Friday, November 2, 2012

Day of the Deadwood - Review: 02.11.2012

I wonder if this is how TPTB at EastEnders determine who stays and who goes ...

As I said yesterday, the second of November in most Continental countries is deemed Day of the Dead, or All Souls' Day. It's the day traditionally set aside to remember friends and loved ones who have departed this mortal coil. In Walford, at least under the Branning preponderance, today could be called Day of the Deadwood, because there was enough of it on display tonight to merit Lorraine Newman taking an axe to various culprits of long standing status for more than just a bit of a pruning session.

Tonight's episode was a veritable zombie forest of characters silently begging for the cull. It begs the question: Do Newman and Co really know how bad this stuff really is? Or are they playing to the lowest common denominator of viewer - the insipid teens for whom shallow is a way of life, the inveterate shippers  and cheerleaders such as dan2008 and vaslav37 or Walford Web kindergarten's Mr James, who cannot comprehend how anyone could dislike Tanya (that's easy, and I'll tell you below) or the trolls like vald

or the infamous MoaningLisa, both of whom have two very different, but very pejorative agendae.

Newman has been with the brand for 20 years. You cannot tell me she doesn't see the difference in the quality it output during the Nineties and the shit that's increasingly dribbled deeper down the pan since Louise Berridge took the helm in 2002.

Tonight was a walking advertisement of everything and everyone that's bad about EastEnders, and out of all of that tonight, only four of the characters featured are actually leaving: one decided to go, two were sacked (but with different "levels" of sacking) and one is taking the ubiquitous "break" of indeterminate length. There were others who featured tonight who really need to take a long walk off the short end of a pier, professionally speaking, and I'd love to see Newman wield Miranda Richardson's something nice and shiny called and axe on several of these entitled actors thinking they have a job for life just because they got a gong.

(Hint: John Partridge and Jamie Foreman have won gongs for the gang, and one is "leaving by mutual consent" whilst the other's contract simply isn't being renewed). Go figure, Lorraine. Here's a song for encouragement:-

Mouthbreathers must be the in thing at the moment, at least in East London, where EastEnders is supposed to take place. TPTB have certainly cornered the market on young actors who are unfortunate enough not to be able to close their mouths, and so they try to market this unattractive feature as something provocative and sexy. 


And ...

Add to this trait, the fact that neither of these actors enunciate clearly, with one being near as damn it unintelligible. But still, you don't have to say jack shit when you're modeling for catalogues, do you? Cheap labour comes to the budget-strapped BBC.

Right ... here goes. Joey and Lauren are wrong. Wrong for a variety of reasons. Wrong, first of all, because they are closely related. Some people on DS and the Kindergarten site are trying to ship this as the latest re-hash of Shannis. Trust me, it's not.

I wasn't all that easy about Sharon's relationship with Dennis - for all intents and purposes, he was her adoptive brother; although as many pointed out, they were not related by blood, and they were not brought up together and didn't think of each other as siblings. But Den was worried enough about the situation to voice his doubts forcefully to Dennis, and - in doing so - raised some valid points. Of all his three children, Sharon was the child he'd raised from a toddler. He'd seen her through childhood and adolescence. More than either Vicky (ugh) or Dennis, he considered her his daughter, so he was rattled at the thought of his daughter sleeping with his son. And, it's true, Fauntleroy Rickman's maternal and paternal grandfathers are the same person.

Here's the clip of Den rattling Dennis's fragile cage:-

Ok, since EastEnders is big on cack-handed rehashes at the moment, may we expect a newer version of the same scene with Max doing the Den honours and - oh as he looks so much like Dennis - Joey reacting unintelligibly? Please. Spare us.

Besides there really is new evidence which points to any child coming from a union of first cousins suffers a higher increase in health problems or birth defects. If EastEnders are going to pursue this line, then they should have the balls to go whole hog, with a pregnancy and a child born who's genetically affected by such inbreeding. But such things don't happen in BranningVille.

Secondly, this couple have absolutely zilch chemistry or charisma. Neither is even likeable. Both are lazy, entitled, dishonest and totally irrelevant as positive characters in any way. What's to like about Lauren or Joey? Some may think they are pretty people, but that's about as far as it goes. And, really, the Brannings and their satellites - Max and Carol apart - are really the most amoral people and the most hypocritical. They think nothing of sharing each other's spouses and treating it as if it were the most natural thing in the world, so why wouldn't Joey think it was all right for him and LipGirl to be - as he put it (and it was just about the only word I understood)  togevvah?

