Don’t Miss Out on The Girl

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June 2011
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Goldsmiths Ltd.

Star Turns

I met Gretchen and Rosa for a Mexican after work on Friday. Gretchen got stuck in the big Friday monsoon and Rosa went to rescue her so they were running late.

After calling my Mum, checking my emails, finishing all of our welcome tortillas, noticing that Fern Cotton was sitting at the neighbouring table and reading the menu, I decided to go ahead and order some wine.

Just as I was halfway through the wine, and Fern was probably wondering whether that girl licking the crumbs off her welcome snack plate had been stood up, they arrived.

Two good things to report about my little partners in crime: Gretchen has had her hair cut shorter and it looks great and Rosa has quit her job and been cast in Hollyoaks. Quite a starry evening all things considered: me, Gretchen with her nice hair, Fern Cotton and Maddy from Hollyoaks, who was rehearsing for stardom by being late for a journalist.

Rosa’s being introduced this week via a saucy little holiday storyline in Wales and is already showing all promising signs of being one of those hand grenade characters producers like to chuck into a soap every so often to prevent everyone getting too comfortable.

With any luck she’ll head up to Chester after the holiday with a winning Wales tan, tornado her way through the happiness of at least half the characters, select a nemesis and set her hair extensions on fire after a slanging match outside The Dog.

Her character (and therefore she) was in a bikini for most of the first episode, flicking her hair about and making come-hither eyes at the boys. By the looks of it she’s in a relationship with this one guy but planning on getting the guy that’s going out with the other girl, who I think is her Ex, and the other girl knows it so has taken to hating her, and there’s also a lesbian storyline going on alongside that between the two other girls in which she may or may not end up being involved. I am yet to learn their names, but otherwise I’m very much on board.

Once I’d got over the initial weirdness of seeing my friend behind the fourth wall of the television (I kept hoping she’d turn and wave into our sitting room – she didn’t) I was proud of her, least of all because it takes serious balls to appear on National television for the first time in a bikini.

I actually felt a wave of associated panic imagining what I would do in the very unlikely event that I got cast in a soap and told to do the same. I’d have to insist on one of those Victorian bathing suits and claim I was developing a new and kooky layer of my character that’s really into vintage swimwear.

I texted my Sister about it, which caused all manner of confusion: ‘on TV? Where?’ /‘In Hollyoaks!’ / ‘but where?’ she answered.

I don’t really know what she meant by this, though my Sister struggles with most forms of entertainment television.

This is the conversation we had last week while watching  Made In Chelsea:

‘That Caggie can’t act’

‘They’re not acting’

‘Yes they are. They’re actors’

‘No they’re not’

‘Yes they are’

‘No, they’re not’

‘Yes they are – see that boat they’re on? That’s not really theirs’

[pause]

‘OK, it might not be their boat, but they’re still real people’

‘How do you know?’

‘That’s the point of the show. The characters are real, the situations are fabricated by producers for our entertainment’

‘Yes, and the characters are fabricated too’

‘No – because then it wouldn’t be a reality show would it?’

[pause]

‘See  - look! Would she really just happen to show up? It’s so staged!’

‘Yes, that’s slightly staged’

[triumphantly] ‘Exactly. So they’re acting’

‘But they’re not actors

‘But they’ve been told what to say’

‘Only to an extent’

‘To an extent? What does that mean?

‘They’ve probably been told to talk about something specific to fire up interest, but not exactly what to say’

‘So they are acting’

‘No… because it’s a real situation’

‘In which they’re being told where to sit and what to say…’

[pause]

‘Shall we watch something else?’

‘Yes OK’

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