The launch of a Marbella based reality TV series, ‘Life on Marbs’ (and ten out of ten for the title by the way) has resulted in the usual anguished cries from ordinary expats. Although I use the word –‘ordinary’, advisedly. Most of the expats that I’ve met in my thirty years or so of living on the coast have been anything but ordinary.
In case you didn’t know ‘Life on Marbs’ takes an ‘Only Way is Essex’-style look at the party boys and girls in Puerto Banus, and as you would expect, there are more than a fair number of rent-a-bimbos – one calling herself the Marbella Barbie – champagne spraying and blokes who think that they are in a rap video, talking about partying with Premiership footballers, spending thousands in nightclubs and washing their watches in premium fizz. Don’t ask me why…
The reaction on Social Media has been predictable with anguished howls of complaint. Why oh why must television companies always pick people like this, they complain. Why don’t they have a show that looks at the lives of ordinary, hardworking expats in Spain, and not this motley collection of it-girls, wannabies and has-beens?
And though I never thought that I’d find myself wanting to defend trash TV, in this case I have to. Like it or loathe it, with its supercars, superyachts and the occasional supermodel all bathing in the Mediterranean sunshine, Marbella is a perfect location to shoot a programme. Marbella is an internationally recognised name in the same way that Miami or St. Tropez is, so when you prefix Marbella in front of anything, be it Marbella Belles, Marbella Blokes or Marbella Babes, the audience will automatically expect to see opening shots of the aforementioned supercar or yacht.
Somehow the ordinary bar owner in Fuengirola quietly serving pints to his locals looks a little tame when compared to a bunch of good looking, mainly cosmetically enhanced young people sunning themselves in million pound villas.
But to think that ‘Life on Marbs’ shows all of Marbella is akin to thinking ‘Made in Chelsea’ represents all of London. The programme focuses on a very small, albeit loud, slice of the colourful mix that makes up Marbella. But there is so much more to the town, which we locals would prefer is kept secret.
A friend of mine who works in the industry once confided that everyone gains 10 kilos and loses 20 points of IQ when they appear on TV. With ‘Life on Marbs’ where several of the cast have mistakenly called Puerto Banus ‘Pueta Banos’ we can assume that they didn’t have many more than 20 IQ points to begin with…
I’ll be sitting down to watch the programme in the same way that I used to watch ‘Dr. Who’ when I was a small boy. From behind the sofa with my hands over my eyes!