Thursday, November 7, 2013

ChavEnders: The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree - Review:07.11.2013

Line of the night goes to David Beale Wicks:-

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

In tonight's episode, we learned several things:-

  • That Walford is not only a borough filled with self-perpetuating female victims who are defined by their past (usually sexual abuse as children) and who use this trauma to excuse any inappropriate adult behaviour.
  • That Bianca is a retard.
  • That Walford also is a borough filled with shaven-headed men - Phil Mitchell, Max Branning and now the gormless, ineffectual replacement for Ricky Butcher, Terry Spraggan.
  • That Bianca is a retard.
  • That we're losing one piss-poor actor (David Witts) and now welcome an equally bad actor (Terry Alderton). If this is DTC's first casting, I'm now dubious.
  • That Bianca is a retard.
  • That, in Walford, witnesses are allowed to be intimidated freely.
  • That Bianca is a retard.
  • That there are far too many children and young adolescents in this programme.
  • That Bianca is a retard.
  • That Terry's youngest daughter is obviously the result of a mad night of passion betweeen himself and Heather Trott.
  • That Bianca is a retard.
  • That Alfie doesn't love Roxy as much as he loves Kat.
  • That Bianca is a retard.
  • That it's so obvious that ginger-mingers Jake Wood and Patsy Palmer have been away on holiday, as I'm sure HM prison and Manchester offered enough sand, sea, sun and surf to freckle them both profusely.
  • That Bianca is a retard.
  • That Bianca is selfish, stupid and simply not a good parent.
  • That Bianca is a retard.
  • That moving the heavily chavved Jackson-Butcher-wannabe Spraggans front and centre is not a very good idea.
Have I missed anything?

Anyway, David was obviously feeling his inner Beale with that remark, because it reminded me exclusively of something his Auntie Pauline or his grandmother Lou Beale would have said.

And it was true.

The Return of the Retard.

Although the episode was watchable, it was only so for the scenes involving Janine and Alfie and Kat.

I have to say it:- Terry Alderton - epic fail.

First of all, the character looks like a nonce. I'm sorry, but he does, and Bianca should know something about this sort of thing, because she's let a nonce into the house before.

She is the village idiot, and she's an entirely selfish individual and not a very good mother. What's interesting is that, in almost all her interviews, the actress Patsy Palmer defends Bianca as a good mother. 

She simply isn't.

It's not enough just to love your children. Sometimes loving a child means tough discipline - tough love. Doing things to protect them that might make you temporarily the bad cop. Being a parent also means making sacrifices for your kids to ensure that they have better than what you had.

Bianca is feckless. She's stupid and selfish. She is incapable of behaving like a responsible adult. On a day-to-day basis, she's incapable of dealing with her children as a parent, which is why it's always been left to Pat, and now Carol, to do the heavy and mundane work, with someone like Ricky as the dependable anchor.

She has known this man a total of two months, maybe less. Yes, he did feed her a shaggy dog story about losing his flat. So she's basically been landed with a homeless man and his two children. As Liam remarked, at least Terry's kids knew about the Butcher children's existence.

She's known this man a matter of weeks, and she sees fit to move him into her home, with her children, and this after having made an equally disastrous decision by the name of Tony King. You'd think she'd have learned by now, but then - as David was exhibiting his Beale characteristics tonight - Bianca was all Branning. As I've said, they neither learn nor evolve, like the ubiquitous Terry, who seems to be the latest Alfie Moon personality clone, but who comes across as distinctly Neanderthal ...

The guy is yet another in a long line of bad actors who've become associated with and pushed front and centre by EastEnders. 

I share Carol's scepticism, and I also caught the veiled reference to Ricky in Bianca's remark about some people not wanting to accept family responsibilities and run off. I suppose that could refer to David also, but it does include Bianca too.

And even the sainted Carol. Why? I'll explain. First, Ricky.

Let's dispel ourselves of the retconned notion pushed by Newman that Ricky abandoned Bianca. He simply didn't. Cast your mind back to January 2012, the day before David scarpered and the day after. Ricky had confessed to his one night stand with Mandy, and Bianca had forgiven him, encouraged to do so by a loved-up Carol, who told her that everyone deserved a second chance.

The day after David left her in the lurch, and Carol was ordering Bianca to turf Ricky out - not just out of the house, but out of Walford entirely, and he wasn't to see his children at all. Those were Carol's orders. Bianca didn't need a man at all. They were totally unreliable and couldn't be trusted. Ricky had to go; his infidelity couldn't be tolerated.

When Bianca reminded Carol that she, Bianca, had cheated on Ricky when they were previously married, with Dan Sullivan, Carol waved that away as "youthful indiscretion."

Now Bianca.

Bianca dumped Liam, as a toddler, with Ricky, when she ran off to "find herself." 

