The Why of Spencer Pratt

22 Jan

Spencer fucking Pratt

There’s no reason I should know who Spencer Pratt is. I’ve never sat down to watch one of his TV shows; indeed, until a few weeks ago the shows in which he appears weren’t even produced in the UK. He hasn’t written anything I will ever read, performed a piece of music I will ever listen to, or said anything to which I might conceivably pay attention if I was to live until the heat death of the universe.

Heat Death

Same goes for Pratt’s wife, Heidi Montag. For years her name has been an occasional blip in television’s white noise. I knew there was a Heidi Montag, but to be honest I got her mixed up with Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss and at least two actresses who were once on Baywatch.

So why do I know who they are?

Perhaps it’s because even when I have the democratic power to change channel and, in theory, ignore them, TV still finds a way of shoving them into my eyes and ears like white hot knitting needles of pointlessness.

I’ll give you an example.

Until a few months ago I worked part time at the head office of a large finance company, and in our building we had a gym. When I first joined that gym, back in 2003, the music channels still broadcast mostly music videos, no matter what time of day it was, but over the years a strange thing started to happen. Some time around 6 or 7pm, no matter which channel they had on in the gym, the music videos would stop and the reality shows would start.

Suddenly I’d find myself on the cross-trainer, climbing an imaginary hill while, on four separate televisions, some vile, overindulged 16-year-old bawled her eyes out because her parents hired Usher to perform live at her birthday party, and not Akon, like she wanted. Or maybe I’d be trying to do 30 minutes on a running machine while, in the background, some Kardashians (whatever the fuck they’re meant to be) bickered about jewellery.

I think their Dad was OJ's attorney, or something.

I think their Dad was OJ’s attorney, or something.

Into this horrible, twilight world of television-that-has-no-relationship-whatsoever-with-music came trailers for The Hills. This would have been some time around 2007, maybe 2008. At first, I wasn’t even sure what the programme was. The way they filmed it made it look like a drama, but if it was then the acting was surprisingly naturalistic. At the same time, if it was a drama, nothing ever seemed to happen except a lot of vapid-looking women and douchy-looking men arguing with each other on the slightest and most vacuous pretext.

Discarded taglines included, "What has two assholes and ten augmented breasts?"

Discarded taglines included, “What has two assholes and ten augmented breasts?”

Sure enough, I was witnessing the birth of soapumentaries (or whatever their bullshit name is) such as Jersey Shore and, closer to home, The Only Way Is Essexand prince of all the douchy-looking men in those trailers for The Hills was Spencer motherfucking Pratt.

Now, I know shows like this are edited to turn certain people into heroes and others into villains, but just 10 seconds of his body language and voice was enough to convince me that this man quite literally has no soul.

Spencer fucking Pratt

Okay, I hear you say, but the soul is something debatable. Surely only the religious and the spiritual among us believe we have a soul in the first place. Fine… I’ll give you that. Say there’s no such thing as a soul, and all we have are brain cells and neurons and a series of complex pathways of consciousness and subconsciousness that, mixed together, produce what we would call a personality… He still doesn’t have it.

In researching this piece (yeah… I do research… kind of) I watched this clip of Pratt being interviewed on Letterman, and there is simply nothing there. His eyes are dead. His smile is the rictus grin of someone being electrocuted to death. His face is like an over-sized wax sculpture of a baby from the stock cupboards of an 18th Century physician.

It's okay. You'll be able to sleep again in about 3 or 4 months.

It’s okay. You’ll be able to sleep again in about 3 or 4 months.

And behind it all, nothing.

As he explains in the clip, his existence revolves around turning up to nightclubs for $100,000. Because we apparently live in an age where existing is seen as an achievement in itself.

Okay, so I get that he’s decided his role, in his numerous reality shows, is the agent provocateur, but even then it’s a part he plays with no enthusiasm. It’s as if the Numskulls in his head are just mindlessly hitting the “Dickwad” button over and over again, waiting for the sweet liberty of release when someone finally does the decent thing and shoots him or pushes him off a cliff.

"Hey, guys... Maybe we should make him take up smack."

“Hey, guys… We should totally make him do heroin.”

Lately, TV has been forcing this grinning turd back into my world via Celebrity Big Brother. I actually stopped watching the show about half way through the opening night, when it became clear the baying mob outside the studio were booing every single woman for the apparent crime of having a vagina, but every so often there’ll be something on 5 at 10pm I want to watch, or I’ll catch 15 seconds of it while skipping through channels, and there he is again.

Spencer “Face Like A Garbage Pail Kid” Pratt.

Spencer fucking Pratt

And he’s still acting like a massive douche, this time spending what seems like his every waking hour lying in bed with his blow-up-doll of a wife, whispering nasty things about other people, because… hey… that’s what he does

And I know that even writing this fucking thing generates even more stuff about him, and that I should just let it go, but I can’t, and I’ll tell you why.

Last night I watched University Challenge, and they asked which polar explorer died in South Georgia in January 1922.

“Er…” I said, my mouth opening and closing. “Er… It’s… Thing. His name… It’s whatsisname…”

"Wait... I've got it... KENNETH BRANAGH!"

“Wait… I’ve got it… Kenneth Branagh!”

“Ernest Shackleton,” said one of the students.

“Correct,” said Jeremy Paxman.

“Shackleton!” I said. “Fucking Shackleton! How could I have forgotten Shackleton?”

You see, I should have known Shackleton, should have answered it straight away. A few years ago I went through a phase of being mildly obsessed with polar exploration, reading Scott’s diaries, watching the Shackleton miniseries, listening to the Vaughan Williams symphony. There’s no way I should have forgotten Shackleton.

Unless, of course, it’s as Sherlock Holmes says, and the brain is like an enormous filing system. Every time a new piece of information is stored away, another is lost. So here’s my theory: In knowing who Spencer Pratt is, what he looks like, what his nasty little voice sounds like, I forgot the name of Ernest Shackleton. Heroic, record-breaking Ernest Shackleton.

In exchange for Spencer motherfucking Pratt.

Pictured: Jeff Goldblum in conversation with Spencer Pratt.

Pictured: Jeff Goldblum in conversation with Spencer Pratt.

Thankfully, I’m now the member of a gym that doesn’t show MTV (or, as it should more accurately be known, TV), and this series of Celebrity Big Brother will be over in 3 days time, but how can I guarantee this wretched piece of shit won’t come barging into my conscious again?

A few days ago a friend mentioned, on Twitter, that they now have announcements before repeats of Star Trek: The Next Generation warning viewers that the show contains “adult emotions”. One of the reasons for this, I guess, is that the proliferation of shows like The Hills and TOWIE mean most viewers are used only to the emotions of overgrown toddlers, but is it too much to ask that TV stations give warning that “The following programme may contain people you couldn’t give a fuck about and would rather remain unaware of?”

One Response to “The Why of Spencer Pratt”

  1. Caspar January 22, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    I’m pretty angry with myself. Just this morning I found myself looking up this guy and his wife to understand what everyone was ranting about on Twitter. And now I’m reading your blog post about him too. I even watched that whole Letterman video! I’ve gone from never having heard of him, to having an encyclopaedic knowledge of him (which isn’t really saying much). Ugh.

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