Wednesday, 19 September 2018

The Circle: My favourite pastime, drinking alone in a Travelodge, just became TV

Once upon a time, if you were to get drunk on your own in a Travelodge and start shouting at your TV, all you'd get in return is a pissed off porter knocking on your door and saying "Mrs Fish, please, we've had another complaint - you need to keep it down - no I'm not room service... I... I don't know who you ordered pizza from."

Nowadays this same behaviour is apparently enough to earn you £50,000 and the 15 minutes Andy Warhol promised.

If you don't have a clue what I'm talking about then I envy you, as you obviously weren't assaulted with Channel 4's newest reality TV show, The Circle, as you sat in a comfy, post-Great British Bake Off haze last night.

Presented by Maya Jama and Alice Levine (who I've just realised is Alice from My Dad Wrote a Porno omg love her), The Circle will see its contestants squat in an abandoned Travelodge for three weeks, only interacting with each other via a made up social media network called The Circle.

I think it's the Travelodge on the North Circular.

The general idea is to avoid being blocked or removed from The Circle and to eventually win the prize money by being voted the most popular person at the end of the show. There is a twist though, contestants can make up entirely fake personalities rendering the whole thing fucking pointless in the first place.

"When anyone can be anyone... WHO ARE WE REALLY TALKING TO!?!?!" asks the voiceover sagely.

"MOSTLY MY MUM." I yell at the TV over my wine, getting into the spirit of things.


a) I'd be so good at this, I am legit way better on the internet than in real life.

b) I'd be so bad at this, I'd be kicked off for trolling in about 6 hours.

c) If this show is named after the Emma Watson movie (me, an intellectual: "Um do you mean the Dave Eggers novel?"), then we might be in for a treat as the whole shebang deteriorates into a futuristic totalitarian regime with contestants driving themselves off bridges just to escape the constant never-ending surveillance and pressure to perform.

d) Nope, turns out we're actually in for nearly an hour of watching people choose their profile picture.

First up is Aiden, who looks like that girl off Instagram. You know the one.

All of them.

Aiden spends some time carefully choosing her profile picture and eventually decides on the close up pout with head tilted to the right.

Close up pout with head tilted to the left was too boring.

ASIDE: In the future, when forcing my husband to choose which picture I should put on Instagram out of eight identical pictures I just took of myself, I'm totally going to start calling him 'Circle'.

Next up is Dan the Estate Agent. Since I am currently flat hunting, I hate him already.

"Circle, private message Dan. Subject: Justify these tenant fees you fucking tightwad."

Dan says he likes being social but likes being on his own at the same time and... well yeah, I mean, same.

Dan has also BYOT (Bring Your Own Turtle) and suddenly Dan is not so bad.


The contestants have to write profile bios to go with their profile pics. Dan goes with 'smart', 'witty' and then comes up with the inspired 'always up for a laugh', which he celebrates as though he just finished writing War and Peace.

Since they're both up and running on The Circle, Aiden and Dan can now talk to each other, which they do via dictation at their TV.

From the way they shout their commands I can only conclude that The Circle is either elderly or partially deaf.

Another person is here. Her name is Jennifer and I'm going to be nice about her because she runs a digital advertising company and I am a freelance copywriter.

Looking beaut, Jen. Hire me.

Jennifer hates social media and is going to pretend that she's a younger junior doctor to show how you can't trust anyone on the Internet, in case you hadn't picked up on that theme. On the other hand, she's using actual pictures of herself so, you know, she's not great at it.

Jennifer says people might find her game tekkers 'morally questionable'.

Nah it's alright babe we don't give a shit.

Next up is Mitchell, who says that people think he's a dickhead when they first meet him but soon realise there's more to him than that.

He's also a wanker.

Mitchell dictates his bio and the first cracks in The Circle begin to show.

For example, it cannot spell 'meeting'.

But when we cut back to the same shot a couple of seconds later, the spelling error has disappeared...

This is some serious Black Mirror shit, guys. I think all of these people are going to die.

Jennifer decides to message Mitchell and shows her age a bit by leaning into the screen and yelling.



Alex's girlfriend, if you're reading this, ask yourself if this has come out of nowhere.

Alex says he wasn't popular at school and that he's been catfished before in the past and I start to wonder whether his suspiciously attractive 'girlfriend' has ever actually been seen by any of his friends or family in real life.

Since 'Kate' is hot, Mitchell rapidly exits his boring conversation with Jennifer and slides into Kate's DMs. For someone who says she is just playing a game with a bunch of idiots from the 'narcissistic selfie generation', Jennifer looks overly gutted about the turn of events.

Come now Jennifer, don't make this weird.

Another person enters The Circle 👉👌😂. His name is Freddie, he is from Essex, and he works in a call centre, just like Aiden.

