IT’S almost too easy to hate on Lara Bingle. The nude photo scandals, the fling with Fev, the high profile relationship – and break-up – with Michael Clarke, the bikini-clad photos on magazine covers, the fact she seems to have no discernible talent. The anti-Bingle brigade almost had a meltdown in February when Ten announced its fly-on-the-wall reality series Being Lara Bingle – which, as the title suggests, is nothing more than Bingle being Bingle.
The fact the network’s publicity material describes her as ‘‘one of the most Googled names in Australia’’ in lieu of actual career achievements (unless that’s the sort of thing you include on a CV these days) says it all. One glance at Being Lara Bingle confirms what many of us already thought – the 24-year-old Sydneysider is vapid, superficial and seems simultaneously repulsed and enthralled by her fame. So why, then, is the 10-week program strangely enjoyable?
It’s a chance to live vicariously through Bingle’s schedule of photo shoots, celebrity parties and hanging out in her $4500 per week Bondi apartment, when real life for most us involves 6.30am alarms, peak hour traffic and myki.
Episode one introduces us to the major players in Bingle’s life – best friend-slash-former manager Hermione Underwood (the pair announced recently they were parking ways professionally), mother Sharon and older brother Joshua. There’s also her regular make-up artist Max, who doubles as her ‘‘gay BFF’’.
Away from the spotlight, Bingle is close to her mother and misses the influence of her father Graham, who died in 2008.
At times, it feels like she is being exploited by the media but at other times it seems she has the upper hand – the latest round of nude photographs, sneakily shot as Bingle strutted in her bedroom, leads to Hermione wryly adding, ‘‘Maybe we have to keep the blinds closed’’ – seems to amuse the celebrity more than anything. The program veers between car-crash television, such as the scene in which Bingle is pulled over by police and realises her driver’s licence is suspended, and behind-the-scenes glimpses at Sydney’s social scene.
Constants are its fast pace and teen-friendly soundtrack.
Yes, Being Lara Bingle is bold, brash and more often than not tacky – just like the show’s star. But it is also compelling – just the way Bingle would want it.
Ten, Tuesday, 8pm.