Hot off its BAFTA award, Made in Chelsea or ‘MIC’ as its fans have named the high-profile Channel 4 show, have undeniably made a huge name for themselves.
Hot off its BAFTA award, Made in Chelsea or ‘MIC’ as its fans have named the high-profile Channel 4 show, have undeniably made a huge name for themselves. A far cry from the ‘staged’ reviews of its early pilot, it has won a huge following support with both women and men aged 15 and over. You can be sure that every Monday evening, Twitter will be ablaze with the trials and tribulations of the privileged class of the Chelsea heirs and heiresses.
As opposed to its counterparts Geordie Shore, The Only Way is Essex and The Valleys, who are arguably not as addictive as they once were, MIC has have witnessed an unprecedented surge in popularity.
Although the characters appear to attract trouble for tabloid headlines, it makes me wonder who really are the victims of the show, them or its passive, submissive consumers?
MIC arguably reinforces the class system of Britain, using big-names fashion brands, restaurants and bars to keep the passive consumer content. As sociologist Thorstein Veblen has argued aptly in The Theory of the Leisure Class, those who do not fit in the leisure class use material goods, apparel and amusement pursuits to demonstrate their wealth but this is merely a façade. These viewers have failed to realise that MIC have not only been paid to promote these brand but are also enjoying the fame that come with being part of such a high-profile programme. A friend of mine who works in a luxury fashion house has revealed, that despite the owner being very good friends of a recurring character, has to resort to pay the character to wear the goods in exchange for PR of the brand.
MIC characters and producers may thus be satirising the aspirational consumers, who instead of going out and creating a better life for themselves as the characters are doing, are sitting in their living room eating a packet of crisps and watching the main characters open up their own lucrative businesses, websites, books and opening up companies. You can no doubt be sure that straight after the programme ends, viewers, almost robotic and submissive, have logged online to order that new make-up product or clothing in the vain hope and promise that these goods will offer them.
However, I cannot deny that the programme is a form of escapism after a long day of lectures and sport practice or work, as the Only Way Is Essex used to be a guilty pleasure of mine. After all, how addictive was the Louise-Spencer plot and their Christmas special?
Yet it is the slavish devotion of its Twitter followers, Instagram fans, and even going as far to follow them in real life to club nights and openings has arguably gone too far. These characters despite being wealthy already have somewhat connived the British public into buying their goods. After all, I know many people, who are desperate to be a ‘Candy Kitten,’ watch Millie Mackintosh’s make up tutorial on YouTube slavishly and play ‘Sexy MP’ online almost obsessively.
The saddest part is when young viewers are sucked into this kind of world, where only goods and products deem you worthy enough to be included in such an exclusive, homogenous world.
Made in Chelsea is a programme that not only perpetuates the class system, but is created to make others feel inferior merely so that they can gain money in the promise that this new playsuit or new perfume will make you ‘Sloane Street material.’
Next time you turn on the telly to watch that Made in Chelsea episode you’ve waited for all week, perhaps you should think about how much you are benefitting as opposed to the cast.