The World's Strictest Parents
It's that time again...here's my column for the now bi-weekly Boar.
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 scrag on ‘The World’s Strictest Parents’ brought the taste of bile back to the roof of my mouth. Expelled for general delinquency from my school 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 we were ‘friends’ on Facebook. The announcement, “Wheeeyyyy, an hour til i’m on TV :D” popped up on my homepage and, naturally, my interest was piqued. The voice of reason in my head questioned whether he could actually be on TV; Jeremy Kyle isn’t on this late, is it? Well, in a way, it was. Think of ‘The World’s Strictest Parents’ as a Jeremy Kyle exchange program. We send the nation’s attention hungry shouty misfits to a far away country where they are taken under the wing of their new ‘parents’ for the week, told that they are hopelessly scrotty little children (but not really, just give up the smoking and do some maths homework and all will be fine and dandy), and sent back to the UK to their real parents who, in their naivety, actually think their children may have changed. News to parents: scrotty scrag ends never change their scum.
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 the parents told her to stop smoking, she reacted like 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 they were so maliciously demanded to attend who requested that she wear the school uniform. Potette: Feminist came to the fore here and refused because it WASN’T (expletive) RIGHT to make her wear a dress. Girl power...!
Potette was, sadly, a footnote in the program. It was all about Mr. Scrag himself. The boy who refused to clean up rubbish in the slum because, and I quote, “It’s gash. I i’nt gett’n paid shit.” The boy who when given the opportunity to earn money at a factory runs away to a back-street tattooist to get the word, and I kid you not, ‘Wisdom’ tattooed in Hindi onto his side. I wonder if he’ll be feeling so wise if that needle wasn’t actually sanitized... I’m sure he’s fine though, I haven’t seen any Facebook updates like, “OMGZZ I GOT AIDS! LOLLLS! :P”, so he probably got lucky. Yes, this program was about Scraggy Mc. Scragginson in all his grotty glory.
However much he made 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 scrag is all that messed up. The knowing glint in his eye in the cut off scenes where he would say some ridiculously exaggerated comment about how ‘gash’ everything was betrayed his bad boy persona. Yes, even he was selling himself short for some sullied praise. Shame on you, Scrag.