Truly, the only reason Max is so watchable and interesting is that, unlike the rest of his tribe, he's totally amoral and owns the fact. He doesn't make excuses or blame anyone else, and on more than one occasion, he's assumed the blame for something that totally and equally relates to Tanya.

As hateful as BranningVille is to watch, it does occasionally have its moments - such as the full-masted scene between Tanya, in what her idea of a middle-class matron would wear, complete with gloves, even - accosting Max, out of earshot of Joey, demanding that Max throw Joey out of the house for upsetting Lauren. Joey, according to Tanya, was "messing wiv'er friends," and they had to sort it out.

Wait a minute. This mollycoddling is getting to be preposterous now. Lauren is eighteen years old. Instead of being in full-time schooling, trying to better herself academically, or even working to contribute to the family budget, she's lolling about the house doing nothing, getting money on demand from Tanya and getting drunk - does Tanya even remember she suggested Lauren go for a drink? 

Yet here Tanya is, running around after Lauren, figuratively wiping her ass. Lauren's upset because Joey's there - if Yummy Mummy would stop promoting her own brand for a minute, she'd see that maybe there's something going on under her own roof that needs her intervention as a parent. But she won't see it until it's too late, and then it will be all Max's fault again. She treats Lauren like a child younger than Fauntleroy Rickman, and all she's managed to do is create a monster of a little bitch who'll demand to get what she wants or she'll cause havoc - like trying to kill someone.

The end of that scene, when Tanya, breezily, greets Joey and then turns up her oiker nose in disgust is classic. But it will be lost on all the Tanyapologists, the Yummy Mummy shippers and wannabe sucklers and the Mr Jameses of this world.

Tanya is a bitch. More than a bitch, she is a closet drunk, whose behaviour was influenced by her mother, who - herself -is a bully, a bitch and an old drunk. And Lauren has learned the same behaviour from them both. But EastEnders is too louche to even portray a storyline which would explore the history of alcohol abuse amongst the Cross wenches.

Moving onto Jack, or as he wishes ... Shack. Who the hell does he think he is? It's November. He's known Sharon since the end of August - little more than two months - and he's dictating what she can and can't do? Well, being a devil's advocate, what the hell did she expect and how did she expect him to act? She virtually turned on the whore machine in a ploy to get him to let her stay at his flat - which has one bedroom, incidentally. She literally slept with him to get a place to stay for her and her kid. Sorry, but aren't there flats for rent in Walford? People with less of a salary than Sharon's on live in flats - the Chryeds can't even scrape together five hundred nicker to pay off Danny, yet they live in a meticulously and expensively decorated flat with a designer caffetiere with matching mugs on display.

The Sharon of old would have pulled herself up by her stilettos and found a place for her son and herself on her tod or else taken up Phil's offer. But it's so obvious she's in love with Phil and afraid of going back to what it really is she wants. So, yeah, Sharon, the bloke you sleep with every night - even though we know he's as boring as a stick of wood and as unlikeable and you probably have your woowoo full of splinters as a price for your precipitous actions - would have something to say about you're getting involved with Phil's scheme.

But, wait a minute ... this is Jack Branning. The same Jack Branning who took the advice of his singularly deficiente niece and forged one of his babymammas' signatures on his daughter's passport application. This is the same Jack Branning who was going to run away with his brother's wife and kids, even though it was against the law to remove the kids from the country without their father's consent. This is the same Jack Branning who got heavily involved with drug dealers whilst in the force, resulting in his daughter being disabled for life. This is the same Jack Branning who thinks being a good parent is throwing money monthly at the various babymammas dotted about the globe, so what the hell right does he have, taking the moral high ground in telling Sharon that what she's doing is wrong?

People say Phil treats women like possessions, but what was Jack doing exactly tonight - assuming that Sharon would even want to take a weekend break, especially since her son was coming off mumps, not letting her get a word in edgeways. Again, this was the Branning Sharon, one that I don't like, who let Jack needle her down to the point that she wanted to refuse Phil again. And she didn't go ahead with this until Jack "gave his permission." Also, Jack took it upon himself to "get Joey to cover for her at the club." Hello? Sharon is the manager. Her duties take her to the club during day hours, to sort the cash, make orders etc. Joey, during that time, is a car lot attendant, on commission, working for his uncle. During the evening, he tends bar, probably at minimum wage. Jack does not own R and R anymore, and it's down to Sharon to get permission from Phil for time off and for Phil to arrange cover. Not Jack. Who the fuck does he think he is?

