TV Times - As fake as their tans

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APPARENTLY the biggest blow the Newcastle tourist board has ever suffered was delivered last week – when Geordie Shore started on MTV.

Tynesiders are reportedly up in arms about the impression this series gives of their town as a place of the most extreme debauchery after dark.

But if we’re being honest here, isn’t that what we all thought about the Toon anyway!?

The only crime Geordie Shore is guilty of is being a poor copy – like one of those DVDs off Denaby Market.

Geordie Shore is MTV UK’s attempt at capturing the magic of their US counterpart’s smash hit Jersey Shore, much lauded in this column in the past.

If you’ve not yet sampled Jersey Shore, the synopsis is simple: a group of eight young Italian-Americans are holed up in a house for the summer at a party hotspot on the New Jersey coast.

All eight appear to sleep on sunbeds, the women are hardly demure and the men are never out of the weight room in the gym.

It’s a bit of an understatement that they all like to drink, dance and have nightly relations, all of which form the basis of the show.

Despite the horrendous sounding concept and intial modest expectations, Jersey Shore has been hugely popular both in the US and abroad.

So you can see where MTV UK executives were coming from when they decided to produce their own version.

In looking for a host town where a similar, party-mad, loose-moraled bunch were at play, they decided on Newcastle, which sounds rather like an insult.

Geordie Shore follows the exact same format as its American cousin, even down to the way it is shot and edited.

And the casting has been done under the same criteria with the Geordies found cut from the same mould - tanned, ripped and wild.

These inspirations prove problematic because rather than creating a different version, it feels as though we’re being shown a rip-off.

The eight ‘characters’ seem to have that in mind when they’re in front of the camera because it appears as though they’re doing an imitation as well.

Lets get as drunk as we can, as quick as we can and constantly talk about what we’re going to do with the men and women we snare on a night out.

The problem is, while Jersey Shore appears to be this on the surface, there is much more to it that makes it successful.

For a start, the people involved are actually likeable underneath their repungnant exteriors.

The bravado only lasts for so long and when it wanes it is replaced by enjoyable and funny interaction - banter basically.

The Geordie Shore team regularly speak of their own banter but apparently it means something different in the north east.

They’ve got their game faces on the entire time which means there is only one tone to each hour-long episode.

One of the lads – with the incredibly cool name Gary – is probably one of the worst examples of a human being ever seen on television.

There is no other side to him, Gary embodies his character.

Hopefully the others’ bravado will drop as the series goes on and they all get more comfortable with each other and in front of the camera.

There are some redeeming features of Geordie Shore which suggest it could really develop into great guilty pleasure television.

How the Geordies – though one, strangely, is from Middlesbrough – act makes for genuine car crash TV, automatically ensuring some level of compelling viewing.

In the first episode, one lass was drunk and sick within an hour of arriving, another – despite having a boyfriend – jumped in the jacuzzi and bared her ample chest, and a couple of the lads were scrapping in a nightclub.

I can’t see why there’s any concern about Newcastle’s image.