Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Christopher Reason's Alliterative Exercise - Review: Tuesday 04.06.2013

Alliteration: a literary term; the repeated use of a consonant sound in poetry or prose.

Please listen to this musical example of alliteration:-

Helplessly hoping ... that just about sums up EastEnders at the moment ... well, it sums up the vast majority of their viewing audience, what's left of them. Those of us still hanging on are helplessly hoping the harlequins who hover about Albert Square harmoniously impart worthy words of wisdom written by the writers who breathe life into their lungs.

Alliterative enough for you?

I don't blame Christopher Reason for reverting to alliterative dialogue tonight, given the tripe he was given by the storyliners. We had more of sitcom situations and teen angst, but we had some glimmerings of hope and an example par excellence that Reason really does know how to write for select, established and iconic characters.

Let's get the tripe out of the way first.

The Snake.

It speaks volumes for the state of the show that the premier story featured in tonight's episode was something taken straight from a 1970s sitcom featuring an elderly woman, a mischievous child, a vicar, a tart and a po-faced woman.

Honestly speaking, it truly was lifted straight from a sitcom. Corrie has gentle humour, yes; but you got the feeling tonight that this was something entirely different from what most people know as EastEnders. Indeed, it felt like a pilot for a proposed situation comedy series.

Can't you imagine The Radio Times: Dot's efforts to interview for the church warden's job are thwarted when Bobby's pet snake decides to snooze in her handbag and make its presence known at an inopportune moment.

Tarts and vicars ... Really, Lorraine? Which storyliner spent a week in a B and B in Blackpool listening to off-colour jokes by Northern comics? I was expecting an actress and a bishop joke.

Everything about this was rank, unfunny and, frankly, embarrassing. From Poopy-Le-Dim's unfunny screams, to the exhortations about "manning up" and "girl power," to the the unsurprising revelation that Kim's up-market massage student is, in fact, a prostitute. Not only has the B and B had a shutdown by Health and Safety over hygiene issues, it's now going to be exposed as a brothel.

Did you get a look at the rogue's gallery sat around the dining room at breakfast in the B and B? Sam the Sham, Sharon, Jay, Fatboy ... every isolated waif and stray without a hope or home in Walford wind their way to the B and B. For at least sixty quid per night. Sharon might be able to afford those prices and Sam the Sham as a builder, but Jay and Fatboy? The only resident missing at the breakfast table was Shirley.

Remember how Bryan Kirkwood rounded up all the elderly residents of Albert Square and situated them under Dot's roof? Well, everyone without a place, a partner or a purpose in Albert Square invariably ends up at Kimberly's Palace.

One of the most embarrassing scenes in the snake sitcom was Jamie Borthwick's and Khali Best's pisspoor attempt a comedy, each outdoing the other in feigned cowardice when trying to find the snake. NuBobby is just another cocky stageschool kid with contrived dialogue to make him seem more like Ian's son - the worst part of Ian, that is - only worried about losing money on his pet, ne'mind the fact that the snake, as an exotic pet, is now an unwanted pet. He's not upset that his pet may be missing or dead, he's upset at losing twenty quid. NuBobby is just as obnoxious as Tiffany Butcher.

Lastly, we get a bargain in Pantomime Dot - the bobbing head and manic run, eyes popping, arms flailing, legs kicking - as well as sanctimonious Dot, taking the po-faced, patronising curate to task for masquerading modernisation for a pithy attempt to bring people back to the church and religion. And doing a pretty good job, as well, at revealing the vicar to be as shallow as his prim and proper curate. Dot's attempt, however, at illustrating the divine order of things as evidenced by parishoners, priest and Divine Being only served to emphasize that, whereas Christianity preaches equality before God, Dot is more comfortable with a hierarchical view of religion and society, a bit like this ...