What a pillock.

Two things stood out here - Sharon's face at the end of her first scene with Jack when he toddled off, making the decision for them, to have a weekend away because he was fed up being cooped up with a sick kid. Her face was an absolute picture of disgust. The second incident was Jack saying to Phil at the end: "I'm watching you."

Really? Really, Jack? You're watching Phil Mitchell? Please, live up to your nickname: Joke. Joke Branning.

And Shaggerman is rearing his ugly head tonight again. Please, EastEnders, the majority of your viewers are not thick as pigshit and we all know that Derek has been shagging Kat, who was well out of order with Roxy tonight. Roxy was right. Kat was too tired to work, but not too tired to get squiffed with Kim, who - yet again - was terribly unfunny. What's funny about a B and B where the landlady can't be arsed to fix a proper breakfast and makes her tenants ill?

And if I do recall correctly, it was Kat who objected to Alfie moving Tommy into his own room, and now it's she who wants him to stay there, but Alfie wanting him moved back. She's still a lying liar and a cheat, and I hope when Alfie finds out the real truth, he kicks her skanky ass out and gets together with Roxy. Only, please, EastEnders, stop trying to make us think that Jack shagged Kat or even that it was Max. And don't remind us of that awful football storyline either, as all of this segued nicely into the scene where the Brannings all fall out with Derek.

Jesus Christ, EastEnders used to be the master of subtle surprised leading up to Christmas. Now, it's though they have a master's degree in stating the bleeding obvious.

In point of fact, the best scene tonight was the brief scene in the cafe between Carol and Ian, when Ian is fully apprised of the rude way Lucy treated Carol. I hope the new, improved Ian is more involved with Bianca and her children, because she's his niece, and - if anyone points out why I didn't include Bianca in that gaggle of Brannings - it's because Bianca is more Beale than Branning. She's abrasive and loud, the way Pauline could be at times, and just as opinionated as Lou. And as feckless as her grandfather Pete. Ian's understatement that he would try and get Lucy to see differently and his sincere apology touched Carol.

Maybe it will be down to Bianca to lose her rag and tell Lucy a few home truths about the way Lucy treats her father, who happens to be Bianca's uncle. Here's hoping.

The continuing saga of Chryed.

Gary Lucy is good, and - like Jesse Birdsall - he was wasted on a guest stint on this show. EastEnders is crying out for both men to join this cast. Danny Vincent has been the most interesting part of l'affaire Chryed, largely because he understood Syed and what he was all about far better than Christian did.

I'm blogging this weekend about Christian and his less-than-saintly past, but I have to cite the DS commentator Miss Lola, for pegging Christian brilliantly. What is happening to Christian now is karma for what he did to Amira. He was the catalyst by which Syed came out, after Christian also forced him to admit that he didn't want to settle down in material marital bliss with Amira. Now Danny comes along and susses that Syed really isn't ready to settle down with the first man with whom he's had a real relationship.

Syed as good as admitted that tonight - that he got scared when Christian was plumping for a comfy homelife with a kid. But Christian is forty years old, and he's sewn his oats. Danny was right on Thursday and tonight - Christian with Syed would always be clocking Syed, because Syed would always be looking over his shoulder for something better. As well, Syed did come onto Danny first.

Danny came back to the restaurant because he was attracted to Syed, threw out some signals and Syed responded. The excuse Syed gave Christian tonight about having gone with Danny to prove that he could still exist away from Christian, that he was still his own person, is the classic excuse a person whose bored in a marriage gives for having had an affair and got caught. As Danny pointed out to Syed and as I said yesterday, Chryed have some serious trust issues, and they've only just got married. Syed was lying to his husband the day he married him.

And the cheek of him to approach Masood for money, even at AJ's suggestion. I find this incomprehensible. Yes, five hundred quid is a lot of money if you don't have it; and Syed doesn't. But Christian is a personal trainer, and they are expensive. He also is contracted out to teach boxing and fitness in the gym. And he took a job abroad early in the year, which - he told Christian - he'd earned enough money that he could buy Amira out of her share of the business she'd formed with Syed ... so, instead of confronting Danny and getting in a fracas with him, he couldn't fish up five hundred pounds and pay him off to be rid of him? Seriously. That would be more believeable than the gunfight in the OK Corral (minus the guns but with the serious threat of approaching the police about fraud) that we had to endure.

Please. Things can only get better with this shower, because they certainly can't get any worse ... can they? Here comes the stagecoach filled with, yes, Deadwood ...

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