One could be forgiven for thinking that EastEnders 2.0 is a show written by hypocrites, for hypocrites, about hypocrites.
As the Thursday episode revealed just how easy it is for the show to veer from the sublime to the ridiculous in less than a week, the reaction to last night's episode by people with a short memory span and the inability to think critically makes me worried that the show is pandering to this unfortunate demographic, which seems to be growing alarmingly.
If that's the case, then EastEnders risks becoming the soap for the stupid.
Take the fora, for example, and their reaction to Roxy.
Roxy, for most viewers inhabiting the realms of Digital Spy and the Walford Web Bullyboi Emporium, like Dawn Swann before her (and more of Dawn in the course of the review), was always labelled a "slut."
Roxy had numerous one night stands with men whose names she could never remember. Worst of all, Roxy slept with (in the words of the imbeciles who post on the fora) "her sister's man." (These people obviously think that some sort of enslavement bondage still exists these days). In fact, Roxy slept with Sean Slater at the same time as she slept with "her sister's man."
Roxy pursued Max Branning, when Max was in a committed relationship with the brave cancer-ridden Tanya (and was secretly married to Kirsty at the same time). Roxy then pursued Alfie, a married man, and when his marriage blew apart, she immediately stepped into the breach left by Kat.
In fact, there were people who dwelled on the fact that, when Roxy wanted to confess her love to Alfie, she suggested that they "go upstairs." These same people were adamant that Roxy intended a night of seduction, after that suggestion.
Now Roxy is the wronged woman, the saint who was wronged by the despicable Alfie, who - by one erstwhile Brain of Britain posting on Digital Spy - is now deemed responsible for the entire babyswap debacle.
Ah, the babyswap rears its head again, because somehow, these people sucked into the Mitchell Sisters' myth, have forgotten that what Ronnie Mitchell did to the Moons is far, far worse than what Alfie did to Roxy.
The Mitchells are coming out of this looking like petty, vindictive, entitled thugs,and Roxy is acting like a spoiled child. Funny, how before all of this, Roxy couldn't even count on one finger the number of friends she had in Walford.
There's one hell of a storyline brewing between the Mitchell Sisters, but TPTB at the show - be they Newman or DTC - wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.
But it's there for all to see.
The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name
Remember Archie and Ronnie? How Archie oozed ultra control in every aspect of Veronica's life? Remember how once, in a fit of piqued honesty, Roxy remarked that Ronnie was just like their father, an observation that resulted in Ronnie doing to Roxy exactly what Michael Moon did to Janine a few weeks before his death - she grabbed Roxy by the neck and shoved her up against a wall.
Yeah, Ronnie loves Roxy, all right. Her final giggled words in Thursday's episode were her declared love for her sister. But this is the love that dare not speak its name. So with Archie and Veronica, now we have Ronnie being the Archie to Roxy's Ronnie.
Ronnie loves Roxy. She likes to manipulate her into a position where she's undermined Roxy's self-esteem to the point that whatever Roxy does is a hot mess for Ronnie to sort out. As Ronnie remarked, in Tuesday's episode, that Roxy couldn't live without Ronnie in her life, that Ronnie's sole ambition was to make Roxy happy.
Theirs is a co-dependent relationship that goes way beyond that of Max and Tanya Branning. In fact, its creepy, and this time around, it comes with the added darkness of thought that, given the opportunity, Ronnie would ply Roxy with drink enough to bring on a fit of the crying jags with a dollop of self-pity, and then jump her bones.
In fact, this time around, Ronnie reminds me more and more of this gentleman, on whom, many observed Archie was based. Harken unto the dialogue here, and you'll get my drift.
Ronnie's modus operandi with Roxy is to keep her as a doll, a toy, a childwoman, whom she can encourage to misbehave in whatever way Roxy wants, knowing that Ronnie will be there to pick up the pieces; and each time Roxy lashes out and asserts some sort of independence, Ronnie's there to remind her how much she'll mess up so Ronnie will come to her rescue.
The truth is that Roxy will never be able to have a relationship properly as long as Ronnie is around, and Ronnie must always be a part of Roxy's life. That's now self-evident. Ronnie broke up Roxy's relationship with Damien, by pretending that Damien had assaulted her. She tried to break up her relationship with Sean by goading him into hitting her.
If you want to see Ronnie at her best, watch this clip where Roxy announces that she's pregnant and clock Ronnie's reaction and Roxy's response. In fact, catch it from the 2:50 mark onwards, and pay attention to Roxy's dialogue:-
All my life,I thought you had my best interests at heart, but that's not it. You can't stand me going off, making my own life, growing up ... Control. Well, YOU CAN'T HAVE ME!
