma. So I wondered, could the ‘scripted reality’ show provide a means of getting a factual wine programme onto a mainstream channel that people would actually watch?
There have been wine programmes over the years, and there is always a token salute to wine within cookery programmes like ‘Saturday Kitchen’, the same old folks keep turning up, Oz Clarke and Jilly Goulden – wouldn’t it be nice to see some fresh faces talking about wine on the telly?
And that’s when I came up with ‘The only way is carbonic maceration’. The title has a familiar feel, viewers of TOWIE might think it was yet another spin-off which would provide an audience. But once they’ve switched on, we have to keep them. And that brings me to the format of the show. Basically, the format is exactly the same as TOWIE and its counterparts; its characters are constantly drinking, they love to party it up, but at intervals they will provide some outstanding tasting notes and remarks about the wines they are drinking. Now. Back to ITV.com’s exciting description of what happened in Marbs:
‘Mario didn’t seem to be his usual, smooth, confident self in Marbella. In fact, it seemed like something was on his mind. Was he messaging other women again? Far from it! He was organising the most romantic proposal TV has ever seen!’
Yawn. But meanwhile, in ‘The only way is Carbonic Maceration’…
‘Steph didn’t seem to be her usual, smooth, confident self in Bordeaux. It seemed like something was on her mind. Was the wine corked? Far from it! She was deciphering the structure of the wine, a cheeky 1988 Petrus, when suddenly she was overcome with existentialist angst about what’s happening with the 2011 vintage…’
Yes, you will see that I have cast myself in the lead role for the show. But then it was my idea, and I like to lead from the front. I think this idea might need more work though. Would TOWIE’s audience be fooled? Or would they switch off if they realised they were actually learning something? For now, I have decided to continue the research. And there’s always my back up shows, ‘The Midsomer Merlots’ and ‘Come Wine with Me’….