Johannesburg - Socialite and “media-mogul-in-the-making” Uyanda Mbuli’s new reality show started on SABC3 in April. The show received a fair amount of promotion by the channel, as well as the star herself, so it was no surprise that its debut trended on Twitter, albeit for all the wrong reasons. Comments were negative, to say the least, which is unfortunate given how hard Mbuli worked over the past few years to make this show a reality. She is a talented executive producer who funded and packaged the entire production herself.
It would be easy to disparage Mbuli, once a regular in the gossip pages for her supposed nose job, extravagant wardrobe, sad divorce and rumoured affairs. Through it all, she has quietly been putting her life back together. So, don’t judge her too quickly – with her work ethic, she may well become the media mogul she dreams of being.
But It’s On may not be her launch pad to TV success. Aside from the technical concerns – and there are many – the show also fails to deliver on story expectations.
Shooting an entire show on an iPhone and what seems to be a small digicam is not really a problem. It adds to the always-on-the-run feel of Uyanda’s life. The problem is when the equipment fails to deliver clear audio.
The show is also badly lit, so indoor scenes have a flatness that make them look like actuality footage. This is not great for a channel such as SABC3, whose audiences are used to well-presented entertainment.
In interviews, Mbuli talks about how hard she worked to rebuild her life after her divorce. While it gets a mention on the show, it should’ve been a key selling point. At the top of the show, she could have made a short, subtle segment explaining, perhaps, how her divorce showed her that she needed to take care of herself and her child before catering to a man. Something that could open every episode to remind viewers why they are watching – not simply to see a celebrity shop on Fifth Avenue, but instead to see one example of how a woman rebuilds her life.
She also forgot to add lifestyle elements to her show. One assumes that, as a divorced woman, she may not have the same money she used to. Does she have some make-up hacks using affordable products that look expensive because of the way she applies them? How does she mix high street fashion with off-the-rail? Did she fund her overseas trips with online sales of some of her couture, or did she sell her second car? Junk status is hitting, but we still need to be Instaglam – how does Uyanda do it?
This would help portray her as a more authentic character.
It’s On is a first attempt and hopefully Mbuli builds on this, takes in the lessons and returns to knock us out with hot shows that meet our expectations.
Watch the trailer here:
Catch Uyanda’s It’s On Wednesdays at 21:00 on SABC 3 (DStv 193).