I rewatched the first episode of TOWIE 10 years on, and this is everything I learnt

Mark Wright is far worse than Spencer Matthews

10 years ago The Only Way Is Essex entered our lives and introduced us to vajazzles, endless fake tan and of course – Gemma Collins. But before Gemma arrived it was Mark, Lauren, Sam, Amy and Kirk whose lives we were watching every week. And after 25 seasons of TOWIE where fake boobs, Marbs and bitching are still very much on the agenda it’s time to take a trip down memory lane to the very first episode of TOWIE.

The first episode dropped you straight in the drama with Mark and Lauren’s on again off again relationship, and Kirk getting a tattoo that looked exactly like Amy and Jess’ band performing at the Sugar Hut. You don’t remember the band Lola? Well this is everything that I learnt about TOWIE from the first episode 10 years later:

It’s literally every Essex stereotype rolled into a neat 40 minute episode

The opening credits alone are all about the Essex stereotype – flash watches, cars, fake tan, champagne and glamorous looks. And this was the time when everyone was obsessed with the idea of Essex. Sam and Amy even talk about the “Essex Girl” being added to the dictionary. Amy is naturally horrified that it doesn’t mean glamourous. Shocker really.

The whole vibe is so early 2010s

This was the time of the club promoters, pugs, bandage dresses, back combed hair, really dark eye liner and Blackberry phones. Whilst most of the world has moved on by now, a lot of the present day TOWIE cast still give off this kind of vibe, except now their dresses are from House of CB and it’s more about lip fillers than back combed hair.

Mark and Lauren were 23 and talking about getting engaged???

I’m 23, still live at home and find it a struggle to pen a man down for a drink. Yet here they were only 23 and talking about the possibility of getting married. Madness.

Mark had broken up with Lauren and says if he gets back with her this time it will be for good and he’ll propose. So not totally going to happen and, as we know, Mark ends up married to Michelle Keegan. But his potential proposal is part of a much bigger theme of the early TOWIE series, they were obsessed with settling down at such a young age.

There was such a double standards with dating

Mark and Kirk were so infuriating to watch during the early episodes. They wanted Lauren and Amy to be the girls they ended up with, but they obviously can’t be with them now as they need to have fun and get with other girls.

However they would kick off if Lauren and Amy so much as talked to another man. They were so possessive and old-fashioned, and that attitude still carries on in TOWIE today.

Jess is the voice of reason

She is the only one to call out Mark for his bullshit, and I love her for it.

Nearly everyone had a job in “nightlife”

Mark was a promoter, Kirk worked at Sugar Hut, Amy and Sam were on the club doors welcoming people in. It was that time when it was all about getting a booth and bottles in a club, the guys all wore blazers and the girls were in tiny dresses and massive heels. Oh and the music – some classic tunes were in this episode tbf. The Sugar Hut scene is accompanied by Frisky by Tinie Tempah. Need I say any more about how peak 2010s this show was?

Sorry who are these people and where on earth are they now?

Seriously who are they? Candy, the girl, is actually great, she should have stuck around.

Mark makes Spencer Matthews look like the perfect gentleman

You know I really didn’t think anyone on reality TV could be more of a dick than Spencer Matthews, but apparently Mark Wright can do far worse.

His first words are “there are birds everywhere”, he is so disrespectful to Lauren and tbh a lot of his behaviour could be considered gas lighting. He turns up at her birthday, doesn’t talk to her and instead stands flirting with Sam. He laughs at her and after he finds her crying in the smoking area he says: “There’s a chance I’m gonna get back with you”.

He’s also a major dick who is incredibly patronising to Arg and his sister.

Lauren is a queen and we never deserved her

No one deserved the treatment she got from Mark. She got his name tattooed on her bikini line for goodness sake and he just treated her like shit.

Nanny Pat

Nanny Pat with her sausage plait – quite simply a legend. More reality shows should have nans.

The fights are just as savage

This is the show where Lauren calls Sam, Mark and Arg “c*nts” in the first episode. It was the start of the proper fights and slagging off matches that are such a strong part of TOWIE.

The men are all about “big tits”

Before the age of the Kardashian bum it was all boobs. Sam is in Nuts magazine and Kirk is all about getting a girl with “big tits”. And the language about women’s bodies doesn’t get any better. Mark and Arg constantly refer to women as “birds”, and regular TOWIE watchers will know the way the men talk about women in show hasn’t really changed that much over the last 10 years.

Jess and her band perform at Sugar Hut

Maybe I’m going to the wrong sort of clubs but I’ve never seen a band perform in the middle of the dance floor on a night out. Jess’ band Lola are trying to make it big and describe their vibe as “girly but edgy”. They’re wearing tutu dresses.  They perform at the Sugar Hut for Lauren’s birthday and somehow get a meeting with Universal Records??

Arg hasn’t changed at all

And neither has Sam. Her look is different, she’s got long straight blonde hair but apart from that she’s kinda the same.

The episode ends with Denise Van Outen asking questions??

TOWIE would be nothing without Denise Van Outen’s voice over at the beginning and end of each episode. In the first series each episode ends with Denise asking questions about what is going to happen next episode. It’s very odd and whatever happened to a good old, “next week” preview clip?

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