The new series of The Only Way is Essex started last night, and has already asserted itself as the most intelligent series yet. What do I mean by this? Barbie-esque characters Lauren Pope ('Popey'), Chloe Sims and Frankie Essex were sitting in a wine bar, discussing current affairs - that is to say, PIP implants. 'I bet any money Essex has more PIPs than anywhere else in the world,' giggled Chloe as the others nodded sagely.
Whilst the focus on boobs is perhaps the only constant in TOWIE, the cast list changes more regularly than Joey Essex's catchphrase de jour (tonight, for example, it was 'salt', meaning 'attractive girl'). Gone are Mark, Kirk and Maria - and in their place a host of new faces. Meet the gang...
Nicknamed thus owing to his tendency to smile in a diagonal (quite an intellectual nickname choice, really), Diags (real name James) is Joey Essex's best friend. They're an unlikely pairing: Joey, a mini Greek god, all tanned, buffed and perfectly groomed. Diags, on the other hand, boast acne scars, chubbiness and a tendency to gaze even more vacantly than his fellow castmates. He makes a good foil to Joey's sheer idiocy, mocking his friend's ridiculous dress sense and 'walnut' hair on behalf of the nation.
Quote of the night: (On seeing Joey's new jacket) 'You look like my nan's curtains'.
Cara and Billie
They popped up in the last series as potential love interests for Joey and Kirk, and are now cast regulars. Tonight's episode saw them practicing Yoga with their dogs. Digest that sentence for a moment.
Ralph and Elvis, the two suitably tiny pooches in question, were treated to massages before their owners started to put them through their Yoga paces. As the girls discussed the various poses and techniques, a topical debate arose around the origins of the Downward Dog pose. 'Don't we do that one?' asked the dark-haired woman (Cara? Billie? I forget. Who cares. They'll only ever be in scenes together, anyway) in genuine bafflement. 'The great thing about this is it keeps the dogs calm,' said the blonde-haired one, as her Chihuahua shivered uncontrollably on the floor. 'It makes them less nervous.' The dog then whined shrilly.
Quote of the night: 'We done yoga before dog's done it'. (sic)
Introduced to a chorus of Double Vision by 3OH!3 (more specifically, the lyrics 'tight jeans, double Ds...'), Georgina was ogled by the Greek twins and their keeper Gemma as she walked into a bar, on her way to meet 'Popey' for a glass of white. Later on, the chums hit the club, and Georgina was ogled once more; this time by Joey, Diags and Mario, who hinted at some kind of history with her. Already courting controversy by admitting that she preferred wearing jeans when she went out rather than dresses, Georgina then went on to coolly rebuff Joey's smooth attempts to lure her over to his table.
Quote of the night: 'I like someone who's not looking at me. A bit of a challenge.'
So there we have it. The fellowship is now complete for another series - and I'm counting down to Mario's next 'towel scene' already.