Review: Playing it Straight

E4’s latest nothing-better-to-do programme, Playing it Straight, has a pretty basic premise.
Cara, a girl with nice abs but about as much charisma as my left foot, has flown to Spain to live with 14 men and decide which one is her true love. N’aw.
Except half of the lot are gay and they’re after money, so she has to root them out, Gestapo style.
As you see, the straight guys and Cara aren’t after money, they’re simply after love. Cynics.

Photo: insouciance / flickr

The show consists of weekly challenges to win bizarre ‘interrogation time’ with the pointless creature, which consists of sharing a glass of wine whilst she essentially screams “DO YOU LIKE PENIS?!” at them again and again and again.
Alan Carr narrates the show, which is one of its few redeeming qualities; as well as the faux-Spanish duo who don moustaches and serenade us with bizarre ballads between ad breaks as Cara lounges around the ‘Hacienda’.
Each show has a theme, for instance the ‘Sex Week’ was of particular amusement when the challenge to prove one’s heterosexuality was to unclasp as many bras as possible in under 60 seconds.

I reckon I can speak for many people here when I say this is definitely not a skill that many heterosexual men possess anyway.
The most offensive set of challenges was probably in ‘Masculinity Week’ where the boys tried their hand at orienteering, as apparently a straight man would find the vapid Cara in the forest within an hour, whilst the gay ones would assumingly just walk around in circles until they fell over.
For all of its insane and pretty offensive assumptions about homosexuality, I find myself strangely drawn to the programme, and normally due to its 14 minute climax in the last quarter.

The boys are paraded in front of Cara as she decides who should stay or leave the Hacienda based on whether they acted, “a bit gay this week.”
Cue screaming at the TV, as though you and all of your housemates are suddenly body language experts who can detect the speed of a wink as revealing one’s sexuality.
This portion of the show proves one thing – ditch the challenges and the pointless ‘hot woman’ figure, and give me a weekly show where you line up random men and I yell their sexuality at them; and you’re onto a winner.


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