And Carol.

Carol's a great one. She cut Bianca out of her life entirely when she discovered that Bianca had been sleeping with her own fiance', Dan Sullivan - not only that, but that Bianca had been involved in an affair with Dan when he was a man in his thirties and she was fifteen.

And that's rape, as Bianca once told Whitney.

When Sonia decided to put Chloe up for adoption, Carol cut her cold, and never maintained contact after that until they were reunited at Bianca's second wedding to Ricky.

Another thing I didn't like was the Butcher kids making no mention of Ricky with the introduction of this stranger into their home. Because that's what he is - a stranger. Tiffany had spent months with Ricky last year through Christmas, and Liam stayed with him some weeks earlier this year. As for Morgan, this will be the fourth father he's had. No wonder he's confused.

ElTel Baldrick gave the wrong answer to Morgan's question about whether or not Spraggan was his new dad.

I'll be whatever you want me to be, Mowgan.

Wrong. Compare that to the answer Pat gave a teenaged Diane Butcher when Diane questioned Pat's role when she moved in with Frank.

I'll never be your mum, Diane. I wouldn't try to be. But I can be your friend.

Now for the two stageschool divas playing the Spraggan Sprogs.

Children should be seen in soaps and not heard. 

In fact, these two may as well have had yellow post-its plastered to their foreheads marked STAGESCHOOL KID, it was so obvious.

The boy is the latest male ingenue, complete with smartarse attitude and spikey hair, whom TPTB hope will morph and mature into the next Jay or Jamie. He'll probably be Liam's rival for the affections of hairy Cindy the Greek. Yuck. The kid playing him delivers his lines as though he knows this is what he's getting paid to do and not as though he's in character.

As for the girl, well, EastEnders have a long tradition of the ubiquitous sad, fat clown. Now, they're about to raise and nurture one. Rosie could easily be Heather Junior, and she has the same irksome squeaky squeal and precociously obnoxious presence as Tiffany had when she first arrived five years ago, and which gets more awful with maturity.

David's remark about the apple not falling far from the tree referred to Alice being charged with Michael's murder, as Alice was Derek's daughter. That was made in a welter of speculation and snide remarks about Janine. Yes, Alice is a Branning and Carol's niece, which she sometime remembered. But neither Bianca nor Carol knew Alice all that well, certainly not well enough to warn her off Michael Moon. It was nice for David to speak up in that instance for Janine, but his remark could easily have referred to Carol and Bianca, especially in relation to their conversation in the kitchen.

Carol is wary of ElTelBaldRick, but as Bianca pointed out, Carol was never too fussed about various men with whom she coupled, sometimes with disastrous results.

Surreality in all of this took the form of Masood, who descended on the family, saying all the right things that Bianca wanted to hear and asking all the right questions. I don't know what was more incongruous - David, the recalcitrant father (who also absconded on his parenting responsibilities with all his children, or Masood (who declined a beer from David because he was "practicing his religion" this week). Well, no, he wasn't, especially if he's sleeping around with a woman who's the very definition of promiscuity in Walford.

Carol and Bianca - yes, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

A final observation: I see the writer couldn't let this episode pass without Bianca snarling her standard line at David-

Where was you when I was struggin' ter feed mah kids?

The final incongruity is watching 41 year-old Patsy Palmer, who looks good for her age but looks her age, playing the daughter of 51 year-old Michael French, who's aged well and doesn't look his age.

The Jacksons, who morphed into the Jackson-Butchers, have always given good entertainment for the most part, until recently, but I don't think it's a good move to put them front and centre of the show like this - especially not with Spraggan and sprogs.

Alfie's Bryan Adams Moment.

Nothing amazes me more than the people who make excuses for Michael Moon.

Michael stuffed Alfie, Kat and Roxy, respectively, yet they've organised an entire fireworks display in his memory. Were he alive, he would have looked at such a display, even on the 5th of November, as mundane and disdainful. What amazes me the most is Kat's remark about Michael as she looked at a picture of him and Scarlett:-

Michael only ever loved one fing and Janine was taking that away from him.

Really, Kat?

This is, after all, the man who fathered your son, and who virtually disowned him, with no emotion aforethought. This is, also, the man who scammed your BFF and relative, Jean Slater, not only after her Lottery winnings, but also after money he manipulated her into embezzling from the pub. And this is, again, the man who sat watching television, increasing the volume as his baby daughter's cries became louder, the man who never once referred to his daughter by name until his wife returned, constantly calling her "the child," the same man who palmed his daughter off, first on Roxy's good nature, and then on the inexperienced Alice.

Michael didn't love anyone but himself, and had his plans succeeded, Janine would be in the morgue, Michael would be grinning inappropriately like a sadistic Cheshire cat with his daughter in Janine's house, and Alice would be in jail for Janine's murder.

