Captain, Actor, Mayor, Guy: The Shire Responds To “The Shire”

We defended The Shire on the basis that it’s designed to be terrible and that likeable/well-adjusted human beings don’t necessarily make for great reality television. The greater a person’s tackiness, ineptitude, arrogance and apparent lack of self-awareness the more likely we are to hate-watch, scoff and compose hilarious topical tweets about them like “showing this show overseas is really how we stop the boats” and “it’s hard to believe people from the shire were capable of organising a riot”. But how does it feel for people who actually live in The Shire? Here’s what a few residents had to say about their impressions of the show so far…

Andrew, Resident: “I think it’s cool. They’ve ‘spruced’ it up. I mean, I thought they were going to cast the full yocka, slurring drunken buffoon and then film them at some stupid house party, because that’s really what I’ve grown up with. But it really doesn’t look too bad, I’m actually kind of excited. From what I’ve seen so far this is like the clean part. Some people are excited some people are totally against it like my Mum and Dad who are like “Nup… we don’t want that” because we’ve already got enough perception problems going around as it is.”

Christiaan Van Vuuren, Bondi Hipsters: “Immediately I thought, ‘that doesn’t actually feel like The Sutherland Shire as I know it. It made The Shire look like LA even down to the colour grading. And I actually don’t even know anyone from The Shire who has had plastic surgery, the only friends of mine that have had plastic surgery all live in the Eastern Suburbs. Someone actually asked me if I was going to do a satire of The Shire and I don’t think I could satirise a group of people any better than what this show has managed to do. The funny thing is, it’s almost like they’re taking the piss by accident and yet the characters don’t seem to be aware of it. The funniest thing at the moment is that since this is such an inaccurate portrayal of what the area is actually like, I don’t think anyone from The Shire is seriously offended by it. I think people from The Shire are actually a little surprised to see how far off they are from the general public view of the area. The Shire had a genuine opportunity to show real aspects of the area and its culture but they didn’t. Instead they’ve focused on plastic surgery which is, like I said, something that I’ve ever seen in the area, ever. They’ve focused on these rich kids which is just not really like the area either. Everybody’s parents in The Shire are pretty much tradespeople who at one stage happened to buy homes when they were cheap. But in saying that, I really didn’t expect it to have any kind of cultural depth to it that’s not the kind of show that they’ve set out to make, I guess. I think that’s probably the biggest thing people are saying – how untrue that representation is of this area and how untruthful the events that play out on the show would seem.”

Paul Gallen, Cronulla Sharks Captain via Triple M Brisbane: “I’m only thinking they started the first show as low as they could so they can only get better from there. A few of the things that were portrayed on it isn’t what the place is all about. It’s a great place to live and I don’t think it came across too well. I think they were portrayed a bit over the top. It’s definitely not a richy snobby area, people work very hard for what they’ve got there and it just didn’t come across well I thought. It just wasn’t what The Shire is about.”

Joel Chapman, Musician, Amy Meredith: “It seems like they’ve handpicked certain people for the show which says to me that it may not be the best representation of everyone who lives in The Shire, but instead only some of the area’s residents. Like any other reality TV show they’ve handpicked stereotypes in the hope to gain ratings and play them up for entertainment value. I’ll probably watch it out of curiosity and so I can talk about it with people if it’s ever brought up in conversation. Oh! And because I know a few people on it, so it’ll be interesting to see if they embarrass themselves.”

Carol Provan, Shire Mayor via Nova: “Well I think it’s absolutely disgusting that they came to us. Channel Ten, I mean, such a world recognised channel to come with such a smutty looking TV show…My god why would I as a mayor and a mother and a grandmother promote a show like that. The mayor of Penrith said they’d like it out there and I said well take it out there because we sure don’t want it and I’m sure the Mums and Dads don’t want it in Penrith either. There’s girls being porn stars and girls with their false boobs and pushing girls down staircases…”

Brendan Cowell, Actor:

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