The Made in Chelsea Story

Tell me, how did you get into Made in Chelsea? Let’s go back to that day, the very first day from season one.

Made in Chealsea used to play on Vuzu, 10 pm on a Friday, I think it was after…” Palesa ponders for a second, “I hated The Bachelor. I’d first watch something fun at half-past seven, then I’d skip The Bachelor and I’d wait until 10pm and then I was like, this is very interesting. It reminds me of 90210. I actually liked the cinematography, or because it’s on television I guess we can call it the telematography, and then,” she laughs, “another person actually said; ‘London is always raining so exactly where do they shoot Made in Chelsea?’ because it’s always sunny.”

Palesa Morei is the only Made in Chelsea fan I have met in my life. I appreciated the awkwardness of the show, the strangely named characters (from Tiff to Toff, there was a Cheska as well as a Binky) and the odd (and very) awkward silences. The show is in its ninth season and I must admit, Miss Morei has me hooked.

“Many people live like Made in Chelsea but it’s just that people put up this barrier and say it’s just rich kids, but no. I see it as something that’s like everyday life, you can adapt it into your own. This is a Mark Francis to tell people how to behave. And the classism in terms of how you want to groom yourself to be. Obviously if you are going to watch Jika Majika you’re going to be that type of person. If you watch Dineo’s Diary you’re going to be that kind of person. If you watch Made in Chelsea you’re going to be that type of person.”

Reality television has been an interest of mine for quite some time. It interested me how Palesa also found it to be a major influence on society.

So I asked her about my concern, does South Africa’s flourishing reality TV need to learn something from a production like MIC? Or whether we were getting it as wrong as the Unites States – if at all it was erroneous.

“Everyone’s following the American lifestyle and I am not that person. America is great, but there’s a whole world out there. In South Africa, this is how I see it; America is Jo’burg and Cape Town is Europe. Everybody wants to run to New York because they know they can make a lot of money there. But I don’t know why people can identify with that culture more than the British. It’s like…I’m that different person, hey. I’d rather be more to the East than the West. The only West thing that I liked is from back in the days, like Tupac and Biggie, those people. And in terms of series…90210 was cool.”

American programs like doing the stereotype. Like a black woman is always angry or whatever and I don’t like that type of thing. I can’t identify with that. There’s 50 shades of grey, what about the people in-between? What people are arguing right now is that we like taking other peoples cultures into South Africa forgetting that we also have our own culture, your…Rich Kids of SA,”

She grunts disapprovingly.

Have you watched that?

“NO!”

She thinks of an example, a show that stands out from the exemplified statement.

“Yes! Running with the Reps!” We both laugh. I couldn’t help flashback to the moments I also remembered of the show. Nthato’s fringe hairstyle, the dancer who waved an eerie goodbye to his crew before his nearly deathly car crash and of course – the drama.

“That was cool. Actually Running with the Reps is like Made in Chelsea it’s just that it’s a dancing crew. They did their diary. It was about their real life and they are showing you what’s going on. Yeah, it’s a bunch of Jo’burg guys trying to be cool, (which they influenced everyone to be like them). And I think…I would like to see something from Cape Town, hey. We all know that Jo’burg lifestyle. And it’s close to home, that’s why I have no interest in it whatsoever, because I know the culture so well. Everybody wants to be cool, everybody wants to be the next rapper.

Back to Made In Chelsea, of all the characters you’ve seen – which have stood out the most.

Palesa gasped! I laughed knowing well who she would mention.

“OH MY GOSH, SPENCER!”

We laugh again noting the characters iconic presence on the show.

“You have never seen any other character’s mode of transport, except for Spencer. He always has a new car – and Jamie is in it. It’s like a big car and then a sports car, like have they hired those cars?”

The Shuffle Test (see: https://wbblogging.wordpress.com/2014/12/20/the-shuffle-test-story/)

  1. Santana ft. The Product G&B – Maria, Maria

She starts to sing the chorus, “Maria, Maria…”

Explain why it’s there.

“…she reminds me of a West Side Story,”

Are you serious? The play?

“Wait, no. I love Spanish people. Oh my gosh, I’ve got a huge crush on Spanish people!” She continued to swoon more about Latinos and Mexicans (actually so did I) before she shares a funny story she attaches to the song.

“This Portuguese guy was performing at the Waterfront, and there was also this drunk nigger. So the Portuguese guy asks, ‘so what song must I sing next?’ and the drunk guy goes – ‘MARIA, MARIA!’ and I’m like gosh – the stereotype.”

  1. Neil Diamond – Sweet Caroline

“It was from the Shimlas match and they start to sing this song, ‘Sweet Caroline.’ The crowd goes wild. So I’m sitting next to Vuyi (friend and colleague) and she doesn’t know the song. So when I joined in with everyone she looked at me like… ‘SISTER BERTINA!’ I can relate to Sister Bertina but, it’s not my kind of thing. Sweet Caroline reminds me of Jacaranda FM. I used to listen to it going to school. It reminded me of primary school and I remember the song…ding, ding, ding.”

  1. LunchMoney Lewis – I Got Bills

“Oh gosh,” she sighs defeated. “Oh no,”

I laugh and ask what’s wrong with the song.

“This is so weird. Can a gospel song just come up?”

She sings the chorus – “I got bills, I gotta pay, and I’m gon work, work, work, every day!”

The song is extremely catchy might I add.

She compares the humour and nonchalance of the song to that of LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem and Afroman’s Because I Got High.

  1. Sean Paul – I’m Still in Love with You

“In high school, I used to come back home every Wednesday at 3’oclock. On TRACE they used to play top 10 dance hall. I love dance hall dancing. There is just something about that dancing, it’s just so amazing. And those girls are thick – and fit! Like what? You can do that? I’m like yoh! Not the ratchet-ness we see now.

  1. Burna Boy – Soke

“So Ndie (Kovsie FM presenter) tweeted Burna Boy is awesome, so I’m like let’s find out and I actually liked it. It’s an awesome beat. The Nigerian genre had a lot of hype. My life is centred on a lot of gospel. Like, Hillsong, Planetshakers, Jesus Culture, Michael W. Smith – all of that. So there was a point in my life where I did not know what people were talking about with the latest Hip Hop song.”

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