This show is going a long way towards explaining many of my frustrating customer service experiences.

Freddie is gay but his gameplan is to hide this fact while he's in The Circle.

... good luck Freddie.

Freddie chooses to say in his bio that he is a 24 year old straight man from Essex who 'loves the ladies, is hardworking, and wants to start a family'. Clearly Freddie has never met a 24 year old straight man from Essex.

He also PRETENDS TO HAVE A DEAD DOG before laughing that he 'can't fucking stand animals' because Freddie is a PSYCHOPATH.

Fuck you, Freddie.

Next up is Sian, a model/student who wants to know if people really like her for her personality or just for her looks.

In order to achieve this, she's choosing to only show herself looking 'rough'.

Fuck you, Sian.

Oops someone called Genelle has accidentally booked into the Travelodge with her child and inadvertently become a Circle contestant!

Guys, you should really tell her there's cameras in there.

Genelle's baby is too cute for words and Genelle seems too nice for this show.


Everyone is now online so the contestants get a chance to take a look at each other's profiles. Aiden freaks out that Mitchell likes 'going out' and 'tea', screaming that they're going to get on so well.


Jennifer's profile is not going down very well but then again she did write in her bio that she's a 'keen walker' so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The gang enjoy some inane group chitchat that goes on for way too long.

Genelle's baby starts screamcrying.

Me too, kid.

ASIDE: There's actually a lot of screaming on this show. Won't the other Travelodge customers complain?

Finally something else is happening. The contestants now have to give each other a rating out of five stars based on absolutely fuck all.

This social network is apparently a mix of Facebook and Uber.

Unsurprisingly, the very beautiful 'Kate' is rated most popular because, beautiful. Estate Agent Dan is second because, turtle. Genelle and Sian are joint third because, blah. Aiden and Freddie are fifth and sixth, Mitchell is seventh, and Jennifer is last because she seriously thought 'keen walker' was a thing her fake popular persona would write.

You literally work in advertising.

As her/his reward, 'Kate'/Alex is allowed to choose another contestant to join him/her for cocktails in a 'private area' called The Hangout.

I start to get excited that Alex's big deception is going to be revealed so early and all as a result of his own successful conniving MUHAHAH- except that the hangout is just two chairs with a wall between them where they will continue to talk to each other through The Circle.

"But they already have booze and a private chat function in their apartment so this prize is entirely redundant!!" I hear you cry.

Well, yes, but do they have...


KateAlex chooses Mitchell to enjoy some sweet sweet profiteroles with.

"I hope you have fun in The Hangout, you pair of dicks." mutters a disgruntled Dan. I idly wonder about how much better this show would be if it started randomly broadcasting everything the contestants said out loud.

Meanwhile, Mitchell is actually getting ready for his 'date' because he's a fucking idiot.

The perfect outfit for sitting in front a brick wall.

Cue several minutes of painful date 'banter' between Mitchel and KateAlex. If you've ever been a 14 year old on MSN Messenger, you'll get the gist.

AND THAT'S ALL FOLKS! We're encouraged to download The Circle App (certainly not) and given a little preview of the following night's show, which is mostly just people shrieking "OMG!!!??".

However there is a tantalising glimpse of Jennifer tearfully questioning "How can this be happening so soon?" that does keep me hopeful for a dystopian catastrophe in which The Circle has a full on AI meltdown and locks all the contestants in the Travelodge FOREVER.

Fingers crossed.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

BAD TV is Back: Will I Love Island?

WOW it's dusty in here. Poor old BAD TV has been languishing for four years now, four long years spent casting hopelessly around for a reality TV show that was quite as blood-boilingly irritating as Made in Chelsea. For many moons I idly flicked through the channels - "X Factor (been there done that), Britain's Got Talent (spoiler: it hasn't), TOWIE (pls God No-ie), Love Island-


What is a Love Island!?" I definitely said out loud to myself in this absolutely not made up scenario.

Yes, dear BAD TV reader, I have a confession to make. 

I have never seen Love Island. 

It's the only thing me and this malevolent prune have in common.

I have been aware of Love Island. I have heard people talking about Love Island. But I have never watched a single episode. UNTIL TODAY WHEN IT OCCURRED TO ME THAT IT MIGHT ACTUALLY BE QUITE GOOD FOR THIS BLOG SO I GOT IT UP ON ITV PLAYER.

You heard correctly, BAD TV is back and this time I'm swapping Chelsea for wherever the hell Love Island is made. 

...a... shed?

Now, a disclaimer.

