Review: The Shire
Starring: Bros and babes without surnames
Airtime: Mondays, 8:00pm, Ten
At 8:10pm (MasterChef ran late, as usual), Twitter was ablaze with wits trying to outsnark each other. Or locals claiming that no one in the Shire is like anyone in The Shire. Plus a couple of fervent Bieber fans praying that the visiting pop star isn’t in his South Yarra hotel witnessing our national shame.
Notable Tweeters went mostly with venereal disease similes (comedian Joel Creasey chose “chlamydia”, commentator Helen Razer “herpes”, and actor Rhys Muldoon “thrush”). Channel Ten’s Facebook page even goaded haters with an “Are You In Or Are You In?” post. But can The Shire suck-seed enough to succeed as car crash television?
Answer: Almost certainly not. And here’s why.
If the main comparison is the runaway success of Jersey Shore, then it is The Shire’s staging that is at fault. The claim of “No Scripts” might be true; the claim of “No actors” is all too true. It’s a multi-camera shoot, and the conversations between the protagonists are excruciatingly stagey. Maybe producers didn’t trust the characters to create enough strife by themselves. In scene after scene, stilted dialogue from all-too-aware cast members diffuses any kind of tension. They’re just not trashy enough. No real (or fake) drama.
Let’s quickly introduce the cast so far: dopey golden boy Mitch, and his mates “Symo” and Andy; Mitch’s jilted ex Gabby, her brother Tyrone and mum Gaynor; the proudly plastic “earth sign” Bratz dolls Vernesa and Sophie; token ethnics Moukaliti and Joel, AKA aspiring rapper Rif Raf and his mum Tina; and, finally, bleached, bedazzled Beckaa, back from Dubai with a daddy-funded new nose, and her vacant and vicious gay sidekicks Kris and Stace.
The first episode’s “plot” centres on a party where Joel attempts to launch his fatally-flawed rap career (‘Rif Raf’ briefly, unkindly trended on Twitter), Kit and Kat bumble through a beauty routine more surgical than most, and Gabby and Mitch provide a bit of romantic angst.
While The Shire is set in the area notorious for the 2005 Cronulla race riots, it’s no counterpoint to the achingly righteous Dumb Drunk And Racist. The mien of the show isn’t tawdry enough to give viewers any real satisfaction. I mean, 90 per cent of the whole fucking show is “candy to the eyes” (to quote either Vernesa or Sophie, it’s hard to tell) establishing shots and beachy B-roll.
We’ll have to leave it up to Channel Nine’s revived Big Brother to provide the leering voyeurism that The Shire promised. The Shire fails at failing.
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