Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Katie and Peter Stateside : Reality Bites

From our favourite guest blogger Juliette

I've just been reading about the Katie Price and Peter Andre separation.

Which, I must say, doesn't particularly surprise me. For as I may have told you before, their Stateside show has become something of a guilty pleasure chez Juliette.

As with so much reality TV, including Rock Of Love and Jodie Marsh : Who'll Take Her Up The Aisle, Katie and Peter was far darker and more complex than it was ever - or will ever be - given credit for. IMHO, reality TV is only ever as dumb, clever, banal or insightful as the person watching it. Because nobody, ever, is a good enough actor or actress to conceal all traces of their true self from cameras when they're working without a script and being filmed at random intervals. In situations like that, the underlying personality has absolutely nowhere to hide.

Oh, you can try to show the cameras exactly what you want to show them, and nothing more.

Trouble is, it doesn't always quite work like that.

Ask Les Dennis.

Or Vanessa Feltz.

I defy Barbara Vine herself to create characters as complex and terrifyingly memorable as some of the folks I've seen on 'mindless' trash TV.

Take the obsessively needy, cruel, controlling, sinister and insecure Rex and his passive-aggressive nightmare of a girlfriend Nicole on last year's Big Brother - a relationship of such darkly, disturbingly compelling strangeness as to make the goriest car crash resemble Mamma Mia.

Take the haunting malignity of the (mercifully now forgotten) Nicola McLean on last year's I'm A Celebrity, with her call-centre voice, and her space-hopper boobs, and her thin veneer of perky good-fellowship stretched wafer-thin over bottomless chasms of bitterness, resentment and malice. She was like what would have happened if Hammer had ever made a movie about an Essex hairdresser possessed by the devil.

And nowhere were these dark complexities of character more visible to the sentient viewing public than on 'Katie and Peter : Stateside.'

While I'm far from a fan, Katie Price fascinated me like a particularly large snake in the reptile house. I'm completely astounded by the praise showered on her 'warmth' and 'reality' in some quarters - which makes me wonder whether the brain-dead chav fangirls in question even count as sentient beings as opposed to members of the vegetable kingdom. La Price has the coldest eyes and voice you're likely to see and hear this side of 'Serial Killers - Before They Were Famous' (Incidentally, don't even think about stealing that idea. I'm pitching it to ITV2 next week. I've already got footage of Aileen Wuornos in a staff training video for Wal-Mart, and Dennis Nielsen playing a sheep in his school nativity play. If I can only snap up that tape of Fred West auditioning for Blind Date in 1985, this could be the show that makes my fortune.)

'Katie and Peter - Stateside' made for fascinating, if chilling, viewing. Katie's almost inhuman coldness and joylessness - her granite-hard face lit up solely when someone mentioned money or plastic surgery - was counterbalanced by a husband so spectacularly cheerful, good-natured and dumb, he made the famous labrador Marley look like Vladimir Putin. Peter bumbled about chirpily, losing car keys and wiping kids' faces, weathering his wife's arbitrary and venomous insults with the bewilderment of a randomly kicked puppy - only to be immediately distracted by a bowl of spaghetti or a brightly coloured bouncing object being waved up and down in front of his nose. You got the feeling his brain cells had to jump up and down and wave to one another to attract one another's attention, for all the world like like fans at at a Steve Brookstein concert.

And whenever they were hugging or kissing, the body language and expressions were so palpably one-sided, it reminded me of nothing more than a dramatic moment of betrayal in a soap opera. You know the sort of situation where pretty-but-treacherous Barbie's secretly arranged to have loving-and-unsuspecting husband Ken bumped off by a hitman so she can collect the insurance money?

The sort of situation where Barbie hangs up the phone on the hitman as Ken comes into the room, he asks her who that was, and she says quickly that it was a wrong number?

The sort of situation where Ken then says, 'I love you so much, darling,' and Barbie says 'I love you too' ?

The sort of situation where Ken then hugs Barbie impulsively and passionately, and Barbie stares over Ken's back, and the camera closes in on Barbie's cold, unblinking face right before the closing credits start rolling?

Well, Katie and Peter's onscreen moments of intimacy were just exactly like that.


So it doesn't surprise me that, after four years of this sort of thing, one of Peter's brain cells finally succeeded in attracting the attention of the other three - semaphoring SHE'S MUGGING YOU OFF, MATE across the vast empty stadium inside his head.

Although I would have thought that the split would cost them both something very important in the public eye.

She gave him marketability. He gave her likeability.

I've no idea what the next chapter might be in this particular saga. In fact, in the normal run of things, I would strongly suspect their separation of being a PR stunt ('Jordan - My Divorce Hell EXCLUSIVE' - 'Jordan - I Want Pete Back EXCLUSIVE' - 'Katie and Peter ; The Reconciliation Diaries' - 'Jordan and Pete renew wedding vows in lavish ceremony, exclusive pictures inside' - etc etc etc etc etc etc etc.)

However, I was proved rather embarrassingly wrong on that front re St Jade (who is now up in heaven screaming racist abuse at the pretty angels, bless her.) After several months of sneering that her illness was all a vast PR stunt - how gullible were some people, funny how she suddenly got cancer when her public profile had slumped dramatically, she'd somehow make a last-minute miraculous recovery and write a bestselling memoir about it, surprise surprise - I was rather chastened to hear that she'd just snuffed it.

And am hence apt to shut my mouth on similar issues in the future.

But whatever happens next, I'm sure it'll make great TV...

J x
Posted by juliette

Editorial note from Henry
As I heard the news on Twitter yesterday from @Skynews this was my response

@SkyNews Utter bollocks Katie is doing it to drum up publicity & sell stuff, They'll be making up in two months time for more publicity


  1. SEO! SEO!, best of luck with that.

  2. Henry, this got you a favourable comment on todays BBC Radio 2s "Steve Wright In The Afternooon" show.

  3. Oh cool. I better get that on Iplayer