TV Review: Dirty Sexy Things

This week we were treated to E4′s latest slice of reality pie, in the form of Dirty Sexy Things. A show which follows the fabulous lives of eight suitably gorgeous models living and working in London town. So far, so brilliantly generic.

However upon settling down to watch this latest feast of eye-candy, it became immediately apparent that things aren’t quite what they seem:

TRANSLATION: Some of this programme is a lie.

Cryptically described by E4 as a ‘concept-doc’, the appearance of that increasingly ubiquitous pre-titles disclaimer suggests that Dirty Sexy Things is poised to dip it’s immaculately manicured toe into the murky waters of scripted reality.

Now I’m happy to play along with the likes of The Only Way is Essex, comfortable in the knowledge that it’s all completely staged rubbish and just a bit of cartoonish fun. But somehow the motives of E4′s latest effort seem more insidious, when they choose to feature painfully real issues that the likes of TOWIE (thankfully) shy away from.

Case in point is model, Jay. A likeable ‘modern day Del-boy’ who is described on the Dirty Sexy Things website as:

Self-confessed ‘sometime diva’ who loves a good party, being in front of the camera and being back home with his mum.

Yes, yes, all jolly good fun. And yet in episode one, Jay reveals his long-term battle with weight and body image that tests his resolve during the very first underwear shoot.

Now I’m not suggesting that Jay’s issues are fabricated (because they clearly aren’t), but I think E4′s playing a dangerous game by exploring these kind of problems in anything less than a completely honest format. And to me, THAT pre-titles disclaimer only makes an audience question the truth in everything they see.

Anyway, serious rant over. Let’s get back to the fun stuff.

Eschewing the traditional ‘search for a star’ format of other model-centric shows, Dirty Sexy Things follows photographer to the rich and famous, Perou and his recurring cast of models on an eight-week ‘project’ that will ‘challenge his own abilities as well as push his models to the extreme’.  All suitably vague, with just enough structure to hang a show off.

So what of the models themselves?

All in all, they’re a reasonably likeable bunch of model archetypes helpfully pigeonholed by Perou in his shopping list of requirements before the staged open casting. We’ve got a beef cake, kooky waif, preppy boy, Russian beauty, bit of rough etc. etc. Pretty much something for everyone then.

BB - dancer to the stars... and Alexandra Burke.

X Factor fans will probably recognise BB (which apparently stands for Black Beauty… but probably not THAT Black Beauty). He’s a professional dancer who’s appeared on stage with the likes of Alexandra Burke, Mariah Carey, Alexandra Burke, Rihanna and er… Alexandra Burke (he mentions Alexandra Burke A LOT).

Perverts amongst you will be pleased to note that E4 seems intent on maximising the amount of flesh on display at all times. When the models aren’t standing around in their underwear, they’re either taking clothes off or putting clothes on. Which means you’re usually only a minute or two away from a well packaged bulge, pert buttock or thinly veiled nipple.

In summary then, Dirty Sexy Things looks like it could offer a modicum of fun. And while I might not be entirely comfortable with certain aspects of it’s ‘scripted reality’, it should at least provide some dubious titillation over the coming weeks.

Dirty Sexy Things is on E4 on Mondays, at 10pm

Pop Specs rating:

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One Response to “TV Review: Dirty Sexy Things”

  1. delete
    08/08/2011 at 11:35 pm #

    I’m disgusted at the prejudice in this programme.

    The British models blatantly disrespect and exclude Ariella, and I can’t help thinking it’s more than just a coincidence that she is the only non-British model.

    Perou disrespects her repeatedly because she refuses to be indecent, and because she stands up to him. Interesting that the only person he seems unable to stand is the one who doesn’t tolerate his nastiness.

    For someone who states that he is not a nude photographer, he sure likes people to be scantily clad and gets very angry when they refuse!

    And to think he has a family!

    He and the other models have also discriminated against Jay who, while he has disaplayed immature behaviours, does appear to have symptoms of mental health difficulties, and has a history of eating disorders. He seems to have chronic low self-esteem and despite Perou acknowledging that Jay is “fragile” he has still treated him in ways that can only be detrimental to his mental health.

    The other models have also been unsupportive, with Jesse even implying that Jay’s difficulties were not real – and the basis for this? That Jay did well during a shoot. So people with difficulties can’t do well? And anyone with difficulties who does do well must be faking? This is terrible ignorance, at best, and at worst, prejudice.

    And Hamish? After Ocean struggled with the very tight hairstyle he gave her, and loosened it, he admitted he was deliberately going to do it much more tightly. He then stated the following week that he was going to make her hair tight again in order to teach her a lesson, and had already done Charlotte’s hair so tight that she needed pain relief. This, Hamish, is ASSAULT. I sincerely hope that someone one day holds you accountable for your twisted need to inflict pain on people. Also, as a hair stylist, surely you must know that repeatedly tight hair styles can lead to alopecia!

    I think this programme is a cautionary tale. The photographer comes across as a nasty and incredibly arrogant person, the hair stylist likes to hurt women, the more vulnerable model is picked on by everyone, and the one non-British model is blatantly excluded and disrespected.

    I would advise anyone who wants to be a model to seriously re-think their choice of profession.

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