I must start by saying that I love reality documentaries. Really, I do, I get some great forum based comedy out of the likes of the X Factor and 16 Kids and Counting (except when I was social media bitch slapped for pondering the width of, ahem, certain areas after 16 natural births).
However, you would have to be a mentalist to take part in one, right?
I recently saw an irate parent who'd appeared on 16 Kids, she was very unhappy about how she'd been portrayed. Apparently, it portrayed that they are constantly in the pub and have take away a lot. This, she felt, made them look like chavs.
Now, I don't know when going to the pub or having a fish supper went hand in hand with being a chav- I thought that you had to wear knock off tracksuits and have a poor grasp of the English language despite a UK birth certificate for that (eg "Innit, nuffink, bruv"), but if they were filming you for several weeks and that's where you went quite a bit, then you can't very well complain, can you?
Its not the first time I've seen people annoyed after an appearance. The only group I've never seen moan about how they are shown has been the Travelers from Gypsy Weddings, who are happy to be shown in their larger than life community.
Surely, surely if you are signing up or even thinking of signing up, you should perhaps watch some of their documentaries first?
Otherwise, its like a jobless, toothless, tracksuit wearing philanderer with 18 kids by 17 women going on Jezza Kyle and then crying into his crack pipe when Kyle does the full irate git on you.
Most of these shows do portray people in a bad light- elsewise, what is the point? It would be boring if Super Nanny went to a family home to find the kids well behaved and the adults using non-bum slap discipline the odd time they do kick off and have a tantrum. Its much more interesting to see kids climbing up walls and swinging from the lightshade stuffing sweets in their gob whilst their Mum hides shaking under the bed, isn't it?
That's why we watch these shows- to make our selves feel virtuous, and to become armchair pundits.
These ads should have "sensible, warm and cosy families need not apply" and "tattoos, piercings and teens pregnant like a conveyor belt? Life a miserable grind of pub visits and chip wrappings? Then we need you!"
They dress it up as "human interest", but some of these TV executives and researchers are that into lower class bashing they should take a job with the Tories. Or the Daily Mail.
I was once asked if I'd like to appear in a documentary about Mummy Bloggers. I am pleased I thought to myself "hmm, I spend my time on the net for social media boosting purposes, and my kids watch Beebies whilst I do. Do I want to appear on TV for them to make me look like a lazy cow?" and thought hell no.
I knew, 100% that they would never show the times I spend reading books, helping with drawing, tidying up (sod off Elder, the Vacuum cleans the floor, not you) and cooking from scratch. I knew they'd edit the show to look like I sat from dawn to dusk on the PC, when in fact from 6pm I'm barely online at all.
So, if you should be wondering about going on one of these shows, think. Do you want the nation to sit and condemn you for eating Iceland chips? Or do you want to keep your private life, well, private?