The return of TOWIE!

April 29, 2012 9:37 am

TOWIE… A show which I loathe and love in equal parts. The characters baffle me… How many times have I seen a look of total incomprehension across their faces when a big word is used. I had no desire to watch this show but a friend was obsessed so when I went to stay with her I was subjected to a marathon afternoon of Season 1 and 2 all in one go. I needed a stiff drink afterwards and then had to watch Countdown to reassure myself that my brain was still functioning properly.

In case you are extremely unlucky and have missed the first 4 seasons, here is a  very brief catch up on the story so far:

Series 1 of The Only Way is Essex introduced us to the main characters: club promoter Mark, his best friend club singer James ‘Arg’ Argent, his sister girl band member Jessica, his on/off love Lauren, club owner Kirk, Kirk’s girlfriend beautician Amy, her best friend glamour model Sam and Amy’s cousin Harry.

The two central relationships between Mark and Lauren and Kirk and Amy were at the heart of this first series. Kirk and Amy’s love started off strong but she was jealous of his job and his flirting with other girls and called it off. Kirk later begins a relationship with DJ Lauren Pope, much to Amy’s chagrin, and she and Sam try to find love elsewhere. Mark and Lauren have been on/off since they were teenagers and at the start of the programme they are separated with Mark in a relationship with fashion designer Lucy. However, it transpires that Lauren and Mark have secretly been sleeping together behind Lucy’s back.

When Lauren gets an offer to travel to Dubai on work she is unsure whether to leave Mark or not.


As series two kicks off Mark is  in a casual relationship with Sam, who opens a boutique with her sister Billie in the first episode, however, he decides to give things with Lauren another go. When he finds out that Lauren is having her tattoo with his name on it removed, he proposes and she accepts. The two spend most of the rest of the series planning their wedding and moving in together despite Lauren’s clashes with Jessica, Mark’s mother Carol and his grandmother; Nanny Pat. Mark also considers several career paths during the series, including opening a glamour model agency but eventually decides to return to promoting. Kirk and Lauren Pope briefly split up but while on a date with Lucy he realises how much he misses her and they get back together.

New characters in series two include Joey Essex a club promoter who aspires to be the new Mark Wright and uses the word ‘reem’ to describe things that look good.

Another new character, car saleswoman Gemma, also actively goes after Mick using several tactics to try and ensnare him all of which fail. The series ends with a pool party, organised by Mark, in which all the characters with the exception of Lauren are present. Mick teases Kirk that he is going to present a bottle of champagne to a girl that he is after, which Gemma believes to be her, but instead turns out to be Lauren’s sister, Nicola. This leaves Gemma in floods of tears.


Series three kicks off with the revelations that both Mark and Lauren and Kirk and Lauren Pope have split up with both Laurens now living together. Mark vows to a life of celibacy but soon finds himself tempted when he finds Lucy in her underwear in Jessica’s flat. Meanwhile Lucy is now seeing Mario who tells her not to see Mark but after Mark finds out Mario has been badmouthing him, he tells him that he can get Lucy any time he wants. Arg and Lydia are back together but Lydia’s fractured relationship with his best friend Mark is still causing problems for Arg, especially when he is forced to spend time with Lucy and Mario.

When Mark reveals that he spent the night with Lucy while Mario was away, Lydia and Arg side with their two friends and when Lydia confronts Mark, Arg accuses her of being a bully. Eventually Mark and Lydia make up but Arg still feels self-concious about his weight and also decides to take a new job as a hospital radio DJ. Lydia opens a new vintage store and as a result Arg feels that he is not good enough for her. While trying to lose weight together at Boot Camp Gemma confesses to Arg that if he and Lydia weren’t together she may consider seeing him but she tells Lydia not to worry about anything.

The newly single Kirk and Joey begin a bromance calling themselves Team “Jirk”. Kirk teaches Joey how to be more domestic after he moves into a new flat and soon the two meet two girls named Cara and Billi. While Joey seems quite taken by Cara, Kirk struggles to get on with Billi and launches into a tirade at both of them when they come to his house to confront them. When Sam is attacked Joey goes to visit her and confesses that he still loves her but she is by this point back with Mark.


In Season 4 Lydia and Arg have split up, due to Lydia ‘needing space’, so when he attempts to make amends at her 21st birthday meal, it doesn’t quite go to plan and leaves Lydia upset and her friends annoyed. Meanwhile, Joey’s best friend Diags is introduced to the cast, and they discuss Joey’s relationship with Jess, which has ended since the Christmas Special last year. Despite this, Joey seems to have his eye on Georgina, another new cast member, but she doesn’t seem to reciprocate his interest.

Later on, while Mario is at a poker game held by Joey with Diags, Chloe, Frankie, Mick and Gemma, Lucy finds his iPad and has a look, as she previously expressed her concern to Billi and Cara regarding his phone. Whenever she asked to look at it he’d say no, and take it wherever he went, even to the bathroom. What she sees is enough to reduce her to tears, as she finds messages to 40 different girls, some even asking for nude pictures. When she tells Billi and Cara, Cara tells Billi that she herself had been sent some messages from him. That night, Lucy sends Mario a text telling him she knew all about it, but when he visits her house to apologize she just tells him to leave.

Lauren and Lucy bury the hatchet, Lydia announces that she has heard more rumours that Arg had been cheating on her in the relationship, and Lucy receives a lovely text message from Mario, which prompts her to tell the girls that she still loves Mario, but just wants a break from the relationship.


Now that you’re all caught up, we can talk about Season 5! The first episode was shown this week and what a thriller it was.. James ‘Arg’ Argent shows off his new weightloss, new teeth and new hair colour to ex-girlfriend Lydia Bright’s mum Debbie and Joey Essex and James “Diags” Bennewith. Unfortunately, he has the same personality so I can’t see his ex Lydia taking him back. Sorry about that Arg.


Lucy Mecklenburgh goes for a walk with friends Cara Kilbey and Billi Mucklow and their tiny dogs ( I wonder how they manage not to stand on them!!), with Lucy admitting that her and Mario Falcone’s relationship is on again, big sigh of relief from all of us! Gemma is confused about her supposed relationship with Charlie, and goes to her mum, Joan, for advice. Charlie invites Gemma round for a ‘surprise’, in which he wants to draw her naked, a la the famous Titanic scene. This is due to his obsession with Titanic. It’s his favourite film apparently. She reluctantly agrees, but without the nudity. The result is more than she expects… a night with Charlie. I can’t see this relationship going anywhere but perhaps I’m just a sceptical soul. The episode ends with a fund-raising night for the marathon, featuring the newly svelte Arg as a special singing guest, with Lydia looking on with a knowing look. They have a little reunion, with Arg confessing he still loves and misses Lydia after reinventing himself, and Lydia saying she wants to be friends, but that’s not something Arg can do.


Sadly, despite all of my sarcasm, I will be tuning in to the next episode, as the first has set this series up for a lot more of that “thrilling”  Essex drama…..

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