Made in Chelsea is arguably the most divisive programme on television. More than any other show, it polarises viewers; there are those that decry the inept plotting, dreadful dialogue and woeful attempts at acting, yet fans find every ridiculous plot twist more enjoyable than the last.
By all conventional measures, MiC ranks amongst the worst shows ever broadcast, and the new series is very much more of the same. The dialogue is perhaps even woollier than ever; the genre may be known as scripted reality, but neither script nor reality appears too much of a concern. Indeed this season opened by essentially discarding everything that had happened during the previous one.
Miraculously, over the past few months, enemies have become friends, characters have disappeared and new ones seamlessly taken their place. Much of last season was devoted to the burgeoning romance between Francis and Sophia, yet early on in the first episode we are informed that Sophia has ‘gone’. That is all; no explanation is given, we are not informed where and no-one seems to care. Only one hour after Midnight City bursts through our speakers, a lead character has been consigned to history.
In her place comes Josh, a man we meet being made redundant by Proudlock, only for them to be best friends a few scenes later. While he may be somewhat of a charisma vacuum, there is slightly more spark to his ex-girlfriend, ‘hot Phoebe’, and her friends, Fran and Olivia. Episode two revolves around an impromptu ski trip where we learn that Olivia is the latest character to hate Lucy, and little else.
Yet this is just a sideshow to the series’ central plot theme so far: Spencer’s move from being a bit of a dick to full on, pantomime evil. There is no other word to describe a character seemingly hell bent on being as obnoxious to as many people as possible. Fresh from cheating on girlfriend Louise and being slapped by Millie, he decides to turn on all and sundry. His first target is Francis, cast very much as the Jesus to Spencer’s Lucifer, for revealing Spencer’s infidelity when it became clear the man himself would not.
Following a surreal meeting at an estate agents’ office and awkward bar confrontation, attentions turn to Millie, whose sin appears to have been empathy for her friend. That Louise has stayed with him is miraculous, although the next episode promises a final showdown between the pair.
Elsewhere we are treated to the sight of Ollie in very tight briefs with his new girlfriend – any gay leanings have been swiftly abandoned – and Mark Francis’ ramblings on fashion. His and Victoria’s subplot continues to mystify, they have almost no interaction with any of the other characters and, even by Made in Chelsea standards, seem a particularly unnecessary addition to the cast.
For all its faults, MiC is undoubtedly outstanding in two regards: it has been groundbreaking in its use of Twitter, much copied but never bettered, and also has the best indie pop soundtrack of any show currently on air. The use of M83 for the title credits was an inspired choice, and this series has featured Atoms for Peace, FIDLAR and The Joy Formidable, amongst others; the writers even managed to shoehorn a Young Kato gig into Episode one.
Two episodes into series five and little has changed in Chelsea. Fans will doubtless still enjoy the show, while those who previously hated it won’t have been converted. MiC may be undoubtedly dreadful but, as escapist revision TV, it remains peerless.
PHOTO/Trashlounge, Giselle Wainwright