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Regional identity in The Only Way Is Essex Essay

In the Clip from The Only Way Is Essex, men from Essex drive around in flashy white cars, whilst the women go to beauty salons, conversations about relationships also happen. This is a negative representation of people from Essex as they are represented as shallow, superficial and unintelligent. But this group of friends are also presented in a positive manor because they care for their family. But it is the negative representation that is exaggerated for the entertainment value of the viewers. The use of mise-en -scene in this clip shows us the negative stereotypes of these people. The women are portrayed as shallow as they are covered in orange fake tan, have massive false eyelashes and false nails. This make us see that the all they are self absorbed and obsess over how they look. This reflects negatively on the characters as we think they only care about appearance and nothing else. We are supposed to believe that Mark and Arg are very normal people but this is not the case. Mark and Arg drive around Brentwood in a white very flashy and expensive car.

Their colour choice of the car is making a statement that the want to be noticed when they go out. This is a negative portrayal of the characters as we now think that they like to be the centre of attention and like to have everything revolving around them, thus they are very selfish. This interpretation is supported by the use of an extreme close up on Marks muscles when he is in the gym. The extreme close up followed by a zoom out on to mark lifting weights is used to present Mark as a vain perfectionist who like is like the women and is shallow. This is presenting the idea that both men and women in Essex are equally both worried about what others think of them. In contrast to the line of argument and the negative stereotypes of people from Essex, the uses of camera shots convey a sensitive and caring nature to the character.

For example, when Lauren is on the phone to Mark, her ex-boyfriend, there is a close up of her face, from this close up we can see Lauren emotions and we can see that she is clearly upset about what is being said in their conversation. This shows that Lauren cares about her relationship and that she has feelings. It is a positive representation of the characters as it shows that they have feelings towards others. The characters in The Only Way Is Essex are made out to be unsophisticated. They have a regional accent where they put emphasise on the vowels of the words and make the constants very short. This micro-element along with Harry saying phrases such as ‘shut up’ manipulates us into believe that they are unintelligent and are all about looking nice rather than being clever.

However from the use of dialogue, we also find out that family is important to them. When Kirk is on the phone to Amy, he says ‘I’ve got to go now, as I’m taking my mum shopping.’ This shows us that Kirks priorities are his mum and although he may be superficial, family is a really important part of his part of his life. As a positive portrayal of the characters, this makes us see that Kirk would be do anything for his family making him be a normal person like everyone for this closeness with his family.

In conclusion, as an audience we are presented the negative representations of The Only Way Is Essex characters. However this programme is for our entertainment and the director’s intention is to make us laugh at the characters so the stereotypical characters we see are over exaggerated to add more entertainment value. This representation is overall negative towards people in Essex but I think that it is acceptable to laugh at these characters because The Only Way Is Essex is only a small selection of people Essex not the whole county.


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