After my post yesterday about how to get a programme right, an object lesson in how to get one wrong. This was an offering from Channel 4. Some of its factual output is really good, but it’s hit and miss, and Life Stripped Bare missed by a country mile.
Here’s the setup. Take some twentysomethings. Include a fashion designer living on her own, two people who work together and share a flat, and a bloke and two women who flatshare.
What you do then is take all their possessions off them. Everything. Including their clothes.
They were then allowed to recover one thing each every day for a fortnight. In the meantime they had to continue to function, including going to work. They were allowed to buy food and essentials.
However, all was not as straightforward as it might seem. The containers where their possessions were stashed were at a distance from where the subjects lived. This meant that the first forays had to be made naked. Why, I can’t say. Anyway, lots of imaginative use of bread trays and cardboard boxes ensued.
The couple chose a onesie each. This gives an insight into their somewhat delayed transition into adulthood. The only real surprise was the fashion designer. She rescued a bolt of bright yellow patterned cloth, and proceeded to make a rather pretty dress, and some shoes out of plaited strips of the cloth.
Then it all became very dull and predictable, and downright clichéd. Part of the problem was the age of the participants. If you have everybody the same age, all you are likely to do is reinforce stereotypes. One of the blokes headed very quickly for his car. The three flat sharers decided to have a party for about 40 people, despite having no glasses or cups. I’m surprised there wasn’t a subtitle, ‘Because, like, you know, like friends are like really important.’
One of the women fretted that she hadn’t gone out without lipstick since she was at school. She was a very pretty redhead even with no artificial aids, but her first action on getting to work was have a colleague use marker pen on her eyebrows. That was the ‘Narcissistic’ box neatly ticked.
Big surprise. All of them grabbed their phones in about three days. ‘Reliant on technology?’ Tick.
But there was another surprise to come, and again it was the fashion designer. She grabbed her phone, and promptly deleted all her social media accounts. Now that was a turnup for the books.