You see, from time to time, Roxy recognises what Ronnie's about, that her life's motive is to control Roxy's every move; but whenever she reiterates this, Ronnie orchestrates a situation so that Roxy becomes co-dependent on Ronnie again. Once Roxy bucked against Ronnie's demand that she have an abortion, then Ronnie had a BOGOF moment. She decided that the pair of them would run off - where else? - to Ibiza, where Roxy would have the baby and they would raise it together. Bugger the father, who, at the time was presumed to be Sean.
And what happened then? Roxy ran away from Ronnie the Control Freak. She ran away from the monkey and went to the organ-grinder, himself, Archie.
Ronnie and Roxy can only go the way of Archie and Ronnie. The chemistry between the two of them will rise to such a point that Ronnie will be unable to sustain herself and she'll force her attentions on Roxy.
And Roxy will kill her.
Dominic Treadwell-Collins, take note.
The Queen of Ibiza.
How appropos that this is frequently used as wedding music as well.
Pathetic line of the night goes to Roxy:-
I used to be the Queen of Ibiza.
Yeah, love, but how long ago was that? Have you looked in the mirror? To paraphrase your cousin Sam, whose son is your daughter's half-brother as well as second cousin, you're the wrong side of thirty, four years off forty (in fact) and the mother of a child you often neglect. Why, it was only last year, about this time, that you were giving her crisps for her tea at Michael Moon's house.
All you'd get from running back to Ibiza would be nights spent in the arms of drunken party louts too wasted to realise they were bonking flesh almost old enough to have given birth to them, and a nasty rash around your nether regions.
Roxy's too good for Alfie Moon and all Kat would get from this would be a life behind a bar?
Well, tell me, what exactly is Roxy qualified to do? According to her sister, she can't even look after a dog. She went through millions of pounds in less than two years to the extent that she couldn't even pay the rent on her flat. We know from her stints in positions of authority at the Vic, that she's an atrocious manager. And as she's getting pretty long in the tooth, her chances of finding a rich sugar daddy are few and far between. Max Branning binned her off as hamburger.
Of course, she's angry about Alfie's behaviour, and whoever the writer was who made Alfie say he'd never have left Roxy if she'd not told him to go, is just another exponent of anti-male sentiment abounding on the programme these days.
Roxy's been dumped by big, bad Alfie, whose ex-wife has just been itching all year to "take over Roxy's life."
Sorry, love, you're wrong. The one who's been itching to take over your life right now is faux Mommy Dearest, who wants to take you shopping for new shiny things and who'll get you drunk so she can have her wicked way. Forget about Amy. Phil can look after Amy.
How incompetent is Roxy? She didn't even know how to remove the licencee sign on the pub. Ronnie Dearest had to tell her, and for all their giggling session at the end of their scene, Roxy was genuinely happy because she thought she'd asserted her independence from Alfie's betrayal, when, in fact, she'd just got herself ensnared in Ronnie's psycho-sexual net. Ronnie's laughter was because she'd got her plaything back.
I feel sorry for Amy.
Another piece of stupid dialogue was Alfie still wanting to be a part of Amy's life. That was pretty dumb of him to expect that, but at the same time, it was noble in a way, considering that Ronnie effected the immediate departure of Amy's father, who didn't even take time to say good-bye to her. At least Alfie made the effort.
All in All They're Just a Bunch of Pricks in a Wall.
I'll say it again, shall I?
What Alfie did was wrong, but what Ronnie did to him and Kat, pithy, contrived "forgiveness" aside (that was a plot device to rid the programme of the stain and bad smell left by the babyswap debacle), was far far worse and infinitely more evil and depraved. Yet she, because she is a Mitchell (and the retconned daughter of a retconned Mitchell, at that), is exonerated, unbelieveably released on licence, with no sight of a probation officer and plans to move abroad, much less work in the licencing trade, which she'd be forbidden to do under terms of her probation. She shows no sign of remorse, and from the moment of her return, Alfie, whose reaction to her presence was the most realistic presented, is portrayed as the bad guy.
As for the other people ...
Phil takes offence when someone disrespects his "fairmly" whilst Shirley the wrinkled old boot and her tagalong sister smirk at the Moons' discomfort. Time was, Phil "disrespected" Roxy, herself, by stealing the last iota of her fortune - in fact, it was money obtained by her and Alfie frantically selling off her last remaining assets in order to pay for Ronnie's wedding to Jack. Time was, Phil, himself, wasn't above sleeping with Roxy's mother, his aunt by marriage, and defiantly "disrespected" Shirley so much that he couldn't promise fidelity to her at all. Time was, Phil slept with the fiancee of his employee, Garry Hobbs, simply because he could, and discarded her like a worn-out toy when he tired of her. Those are the least of his offences.
Phil started the sibling spouse-sharing ball rolling when he slept with his brother's wife, and then callously threw her under the morality bus, blaming the affair on her to his sainted mother and brother. And it was Phil, who harboured a murderer in his home for months, his son, and was more than willing to see an innocent man convicted of Heather's murder, even when that man was his own cousin, Billy.
