‘Ugly People’, a reality-casting show to find suitable candidates for election to Dáil Eireann as members of Lucinda Creighton’s new party, will air from early April on RTE1, a spokesman for the station announced today.
“It’s a super fit, we think”, said deputy director of programming Mairead Ní Nuathain. “We had banked on squeezing another series of Love/Hate out of Carolan, so the schedule was looking patchy for 2015. But this new development is manna from heaven.”
“Plan is to have two hours of Ugly People each Tuesday and Thursday night after the nine o’clock news. Depending on our figures we’ll look at a third slot by bumping either the Late Late or Brendan O’Connor. But maybe both if the numbers are good enough. We’re thinking they might be.”
Chicken in a Basket
Following the Montrose statement, the new party’s leader and show’s co-producer Creighton, 34, immediately released a list of over 80 provincial hotel function rooms.
“I have long believed there’s an unmined seam of political talent in this country”, said Creighton, “as well as a general curiosity about politics that could be activated by a reality TV format that somehow incorporated text message voting.”
“From March we’ll shoot three open castings a day, 8 to 11, 12 to 3 and 4 to 7. First up on Monday the 2nd are the Parknasilla in Sneem, the Randles Court in Killarney and the Listowel Arms in Listowel, obviously.”
“I’m psyched”, she told journalists.
Sleeps with the Fishes
Creighton hopes that the as-yet unnamed political movement can field two representatives in every constituency at the next general election.
“Once we have them in a room, each hopeful will do a random monologue from the Godfather trilogy for us – You come into my house on the day my daughter is to be married and you ask me to do murder – that kind of stuff.”
“But we’ll also pick a few questions out of a novelty hat, and they could cover anything – Have you ever been caught shoplifting? Why weren’t you at the Water demo? Then why were you at the Water demo?”
“The answers themselves aren’t substantially important, but we need to know if there’s a spark there, a healthy Flight-instinct.”
Up to 200 candidates may be taken from this preliminary stage into fully televised sessions of philosophy espousal, pretend canvassing and cheap point-scoring, with each assigned their own text-voting hotline number. Viewers at home, says Creighton, can thus play an active role in the formation of the next government for as little as 80 Cent per vote at off-peak rates.
The cost of text votes sent from Northern Ireland may be higher, she admitted.
“A coherent political ideology isn’t necessarily Number One on our list of priorities during the initial days and weeks, that can come over time. Although if they already have one, then of course that’s probably fine too.”
“More than anything else we’ll be looking for that certain je ne sais quoi in potential candidates. Animal magnetism, a nicely matching belt, a large facial birth mark, lots of Facebook friends, whatever. We’ll know it when we see it.”
Jury of Peers
Creighton is one of a five-strong judging panel that will guide budding Junior Ministers, Opposition Spokespeople, even future Tánaisteanna, through the complex routine of obfuscation, funeral attendance and attempted penalty point quashing that comprises a typical career at Leinster House.
She is joined on the panel by financial commentator Eddie Hobbs and impresario Louis Walsh, as well as Irish Times recipe suppliers Domini Kemp and Rachel Allen.
“It’s a massively well rounded jury. Louis has these excellent gut instincts when it comes to putting together a compatible group of needy attention whores joined by their shared passion for the idea of a hundred grand basic plus expenses and travel money.”
Mountain of Corpses
“But Louis is also a great big softie, so we have Domini and Rachel on board to bring a bit of an edge.”
“Don’t be fooled by how excited they get over meringues and mangetouts”, insisted Creighton.
“The Irish Food Media landscape isn’t some mutual appreciation society, it’s more like Attenborough in the Serengeti. Take it from me, they both know what it’s like to stand gladly victorious atop a figurative mountain of corpses.”
“And Eddie says he can explain to them all what NAMA does, so I suppose I’ll be providing the Tough Love. And soundbite coaching.”
Plenty of Room
Guest mentors already provisionally booked in to provide contestants with tips on speech making, being slimy and money squirreling include screenwriter Eoghan Harris, social columnist Barry Egan and youth worker Sean Gallagher.
“It’s a format that can reasonably run until whenever ( Taoiseach Enda – ed.) Kenny names the date. And it leaves plenty of room for a follow-up documentary series with one or more of our by then established stars on the actual campaign trail”, said Creighton.
“With Ugly People, we’re truly breathing new life into the Irish democratic process.”
“They say ‘Money talks, Bullshit walks’. I say anyone who’s 18 or over with a Euro’s worth of credit on their phone can finally make their voice heard in a meaningful way.”
“Going forward”, she continued.
GO RAIBH MAITH!