I had a pretty scary experience just this afternoon. I was letting my dinner go down (fishfinger sandwiches and crinkly crisps if you must know) and just mentally preparing myself for my post-christmas return to the blogosphere and was channel hopping. I happened upon an omnibus edition of popular, multiple award-winning BBC soap Eastenders. For several minutes I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I was transfixed.
Apparently it was the most watched programme on the TV on christmas day. And who would want to miss it. It’s amazing.
I honestly don’t know how the show has managed to become so popular. It’s genuinely dreadful. Cliched, hackneyed scripts. Cheap sets. Awful acting. The characters are a collection of tedious caricatures who all appear to be trying rather too hard to be ‘authentic’. Every line seems to be about “keeping it in the family” and the pub. I confess that my connection with the masses is fairly tenuous, but is this really some sort of gripping portrayal of London working class life. Is every cockney a fucking Danny Dyeresque stereotype or Guy Ritchie style gangster-movie caricature? Apparently so.
It is truly grim. There was a fire. A lot of screaming. A lot of geezers sharing their homespun pearls of wisdom. “It’s…..Christmas…..we’re having a family christmas” one of them may have said. Another fire. Shane Ritchie telling everyone to go to the pub (what a great actor by the way. Who knew you could get paid for playing yourself? Well Ray “MONSTAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! Winston for a start. But I digress…..) A token Asian family being suitably repressed and mysoginistic (not a stereotype at all……)
And then another fire. Someone may have died. By this point my attention had wandered somewhat. One can only tolerate so much over-wrought, painfully shouty over-acting.
It was a slightly other-worldly experience. It felt like it was meant to be real. And exciting. But it seemed like TV that middle class people think working class people would like. Maybe they have “communities” like that down in the Cockney Massive. I’d be surprised though.
Christmas TV is always the pits. But to think that this was the positive choice of millions of people (and not just the cast of TOWIE, and yes I know what that is) is pretty worrying.