Shal­low, fickle, anx­i­ety-rid­den nar­cis­sis­tic love is in the air

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - TELEVISION REVIEWS - JEN­NIFER GANNON

It’s a new sea­son of Celebs Go Dat­ing ,anew op­por­tu­nity for wannabe mod­els and In­sta­gram “in­flu­encers” to bag some air time and go on a date with some­one whose last part­ner was a danc­ing dog on Bri­tain’s Got Ta­lent. Fea­tur­ing the usual mix of ex-Love Is­land cast mem­bers, some­one from dance troupe Di­ver­sity and ac­tual celebrity Mutya Buena from the Su­gababes, it, like all forms of mod­ern dat­ing, re­mains a com­pelling mix of hu­mil­i­a­tion and blind ego­tism.

This year, with the ad­di­tion of a new dat­ing guru Paul Brun­son, there is a vague no­tion of at­tempt­ing to dig deep with the celebs and their dat­ing his­to­ries, of­fer­ing them self-help plat­i­tudes and hugs rather than just Na­dia and Eden dis­solv­ing into hys­ter­ics be­hind their clip­boards. For all Paul’s valiant ef­forts with the clients, his perma-grin fades in the face of Love Is­land’s in­tim­i­dat­ing ice queen Olivia Attwood.

Like Gemma Collins and Char­lotte Daw­son be­fore her, she is a glo­ri­ous un­con­trol­lable vor­tex of chaos, a hard as nails Lynda La Plante she-wolf dressed in Miss­guided’s tight­est body­con out­fits. Her taw­dri­ness is that of Katie Price in her prime with her un­fil­tered frank­ness at times leav­ing Paul vis­i­bly dis­tressed. Al­ways late, al­ways in the mid­dle of drama, she re­gales ef­fer­ves­cent, ever-smil­ing re­cep­tion­ist Tom with tales of PMS and pe­riod pains un­til even he ap­pears as though he’s look­ing for an es­cape route.

Ar­riv­ing to the sin­gles mixer on the first night she pro­ceeds to make the rounds of po­ten­tial dates, star­ing into their faces with her ter­ri­fy­ing look of stud­ied boredom. She and TOWIE’s Chloe Sims are the liv­ing em­bod­i­ment of Sha­nia Twain’s That Don’t

Im­press Me Much, spend­ing most of the event in a cor­ner de­spair­ing and rolling their eyes.

It’s not ex­actly true love they are seek­ing but some­one to bol­ster and en­hance their brand. Un­like poor Mutya Buena who seems to be un­der the mis­taken im­pres­sion that she is on a real dat­ing show. Buena is sur­pris­ingly vul­ner­a­ble and seems gen­uine in her search for some­one, wear­ing her heart on her sleeve like one of her many tat­toos. She is left trag­i­cally stripped of her dig­nity on the first episode as the man she picks to date on the mixer re­jects her, leav­ing her stand­ing alone, the only date­less star. It shouldn’t hap­pen to a Su­gababe.

Thank­fully, comic re­lief is pro­vided by Eyal, Love Is­land’s spir­i­tual sage whose chat has not im­proved from the days in the villa as he still con­tin­u­ously in­forms ev­ery­one how “deep” he is, on a quest to find some­one who has “heavy flow” (*cough* Olivia?) and is into all things non-ma­te­rial which is ob­vi­ously why he ends up choos­ing to date an 18 year old un­der­wear model. Shal­low, fickle, anx­i­ety-rid­den nar­cis­sists – turns out those dat­ing celebs are just like us.

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