It's well established by now that this year's show feels like Big Brother from another mother. The theme music still makes me shiver, and Marcus Bentley is still the coolest voice on TV, but most of the participants barely resemble what a housemate has come to mean to viewers since it's inception back in 2000. Keeping it real has lost out to just simply keeping it on. In 2016 everything housemates say or do appears to have one eye on us, as opposed to us watching them. But this is the situation, and there's little to be done about it now, so here are my thoughts on some of the current cast.
From the outset reality star Laura Carter has maneuvered around the house like an anxious penis flytrap, preoccupied with finding romance. Ah, the tit-sucking folly of youth. I cannot take her seriously on any level. She sells herself and her integrity short at the first opportunity. There's something of an ex-rental VHS about her; a dated format we've seen before, not worth 50p at a car boot. I think she's a liability to herself as much as anyone else. Sometimes you just want to reach into your TV and pull people out. But thankfully, it's the equally deplorable Marco Pierre White Jr (Russell Bland) who is the willing Prince Charmless in her Slag to Riches fairytale.
Private investigator Jayne Connery, and youth worker Hughie Maughan are becoming more interesting. Hughie in particular seems less concerned with sound bytes and perception, compared to most of his counterparts. It's a shame that he has been involved in so many rows this week, but he's managing to remain pretty likeable for me. Maybe it's because he's trying to stand up to former dominatrix and human paperweight, Natalie Rowe. A woman on edge at the best of times, with two default settings: sulk and screech. But anyway, I must remind everyone, just in case you missed it: X-factor's Ryan Ruckledge wants you all to know he just hates racism (if you don't count blacking up in public that is).
Last Friday's fake evictions were followed by a staged walkout from Marco (yawn) who then spotted a fellow housemate in the 'other' house and blew the entire theme of the show on his return. Andrew Tate and Ryan had previously Weebled their way through a clumsy interview with Emma Willis on the runway, before entering the main house where Ryan attacked his old flame, Sam Giffen. It was all completely farcical, the only highlight being socialite Georgina Leigh Cantwell chiming in after one of Ryan's clichéd jibes to say "I've heard that joke before". She's a funny girl, and let's face it, no original idea will ever emanate from that coconut. On a separate issue, can someone please tell Sam that when you say you are "actually laughing" at something, it works much better if you actually are.
In an unfortunate way, it was pleasing to see environmentalist and extra terrestrial, Victoria Jensen struggling over the weekend before walking from the house. Through painful upward inflection, she expressed her reservations in the diary room, and it all felt quite sweet and genuine. It's tough in there, so it's nice when people open up, and push the steel wall aside for a minute. In any case, back to the mother-ship with her, and best of luck to her sister who hates 'negative energy' but chose to remain in the house.
I initially loved Calvin Klein model Jackson Blyton, and though I certainly don't dislike him now, I do fear he is amounting to little more than a knee-jiggling 'act like you're on crack' type. And when you find yourself craving the company of someone authentically wired as an antidote, it's never good. Between him and Marco I can't really get beyond the faux-hippy waft of Persian rugs and sweaty undercarriage.
As for The Valleys star, Lateysha Grace? Putting her obvious traits to one side(boob), I'm not entirely sure what she contributes to the house. Or humanity. But it's clear what entrepreneur Chelsea Singh offers us: money, property and excessive bragging. He measures his entire social worth by these things. He is the perfect third tier gangster who meets an end in every Martin Scorsese montage. A child in a man's body... or whatever that is he's occupying. I used to like the idea of buying a house in Chelsea, but now it seems a cold, lonely proposition.
In a similar vein, kickboxer and Donald Trump supporter, Andrew Tate placed so much stock in having other people think he was intelligent that he lost all conviction. And if his humourless boasting was to be believed then he single handedly proved both modesty and likeability are not the soul preserve of intellect. He may have been outwardly assured of his own loftiness within the house, and that is understandable (a goggle-eyed sock puppet could stake a claim), but one look into his face showed a frightened man. There's more currency in being open and generous than all the gloating wisdom in the world. Oh well, he was kicked out at the start of the week anyway, presumably for any number of not very clever reasons.
Finally, reporter and real earthling, Andy West took to the diary room at the weekend feeling defeated at the realisation that he is emotionally on his own in there. I hope he finds some meaningful friendship soon, because seeing him diminished by a wall of vapidity is not something I'll take any pleasure in viewing. It's a Frankenstein's monster of a line-up, where the game within a game seems to be ex-housemate charades, and he'll already have found himself looking for depth where he can get it. But I worry in this house he'll only find more haystacks in the needle. We are ater all witnessing the televisual equivalent of post nineties hip-hop, where humanity and experience is switched out for incoherent rants about cash, ass, status, cribs and clubs.
Drop the mic.