Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Selfishness - Review: 08.02.2014

After last night's poor showing, we're back on track with an EastEnders' episode reminiscent of those theme-ridden 90s ones. Of course, this was written by Christopher Reason, who'd know a thing or two about the period when EastEnders was seriously good - and I'm not talking about John Yorke's "glory" years or Diederick Santer's tenure.

This episode showed the show at its best, and the Brannings at their usual worst.

A Fine Romance.

Can you imagine Denise and Ian singing this to each other?

Did you ever see a more reluctant couple in love? Seriously, who doesn't remember Newman's intention to pair Ian and Denise off, answering the demands of countless numbers of numpties demanding Denise be pushed front and centre? Can't you hear the dulcet tones of the usual suspects on Digital Spy and elsewhere creaming their knickers at the prospect of Denise becoming the next Beale matriarch?

I never bought into it, myself. I'm a great fan of Diane Parish, but I hate the way that TPTB, whoever they might be, have always surrounded her with sitcom tripe - the sniping between her and Kevin which turned into a romance, the hard-to-get pose ending up on the sofa in a clinch with Lucas, and this past summer, we had the lock-in in the storeroom between Denise and Ian - after a bickering match, of course. Denise does bickering very well.

Of course, that had its retcon moment as well, with Denise's soliloquy to a sleeping Ian recounted how Kevin wasn't all that great in the bedroom stakes, when she'd clearly remembered otherwise in that great bonding moment in the Vic with Shirley in 2010.

But who cares about history? The past is meant to be changed according to whoever is the Executive Producer of EastEnders, right?

Anyway, I felt that Ian and Denise were on a hiding to nothing the moment back in the summer when she began to refer to Ian in the third person when he was standing right in the room ...

We're working on his social skills.

And equally, when she told Ian that if he shopped Bianca to the police for vandalising the restaurant, people in the community would think him a bad man.

But we're damned certain now, after her New Year's Eve performance with Masood, that she doesn't love Ian. Too much of what she told Masood rang true. As for Ian, he's been there and done that, with four other women, and he's worried about "settling" for someone of whom he's fond, but doesn't love. I guess they're two lonely people.

At least Christopher Reason got the cynical and nasty side of Lucy right this evening, even if the actress didn't do the lines justice.

That's one of the nicest engagement rings you've ever bought, Dad ...

Of all my stepmothers, Denise, you're ... in the top three.

I loved Denise's tit-for-tat response, handing Lucy her skinny arse by telling her that Lucy was her third favourite daughter.

She was also suitably bitchy in the cafe later with Danny, when he suggested they visit a gay club, because it would be fun, turning up her nose at something she viewed with distaste.

But the interesting dynamic was watching Ian's reluctance to make their engagement public in a big way - wanting to host their party at a smaller and more private venue (Scarlett's) as opposed to Denise wanting it in the Vic. It's obvious that Jane's bovine presence is still irking Ian's mind, when he threw out the suggestion of changing Scarlett's name to Turpin's (as in the road). Nice sarky line from Denise in response to that, likening Turpin to the highwayman ...

Well, the prices are highway robbery.

This was the Denise of old, and I liked that. But Ian surely must remember that Janine, even though she's accused of murder, still owns the majority share of Scarlett's. She hasn't sold that or various other assets, which means Lucy Beale really isn't her own boss, and there'll be hell to pay when and if Janine returns.

Then there was the added conundrum of Racial Stereotype Number 3, otherwise known as Wayne, who - from an innocuous drink with Denise the evening before - assumes that Denise is a milf for the making, and stalks her into the Minute Mart, long enough to assess Ian as her fiance.

You marryin' him? You're even more of a challenge.

Wayne is seriously stupid, and one wonders if Denise is genuinely tempted into some sort of flirtation with him. Close by his side but not part and parcel of his dynamic, is Offensive Racial Stereotype Number 1, Fatboy, who's still interested subtly in Denise. For all he offers to come to her aid when he sees that Wayne is bothering her in the shop, he's the Knight in Shining Armour in the last scene, where Denise is distracted by a lost earring, so distracted that she doesn't even realise why he's congratulating her. She's forgotten all about her engagement to Ian, which she earlier described as a last stab at respectability between the two.

Max and Lauren Are Pigs.

I genuinely feel sorry for Kirsty, who started out such an interesting character and who was played by such a promising actress.

Max is a total jerk. He hears from Jane the Bovine, who worships at the altar of the vapid, insipid and whorebags Tanya, that she's got another mug with a fat wallet fella, a "keeper", one who'll treat her the way she should be treated. According to Lauren, Tanya and Tim-Nice-but-Dim were an item after six weeks, roughly the same time she'd moved in on Greg back in 2010. Tanya doesn't mess around in messing around.

