SoV Review: Holly’s World

Suicide-O-Vision.

My new section that reviews current television shows. If I actually rated things, these shows would automatically get 2/10. The reason they get 2 is that they caught my attention in the first place, which is an achievement that “The Only Way Is Essex” failed.

Holly’s World.

Trying to forge a successful reality television show should be easy right? Especially when you are a hot blonde who has already found success on a reality television show, surely? Apparently not, as Holly’s World shows us, with alarming mediocrity. Moving on from the perplexingly popular Girls of the Playboy Mansion, or Girls Next Door if you are American, Holly’s World focuses on the newly single Holly Madison, as she moves to Las Vegas, runs a strip show (Vegas strip, not nudity strip.. although it’s that too), and generally lives in the sort of privileged world that makes the hard working average schmuck feel either sick, or unappreciative of all that they themselves have earned and achieved.

At first you have to wonder why this show got picked up in the first place. Kendra, the first of the Playboy reality show spin offs, received a lukewarm reaction at best, and she had a sports star AND a newborn baby in her show. If Kendra, the irritatingly brattish ex-girlfriend, who appealed to the mindless teenage masses who actually watch this sort of mush, didn’t really succeed, why would Holly “everyone’s mums favourite” Madison fare any better?

I’m being slightly unfair here. Holly Madison seems to be a relatively pleasant (if not catty) girl, and is a decent enough personality to pull off a television show. Unfortunately, and misleadingly though, the show doesn’t actually feature Holly as a primary character. It instead follows her “friends”, a brown haired boring one called Laura, a blonde 21 year old single mother called Angel (pass the sick bag), and a gay guy so cliché and forgettable, I don’t remember his name. Let’s call him Fred.

The show appears to be about them being friends with Holly, which is obviously quite an achievement, especially seeing how unimpressed Holly seems to be all the time. Maybe it’s the curse of being stalked by cameras all the time, even in your private life, that’s made Holly Madison emotionally age 40 years ahead of her time. Maybe it’s the constant media speculation about her “will they, won’t they” love story with Hugh Hefner, who allegedly didn’t want to marry again. Although the fact he’s now married another woman must have added 10 years in itself. Maybe Holly is just really grumpy, and unhappy with having a television show, Las Vegas stage show, millions of dollars, men falling at her feet, and a business set up on her likeness, all of this because she’s famous for her achievement of being “one of Hugh Hefner’s ex-girlfriends”. It’s enough to get anyone down, isn’t it?

Anyway, she’s far too busy working to make more appearances, and if there’s one thing I can’t take away from her, it’s the fact that she does work hard. This is why we’re primarily left watching her dolt friends. All three of them are extremely pretty, because there are no ugly people in Holly’s World (see what I did there?), and they all seem to be unemployed, or at least earning obscene amounts of money while having a lot of free time on their hands. It’s scary to watch these unknown people driving flash cars, and staying in posh hotels, when they aren’t even famous. It sets unreasonably high expectations for children to see famous people living with this sort of treatment, but when a girl called Angel is driving a swish car at 21, without any discernable talent, you really have to wonder exactly why the luck rolled her way.

Oh, but don’t let all of this money and looks fool you though. Each of these characters has their own unique problem that haunts and challenges them every day.

(If you have sarcasm detecting smoke alarms, now might be a good time to turn them off).

Laura has to live in world where people unfairly don’t match her standards, and where rich men aren’t attractive enough, and attractive men just aren’t rich enough. Angel is a young mother, having given birth at the unimaginable age of 20 (who’d have thought it biologically possible?!), and flamboyant Fred is a young gay man, who in this series faces the difficult task of coming out to his parents… and, naturally, he chooses to do so on camera.  Make no mistake though, these characters are not two-dimensional. They face other problems as well, such as throwing Holly a housewarming party (which ends up like something out of a Lewis Carroll nightmare). Such a seemingly innocent and fun event ends up disastrous when Fred is seen to be hogging the limelight. Cue drama and conflict.

I refer to these people as characters, purely because I can’t grasp the concept that these are real people. Like the subject matter, the production of Holly’s World is incredibly fake and glossed, which makes it hard to comprehend them being actual events that actually happened. Were these actually characters in a show, I feel my response would slightly amused at best, but it would more likely to be depressed at the whole concept. The fact that this is real, and those people exist, is actually slightly devastating to me. One episode, where the achingly beautiful Angel actually ends up in tears, over Holly buying her a “boob job” for her 21st birthday, is as surreal as it is insulting. Apparently this girl, who can’t have been large chested to begin with, has had her confidence crushed by body changes incurred by her pregnancy. It turns out that her boobs that have dropped, slightly less than shares in fresh water at the Sahara Desert Stock Exchange, and now she feels unattractive and unfit as a person. This act of charity by Holly (that is, buying her the opportunity to be cut open by a surgeon for a couple of hours), is exactly what it takes to improve this situation. Without even starting to think about the negative influence that this is likely to cause to the idiots who enjoy this show, no effort is even made by Holly (who to be fair, doesn’t look like she gives a shit about anything anymore) to actually discuss or go through Angel’s problems, of which I’m sure there are many.

Obviously this may be the fault or intention of the editor. It’s entirely possible that the conversation actually happened between the two, where Holly turned around, and pointed out that the reason Angel didn’t attract many men was the fact that she was too busy working and looking after her child to meet any. Or that having a child can be intimidating to some men. Or that her high expectations and conceited attitude towards non good looking and rich men, may somewhat limit her options (there aren’t many, just ask Laura). Or even, just maybe, the fact that she lives and spends her time with a paparazzi stalked star, a former playboy model, an attention grabbing token gay friend and an entire film crew may limit her accessibility. I’m sure that conversation wouldn’t have made good television though.

