herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

Surely no one is as stupid as this?

Young, Dumb and Living off mum (TV3)
Buried Alive (C4)

I have a problem with Young, Dumb and Living Off Mum. It's nothing to do with anything that happens on screen. Like the BBC3 reality series it copies, TV3's version is great fun.

Eight mollycoddled young people are shut up together in a house and forced to at least try to behave like independent, fully functioning adults who won't starve to death if someone moves their plate two feet to the left. The prize for the winner is a holiday abroad.

No, my quibble is with the title. With an average age of around 20, the participants certainly tick the 'Young' box. As for the 'Living Off Mum' bit, all that's missing is an umbilical cord.

It's the 'Dumb' part of the equation that doesn't quite fit. Say what you like about young people today, but it must demand Olympian levels of cleverness and cunning to attain the staggering inertia, listlessness, immaturity and bone idle laziness on display here. You have to try really hard to be this useless.

Each week our heroes and heroines have to undertake a specific challenge.

At the end of it, one of them is voted off by the watching mums (and the odd dad). This week, the remaining seven were split into two groups and packed off to restaurant kitchens.

Wannabe DJ Katey (sic), a vegetarian with more piercings and tattoos than a Hell's Angels convention, immediately threw a strop and refused to handle meat -- tricky when the restaurant happens to be called Gourmet Burger. The boss indulgently shifted her to the less morally troubling salads section.

Over in the kitchen of Abrakebabra, meanwhile, a bottle-blonde Jedward fanatic called Sonya was having trouble with the size of her holes. The one she'd cut in a bag of frozen chips was too small to get the chips into the fryer quickly enough.

When this was pointed out to her, Sonya whinged: "I didn't even get trained in." How much training do you need to cut a hole in a bag?

Sonya was swiftly transferred out of the kitchen and onto tills and tables, but unfortunately her miserable attitude followed her like a persistent fart.

An assistant manager pulled her aside and gently suggested she should smile when serving the customers. Frankly, short of stapling the edges of Sonya's lips to her cheekbones, this wasn't going to happen.

Though Sonya's laziness back at the house was the deciding factor in earning her the boot, it can't be long before her chief tormentors, would-be Alpha males Ross and Keith -- also feel the slap of a toecap.

Ross, a budding rapper whose compositions are 5pc sweat, 5pc inspiration and 90pc F-word, has been fired from three apprenticeships. Even his own father sacked him for not turning up for work.

Keith sees himself as the natural leader of the group; in other words, he's a hectoring, lecturing pain in the arse. At one point he had a go at Ross about his drinking, while himself surrounded by enough bottles to give a glassblower nightmares. Guiltily addictive.

Although a global television audience was riveted by the final days of the Chile mining disaster rescue, I imagine very few people stuck with the rolling news channels' coverage of the story from day one.

Buried Alive, a hastily assembled but compelling documentary from Channel 4, succeeded in providing a compact, yet detailed account of the whole operation, interviewing rescue workers, relatives of the trapped miners and the ingenious souls whose compassion and expertise -- like the courage and resilience of the miners themselves -- triumphed over daunting odds.

Hollywood will inevitably have its way with the story. Until then, this is the definitive version.

STACEY'S STARS

Young, Dumb and Living off mum ***

Buried Alive ****

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