No matter which side of the Atlantic I find myself on, there is no escaping reality television, which I don't really mind. What better way to bond with new friends and acquaintances than through a mutual hatred of crappy-but-addictive television?
Most of it comes from the UK, but Ireland gave it a try with a “Hills”-esque show called “Fade Street”, and, more recently, a “Jersey Shore” type called “Tallafornia”. Below, I will give you a guide to these Irish "reality" shows - should you find yourself in need of a fix while in Ireland.
“Fade Street”...tried very hard to make Dublin seem more cosmopolitan than it actually is, which is arguably the show's tragic flaw.
The four main girls live in an apartment together (on Fade Street) but not quite in that “Jersey Shore” forced way. I mean, I'm sure that these girls were put in that flat by the producers but it's not the gimmick that they're going for. It was probably just cheaper to film them if they were all living together.
Anyway, one of the main characters is named Vogue. Vogue! I actually saw Vogue in a play here. It was awful, but I digress. There's also Dani, who is a "body piercer, a vegetarian, and very interested in politics," according to the RTE website.
“Fade Street” is arguably more realistic than other shows of its ilk in that it doesn't focus on one stereotype, and really seems like it's trying to pull (slightly) different types of people together. But it also alienates because it is representing a version of Dublin that not many people can connect with.
Even if you're not as brassy as the girls there you can recognize the type they're representing and go with it. “Fade Street” feels more like they literally were trying to recreate “The Hills” without taking into account any of the regional differences.
The clip below is especially painfully staged - Vogue and Louise working at Stellar magazine are typing away on computers that are so obviously set up for this shot that they don't even bother to personalize the desks with knick knacks. They're going on about how excited they are to go to the upcoming music festival Oxegen, and how Vogue is going to be DJ-ing when –dun, dun, dun, DUUUUN! The editor comes in and tells them that there's going to be a really big photo shoot over the weekend and one of them has to work. She leaves them to sort it out amongst themselves. I was at a talkback with one of the heads at RTE awhile back and someone from the audience asked him if “Fade Street” was meant to be a tongue-in-cheek joke - it wasn't.
The promo for “Fade Street”:
Here’s the “awkward” clip in question:
Really, “Tallafornia” is a poor man's “Jersey Shore”, which is kind of a poor man's “Real World”.
Perhaps because this is not an MTV production, and therefore lacks the budget, the house they're all living in tis painfully low-rent. In fact, looks like a third rate hostel. There is a hot tub, but it's stuck in a manky corner with a makeshift looking roof, which is necessary because it was such a rainy and cold summer in Ireland that only people who were being paid to look like they were having fun would go into one.
Even the sign for the "Score Room" looks like it was photocopied in a shop around the corner. Tallaght is a part of Dublin which, perhaps not unlike New Jersey, gets an unfair rap for not being great. But Jersey has the shore, which most people can at least enjoy on an ironic level. Tallaght is just a working-class suburb. There's no reason to go out there for a night out or a weekend away. It is 30 minutes from Dublin City Center.
I honestly think they put the show there because they could call it “Tallafornia”, a joke that was funny for about 2 weeks 5 years ago. And almost none of the people in the house are from Tallaght. It's all just a very bizarre situation.
Here’s the “Tallafornia” promo:
So, it’s not just the U.S. that has its own brand of train wreck Telly, you don’t have to go that far to find it’s made its way to this side of the pond.