At some point shortly after I made the wise and fortuitous decision to resurrect BAD TV, I found myself browsing ITV Player like, "Whaaaat the heeeeell this show is on eeeeevery daaaay".  EVERY DAY? Every day. Every day is far too many Love Islands in my humble opinion so I wondered about covering the roundup show instead (THE WEEKLY HOTLIST 'loads of unseen action, all the best moments and much, much more, all crammed into one jam-packed hour') but that turned out to be crap too.

For a start, I don't think any of these people have ever even seen jam.

I can't write about Love Island every day, I just can't. So instead I'm just going to review the very first epiode from the perspective of someone who has never seen Love Island and doesn't understand any of the core concepts.

Like for example why it is filmed in a shed.

IF I get the urge, or you want me to, I may dive back in later.


Episode 1

Here we gooo! To the Love Island! Which may or may not contain a shed but I'm 99% sure will contain a group of people who are aesthetically pleasing yet intellectually disappointing!

Okay so there's a pub?

I'm not sure if this is separate from the shed or an extension of it. Either way it doesn't look very tropical.

Ohh okay this is just the bit showing people ditching their regular boring lives for THE LOVE ISLAND LIFE. 

Apparently people's regular boring lives contain a lot more shrugging in underwear than I was previously aware of.

Also quiiiiite a lot of sexual misconduct in the workplace.

Tbf we all have those days where we just clutch a boob and smile.
Then it's time for the opening credits, which is pretty much just flesh. 

As a vegetarian this makes me uncomfortable.

Villa time! Apparently the villa has had a makeover but, since I don't know what the old villa looked like, I remain unmoved. 

Did the old villa also look like an abandoned Tiger store that had been graffited by someone with 'yogi' in their Instagram bio?
Wait! The narrator just mentioned the rules and I wasn't listening! You have to couple up to win £50,000?

Well that sounds like a way to build healthy, long-lasting relationships!

Sexy, single people are arriving! Let's meet them.

First we have:


I paused the screen at the wrong time but let's go with it.

Age: 22
Occupation: Musical theatre performer 
Likes: singing, dancing, performing, using reality TV to further her career
Dislikes: Being dumped (it makes her heart 'go to stone') 
FUN FACT: Samira loves a bit of a flirt and uses the word vibey as though it's a real adjective!


Age: 21
Occupation: Model
Likes: Instagram, being cute
Dislikes: Guys who want to have their willy up as many girls as he wants [sic], big words
FUN FACT: Hayley knows a word in Spanish!


Age: 26
Occupation: Shoe shop manager
Likes: Her 33% discount
Dislikes: Her ex-fiance
FUN FACT: Kendall is open to anything. No wait not anything but you know what she means. 



Look these screenshots are really hard to time, okay?

Age: 21
Occupation: Barmaid and BEING DANNY DYER'S DAUGHTER
Likes: Pulling the perfect pint
Dislikes: Boys that sell you a dream and then you believe the dream and then you end up crying at the end of the dream


Age: 29
Occupation: Air hostess
Likes: The Mile High Club
Dislikes: Being cheated on
FUN FACT: Laura has had 9 boyfriends and will list every single one of them even if you don't ask her to!

So that's all our ladies and I for one am never eating carbs again!

Oh Caroline Flack is here. That's nice.

Caroline wants to know if the ladies are here for LOVE or LUST which are the only TWO available OPTIONS. 

Everyone says they are here for LOVE and the REAL THING, which wasn't actually on the list of options but whatever.

Well an abandoned Tiger store covered in cameras is definitely the ideal place to find that!

It's time to meet the boys! Everyone knows that best way to find love is to stand in a line and judge a procession of other people based entirely on their looks so let's do that!



Age: 23
Occupation: Student
Likes: Looking proper good on his Insta, Harry Potter
Dislikes: Girls who think he's just a "typical muscle fit lad", his old ears
FUN FACT: Niall has Hermione Granger's wand tattooed on his arm and wants to show you his wand too! Aren't you lucky!

Only Kendall steps forward for Niall but Caroline says he can choose any girl to couple up with even though I thought he had to choose from the ones that wanted to couple up with him?

Nothing like encouraging young men to pursue women who aren't interested!

Anyway Niall does the uncreepy thing and chooses Kendall in return. Well done Niall.


Age: 27
Occupation: A&E doctor
Likes: Having an unprofessional bedside manner outside of work or something
Dislikes: His mum nagging him to find someone
FUN FACT: Alex says his work can inclued 'dealing with a cut finger nail'. Alex might actually be a manicurist.

No one steps forward for Alex because he is boring and forgot to do his shirt up. NEVER MIND THOUGH ALEX, for some reason you're still allowed to choose whoever you want from this selection of women who aren't interested in you! Including the girl who already chose to be with someone else!

I don't think that I like this show.
Alex chooses Laura, who looks as pleased as you can imagine.

As pleased as a doctor when someone comes into A&E with a cut fingernail!
Alex is excited though so who gives a fuck!

