I am a Londoner through and through and anything that promotes, documents and exposes this city by way of the Arts I champion. It’s so important to establish a foundation in which to build upon the underrated new talent, particularly in British Film and TV which in my opinion are industries underdeveloped and continuously divested in.
PUSH, currently airing on the depressing channel Five’s even more disheartening digital channel FIVER, is a good example of this. OK so it’s set London and it’s probably dipping in to that pool of home-grown talent – it ticks two of my boxes anyway. On closer inspection though, scratch the surface of this programme and you realise it’s as dense as the channel provider itself.
In the words of the blurb on the channel fiver website, PUSH is:
[A] Brand new reality drama series charting the fortunes of an ambitious young fashion reporter. Mixing real-life events with scripted scenes, ‘Push’ follows Lydia Harrison as she attempts to take the London fashion world by storm.
So that is it in a nutshell – but having stuck with the programme for a few episodes I havent seen any realistic evidence that she actually writes anything! she goes to interviews but they’re always blighted by weak questions that probably do the fashion reporter an injustice. This girl is NOT taking the fashion world by storm.
Journalist and WordPress blogger Ellie Broughton reviews:
Five’s brand new drama, Push, does for London what The Hills did for LA – but better.
I protest. Unlike The Hills Push is unequivocally pretentious and even fails at that! The numerous shots of the london skyline and streets of East London are nice, but it’s so much in your face that one gets tired of seeing the brick streets of…brick lane. It’s not even that good an entertainment, it’s so cringe I catch myself groaning on numerous occasions at the poorly scripted/improvised scenes throughout the show, all 20 minutes of it.
The thing about The Hills is that its set in Hollywood, immediately earning the right to be as outlandish and superficial as the storylines and cast that make up the programme. We don’t have that culture in the UK, so why try to imitate it? . Even though its obvious that parts of the American show are orchestrated, it’s also obvious that life in Hollywood is really that messed up and fake which is why it was such a guilty pleasure of entertainment.
In PUSH they have adopted the trait of naming (annoyingly so) every location and person who passes through the show however all interaction is stale and robotic. Admittedly the premise in The Hills was often a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it pointless thread, but it all kind of made sense. There were villains and love stories and like most interactions between us girls the conversation was often a little rambled and exaggerated.
London in PUSH is the best character in the story, however it’s a false portrayal of the London most of us live in. Sure the scene they so desperately shove down the throat of the viewer of hip and happening Shoreditch (and every now and again Carnaby street) exists but it’s so try hard that it only succeeds in painting the view of London so many Londoners roll their eyes at. It’s not a Londoners London, it’s a idealistic art school graduates idea of London and it bothers me.
The other thing that bothers me is the acting. Aside from the ‘real’ industry faces they drop in sporadically in places, it’s all so poorly acted! At least in The Hills they were real characters, arguably edited to a more exaggerated version of themselves, but in PUSH there are horrible improvised scenes where the actors look blankly at each other, or stutter and talk over each other in some laughable exhibition to create realism.
[T]he mix of real-world, scripted scenes and aerial views of SoHo makes for a great drama series, plus it gives us a sneak peek inside the notoriously exclusive fashion industry.
From this statement alone, and from what I’ve viewed so far it would be best to compare PUSH against the workplace reality Drama The City – but even that’s an injustice to the latter. At least in The City Whitney Port is evidently making a name for herself in the real world. We see her working, we see the fruits of her labour and though it’s an enviable lifestyle, it still comes across as hard work. Lydia in PUSH has her own blog…we havent seen her writing on it as yet – what kind of fashion blogger is she? the kind that doesn’t own a laptop or ask any questions to any fashion people’s she meets? Ok so she has since asked a few questions here and there – but that’s where the script (improv or not) completely falls short. At least someone in the production team could do the research and give the poor girl some questions to ask the real experts they insist on having on the show so it’s not entirely embarrassing to watch. The central character Lydia is so flat that she’s horizontal. You almost don’t want her to succeed because she has not, from what I’ve witnessed, put any of the work in!
This is where I start to think that the show is just one big mickey take. Are they just poking fun at the American reality dramas? if so then it kind of makes sense – but it’s still no excuse for the poor execution taken to produce this show. At least let the characters be interesting. Seriously they are very boring.
There is the good-looking model/photographer (so london) Tom who is engaged but likes Lydia. As of yet he’s just a pretty face, with a beard and pony-tail. Where are his modelling scenes? why are his photographs so shit? and why did only his brother, sister-in-law and Lydia turn up to his exhibition?
Rachel: Toms fiancée who is so removed from the ‘cool Britannia’ the programme makers are eager to promote that we are left thinking how on earth she landed him. She’s also evil-looking, and one of the worst culprits in the acting stakes in this farce.
Chloe: Lydia’s ‘mixed raced cousin (so multicultural PUSH creators way to go) she’s a dick. They’ve made her into some monster of a character with deeper issues that, ironically, don’t go that deep because quiet frankly its so predictable and tiresome that I want to roll her off the roof of her stark East London studio apartment and see if shes made out of anything other than self pity and curls.
Alex: the Gay friend (yawn). He’s from Glasgow, and has known Lydia since they were lickle. Now he’s moved to London to, how convenient. He swans in and out providing his fag hag with life and love advice whilst most importantly bringing attention to the Queer as folk lifestyle in London. Oh wait…except he doesn’t, he goes back a few decades by portraying the Gay scene as a little seedy – apparently Gay people are the only ones having sex whilst the rest of the heterosexual cast are completely sexless. Perhaps the best actor on the show, but his purpose on it is so irrelevant that I feel sorry for him.
Jake: Lydia’s EX. He’s no Brody Jenner of the Hills, he’s no Jay Lyons of The City. He’s the brooding Scotsman from Lyds home town who has also moved to London and who she happens to bump in to …in the first episode on her first day in London! Jake’s a bad, bad man apparently, he’s also disappeared . I don’t know if the producers and writers decided he was a crap actor and just pointless but I doubt it. they’re just waiting to ‘shock’ us with his return in a later episode.
Lydia: She’s from Glasgow. So why on earth does she sound like she’s from South of England?
Then there’s everyone else I can’t be bothered to talk about – who may and may not be industry people’s, surprisingly all of them have nothing to say or contribute to the show about the fashion industry. In fact the fashion is just a byline. In no way does this show do it any favours so I don’t know what Ellie Broughton meant by the sneak peek inside the notoriously exclusive fashion industry, because its been a poor show of what Fashion has to offer in the UK.
A poor show, which i will finish till the end to reassure my expectations that it wont get much better.