Friday, November 23, 2012

The Branning Show: Inbreds, Mouth-Breathers and Poseurs - Review 23.11.2012

This is for the girl who's in EastEnders, who really wants the talent of Jennifer Lawrence, but knows she doesn't have it, so she tries to look like her instead. One thing for certain, she's always cognizant of a camera being nearby, whether it's filming or on the red carpet as a Z-List celebrity doing her other part-time job of being professional beard girlfriend for Tony Discipline.

Strike a pose, Jossa - you and your underwear model friends. That's about all you can do when a camera is about:-

This was such a non-event. What's more depressing is that from here on out, the show is going to be wall-to-wall Brannings and untalented juveniles.

Oh goody.

The most interesting aspect of tonight's offering was Ava's storyline - albeit more than a bit of Swiss Cheese in the holes it had in relation to adoption procedures in the Fifties and Sixties. Private adoptions still had to be handled by a solicitor with Social Services overseeing the event, and the child still was not removed from his/her mother as immediately as Cora said.

Still, this is EastEnders, where research is a dirty word, and a white woman can get pregnant by a black man and give birth to a baby that's 100% Afro-Caribbean. A parallel universe, all right.

I am sorry. The character of Ava seems competent, well-adjusted and well-spoken. We know she probably isn't, because she'a an educated professional in a position of trust in the community, which means ...

But the actress who plays Ava is not bi-racial. Clare Perkins may be one of the strongest actresses to appear in the show in recent years, and that may, ultimately, have been the reason Lorraine Newman hired her; but it is patently obvious that this woman is not bi-racial. She is not even mixed race. She may, distantly, have had a Caucasian ancestor; but she is not bi-racial. 

And that is an important element of Ava's character make-up. She was raised by white adoptive parents, and given the best sort of up-bringing, by the sounds of it; but there was also intimation that she didn't fit in - not because of the standard situation described by bi-racial people from that era - that they were neither white nor black, that they were too white for their black families and too black for their white families and somewhere in a netherworld inbetween. She didn't fit in precisely because she was a black child being raised by white parents in the Sixties.

At first, I thought maybe Newman had hired this actress because of her talent and strength in her acting ability. Now, I think it was more for the shock factor - they hired an actress as dark as possible, without being as dark as Patrick or Denise, light-skinned enough so that she might fit the bill of what some people, ignorant and coccooned in their white privileged world, might consider to be bi-racial; but dark enough to signify a stark contrast between herself and her blonde fair-skinned sister, Tanya.

Yes, the shock factor. Sensationalism. EastEnders goes big for that, especially with the Brannings.

And this is incongruous, because EastEnders has always been meticulous about hiring bi-racial actors whenever the occasion rose - Belinda Owusu, the child who plays Morgan, and Ricky Norwood are all bi-racial actors who play or played bi-racial characters. Specifically, they were characters who have or had one black parent and one white parent, and they reflected that.

As the Walford Web commentator rosalie explains, this isn't about skin pigmentation, it's about bi-racial people displaying facial characteristics of their Caucasian parent, regardless of their skin colour.

Ava couldn't look like this:-

Or this:-

both of whom are bi-racial women. Ava had to look as black as possible for the shock factor which goes in tandem with anything Branning.

I would like to see her story end here, with her rejection of Cora, because the story, itself, and the character of Ava, were twofold: first, as a means of softening up the character of Cora, whom someone someplace is intent on installing as the resident matriarch of Albert Square, although she's more like the resident drunk. (Plus, her advice stinks).

Secondly, with Jo Joyner leaving, there has to be some sort of family on whom Cora the lag has to focus. So they created Ava. At the time this episode was filmed, they obviously hadn't thought of her son, Dexter, yet; and although she said she had never married, herself, they'll retcon a husband for her.

Already, Ann Mitchell is lobbying for a retcon for Cora. Tonight, she revealed that Ava's father was West Indian, but she's pushing for TPTB to hire an American actor to take on the role.

Please. No. This is not The Cora Show, and it's not supposed to be The Branning Show.