Next up...


Age: 20
Occupation: A desiregeneer- nucl-oh-WES-A design engineer.
Likes: Cognitive dissonance
Dislikes: Having to say his job title out loud without shouting his own name halfway through
FUN FACT: Wes likes treating girls the way they are meant to be treated (like queens, apaz) and also thinks all the girls in the villa are 'fair game'.

Laura steps forward, away from Alex who picked her against her will, and says she doesn't know why she stepped forward. Wes chooses Laura back, but not before apologising to Alex who owned her previously. 

Alex has to go and sit on some special chairs for losers but only until the remaining guys choose their two girls and then he gets whoever's left over. Just like every classic love story.



Age: 22
Occupation: Model
Likes: Being spiritual, inspiring people
Dislikes: People who have no depth, people who are not fun in the bedroom
FUN FACT: I have no facts, just wanna say Eyal is creepy AF.

The three remaining single ladies step forwards for Eyal because he is an actual fucking model and they all have eyes. In the surprise of the century, Eyal the model chooses Hayley, the other model. 


Age: 26
Occupation: Sells pens
Likes: Selling pens
Dislikes: People who don't want to buy pens?
FUN FACT: You can see Jack's teeth from the International Space Station.

Dani and Samira both step forward because the other option is Old Pot Noodle at the Back of the Cupboard, Alex. Jack chooses Dani and Samira gets the old pot noodle.

SURPRISE! Another guy is here just in case you hate pot noodles!


Age: 22
Occupation: Personal trainer
Likes: Having fun
Dislikes: Sex that isn't quick
FUN FACT: The biggest thing Adam brings to a relationship is just having a laugh. It is unclear who is laughing.

Love Flacktually asks Hayley if she's tempted. Hayley says she's happy with who she's with because she can't remember Eyal's name. Adam has 24 hours to nab a wench or he goes home.

Now they all just hang around, I guess? The girls talk about the boys. The boys talk about teeth. Hayley still can't say Eyal's name even though it's kind of the middle of her name.

This goes on for a while. Is this the whole show? 

Oh my god guys it's been like 15 minutes, I think this might be the whole show. 

How is this on every daaaaay.

After a while they all drift off to have set up conversations with their respective partners. 

As Niall and Kendall get to know each other, Kendall says she too is a massive Harry Potter fan. Niall says "Oh really, what's your favourite film?"


Seriously fuck this show.


There's a BEDROOM!!!!

Oh my gaaaaaaaaad.

The girls do a really good job of screaming like people who have never seen beds before.

Whilst also strategically holding up the personalised water bottles the show is trying to sell.

The boys are outside, working equally hard at water bottle promotion.

But probably getting paid more to do it amiright ladiiiieees.

Alex is feeling sad about being an old Pot Noodle. Don't worry, says Eyal, tomorrow is a new day.

"Every day is a new day," Wes adds sagely, to a chorus of impressed approval.

The only thing the boys grasp more than those water bottles is the concept of time.
Back to the girls in the bedroom, who are talking about how Laura likes Adam. The narrator casually slut shames Laura by saying "She started with Alex, moved on to Wes, and now she fancies Adam! Typical air stewardess, very flighty!"

Can I get a fucking retraction over here?

Because of course what he means to say is, she was chosen against her will by Alex, stepped forward for Wes to get away from Alex, and has now met someone she actually likes.

I got you, L.
There's a first night party and everyone gets dressed up in order to continue talking about each other!

It's really different from when everyone was talking about each other before because this time it's night.
The 'drama' mainly revolves around Adam and which bird he's going to tea leaf after his 24 hours is up. Laura likes Adam with her sexual things so it's not looking good for Wes.

It finally comes out that Dani Dyer's dad is Danny Dyer.

"Wait so his name is Danny Dyer and he also called you, his daughter, Dani Dyer?"
In the mystery shed, Dani makes fun of the fact that Jack sells pens as though being on Love Island isn't the number one thing he should be ashamed of.

Night passes and also an ad break! The narrator reminds us of who all the current couples are again in case we forgot since five minutes ago.

Adam continues to prowl around the ladies to decide which one he's going to hit over the head and drag back to his cave. I continue to remain unimpressed with the concept of women as objects to be claimed at will.

Who ordered a feminist killjoy?

Because I'm heeeeeeerrrre!

Laura and Samira both say they like Adam! Adam says he literally loves everyone. 

I literally can't wait for this to end.
Luckily for me, I remember I'm not watching live and skip forward to Adam's Big Decision which is being treated like it's Sophie's fucking Choice. 


 A quick interlude to appreciate Adam's hilariously tiny jeans...

...and Adam has chosen...

What the fresh hell, the episode ended.

Seriously fuck this show.