There's probably something Biblically symbolic, too, about the snake, the vicar and the prostitute which goes back to Genesis and the fall of Man, but I suppose Dot was too shocked at the circumstances to remember that. Instead, EastEnders played to the peanut gallery again, and attempted some cheap laughs, the cheapest being Fatboy's asinine dialogue with the Vicar. Arthur is the middle-class son of a bank manager. He went to prep school. He's not ignorant enough to refer to the local vicar as "His Holiness" (a term reserved only for the Pope). Frankly, that was unfunny and embarrassing also.

Oh, and there's also probably some literary symbolism obliquely hidden as well, considering that the snake has long been a phallic symbol, but since none of the viewing public would understand the concept of symbolism, much less symbolism, itself, we'll just leave it a cheap and unsuccessful attempt at humour.

That EastEnders chose to have this poor excuse of a story dominate tonight's proceedings tells you everything you need to know about what's wrong with this show.

The Bitch Boys' Greatest Hit

This is not Jay and Cock:-

(Wait ... was that Old Ben in the audience?)

The other major emphasis tonight was the younger teens' quest for Jay and Cock to raise enough money to pay for theirs, Abi's and Lola's proposed holiday. That's it ... Jay and Cock do all the work, and the gals come along for the ride, as decrees Abi the Dough-Faced Brat.

Max offers them 500 quid for a made-up H-reg Beemer, which is generous, no matter how nice the car looks. It's not a classic. Jay gets shirty. Abi gets worried. Ne'mind ... if Abi passes her exams, Daddy Dearest will pay for her holiday.

This is the reason I hate the Branning girls. All entitlement to the core. Abi wants a holiday. She wants Jay to pay. It never once entered her pea-brain that she could get a part-time job and earn enough to contribute to that holiday as well. Work at McKlunkeys, bus tables in the cafe, dish chips in the chippie - hell, sweep the hair off the floor in her mother's salon. But no, Abi just stuffs her fat face and demands Jay put out the money.

Nothing happened here, other than Sam the Sham snookered Jay into selling him the car for the asking price of a thousand quid. Talk about buying your son's affection ... although Cock doesn't know who bought the car ... yet. But he will, because Abi doesn't like to lie. Yeah, pull the other one.

Oh, and incongruity issue ... why does Cock refer to Abi as his cousin, yet refers to Max, his uncle, as "Mr Branning?"

Go figure.


The Menopausal Minute.

Here's a song for Carol:-

Masood is back, and what is the point of Ajay?

Is he yet another ethnic hired to fill a diversity quota on EastEnders? Meaning, was he hired to cover the departure of Zainab/Syed/both? If so, that's disgusting. And racist.

It's just that Ajay's been around now for a year, and he's done nothing. He is as undeveloped and underdeveloped as he was the day he arrived - lazy, gormless, too laid back for his own good. He's about as much a mechanic as Ava the Rava is a Deputy Head, for all the times we see him in the Arches.

It seems he exists only for someone, other than Tamwar, off whom Masood can bounce and react.

So, tonight we learned that Syed and Christian are living in Birmingham and are just like any other old middle class couple. And that's about it. Carol hasn't returned his calls and didn't want to talk to him this evening.

Well, we know why ... it's the same old same old menopausal cliche of Carol feeling "less like a woman."

Man up, FFS. You're past fifty and a grandmother five times over. Get a grip, for goodness' sake.

Masood and Carol, two characters of the same age demographic thrown together by an executive producer who, though mindful of the fact that her predecessor ripped apart any and all couplings on the Square, still hasn't realised the concept of sexual chemistry when it comes to pairings.

The (Welcome) Return of the Natives.

Walford's premier princesses - two daughters of iconic Alpha male Vic landlords (with feet of clay), brought up in the Vic, joining forces against the scion of another Vic family, who has links to both ladies, and one-upping him.

What a beaut of a tribute! And how wonderful was it seeing Janine and Sharon working together in tandem like that. I've always said that Janine and Sharon should be friends. They have a lot in common, as mentioned above, and Sharon, actually, used to babysit Janine for Pat and Frank when Janine was a small child - although it behooved Newman's/Kirkwood's writing room to forget this conveniently and have Sharon introduce herself to Janine when she first returned to Walford. Not only did Sharon babysit Janine, Janine was resident in Walford during the time Sharon was there during her last stint. Sharon even threw Janine out of the Vic for insulting Peggy back in 2001.

