Alongside “Blog Saturday”, the latest addition to my calendar is “Gypsy Tuesday”. This doesn’t mean that for 24 hours I reside in a caravan as part of an illegal camp and marry the first woman I lay eyes upon, rather it’s when I gather with friends to catch the must-see television event of the week – the return of “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding”.
Why’s it so good? Mainly because gypsies are just funny. When a four year old walks out in a dress that’s twice her body weight it’s impossible not to laugh.
Sure, “grabbing”, where gypsy males force themselves upon what they consider their meat choice of the night, is a disgusting trait but gypsies just appear to be in their own bizarre ridiculous world that’s so far removed from life, sense and morality as we know it that you can’t really treat it as real.
This might also be because of the gypsy facts created by Scott, Dean, Ofori and I while watching. They’re like Stig facts, but even more bizarre. Though strangely more plausible.
For instance, did you know that all gypsies share a telepathic field that allows them to know when and where the next wedding takes place? That the gypsy with the most rings is the gypsy king? And that any gypsy over 40 that isn’t married evolves into a caravan?
And as Ofori revealed, the word ‘rape’ isn’t in gypsy vocabulary, only ‘courtship’.
But following this amazing revelation, Gypsy Tuesday took a bad turn as we changed the channel. Let me explain.
Being below the age of 21, it seems assumed that mass-market entertainment will not hold my attention, and that things generally deemed to be of quality will not appeal to me in the slightest.
Thankfully there have been efforts to solve this problem. So enter BBC Three, a place where shows can be categorised by containing either sex or sluts – or if the commissioner has their way, both.
The channel is nothing if not formulaic. Just take three topics that could be combined as issues, stick them together, and bam – “Young, British and Angry”. There’s an hour of programming. “Famous, Rich and Homeless”? Sounds fantastic, there’s our Radio 1 DJ quota filled. “Autism, Disco and Me”. Excellent, we can make a whole season of shows round that idea!
If you’re wondering how many shows fit that “1, 2 and 3” naming formula, it’s around 20 at last count. It can only be so long before “Teenage, Pregnant and Stubbed My Toe” is made.
The shows tend to have a pretence of public service but fail to achieve anything of worth. But just by watching one night of the channel I think I’ve discovered the secret plans behind this channel where things are more connected than you might expect.
We start by tuning in for “Snog, Marry, Avoid”, which features a make-up covered Jenny Frost meeting people who have less style than sense. Or less sense than style. In fact, none of either. They are told that they look ridiculous through a series of insulting vox-pops before they’re “made-under” in an attempt to reveal their inner beauty.
Instead, they’re just dressed up in a more conventional style but still one that is commonly associated with the art of dickwaddery.
Although it might seem a good idea to turn ‘Spud the Failed Rock Star In Denial’ in to an indie-looking guy who got dragged headfirst through the nearest branch of Topman, at least when he wore his headband I knew I should walk on the pavement on the other side of the road.
Now that we’ve been taught you shouldn’t dress outrageously, the show ends and then begins the second in this scientific (honest) study, “Hotter than my Daughter”, where mothers and daughters are given makeovers where their expected roles are reversed – so the mum dresses like she’s auditioning for “The Only Way Is Essex” and the daughter dresses… bland and casually in jeans and a hoodie, but hardly anything worth mustering any effort to care about.
They’re stood in front of a group of stylists to be told that they are disgusting to the world of fashion by a judgemental group who have collectively added a grand total of nothing to the sum total of useful human knowledge or development. They might be offended by someone wearing jeans and a hoodie, but I’m more offended by them being given any time of day that’s not exactly 4:56am. On a Sunday.
Cue makeover, obligatory inclusion of Take That or perhaps Firework by Katy Perry playing during moments of reveal, and the mother is put in a dress and the daughter is, for want of a better term, ‘slagged up a bit’.
In the space of an hour, one show told me that it’s all about natural beauty – and then another encouraged that flashy fashion is important, and I think this is on purpose as part of a grand plan to confuse the audience and reuse participants. To explain, I present the Cycle of BBC Three diagram. You can start by appearing on either show.
It’s a brilliant plan that will save researchers so much work. But the following show in the schedule added another entrance point to this endless cycle of hypocrisy and confusion.
In “Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents”, groups of unbearable people who believe WHEEEEEEEYYY is a complicated sentence go on holiday to get drunk and have sex at the leading centres of STD research (also known as 18-30 holiday resorts). Secretly following them for a week are the parents, as they witness their darling offspring bungie jump naked and try the “consent by alcohol” form of dating.
Obviously, the idea is that they can confront them, go “you should take more care of yourselves” and there’s an element of shame – but it just builds up to an anti-climax. The parents tut a bit, but in the end it’s just happy. Oh! It’s you! Hahaha how embarrassing, now let’s all have a drink and celebrate that we’re all here. It’s not a moment of disappointment or learning, just an extended but even more pointless version of a “Noel’s House Party” stunt.
The parents just seem to get a taste of the lifestyle and go out for drinks afterwards. Hang on… if these parents are getting in to the young lifestyle, then maybe we get another link on the cycle…
It might be a bit of a stretch but it’s plausible enough. With further research, it may be possible to link all participant based reality shows on the channel together. This is an astounding result from three shows in one night’s schedule.
To make things worse – the episode of “Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents” in question had epilogue that said in the following day after filming finished one of the young people was seriously injured by jumping drunk in to the shallow end of a pool. How much was learnt from having their parents see what they did? Absolutely nothing. And they proved it.
The show forms a part of BBC Three’s “dangerous pleasures” season, which they describe as following “young people’s pursuit of pleasure and isn’t afraid to show the darker side of tackling challenging subjects head on.”
It’s not tackling anything head on. It’s hardly a slight bump on the head by walking in to the subject while not really paying attention.