The vignette with Ava tonight revealed brilliantly the total selfish fuckwit hypocrite that Tanya is. Ava's birth and existence was none of her business. That was something for Cora to reveal to her and in Cora's own time. The only reason Tanya wanted to find Ava was for her own selfish reasons, and it became more socially conscious when she discovered that Ava was a Deputy Headmistress.

Oh yes, and the shock factor came to the fore when she saw her sister was black.

But once again, Tanya made this all about her tonight - brushing Lauren aside - not once but twice - first, so she could spend some more time pumping Ava for information, and secondly when she was eavesdropping at the door of the lounge, having been summarily asked to leave by Cora. Lauren was in need of some parental guidance - I mean, she'd just fucked her cousin, after all; and yet, Tanya was demanding why no one ever asked if she were all right.

Life doesn't get any easier, Lauren. Especially when you leave town in a stolen car with no money, no job and no prospects.

If anyone carried this aspect of the episode tonight, it was Clare Perkins, in a perfectly understated performance. Someone should tell Ann Mitchell that EastEnders is not the stage and she's not playing Hecuba. I know some people sing her praises, but she's hammy and tonight gave credence to why she never progressed beyond the peripheries of Maggie Smith and Judy Dench. It's also why Smith is in Downton Abbey and Mitchell's in Walford.

The rest of the borefest was the Inbreeding saga of Joey and Lauren, cousins who fucked once and love each other after five minutes. 

Lauren is seriously stupid. Joey tells her he deliberately injured himself because - as I understand it, because he doesn't speak clearly - Derek is so manipulative that he had to be taught a lesson; so ... errrr .. Joey manipulates Alice into leaving Walford (and later manipulates Lauren into doing so also). Anyone with half a brain would have alarm bells going off in their head, thinking ... wait a minute? Who's manipulating whom here?

This so-called "forbidden love" story is pants. OK, first cousins coupling is not illegal, but it's a hillbillyish, inbred sort of thing to do. This is the sort of thing residents of Mississippi get ragged about regularly. It's just considered "not very nice."

It's nothing to do with "oh-they-weren't-brought-up-together", the bloodlines are too close for comfort. Jesus, read your history. Look at pictures of the Spanish Hapsburgs. If Joey and Lauren have a kid, his mouth will be hanging open so much, he'll be dragging his lower lip around the square and tripping on it.

I am sure that someone has told David Witts and Hetty Bywater, in their modeling days, that an open-mouthed pout is sexy. It's not. It makes them look like mental deficients.

Jossa really needs to get over playing to the camera. We know you're an actress, love, make us believe you're the character. 

As for Jamie Foreman, I think he's in total I-don't-give-a-fuck mode and is just going OTT, and I see they've retconned the Brannings yet again. Tonight, when Derek made it abundantly clear to Lauren that he knew she'd been fucking about with Joey, he mentioned the first time he'd come to visit her - when she was four years old.

I'm confused. How old is Joey supposed to be exactly? Lauren and MahAliceMahAngel are eighteen. Derek didn't remember Alice or wasn't aware of her existence when she cropped up, and Joey was seven when his old man left. If Derek were away for fourteen years, then Joey would be twenty-one now, but that would mean that Alice was four when he went inside. I suppose she could have been so bland he forgot her existence, considering that this is Alice. Yet just earlier this week, Derek remarked that Joey was in his mid-twenties.

I still think that Joey's only concern is Alice, and that fucking Lauren is a substitute because fucking Alice would be beyond the pale. So now that big bad Derek has found out about their horny little secret, what do they do? Steal Derek's Jag and head out of Walford with Lauren driving.

That's a catastrophe. Especially Joey's parting words to Derek:


Yeah, sure. So they leave Walford with a stolen car, no insurance on it, no money, no jobs and oodles of skills to offer. Yes, Lauren, as Joey told her, this will mean no one nagging you, no one getting at you, complete freedom ... until Joey starts nagging, controlling and manipulating you. You can't live on love, and you ain't in love.

The crash was a shit piece of stuntery. It's just a shame they weren't killed.

Speaking of shit ... that scene in the pub, when Bag o'Bones Beale attacked Lauren was embarrassing. The choosing between the girlfriends and Turdhopper was a joke.

This is supposed to get us excited for Christmas?


Message to Lorraine Newman from Zombie Universe:-

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