Wednesday, November 20, 2013

No Place Like Home, er WALFORD - Review: 19.11.2013

Without being too cynical, I'm beginning to wonder about EastEnders' saviour, Dominic Treadwell-Collins. No sooner than I'm gobsmacked by the fact that Sonia, arguably the most self-righteous character ever on the show is returning, I read that Ricky Norwood's Fatboy has been renewed for another year.

That's right. Fatboy, the poor man's bad imitation of Ali G crossed with an offensive racial stereotype and a chicken.

Now I read that Kate Magowan's Sadie is leaving at the end of the love triangle she'll share with scuzza Jake (Lardy Lomas) and ...


Yes, that's right, folks, experienced actress, Kate Magowan, is merely a tool to be sacrificed at the altar of Saint Lauren. However which way you look at this storyline - whether it's a redux of Stacey-Max-Tanya or a repeat of Tanya-Max-Rachel - it's yet another vehicle to showcase Jacqueline Jossa's dubious talent, collagened lips and latest boob job, alone with her gurning, funny voices and windmill impersonation.

Talentless, she's being kept on in order to attract a legion of spotty-faced, potty-mouthed adolescent males who keep one hand shoved down the front of their trousers. 

Has EastEnders come to this?

I understand cheating the unsuspecting audience of getting rid of a plethora of youth on the show by subtly moving certain characters into the realm of adulthood by associating them with older men (Lucy, Lauren) or by giving them a smug career (Whitney).

In the Go-To Girl's case, her association with Lardy Lomas has absolutely no sexual chemistry and resembles a creepy paedophile grooming an underage kid - because that's what EastEnders' supposed sex symbol appears to be. Tonight she looked like a child prozzy, all dressed up and having dinner with daddy.

OK, Magowan is leaving, but I hope our friend from the North leaves within the year, and I hope he takes the Gurning Girl with him.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

I was never a Shirley fan. Although I think Linda Henry a cracking actress, I think Shirley is one of the most pejorative characters ever in the show, certainly one of the worst mothers.

That doesn't mean she isn't a valuable character, and I've been surprised that I'm actually pretty easy with her return, especially with her skulking around Walford, in expensive new boots and a new coat, looking for a job, which is admirable - she doesn't want to live at or with Phil, she wants a place of her own.

I don't know if DTC has had a hand in this script, although he did choose the actress who plays Tina (and retconned the whole of Shirley's backstory in the process), but it now seems that the Shirley-Phil dynamic has returned to what it was at the beginning of DTC's tenure as Number Two under Diederick Santer - asexual mates. It suits them.

I'd also forgotten how much I'd enjoyed the Shirley-Denise friendship and liked the scene where Tina showed up for a bit o shoplifting and Shirley played the bouncer to Denise's benefit, something that got her her job back and money for a deposit from Denise, and an offer of temporary accommodation from Phil.

It seems that Tina is an amalgam of Julie Perkins and Heather, minus about five stone. The actress who plays her is pleasant, experienced and talented.

I wish I could say the same about the one who'll play their heretofore unmentioned brother.

Lover, Come Back.

How Denise can begin to compare the "hurt" Owen caused her to that which she says she suffers from Ian's lie, is a wonder to hear.

Ian wasn't a stranger to Denise. She knew and was a close friend of Ian's last wife, Jane. She sat, along with members of her Book Club, including Ian's niece, and listened as Jane poured out her heart about the problems in her marriage and what she suffered with Ian's behaviour.

There's no way she wouldn't be familiar with the sort of person Ian was and is. Yet she's sold and she's anybody's for a packet of winegums and a mention by Ian that he considers her "family" - which is how he viewed Cindy and Mel and Laura and Jane.

I hate Ian's weak "I'm-sorry" look and I'd like him to develop a backbone and a ruthless streak once more. Weasel, he is and he'll remain, but Ian, like Janine, was always watchable.

The Black Widow and The Grieving Tart.

Janine's description of Michael in Monday's episode as appropos - he was a buttoned-up control freak. This episode saw his paltry funeral, attended only by Alfie and Kat; and since the babyswap fiasco has been trivialised by Kat shrugging it off as Tommy not remembering anything, it behooves Alfie to be OK with the plastic-faced woman who stole his son and led him to believe the child was dead for four months, sitting in his front room, with Tommy on the premises.

The funeral was a vehicle for emphasizing the chemistry that still exists between Alfie and Kat, the ultimate endgame couple. The Alfie-haters rife on Digital Spy and Walford Web Bullyboi and Misogyny Emporium clearly either are not familiar with or didn't watch the original incarnation of Alfie from 2002 to 2005. They don't realise that the main Moons were decimated in character by Bryan Kirkwood, who didn't understand their basic ethos.

One character he did understand, however, was Janine. Charlie Brooks is easily the best actress in the programme, playing the most nuanced character at the moment.

She will be sorely missed.

Yes, Janine did love Michael - for her sins. And, yes, Michael neither loved her nor the insipid Alice. Alice reckoning Derek would have helped her situation. Alice is just weird to the point of possible retardation. Even if Janine revealed that Alice was defending her, Alice still committed a crime, and she still plotted with Michael to kill Janine and take Scarlett. Does she seriously think she can go free on this?

As for Joey, doing another bad Jake Wood impersonation, why doesn't Janine call the police regarding his harassment of a witness? Intimidating a witness, which is what he's doing, is against the law. Janine calls the Old Bill,and Joey goes to prison.

Her scene with him at the end showed Janine at her most isolated and vulnerable. But even at her lowest point, her instincts for self-preservation is still far stronger than Joey's intellect.

The Worst-Kept Secret with the Worst Character.

Jake and Sadie. Jamie Lomas has no chemistry with any actress on that show. He looks like he stinks and he has horse teeth.

Filler episode, but watchable.

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