I don't understand why the Branning brats are so anti-Kirsty at the moment, especially the odious Lauren who's played by ...


Lauren is such a judgemental, self-righteous and selfish little bitch, and although I'm no fan of Jake's, for about a minute, he spoke common sense to her, channelling Max's observation, wondering why it was a crime for a man to sleep with his lawfully-wedded wife, which is true. In point of fact, Kirsty, as Max's wife, has more right to live in that house than the putrid old trout Cora.

Jake points out that he understands Max completely - he's lonely, he's just heard that his ex-wife has moved on and found another man, and a sexual encounter is his way of dealing with it. Jake, he pointed out, would probably reach for the bottle, as - he assumes - would Lauren.

But then his momentary wisdom is blown apart by his coming onto Lauren again, with his creepy, pervy whispery Manc voice with her sitting there looking like a very young Pollyanna-ish girl.

Jane really dished up a lot of shit, didn't she? Not only has she unsettled Ian, but she's also radged Max up into a right strop. Stomping into the Vic and downing a sullen drink, filling Mick in on his history with Kirsty, saying he only married her because he was lonely. Really, Max? What about those feelings for her you couldn't deny when Tanya made you run her out of town?

Max at his worst was his behaviour at the dinner - a little bit of retconning there, with the girls expressing surprise that Kirsty could cook. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there were several scenes we saw of Kirsty cooking, either at the flat and at the Branning manor, so why was this a surprise? He was spoiling for a fight because of the news about Tanya and Jane's putrid remark about him "downgrading." I guess Max likes being buried alive and ritually humiliated for a year, because Kirsty is a definite improvement on money-grubber Tanya.

He found his moment when he discovered that Kirsty had cooked chicken chausseur, a dish cooked with white wine - Kirsty was right. The wine evaporates as it enhances the flavour of the food. There is no alcoholic content. But, in a scene reminiscent of Jack and Carol turfing Vanessa out onto the street, Max tosses Kirsty out, with the callous remark that if he wanted comforting again, he'd get a hooker. Charming. As charming as Denise's snide enquiry about how many times Max and Kirsty had reconciled ... How about how many times Max and the fragrant Tanya had reconciled.

I truly hope we never see Tanya again. I couldn't stand another pretty boy on a lead with a big dick babysitting Oscar whilst she shagged Max.

As for Lauren, the gurning girl proved she really was her daddy's daughter, when she ran right across the Square to fuck creepy Jake while his wife is out for the evening.

I hope the little bitch is caught.

Chavs in Love.

I like Terry. He's not the greatest actor in the show, but he does well as Everyman, and he appears to genuinely love the odious Bianca, whose voice broke decibel levels when she found out Kat and Alfie were expecting twins (and promptly told Carol).

She stipulates that she'll have dinner with Terry as long as he doesn't mention Nikki, which was stupid, because he couldn't even tell her that the kids were staying over with their mother. But the silly bone of contention on this evening was the new television, and the fact that Terry had got it as a gift from Nikki, when she upgraded to a newer model.

Why this annoys Bianca is anyone's guess, but she's such an emotional retard.

I don't like cast-offs.

Well, she's someone's cast-off as well, and it snows me that Carol can speak of the pejorative Tony in Bianca's life, but not even mention Ricky's name, who was with her longer than any of her previous idiots.

So Bianca's response to Terry's doing absolutely nothing at all but take her inordinate anger, is to swipe and bin his remote control. What an adult action to take. Take my advice, Terry, stick with Nikki. She's the grown-up in the room.


I know that Linda is in denial, but she needs re-education and support, as odd as that sounds. She's coming to terms with her son's sexuality, she doesn't need the likes of Shirley and Tina interfering, egging Johnnie onto go to a gay club with them, when the boy clearly doesn't want to go.

He's the one I feel sorriest for in all this shower, because he's caught between a rock and a hard place. He loves his mum and wants her to understand him, and without the Sugly Blisters putting in their twopence worth, he may be able to get through to her. I especially hated Shirley's baiting behind the bar, telling the boy to go to the club with them, that Shirley would take care of his mum.

Johnnie is an adult, and he can make his own decisions. He doesn't need Shirley and Tina, who have no concept of responsibility anyway, egging him in one direction anymore than he needs Tina to decide that he's working that night at the pub. Shirley is trying to score points and annoy Tina more than her actual concern for her nephew. And the more she does this, the more Linda will dig in and - Shirley hopes - look bad in Mick's eyes.

Instead of washing his hands of the matter tonight, I was hoping Mick would tell the pair of them to do one and back off. But he didn't. I want some man or woman to put the vile Shirley back in her place - in the gutter.

Good episode all around.

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