Roxy's still smarting from Alfie's interaction with Kat and wondering why he hasn't shown up at the fireworks event. Although I was never a Michael fan, I found the private moment, when Alfie set off the lone firework in the garden of the Square with Kat and Tommy, quite poignant.

Good-bye, Michael.


The Brannings Are Not Bruce Springsteen.

Yes, the viewers know what Janine did, but for the story purposes, Janine is considered a witness, and surely Joey, as the brother of the woman charged with Michael's murder, should have no contact with Janine at all. Has no police representative spoken to him? The Butcher-Jackson household may be conflicted in this respect, as Bianca is Janine's sister-in-law, and David is Janine's stepbrother (which also makes her Bianca's aunt, bizarrely), but Joey, as Alice's next-of-kin, would surely have been told by the police to have no contact with Janine, whatsoever.

Therefore, since Joey has approached Janine now, twice, aggressively, imploring and finally threatening her regarding Alice's situation, all Janine would have to do would be call the police. In fact, it was supremely ignorant of Whitney to hand Scarlett over to Joey in the street to return to Janine. Was she not thinking? Once again, evidence that Whitney's judgement isn't all that clued when it comes to childcare. 

Joey returning to Janine's office with Scarlett was the worst form of passive-aggressive bullying, as was his breaking into her house. If she had called the police in either of those incidents, Joey would have made it a hattrick of Brannings sitting in jail.

Oh dear, the Brannings aren't coping very well, are they? Is this the end of them as a driving force in the programme? If so, not without time.

More incongruity, with Abi the Dough-Faced Girl and ...


... along with Kirsty and Cora the Bora living all together in the Branning household. Why is Cora still there? She may be the girls' grandmother, but she's nothing to Max or Kirsty,and all she does is snipe at Kirsty and sit on her wrinkly old arse whilst Kirsty does all the work.

Final demands and a bailiff's notice have arrived at Branning Manor. Hang on a minute, didn't Brer Jack promise, all that time ago when Max was first arrested, to see the family's finances right. Instead, Jack took thirty seconds to leave Walford in a New York minute, without as much as a good-bye to Amy or a "so long" to Carol. I daresay he didn't give a second thought to Max's family's plight.

When Lauren visited Max, she had to tell him about Alice's situation, as well as their own, and Max kept asking why Carol couldn't help either Alice or his own children, with no reference whatsoever to Jack. Max has been refusing to see Kirsty; this is the first time since he was first imprisoned that he's seen Lauren. He wouldn't have known that Jack had left, so why didn't he ask Lauren about Jack setting Alice up with a good brief or why he wasn't seeing Max's family good ... because, as Bianca the Village Idiot, said ... Hit's all abaht fairmly, innit?

Jack would have been the logical solution to both problems - he's reasonably wealthy, he's got connections in law enforcement and the legal world - so why did Max not ask about Jack helping? Because he couldn't have known that Jack had gone.

I'll tell you why: Bad continuity.

Final Thoughts: Janine

Charlie Brooks continues to play a blinder. Of course, she's having conflict of conscience, but her self-preservation mode now is all about Scarlett, and this is also retribution for Alice's triple betrayal of her.

MonkeyBoy admits that his sister did this murder, but he's baffled by the multiple stab wounds - meaning two,

Considering the fact that Alice and Joey will be gone by Christmas and Brooks won't be leaving until sometime in early 2014, I'd say Janine will leave with Scarlett, rather than stay in a place reminding her of the guilt she feels toward Alice and toward Michael to a degree. Unlike the remorseless psychopath she married or the ice queen psycho still remaining in the Square, Janine is capable of empathy and has a conscience.

But MonkeyBoy screwing Janine in an effort to get the truth out of her about Alice? Nah. For Janine, that's comfort sex. She's the ultimate player, and the Brannings are always losers.

Decent episode, despite the chavvery.


  1. Awesome opening/bullit listing of this review - best ever !

    Oh, &

    Bianca is a R E T A R D !!!

  2. Yeah - I had to laugh at the MonkeyBoy scenes.

    1) Bringing in the child - no way would a school teacher hand over a baby belonging to a widow to a relative of the murderer of the widow's husband.

    2) MonkeyBoy breaking in to Janine's house. The police had just given Janine the keys back after finishing up their investigation - knowing that she is now a widow they would hardly have left the house unsecured. Also are we expected to believe that with all of her money Janine wouldn't have a burglar alarm fitted ?

    Such a shame Janine didn't let the copper see her safely into the house - that would be breaking & entering as well as witness intimidation.

  3. A new, obese little girl. Fantastic. Mind you, I found myself sympathising with the Spraggs when I saw how rude Bianca's chavvy family were - Whitney, Fat Morgan, Tiff the slut, et al. They are the lowest of the low - none of them have any right to look down on anyone.