Personally, I’m not much of a fan of reality TV, by which I mean I find the average reality TV show about as entertaining as inadvertently inserting chilli-pepper-powder-coated contact lenses into my eyes (never again).
Nevertheless, I decided to watch (most of) the first episode of The Real Housewives of Jersey and, much to my surprise, I really rather enjoyed it, partly because the interactions were all so obviously staged and scripted that it felt more akin to a cheesy Channel 5 drama series than a reality show, but mostly because it was an opportunity to see Jersey showcased on national TV – and, ooh, didn’t it look lovely?
OK, so the programme makers insisted on using that irritating stylistic gimmick whereby the footage speeds up as the camera approaches something (a house, a car, a person, etc) before then abruptly switching to normal speed once close. You see this in TV shows and films all the time these days, and I’m guessing it is intended to generate a sense of fast-paced excitement in the viewer, but the only feeling it ever invokes in me is an urge to move quickly to the remote control and not slow down until I’ve switched channels.
That aside, though, The Real Housewives of Jersey was quite enjoyable, if somewhat misleadingly titled. After all, most of the housewives weren’t born and raised in Jersey – and, as I’ve been told on numerous occasions, a person isn’t a true Jersey Bean unless they took their first breath somewhere upon this nine-by-five-miles of rock. What’s more, some of the housewives aren’t really housewives at all, but rather divorcees. It was a bit like watching a show called The Real Plumbers of Ireland and discovering its stars are mostly electricians from Wales.
Anyway, I haven’t watched any more of the series, although I’m reliably informed that a later episode sees the housewives having a major fallout after one of their number confesses to having enjoyed a spot of hanky panky on a gravestone in her younger years. Not that much of a shocking revelation in this day and age (I know of someone who once allegedly had goings-on inside a green recycling bin around the back of an Aldi supermarket); nevertheless, by all accounts the wives get into a right old kerfuffle about it, and no mistake.
Tut, women, eh?! Honestly, if a bunch of blokes were having a drink and a chat and one of ’em confessed to having enjoyed some horizontal refreshment on a gravestone in years gone by, his companions would likely enquire as to the physical attributes of his one-time graveyard acquaintance, make a few approving Sid-James-style noises (‘chhwwhoarrr’) and then order another round, before having an arm-wrestling contest and a fight over the footy results. Right, lads?
Moving on, one aspect of these shows that I find particularly amusing – not only on The Real Housewives of Jersey, but on all ‘Real Housewives’ shows (The Real Housewives of Beverley Hills, The Real Housewives of Cheshire, The Real Housewives of Saltburn-by-the-Sea, etc) – is the appealingly cheesy soundbites that each of the stars take turns to announce during the opening credits.
You know the ones I mean: ‘They say you shouldn’t put all your eggs into one basket, but I’ve got a big basket – and lots of eggs!’ Or: ‘An Englishman’s home is his castle, or so we’re told – but I’m ALL woman. And I live in a semi-detached bungalow in Rhyl.’ And so on. I just made those ones up, but they’re frankly indistinguishable from the actual ones that appear in the shows.
Anyway, this got me thinking: what suggestive/borderline incomprehensible soundbites would our local elected representatives spout if required to do so on a primetime faux-reality TV show (The Real Politicians of Jersey)? Let’s take a look...
(Oh, and be sure to picture each politician turning towards the camera with a raised eyebrow and their hands on their hips as their voiceover is heard.)
nSt Brelade Deputy Montfort Tadier:
‘When it comes to politics, I always like to go the Full Monty. A Reform Jersey government? Let’s just say, I believe in miracles.’
nSenator Ian Gorst:
‘I worked as an accountant prior to entering politics, which is why I know that spending time with me will always “add up” to a whole lot of fun. Would I like to “subtract” that statement? You do the maths.’
nSt Clement Deputy Lindsay Ash:
‘My winning campaign slogan was “get on the lash” – and, trust me, when I’m on the scene, life is always like a freshly poured pint: mildly intoxicating, rather tasty and a little bit frothy on top.’
nSt Martin deputy Steve Luce:
‘I may be deputy of St Martin, but unlike Martin, I’m not always a saint. Take it from me, when I’m let “Luce” at a party, no one knows what to expect!’
nSenator Kristina Moore:
‘Nothing is ever boring when Kristina is on the scene-a. As my surname suggests, spend time with me and you’ll always be left wanting “Moore”.’
nSt Saviour Deputy Kevin Pamplin:
‘As Oscar Puffin can attest, my wild antics can leave anyone speechless. And when the party heads back to my “Pla(i)ce”, you’ll “St Saviour” [savour] every moment.’
nChief Minister John Le Fondré:
‘As my handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has shown, I’m not afraid to make wildly unpopular and often perplexing decisions. When I’m around, who knows what is going to happen?!’