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TV review: Made In Chelsea's Spencer Matthews in The Bachelor
Spencer Matthews in The Bachelor - Image. Channel 5
Made In Chelsea's Spencer Matthews is the eligible bachelor up for grabs - in every sense of the word - in this Channel 5 dating series.
Chinese-born Marissa and her wholly unnecessary reminders that she's Chinese.
That would be Chinese-born Marissa, and her wholly unnecessary reminders that she's Chinese. It was simultaneously funny and annoying.
When The Bachelor made its 2011 debut, it fast became a must-see for fans of trash TV. In Gavin Henson, the show had a perfectly toned lump of testosterone with a Ronseal-complexion, an inability to emote and a knack for appalling clichés.
Add in the man-eating, man-hungry harpies, stir generously, and the result was almost too hilarious for words. Unfortunately for Gavin, the woman he ended up picking slated him in the papers after they broke up.
"Add in the man-eating, man-hungry harpies, stir generously..."
A year on and Eton-educated Spencer has big boots to fill; is he up to the task?
He certainly fulfils the aesthetic requirements; he's 24 (but looks much older), eligible (yes he was - apparently - gaga for Made In Chelsea co-star Louise Thompson, but he's not married), tanned (hello, Tango!) and rich (a hotel heir, to be precise).
But this Bachelor differs from the previous one in three key ways; as a reality soap star, Spencer has considerable experience in front of the camera. Secondly, he's way more loquacious (I'd defy Gavin Henson to even spell loquacious); "Your vulnerability was so endearing," he told one of the girls - a line that could've come straight out of Pride and Prejudice.
Finally, I suspect Spencer's background in "scripted reality" will have prepared him almost too well for this show. Gavin probably took The Bachelor more seriously than Spencer ever will. As a result, the latter will make us work harder to laugh at him. Bummer.
On the plus side, the contestants are as desperate as ever.
Make-up artist Tabby (not her real name) is a 24-year-old Billie Piper look-alike who "wants to fall in love". Mancunian Khloe said: "I want someone who I can call my rock." They espoused the kind of yearnings about love and romance that would make ITV1's Loose Women salivate.
In all, 24 ladies lined up before Spencer soaked in make-up comprised of primary colours, looking like they were off for a hen night in Magaluf.
Here come the girls
The women had a back story and occupations that are pretty standard in these type of shows; dancer, model, model booker, PA and actress. I did spot 'mental health care worker' and 'professional footballer' among the job descriptions - that's different.
"She claimed to be 29 and alleged to have big boobs for a Chinese girl."
First out of the tacky limo to greet our befuddled Bachelor was Chinese-born Marissa; she claimed to be 29 and alleged to have big boobs for a Chinese girl.
Even whatever life there is on Mars knows all about Marissa's heritage by now.
"Guess where I'm from?" she demanded. Spencer could barely contain his "oh, lummy!" Hugh Grant expression. "China?" he offered. "You're the first person to get it right!" she cried. It must be love.
Marissa easily stood out from the crowd (for all the wrong reasons), but the others had to employ tactics that ranged from high-fiving their prey to wearing denim, shimmying and taking Polaroid snaps; anything to make an impression.
Glamour model Brandy spoke a little French and dancer Jess told a joke ("What do you call a French man in sandals? Philippe Phillop").
As the ladies outside filed past, the ladies inside assessed the competition: "Nah. Not worried about her," one said of shop assistant Alexis. Posh blonde Chloe certainly appeared to be an early favourite; her Grecian-inspired dress was classy (most of the girls opted for 'slutty'), but her potty-mouth of f-bombs soon put off Spencer. I swear I saw his hair wilt in disappointment.
As for Brandy, her attempt to flirt went Pete Tong: "I used to work in forward foreign exchange," The Bachelor stated. "In FedEx," the blonde said with a flutter of her lashes. "FedEx?" Spencer queried. "Finance," he clarified. Oh dear. It's moments like these that make The Bachelor such highbrow viewing.
Spencer had to get rid of nine girls in the opening episode ("So you fancy some Chinese?" Marissa said as she made it to the next stage. Give it a rest, luv!), but the 15 that are left are more than capable of providing a bitch-fest for viewers. I look forward to the catfights and seeing the hair extensions fly.
If you're a strident feminist, give this TV series the Jimmy Carr/taxes approach - avoid it.
Most of the guilty pleasure comes from seeing the depths women will sink to in order to demean themselves over a man. And I say that as a woman myself. Spencer's Hugh Grantisms and air of old money should be more than enough to bring out the worst in this promising bunch of desperados. Game on.
- Rating: The Bachelor is brain-dead TV at its best. Or worst. It all depends on your point of view.
TV quotes of the week - The Bachelor
"I do get a lot of attention, but it tends to be from the wrong people: the slimebags, the overly confident, the raging lesbians..." - At least Chloe will avoid raging lesbians on The Bachelor.
"I do quite like a bit of a bad boy, but not a tw*t." - Danielle's not asking for much.
"I like Spencer from Made In Chelsea." Sophia's in luck! Or rather, she would've been had she made the next stage.
"If you could get a straight guy to dress like a gay guy, but be a man, that'd be perfect." I think that about sums up Spencer.
"The chat-up lines I get are things like: 'sit on my face'. I need to get out of Norwich." Oh dear, Danielle! Doesn't say much for Norwich, does it?
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