They've all got Shire-for-brains

Putting the "F" in friends ... Tegan from The Shire
Putting the "F" in friends ... Tegan from The Shire
Friend to the animals ... Beckaa, <i>The Shire</i>.

Friend to the animals ... Beckaa, The Shire.

Welcome back to The Shire. Where television producers test the bounds of the word reality, the stars test the level of inanity Australia is willing to watch, and Ten executives test the under 35 demographic to see if they’d rather watch a bunch of numpties talk about nothing or whether they will switch off the Olympic commentary and watch The Shire. Finally, we test whether anyone actually wants a recap of The Shire – and no, you don’t have to watch the show to revel in the barbs and acid.

The Players
, our hero, and by “our” we mean Gab’s
Gabby, Mitch’s ex, next and most probably next ex
Simon, Mitch’s mate who doesn’t say much
Andy, Mitch’s mate who shouldn’t say as much, lives off tarot reader referrals
Michelle, Mitch’s Mum, too level headed to appear much
Beckaa, pageant pretender, daughter pretender, reality pretender
Kirs and Stace, Beckaa’s interchangeable BFFs, will nod / fill stereotype / go “hmmmm” for dollars
Tony, Beckaa’s father, financier and WHAT DOES HE DO FOR MONEY, SELL OFF THE SMART KIDS?!
Joel ‘Rif-Raf’, one trick pony rapper whose trick won’t be needed today
Sophie and Vernesa, a.k.a. Verphie, putting the stereo in stereotype and the type in Type F personalities
Kerry, bar/beauty salon manager, known to whinge about everyone saying she’s a whinger
Tegan, Kerry’s BFF, which stands for BoyFriend F--ker
Matt 'Spock', Kerry’s “not boyfriend”, Tegan’s “stray cat”, man presumably possessed of a chocolate appendage
Folksy, Spock’s definitely heterosexual friend who gets rabidly jealous when Spock spends time with others

Previously on The Shire, Beckaa and her father had the sort of important life planning conversation that can only be had in a car showroom, Verphie probably understood what they were talking about and we met Kerry, Spock and Folksy, the second Shire love triangle a.k.a. Shirangle a.k.a. in God’s country they frown on Folksy’s folk (if he could just find a door to this wardrobe like object he seems trapped within). Things happened – just not in the Shire.

And we’re back ... Mitch is still sitting on the picnic table we left him on, like a good pet, texting his ex like a sadly prolonged plot device. “Can we meet later tonight?” he asks. “Yeah call me later” replies Gab. “Could something happen now?” I ask.


Time passes and we find ourselves in the studio of a pageant coach, which is really the garage of a frustrated 2nd year accounting student with no qualifications who really hopes to be on Project Runway but in the meantime just put an ad on the internet to see if anyone would be stupid enough to ... and in walks Beckaa!

Pageant Pastiche / Accounts Clerk watches the circus for a moment before pointing out that Beckaa does the “Cronulla lean,” a medical condition whose sufferers naturally tilt towards the sunlight whenever at a standstill. Sufferers believe it is because they’re beach lovers. It is actually because they are vegetables.

Beckaa tells us that she’s paid top money to see this aspiring catalogue con artist, however she is only going to listen to what she wants to hear, and ignore any actual advice he has as she already knows everything. So this guy is actually a management consultant.

Then we get a genuine revelation. Beckaa explains that her confidence, her unrelenting, undentable, nigh-on-inexplicable confidence, comes from the knowledge that she has a lot of things that you can’t buy. That’s because she bought them already, so you can’t have them. She also has brains she tells us, these are for sale, never used.

Night time in the Shire means date time, which means two people sitting at a table exchanging incomprehensible words. Spock takes Kerry out to dinner but when he presses her on why her friend seeing him with another girl bothers her, she “blows a football valve”, which I thought was the sort of behaviour the NRL has really been trying to clamp down on since that Coffs Harbour incident.

Ok these two are boring me now.

Meanwhile at a night club, Verphie are on a blind date, which they normally don’t do... because they’re hot. Deaf dates on the other hand are a specialty, that being where they go to a night club so loud no one can hear them talk (and no one can hear their dates scream).

Secret Agents Verphie then develop a code for “what if they’re not hot?” - which is sneezing - and “what if they are hot” which is act like ... they’re hot. Smart thinking Numpty Nine.

Verphie head out to the bar and meet Ryan and Andy and “get hey fever.” No, that’s not a typo. They come down with a vicious case of “hey, if I sneeze like this, imagine what else I fake badly.” Ryan and Andy look unsure about things, mostly what they did to their supposed friend who set them up on this blind date. I’m assuming they killed someone’s mum.

Ryan and Andy aren’t Verphie’s type, “but will be someone else’s,” Verphie reassure us in voice over. And once Ryan and Andy have that in writing they happily flee the scene of their once-were-friend’s hate crime.

Until after the ad break ... when Verphie have realised they didn’t plan how to respond to the sneeze so are still there. Ryan and Andy ... well, they’re here for something, and I’m hoping it’s an appearance fee. So they all retire to the booth for some catch up time, where Verphie explain they aren’t besties, they’re “wifies, you can’t have one without the other” to which Ryan makes the obvious single entendre and Verphie goes to high five him to recognise his witty repartee.