Girls of the Playboy Mansion was actually fairly entertaining, as it offered insights into an infamous house and lifestyle. Hugh Hefner would have never been able to launch a reality television show about himself, and probably would have had no interest to. The large population of conservative Americans would probably have found issue with it anyway. The Girls of the Playboy Mansion, however, appealed to the voyeur in many people, gave the girlfriends an independent output, and managed to do well because of the mixture of girls themselves. You had Bridget, the intellectual-common-sense-lacking-one, Holly, the rather-unhappy-with-the-whole-situation-one, and Kendra, the blatant-gold-digging-one. This is why the show discontinued just one season after the girls left the house. Not because people adored the first three so much, but because the lack of conflict between the boring-as-fuck twins and the other one, all of whom seemed to speak in monotone, as though talking with emotion required some high brain function that they do not possess, was not fascinating, nor addictive watching, which the first household had been.

The pilot for a show focusing on the playmate house didn’t get picked up, which is a slight shame, as network television soft porn seems to be stuck in the 90’s, and another that featured happy go lucky Bridget didn’t amount to anything either. This is apparently because Bridget wasn’t as popular as the other two, despite being infinitely more interesting. The fact that these didn’t make it should only be seen as a good thing as the eye gougingly awful spin offs that already exist have proven. And the future of Holly’s World? There’s currently another season in production, and I don’t think that it will end there. It will be flogged until all that’s left of the dead horse is bones, which can in turn be sold off as souvenirs.

Oh, and if anyone mentioned actually reads this, and feels like I’m unfairly berating them, blame the editing crew, or, even better, don’t make shitty reality television shows about yourselves.

Unpopular Idea #2

Force people working in London, to live in London, or take a much lower wage.

Force people moaning about living in London to leave

Help for Heroes

Because playing it safe is for pussies.

I have been unsure how to feel about the “Help for Heroes” campaign in Britain, for a long time. You see, while I respect, and am thankful for the work that soldiers do, I’m also uncomfortable labelling soldiers fighting in the most hilariously illegal war in recent history as ”heroes”. To me, a hero is someone who in some way overcomes any personal agenda or gain in order to try and help others. Jesus was a hero. People that devote their lives to helping the less fortunate are heroes. Tools of the army are not. They are tools of the army. That’s not to say that many of them aren’t selfless or noble. In fact, after going through the training that they do, I’m sure many of them are. To cover them all in the blanket term “hero”, regardless of the individual however, seems to devalue the term, and its connotations.

This issue in itself was largely ignorable to me, because regardless of the actual heroics of the soldiers, they were there making a difference, and people were respecting them. This wasn’t a popular war, and there was no real love for the politics behind it. Being able to show respect for those in a difficult and dangerous situation was much better than the soldiers being spat on for their involvement, like they were at the end of the Vietnam War in America, an act that potentially set liberal politics amongst the American working class back 50 years. Still I was not satisfied.

I realised that there was something else that was bothering me about it all. Then it struck me: my issue was the origins of the campaign itself. You see, Help for Heroes was introduces to us by the disreputable tabloids of Britain, specifically the Sun. Others jumped the bandwagon, but the Sun heralded it, and the reasons for this were obvious. Newspapers are obsolete in terms of actual news telling, yet they still want to earn the amount of profits to which they’ve become accustomed to. They now have to attract attention of the viewer, be it by straight up lying, or by providing people with some kind of reward for buying them, whether it’s an obvious reward, like a competition, or an emotional reward, in which you have an invested interest. Not fussed about morals or truth in anyway, papers don’t stop short of informing the reader of what their own personal opinions are, and each title carefully crafts this brainwashing debauchery to its target audience. A fine example of this was when a couple of years ago the Sun suddenly changed its political alignment, like the magnetic poles of the earth, although without as much actual world changing chaos as it would have invariably liked. Was this because the editors and writers all unanimously felt that supporting the Labour government wasn’t true to their own political orientation, or more to do with the potential falling sales that could result from openly supporting an unpopular government amongst their reader base? Who knows indeed?

That reader base informs the papers as much as the papers inform them. You see, in order to successfully sell their garbage on to people, they need it to be easily digested. This means not covering anything that is deemed drastically unpopular by the readership in a positive light, and also it means pandering to these, the shallowest and most easily led of people. This is where Help for Heroes comes in. Many of our foot soldiers (or cannon fodder, if you will) come from lower middle class and working class backgrounds, incidentally a large portion of the Suns readership. These foot soldiers are also the primary casualties of the war, and thus the Help for Heroes campaign was born, to reassure the readership that the Sun does care, very much.

My issue comes from the hypocrisy of the whole thing. If the Sun respected soldiers in the war, why is it using their death as a commercial diving board, of which to launch their new anti-labour business model? It’s clearly not coincidence that the Help for Heroes campaign took off magnificently shortly before they decided to switch political orientation. What does it say about both the tabloids and the readers that the former is so happy to patronise and sell out their readership, while the latter is so ready to support such a farce of a campaign?

Finally I must ask the same question that I ask many dubious groups, activities or campaigns: Where were you when…? In this case, “Where were you in the other wars, where were you on November 11th every year?” Where were you during the Falklands conflict, or throughout the peacetime, when the armed forces really do fulfil the roles of heroes, providing aid and relief to other countries? You didn’t exist, because that all Help for Heroes is: a marketing campaign for the gullible.

Now the war is largely over, and there’s an amusing issue of high application to the now rather glamorised armed forces, and the fact that the new government that the very same people voted in, has decided to remove most of the funding for it. Maybe that’s a sign that people shouldn’t believe, follow, or even read newspapers? Maybe, but no one will get the hint until the papers tell them so.