A Sharon-Janine friendship would be realistic and effective, and we saw what it would entail tonight. Phil loves Sharon, and he grudgingly respects Janine, who used to be his stepsister.

The writing was brilliant for all three tonight. Not only did we get a chance to she Sharon as Sharon was supposed to be - familiarly strong, feisty, open-minded and enjoying the verbal sparring - we got to see Phil enjoying the baiting as well, being presented as the ultimate male Luddite, and a different, and pleasant side to Janine.

Line of the night was her alliterative utterance about "beer-bellied blokes."

Great scenes. And it proves that Reason, one of the longest-serving writers, knows the characters of Phil, Janine and Sharon.

These three are iconic characters whose places in EastEnders ooze importance, along with Ian Beale. For any millenial upstart to question the importance of these characters in relation to the history of this programme is utter sacrilege. These four, alone, are worth a tonne of Brannings.

You're No Good.

Mr Passive-Aggressive is at it again. Manipulative Michael (there's that alliteration again).

If anyone was ever in any doubt about Michael being totally and utterly bad, then prove was given tonight, the way he informed Alice that the fact Janine still had feelings for him, or else she wouldn't be harbouring the photo-shopped picture of them as a couple hovering over Scarlett's sickbed. Michael interprets this as vulnerability on Janine's part, and when a woman is vulnerable, Michael scents blood. (Michael punches down, remember; he never punches his weight).

Some unthinking numpties, especially the swooning female contingent on Digital Spy (and a few fanbois) are starting to whine about EastEnders making Michael unlikeable now that his end as a character is near. You plebeian dumbasses, don't you realise that Michael Moon has always been a pejorative character.

He has no compassion, no heart. He doesn't give a rat's arse about anyone but himself. His battle for his daughter isn't borne of love, it's borne of the fact that he views her as a possession, something that he doesn't want his wife to have. He as good as admitted tonight his tactics in undermining Janine's fragile self-esteem when she'd come through the wringer of a difficult pregnancy, a traumatic birth, the wedding from hell, the constant pressure from locals who bullied her relentlessly, and a sick child, not to mention her post-partum hormones. In fact, he wanted Alice to cultivate and prey upon that vulnerability.

The fact that all it took for Alice was an afternoon eating chocolates with Janine to convince her that Michael was wrong in planning to do what he did, and she took great pleasure in telling him that Janine didn't even want to hear his name mentioned, much less, listen to sob story lies about him looking haunted and lost without her love.

Michael was never supposed to be a positive character, and the fact that so many women are stupid enough to find his actions attractive is disconcerting at best and stupid at worst.

I predict he'll leave in a box, but he won't kill himself unless it's accidental. Psychopaths never do. They love themselves to much. And please, don't hold his sainted mother up as an example. This was a woman who controlled her husband relentlessly with suicide attempts, until one backfired.

Apart from the all-too-brief vignettes featuring Janine, Michael, Alice, Phil and Sharon, this was tautological tripe.


  1. I've actually missed 2 weeks of Eastenders. Couldn't have cared less.

    Yesterday however, I decided to watch it, since having nothing else to do.

    Now I remember why I stopped watching.
    I simply don't care for it anymore.

    The plots drag on and go nowhere by the end of them.
    Honestly, why should we care about EE when even them themselves don't care?
    Yesterday's episode was one of, if not the worst I've ever seen.
    Ending on kid characters I don't give two shits about.

    I know about filler episodes...but this was simply something else, it was awful. Seriously bad.

    I think I'm nearly done with the programme, I really do. If it doesn't pick up , then that's me gone forever.
    Why should I keep coming back to watch crap?
    It's the only I thing I really watch on BBC....If it wasn't for Russell Howard and Family Guy, I would take a shotgun to however steals my tele licence fees.

  2. EE was shit last night. No other words for it. Apart from the Sharon, Phil and Janine scenes nothing was of note. And those scenes were tiny maybe a minute at most.