Yeah, I know I wrote a post about how reality television should be intellectually engaged with and that the problem with Being Lara Bingle isn’t really Lara Bingle herself but moreso the concept that a semi-famous person of relative wealth is inherently worthy of attention. And that remains extremely true: this show is very much a commodification of a certain kind of lifestyle which is vaunted into importance essentially due to the fact that it’s vaguely aspirational and “how the other half lives”.
Except, if this is the other half, it’s hugely boring. I’m not sure how much of this is attribute to Bingle herself or the vacuum of personality around her – her mother is a stereotypically nasty reality mother, her manager is her best friend which makes for zero intrigue, and her brother who is Cronulla-bred bogan who refuses to acknowledge the correct pronunciation of “crème caramel”.
At one point in the first episode, things get so interesting that Bingle does yoga – exciting! – while her brother and BFF/M shop for bread – riveting! And then we’re told via vox pop that they have weird sexual tension. Show not tell, producers! A couple of other talking heads tell us how exciting and fun to be around Bingle is. She’s a party girl! Whee! That must be why exciting and fun is exactly what this show isn’t!
Shows like this can be interesting. Vapid though it is, The Rachel Zoe Project manages to combine the subject’s career – the politics of Hollywood stylists – with the personal drama that such a highfalutin job might bring. It’s often intolerably vapid, but at least there’s a point of interest throughout the show.
Being Lara Bingle‘s big moment comes when it’s revealed that nude photos have leaked of Bingle! OH NO! This would be really exciting if we totally didn’t already know that this happened! Some minor drama comes when Bingle is pulled over for driving in a bus lane, and then she has a suspended license! And she and her BFF/M are all, “OMG like, what is with these paparazzi, you know what I mean? Like, why are there so many like, today? Of all days?”
Well, it’s largely because basically every minute of this crapfest is staged. Halfway through I thought that the show’s biggest sin was that it wasn’t even interestingly bad. You couldn’t even hate-watch something so boring, because it’s so low-energy, unambitious and void of intrigue. By the end of it, though, I realised that about 3 minutes of television had occurred during the last 30, and the rest was padded out with filler shots, random shots of Bondi Beach and Lara Bingle talking about her dad which, you know, bummer, but it takes a little more than a bit of personal tragedy to humanise you or make you interesting. Sympathy won’t make people watch every week. Stuff happening would make people watch every week.
So yes, it’s terrible. Of course it is, look at the title, look at the premise. It’s chronically cheap-looking even for a docu-reality show, dialogue is forced and stilted, obviously prodded out of the subjects by overzealous producers. There’s simply not enough to Bingle or her life to make this show-worthy. Bingle’s job is to be a fake tan, bright blue eyes and a set of teeth veneers, and nothing in her personal life indicates that she’s able to push beyond that.
There’s nothing wrong with Bingle’s chosen career as a model, at all, but if you want to make a TV show about a person who is a model it needs to be a little bit more interesting than sitting on a chair and flashing some sideboob. If this show were about someone else’s day-in-the-life, it could be interesting. But if your subject lacks personality, so will your show.
In the end, I kinda just feel sorry for everyone involved. Bingle has reportedly been chased for this series for some time, and I’d wager that she gave in to try and revamp her public image and maybe make some coin. I can’t imagine any of the crew enjoying making this show. It seems like it would be difficult to even fill an episode with sufficient material. If the FIRST EPISODE, which as-of-yet has no particular narrative thrust and all the subject matter possible within the universe of the show, has to resort to forced, unnatural pseudo-flirting in the fucking bread aisle of a supermarket, then you know that’s you’ve got a dud on your hands.