Tool Academy, Episode 1: Review

TOOL ACADEMY, Tuesday 23rd October, E4, 10pm

Tool Academy is a show in which 12 terrible boyfriends are filmed as they take part in a fictional T.V. show called The Man Games and compete to be the “lad of all ladsâ€?. But, little do they know, their boorish antics are being watched by their girlfriends the whole time on camera.

I know this because the premise was explained roughly 8 times in the hour that the show was on.

The whole concept’s basically a sting operation, but instead of politicians being tricked, it’s a bunch of lying, cheating over-grown children.

The contestants, not the sharpest tools on the box, all avowedly abide by the mantra that what a person doesn’t know can’t hurt them, so expect these guys not to come to any harm at the hands of good manners, basic human decency, rudimentary communication skills or the tenets of informed consent.

But you do feel ever so slightly bad for them, showered with ludicrous opportunity and encouragement, and then in the blink of an eye judged from the moral high ground which has magically sprung up underneath their erstwhile provocateurs: its like taking a recovering alcoholic to a free bar, telling him he’s no fun since he quit drinking and then screaming from the rooftops that he has no f***ing willpower when he has a sip of shandy.

The most interesting of the lot is the ‘Neander-tool’ James, who fingered a girl in a club bathroom ‘using the bowling ball technique’, which given his level of maturity probably involved him picking the girl up in both hands, placing her on top of a ramp and getting his dad to help him give her a push.

There’s also a male beauty pageant contestant, a bevy of philanderers, and a professional stripper, who’s bereft of charm but strangely fascinating. Albeit fascinating only in that he seems to enjoy stripping after hours too, whereas I always imagined that strippers, when they get home, can’t wait to chuck on some clothes and, perhaps if no-one’s in, have a wander around the house in a three-piece suit.

Anyway, at the end of this first episode, after a relentless hour of entrapment and evidence-gathering, the honey trap is revealed to the tools, dressed in togas and thinking they are about to take part in an orgy, and the series immediately loses it’s best selling point.

Admittedly, the actual reveal is a lot of fun. Firstly, fake presenter Imogen Thomas reveals her betrayal, and as one they cry “Et tu, beauté?â€?, and pull their togas over their heads to await the final stiletto blow. And secondly, the girlfriends are dramatically revealed sitting in a row behind a false wall, looking like nothing so much as the cross-section of a pink Hummer limousine on prom night.

In next week’s episode, they’ll be going to “charm schoolâ€?, where Professor Flitwick will teach them how to levitate out of their England shirts.