The key to enjoying Eurotrash: get trashed

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The Independent Culture
Friday night channel surfers are meant to treat Eurotrash (C4) as the last port of call in a marathon pub crawl. Reviewers meanwhile, whatever you might have heard to the contrary, are traditionally sober when working. This is why, in spite of its popularity with late-night wassailers, Eurotrash has been the victim of a thousand stroppy critical muggings.

In the interests of balance, your correspondent agreed to simulate the impaired senses enjoyed by the show's core audience. By the time the tape was pushed home into the VCR, a procedure which somehow used up more time than was needed to view its contents, a crate of empty bottles of stout bore testimony to a heroically detailed preparation; as did a scattering of tinfoil plates delivered by a neighbouring subcontinental hostelry. And if this selfless professionalism was still subject to doubt, a bucket located within vomiting range of the sofa confirmed that the viewer was prepared to go the whole hog to give Eurotrash a fair hearing.

In these optimum conditions, it no longer bears such a stark resemblance to a trainwreck. This is not just because even a trainwreck doesn't look like a trainwreck when the faculties are swimming in alcohol. The improvement seems to be genuine.

For a start, with the benefit of double vision the nipple count automatically increases twofold. This was most noticeable in the report on the two identical Parisian bank managers who directed their own porn movie. They could only afford a pair of actors, but after a carefully administered dose of stimulants it looked intriguingly like an orgy involving two sets of twins.

With the defences down, Eurotrash becomes an entirely different kettle of kitsch. Items that would ordinarily incite you to visceral loathing now provoke a warm glow of benevolence. Take the piece on the restaurant in Stuttgart where the menu offers maggot, grasshopper and dung beetle, or Michael Winner's review of Parisian restaurant staffed by transvestites. Any other week it would have been impossible to glimpse worms browning in the pan, or a close-up of Winner's proboscis hugely magnified in the reflection of a wine glass, without prompt recourse to the sofa-side bucket. This time, it wasn't needed. There might even have been faint stirrings of peckishness.

The acid test was the story about the mother who drags her son along to all the big fashion shows. The mother, who has money coming out of an orifice featured in a separate item on the history of the posterior, dresses the boy in a bright white suit to match his albino hair. He looks like a human camera flash, which is probably why all the supermodels are drawn to him.

His mother wants him to date a 16-year-old model named after a liqueur - Cointreau, or Curacao, or Crme de Menthe, something sickly - and lured her into the family motor to discuss terms. The young suitor, meanwhile, is keener on Claudia Schiffer, on account of her - and there's no fudging the next bit - impressive chest. Like a drooling ape, he semaphored what he meant by the phrase. This kid is 12, puberty is a speck on the horizon. Even in the bowels of a debilitating stupor, there rose an irrepressible urge to cause him some kind of permanent harm. Fortunately, his mother appears to be making an excellent job of it.

Thanks to its wide panoply of important obsessions the programme could be called any one of Euroflash (flesh), Eurohash (drugs), Euromash (food), Eurobash (parties), Eurosash (fashion), Eurocash (riches) or Eurolash (bondage). These are the things that really matter to Europeans who've never heard of the EU and its 12-starred flag. That's why Eurotrash should be required viewing in Brussels, where the necessary anaesthetic facilities are perhaps the finest on the continent.