No really, that is how wit is recognised in the Shire. I understand Oscar Wilde could barely walk the streets of Cronulla for all the proffered hands, his palms raw everytime he left the Shire.

Speaking of catching up, Becka is still at pageant school, or as I call it “that guy who takes money to insult you.” Of course Beckaa mistakes that for love as that is how she treats her father.

The con-sultant suggests she mask her faults by shaving her head, a notion Beckaa scoffs at, and then suggests she might not be pageant material, which is a far greater insult. Beckaa then reveals her lifelong ambition. She wants to be so hot “that Mattel wants to make a doll out of me” by which she means molten plastic. She’s certainly got the raw materials.

On the date from hell, Verphie compliment Ryan’s shirt which he bought from Target, before abusing him for telling them that. Verphie are now date coaching. This could actually be a service people would pay money for – learn what attracts Verphie, for a small fee, this could never happen to you.

We then learn the ultimate Verphie date repelant: suggest their bag is a fake. That is offensive, because clearly Verphie hate anything that is fake. So they withdraw to the botox studio, or the spray tan parlour, or possibly the collagen salon ... or maybe their fat blasting business headquarters.

Mitch is still outside, wandering the moors of Cronulla like some Sutherland Heathcliffe. Well moor. Well the grassy bit behind the beach. Anyway, by chance Gab finds him on the pier, which would be surprising given we never saw him get back in touch, except for the high wattage lighting rig and multiple camera shoot that is set up in otherwise dark random Cronulla location, plus the deputy assistant associate producers who are in charge of these two "characters" are in constant contact.

Mitch decides to impress Gab with his maths, by explaining scientifically that if she got back together with him it would make her “100% ten times better” which is so bizarre it almost outshines its incredible immodesty. He then gives Gab a necklace with a “G” on it. G for Gab. Wow, spelling and maths, put a ring on him Gab, he’s going places!

Mitch asks Gab if she will be his girlfriend. She says she will and that she feels like a fourteen year old. Mitch knows that secretly he only has the reading level of a nine year old, but he’s pretty sure he can wing it, so they kiss. And by kiss I mean impersonate those birds who drink from water glasses.

Some time later, Mitch is hanging with Simon and Andy, who can tell that he’s hiding something because he’s sporting a moustache. Andy and Simon having learned their people reading skills from the Dick Dasterdly cartoons. He admits the moustache is because he asked Gab out. The boys are happy for him. He however is uncertain, because after they pecked for a while last night she messaged him to say that she loved him and is happy, which scared him off, then he had a conversation with a producer who promised to write him out of the show if he dared to settle into a happy relationship this early in the series.

Kerry introduces us to her best friend Tegan. We are instantly endeared to Tegan as she is willing to listen to Kerry bitch and moan about Spock. That is of course because Tegan is seeing text messages from Matt behind Kerry’s back.

Mitch isn’t sure about whether he wants to stay with Gab, as it’s been a matter of hours, so Andy calls in a tarot card reader, just like his Mum used to do. Andy’s Mum left when he was a child after a tarot reader told her that she was destined to be the first Australian astronaut to Mars, though the story she gave Andy’s deadbeat pokies addict was slightly different. In both cases she blamed the cards though.

Mysteriously, the tarot card reader, when asked by the 23 year old man if his relationship is a good idea, predicts that he will soon not be in a long term relationship, and further predicts that it will be he who breaks it up. She even speculates that perhaps his girlfriend is looking for something long term while he is just a flake.

And they say it isn’t a science.

Surf dawns at the beach so it must be dinner time, and Beckaa wants to take her Dad Tony out to dinner, which means he’ll pay, but she in turn will give him some great news, she is going to let him pay for her boob job!

And that’s just the entree folks.

While Tony stares in shock at the monster he’s created, Beckaa explains that a boob jobs mean never having to wear a bra or being subject to gravity, because she’s not going in for that boring old plastic surgery, she’s going for tit-anium enhancement!

She also notes that this will help her look like a pear, but I think these two are a right pair of tits already.

Tony admits that he understands that Beckaa is 20 going on 2, but enough about her IQ, he’s going to put his foot down and do exactly what she wants.

Tegan loves Kerry, she loves her so much that she is willing to park her car and stare wistfully at the water before calling Kerry’s-not-quite-boyfirend to arrange their hook up. Love is never having to say I didn’t look at the water before I cheated on you.

Back at dinner, Beckaa shocks the world by revealing that she is against animal cruelty – I knoooooooooow! – no really, because she only believes in natural things and she wants to make a difference in life. Also Beckaa tells Tony that in order to focus on her pageants, she is considering going part time at Uni, which she understands to mean that she will send only a part of herself to Uni. She’s thinking of sending the bits she’s not using: Her old nose, her soon to be redundant gravity-affected boobs and her brain.

And in possibly the world’s most vertigo-friendly cliff-hanger, we’ll have to wait until next time to find out of Tony approves of that plan.

This story They've all got Shire-for-brains first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.