So Phil had no right to come the moral high ground with Alfie, simply because Alfie had jilted a cousin for whom Phil had no respect, himself. And kudos to Alfie for standing up to Phil and the gossiping horde in the pub, in declaring his love for Kat and nicely telling the rest of them to shove it up their collective arse.
No, Phil, it's not over; but Alfie Moon's spent time inside amongst the hardcases as well, and he's lived to tell the tale. Time to see the dark side of the moon.
As for Carol's disapproving stares ... tell me, is she for real? Her daughter orchestrated the Kat and Alfie reunion, and she, herself, is only stringing Mas along until she eventually decides to give David a bonk for comfort, but, no, Carol won't be the blame for that. And she won't see that she's done, on a lesser scale, the same thing to Masood as Alfie did to poor, innocent Roxy.
The fact that David is Bianca's father is simply ludicrous. Twenty years ago, when Patsy Palmer was a 21 year-old, playing a 16 year-old, it was just about believeable. Now she's a 41 year-old playing a 36 year-old, and it doesn't work. She's aged badly, and Michael French has aged well. At best, she looks his age. At worst, she looks older. Terry Alderton certainly does.
That situation's as absurd as the fortysomething guy playing Nick Tilsley in Corrie and the fact that the actress who plays his mother is only a few years younger than the actress who plays Audrey, her mother.
Epiphany in Walford This Year.
Well, Lauren sure will be having one ...
Of course, the Feast of the Epiphany, in Catholic countries, celebrates the visit of the three kings to the Christ child, traditionally thought to be the 6th of January - or, the old Twelfth Day of Christmas.
However, the word "epiphany" also means self-discovery.
Lauren is in love with Scuzzah Jake, who looks as though he smells,who's married to Sadie, who looks as if she's fragrant, and who has a daughter, Bella, who looks like Madeleine Duggan, who originally played Lauren.
Simplified, Lauren loves Jake who's married to Sadie and who's the father of Bella.
Stacey loved Max, who was married to Tanya and who was the father of Lauren.
Tanya loved Max, who was married to Rachel and who was the father of Bradley.
Lauren's always been Max's moral determinator, sitting in judgement of his amorality.
Now, the story's repeating itself, even to the extent that Lauren is insinuating herself into Sadie's trust, in exactly the same way Stacey did with Tanya.
The penny will drop when Lauren realises that she is just as bad as her parents in her behaviour.
I still can't invest in this storyline, however, knowing that Kate Magowan is departing at its end, and horse-mouthed Jamie Lomas is staying. He and Jossa have NO sexual chemistry, and she looks like an underaged kid being groomed in her scenes with him.
A Tale of Two Kidneys.
Hands up, who didn't see this coming?
As the time nears for the Newman Negroes to depart, we saw tonight just how truly awful, they really are, and I wish Khali Best, arguably one of the worst actors ever to appear in the show and who betrays an insulting racial stereotype, were going with them.
I have to laugh at all the forum numpties who praised Cornel S John to the hilt when he was cast, now only to disparage his acting. Ava the Rava's story has been retconned so many times, I've lost count. Tonight, Dexter's 21st birthday gave "Mum man" another excuse to take the day off school. By the way, she's leaving because she'll get another implausible teaching offer - mid-term, no less - in Newcastle. I can only imagine and applaud DTC for sending her as far away, mainland, as possible, instead of the usual EastEnders' staple of Manchester. She must really stink in his view. He should have sent her to Aberdeen or Fort William.
Then there's Cora-the-Bora, who's suddenly accepted deep within the bosom of her newly-acquired black family. Has no one remembered that Ava the Rava's REAL parents, the ones who adopted and raised her, are still alive? Why weren't they invited to something as important as their grandson's 21st birthday party? And Cora's remark ...
I haven't always liked Sam, but he's trying ...
WTF? Spoken like she's been his disapproving mother-in-law for years, and consider the way she pitched into help Ava, after the ridiculous banter about the cake, without a whimper, whereas her helping Tanya was non-existent. Tanya left her with the girls and money for expenses, and Cora drank and smoked it up.
And the teen saga at the pool hall - another racially stereotypical venue for black youths hanging out, although this was politically correctly stacked with white, well-spoken young lads - was embarrassing, as was the scene in the cafe where lilywhite Abi shows Lauren the piece of ghetto bling she's brought her newly-found black cousin.
Lauren doesn't want to go to the party.
Why? sniggles Abi (snort + giggle). It's a family party.
Don't you get it, Abi? Lauren doesn't consider Dexter family. A year ago, you didn't even know he existed. Gosh, her stupidity is annoying!
So Sam only returnned for Dexter's kidney, and both of them have made a remarkably swift recovery. They're partying, drinking and playing pool. But soon Sam the Sham and Ava the Rava will be distant history, and Dexter will take his rightful place in the Branning abode and will heretofore be known as Black Bradley.
Crap episode all around.