Blast from the past

This past Thursday, a scrag end from my past appeared on television. Like the unwelcome stench of red wine long soaked into a dirty nylon carpet, the emergence of said scraggy person on The World’s Strictest Parents brought the taste of bile into the roof of my mouth. Expelled from my school for general delinquency a few years back, I thought that I would never hear from him again.

Oh, how wrong I was.

I had forgotten, of course, that the two of us are ‘friends’ on Facebook. The announcement, “Wheeeyyyy, an hour til i’m on TV :D” (assume a whole lot of [sic], here) popped up on my homepage and, naturally, my interest was piqued. The voice of reason in my head wondered how he could actually be on TV – Jeremy Kyle, after all, isn’t on in the evenings.

Well, it turned out that, in a way, it is. Think of The World’s Strictest Parents as a Jeremy Kyle exchange programme. We send the nation’s attention hungry, shouty misfits to a far away country where they are taken under the wing of new ‘parents’ for the week, told that they are hopelessly scrotty little children, and then sent back to the UK to their real parents who, in their naivety, actually think their children may have changed. News to parents: it won’t work.

This week was the turn of my favourite delinquent and some girl who liked to smoke too much weed. For the purpose of this article, I shall name her ‘Potette.’ Potette was notable for her sudden bouts of energy when she believed that her human rights were being infringed upon.

Potette was truly a freedom fighter. When her new parents told her to stop smoking, she reacted as though they had just carved out her pancreas with a rusty spoon. Of course! It is SO (expletive) UNFAIR! Of course! They have NO (expletive) RIGHT! Just like that damned Headmaster at the private school the two of them were so maliciously demanded to attend who requested that Potette wear the school uniform. Feminist! Potette came to the fore here and refused. It WASN’T (expletive) RIGHT to make her wear a dress. Girl power, eh?

Potette was, sadly, a footnote in the programme. It was all about my Mr Scrag himself. This boy refused to clean up rubbish in the slum because, and I quote, “It’s gash. I i’nt gett’n paid shit.” When given the opportunity to earn money at a factory, he ran away to a back-street tattooist to get the word (I kid you not) ‘Wisdom’ tattooed in Hindi onto his side. I wonder if he’ll be feeling so wise if it turns out that needle wasn’t actually sanitized. Yes, this programme was about my childhood friend, in all his grotty glory.

But however much he makes my skin crawl, I must call into question how genuine and ethical this program is. How do the producers find these delinquents? Is there an audition progress? Do they actually go out into the wild streets of suburbia to find messed-up children willing to whore their dignity for an hour on BBC3? Not that my man is all that messed up.

The knowing glint he had in his eye in the cut off scenes while he made ridiculously exaggerated comments about how ‘gash’ everything was betrayed his bad boy persona. Yes, even he was selling himself short for some sullied praise.

Shame on you, sir.


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