Jade: As Seen On TV, E4

by | May 31, 2009 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

A biography revised with as much obsequious apotheosis as the inglorious chronicle of the brutal Alexander ‘the Great’ about a young woman who, while relentlessly unpleasant, also suffered a fate far more terrible than she, or indeed anybody, deserves.

What was good about it?

• For all her faults there was something feral about Jade’s spite, focused as it was on guttural disgorgement of scarcely literate bile, and had a lack of foresight or conceit.

• What As Seen on TV reminded us was that there are far more abhorrent specimens, squirming in the test tubes of satellite TV spitting their vivid, discoloured odium at the walls of their visual prison – and the uber-fuehrer of this dispossessed harem of digital tramps is Rod Liddle – a man so rotund and portentous he resembles a crumbling Easter Island effigy, with lank hair that dreams of a holiday in Las Vegas, atop a throbbing bubble of badly-dressed pus.

“She was there to be laughed at!” he crowed the words, exiting his mouth with the grandiose shame of a half-hearted bunch of cultists surrendering to the FBI. But what made this observation amusing was his unconscious accent of envy; and that while Jade was laughed at she managed to entertain, while the most his lungs can aspire to is breathing on car windows for children to draw amusing animals on while they wait for their mum to pack the shopping into the car boot.

• While we disagreed with her veneration of Jade, the excellent Miranda Sawyer at least offered some resolute reasoning behind the public adulation.

• John Stapleton offered a sober perspective on Jade, but was wrong that it “insults intelligence” to compare her to Diana, princess of Wales – to many she, too, was just a tabloid fabrication existing to peddle gossip to the weak and worthless.

What was bad about it?

• Jade’s tragic death has enforced a justifiable moratorium on criticising her for selling her marriage pictures to OK, but this sympathy was cynically exploited here, as on those occasions when her actions were worthy of furious censure she was absolved of much of the blame.

• One such instance was the knowledge that she had endured a horrid upbringing after being beaten by her mother. But this can only last as an excuse for so long; those people who have suffered difficult childhoods are often more sensitive to the feelings of others as they can empathise with the pain – here, Jade’s bullying and conniving was frequently passed off as a consequence of her torrid infancy; yet her verbal brutality exhausted any sympathy or compassion you might have had for her because they were so oppressive and instinctive.

• Meanwhile, Max Clifford, who makes Rod Liddle look like St Francis of Assisi, with his fluid, twisting mouth shaped like following a winding walkway in an insalubrious district of Hell looking for the local sulphur dealer, and a slab-like voice that is akin to the sound of the undertaker fitting a coffin lid to an unwitting victim of live burial, claimed that Jade’s behaviour towards Shilpa Shetty was “a class thing. Shilpa thought she was born with a silver spoon”.

• We’re unsure what’s worse, Clifford’s barbarous rewriting of history or his arrogant philosophy that the victim of bullying is in some way to blame for their own torment, and that Jade was just bringing her haughtiness down a peg or two.

• Jade’s mother Jackiey offered mitigation which outstripped Clifford’s response for stupidity if not malice. “How can Jade be racist?” she implored, while exhibiting an ignorance that racism is so much more complicated than white and black skin. “Her grandmother came over from Jamaica.”

• Lucie Cave of Heat said: “Jade was the only person our readers wanted to know about. She sold more than Victoria Beckham when she was on the cover.” What Cave is oblivious to is that both Jade and Victoria Beckham are cultural vacuums; it doesn’t matter if they sell ten billion copies, each is utterly irrelevant to culture and are only savoured by people who could act as understudies to black holes when they want a rest from crunching up the universe.

• It didn’t end there. Jade’s impact was further undermined by Cave’s further claims that Jade’s perfume “beat David Beckham”. Again an absolutely hollow victory. Perfumes, fashion design, novelty records – these are the bolt holes of the tenuously talented who wish to make as many bucks as possible before their fame fades.

• Are we really supposed to swallow – though millions did – that Jade suddenly evolved the talent of a chemist and formulated the most fragrant perfume of the decade, or that tennis players, footballers and singers can transform into fashion designers in a metamorphosis more fantastical than Gregor Samsa’s? Of course not, these are the sanctuaries of the moron commerce, extorting money through a gossamer celebrity association from people who really should have their hands numbed upon touching money to inhibit their fiscal mischief.

• Cave also remembered how Jade would “spill all about her life – good or bad. Other celebrities didn’t do that…” Which is simply because other celebrities had some other qualities or selling point other than gossip about their private lives.

• Jade’s achievements were also set aside the even more valueless to exaggerate the phenomena, noting that “out of more than 3,000 Big Brother housemates all over the world” none has had her impact. Firstly, this is nothing to be proud of; it’s as pointless of adulation as saying of all the nuclear bombs in the world none has killed as many as the one that was dropped on Hiroshima. And secondly, it exploits the Anglicized insularity of Britain – that unless something happens here or in America, such as winsome parasite Ashton Kutcher liking Susan Boyle, it should be filed in the chronicle of human history alongside corruption in Uzbekistan.

• The dogma to elevate Jade to the pinnacle of Big Brother reached absurd levels when the narration seemed to be proud that she “was the first housemate in the world to leave in complete silence”. Which was wrong, anyhow – what about Gos after the bomb scare?

• The efforts to intellectualise Jade’s popularity were also futile and embarrassing. Chris Rijek said: “Jade was a construct as well as a person.” While Phil Edgar-Jones uttered the risible assumption that the “post-modern idea of Big Brother created celebrity.”

• Jade’s campaign to raise awareness of cervical cancer was also an anomaly. It said far more about the myopia of, mostly young, women about their health that they need the death of someone they probably have never met to instigate a reasonable level of awareness about their health. And also Jade isn’t the first famous person to embark on a crusade about an illness only once they’ve been diagnosed with it as though up until that point in their lives they’ve been desensitised to human suffering.

• But the worst element of As Seen on TV was that perverse focus of her life on TV; as it drained her of her humanity, painting her like a seasonal shop window display that’s being dismantled to make way for the summer fashions of Kerry Katona, Jordan and whoever wins this year’s Strictly Come Dancing, until in a few years Jade: The Musical revivifies her legend, and the idiots have something new to waste their money on.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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