COLM O'REGAN: Reality TV, is it for real?

Joey Essex

BELIEVE it or not, TV is a treat. Not necessarily the programmes but the set itself.

Sitting in the corner, refusing to ‘browse’ or ‘refresh’. “Here are my channels. Watch them or feck off.” It seems to say. The lack of choice is empowering and normal cynical faculties are suspended.

I recently found myself watching, without disdain, the first episode of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here or IACGMOOH.

If you’ll pardon the turn of phrase, one of the main bugbears people have with IACGMOOH is that not all of the so-called celebrities are very ‘celebritous’. I see it as a useful primer on popular culture.

For example there was a time in my life when I didn’t know who Joey Essex was. Now a Wikipedia minute later and I’m all up to speed on his achievements.

It’s also a lesson for anyone contemplating an entertainment career. Sooner or later you may have to contemplate doing one of these things. It’s best probably to come up with your own reality TV show and host that in order to avoid being subjected to ‘this week’s challenge’, ‘behind the scenes’ and ‘ the public vote’. I’m busily working on my own proposals to host various programmes, including Celebrity Planning Permission, Ireland’s Got Tanning and Decks Factor (an opportunity for the best of undiscovered decking in the country to show what it can do) IACGMOOH reminds us about our attitude to insects. As usual the opening montage had night-timey footage of scared soap stars being used as play parks by fun loving crawlers. The horror on their faces was clear to see.

But there are many parts of the world where some of the bushtucker trials would be like having sausages and spring rolls creep over you. 70% of the world’s population eat insects.

It’s only in the west that there is still a huge cultural taboo about it. Some of it originates in biblical times. The plagues against Egypt effectively made an equivalence between locusts, gnats lice and everyone getting boils or something ominous called a murrain.

There is a feeling of disgust with insects – they remind us of things we’d rather not think about – like what happens behind the fitted kitchen and the mat that was thrown out in the back yard has been lying there for a month and now has all sorts of horror stuck to its base.

Is it because we’ve never conquered the insects? !! Even bees look like they could turn on us if we start acting the maggot.

It’s a pity we don’t eat insects, not least to be able to say “Waiter, waiter where’s the fly in my soup?” Oh the mirth. And where there is food there are artisans – imagine how much more colourful a farmer’s market would be if you could lie about being interested in Ye Olde Chutneye by dipping, instead of crackers, bits of dried beetle into it.

I look forward to the day when we can say and mean it literally “Grubs Up”. Which leaves only one problem — what are we going to scare celebrities with?


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