Sunday, December 21, 2014

The She-Male Men Haters' Club - Review:- 19.12.2014

Oo-er. The Stench of ManHater is in the air tonight. Or rather, the Alfie-haters, with their tittering delight to see him brought low. This episode was The Hypocrisy Episode, because more than the stench of ManHatred emanating from the Writers' Room is the pervading odour of hypocrisy.

The She-Male Man-Haters' Club. Stacey and Kat were rich tonight and even worse than the Mitchell Blisters with their headuparseitis. In a post on this forum someone recently expressed glee at the fact that Kat would now discover what a "lying piece of scum" her husband was. 

I am not excusing what Alfie did, anymore than I excuse the original act upon which this storyline was based - Grant setting fire to the Vic for insurance money and not realising that Sharon was inside. What Alfie did, as what Grant did, was stupid, but in Alfie's case, it was out of sheer desperation. There are several things that are being conveniently forgotten in tonight's episode, and I would imagine that such established facts are being forgotten for various reasons:-

- it easily feeds into the unpalatable and uncomfortable image of the feckless, weak male which EastEnders, the meme of which EastEnders has pushed since - oh, since about 2007 or so, I think.

- it promotes the image of the poor, suffering woman, ever the victim who rises above it all by never acknowledging her own transgressions

- it manipulates a certain tranche of viewer, exactly the sort who wish certain male characters dead or gone or think they're scum without ever considering the fact that maybe, just maybe said male character might just be more sinned against than sinning.

Kat sat and bemoaned and wondered why the hell Alfie had done what he'd done, being so pig-shit thick, ignorant and self-obsessed that she thought he didn't love her.

This is the same Kat who slept with Alfie's cousin long enough to get pregnant by him, when Alfie was away in prison being punished for a crime he didn't commit. The infidelity was bad enough - depending on whichever storyline was followed on whatever day of the week by whatever shallow writer had the thing in hand, she had anything between a one night stand to a full-on three-month affair.

Alfie took her back, after this infidelity.

This is the same Kat who then, in the wake of the babyswap and afterward, proceeded to treat Alfie like a prize piece of shit. The first day they were back in Walford, she punched him to the ground on the pavement, and we, the audience, were supposed to think that funny. From 2010 to 2012, we had Kat, the abused, the "dirty girl", turn emotional and psychological abuser, herself. She showed no respect toward Alfie. In one instance, she publically humiliated him in front of punters by proclaiming his cousin, "a real man", managed to get her pregnant when Alfie couldn't. It was such a low point in her behaviour that no less than Roxy and Christian had to tell her off.

This is the same Kat who shagged the deliveryman in the alleyway, confessed about it out of guilt and then fell back on the "I'm a dirty girl" shit, and Alfie sucked that up, when he should have turfed her out. 

This is the same Kat who partied down and partied hard, who gave more attention and devotion to Jean, and left Alfie to be the principal carer for her son - and you know there are still viewers who cannot get their head around the difference between a sperm donor and a father.

This is the same Kat who brazenly and openly flirted with every man with a dingle between his legs in that bodaciously embarrassing football saga, ending up with the bum-clinchingly pukeworthy Shaggerman saga - or as Newman tried to push it: let's get everyone excited by trying to guess WHO Kat's lover was - in a way that suggested that viewers should be titillated and happy to see Kat put one over again on soppy, old Alfie, and we'll make a guessing game out of the whole sordid mess.

Max Branning sleeps around on his wife, and the people present her as the victim; Kat sleeps around on Alfie and she's supposed to be empowered? Pull the other one. 

This is the same Kat who, we found out, had been sleeping with Mr Shaggerman, himself, Derek, and who tried to weasel her way out of this discovery by Alfie by saying that Derek had forced her to have sex with him, when we saw her licking her lips after every encounter, and fondling his injured hand, even leaving sweet cooing messages for him. That's right. According to Kat, Derek forced her to have sex with him. So where was the rape storyline then?

This is the same Kat who, twice, put Alfie's livelihood at risk when he was landlord of the Vic, by whisking him off on holiday, after her infidelities were found out.

This is the same Kat who hung around mooning (pun intended) after Alfie when he turfed her out.

And this is the same Kat, for whom Alfie actually lost the pub when he abandoned Roxy at the altar for Kat. Through all of that shit, he stuck with her. He took her back. Had Alfie married Roxy, he'd be safely ensconced in the Vic today, managing it for Phil. 

Think of that: No Carters.

Kat finds out about this, and listens to Stacey's lead, and Stacey manages to exonerate herself from any blame by heaping further blame on Alfie by twisting what happened to make him even worse. 

You know, about Stacey, Alfie had a point. She does and has, in the past, ruined lives and broken up marriages - two to be precise: Max's and then Janine's, and she was encouraged, aided and abetted by Kat, gleefully, in breaking up Janine's marriage. She's cheated on Bradley, she's lied to Luke and she's committed murder, and she's entitled to sit in judgement of Alfie Moon?

To be fair, she did, reluctantly, admit that Alfie never meant for Kat to be hurt, and he didn't. And no one has ever mentioned the reason why the fire was so destructive or why the insurance wouldn't pay out: what was meant to be a small blaze, resulted in an explosion because Big Mo was stocking dodgy flammable hair products on the premises.

To cut to the chase, Kat is entitled to treat Alfie like the worst, vile stinking piece of shit there is by throwing her infidelities in his face, and Alfie makes a mistake - most definitely a major mistake of judgement - and she's ready to cut him out of her life. Kat Moon's gone, but now we're left with mouthy Kat Slater, only she's not the tart-with-a-heart anymore, but now - as she wondered, herself tonight, she's a single mum. Worse, a single mum in her mid-forties, who'll eke a living on a market stall and play up how bad her "lying piece of scum" husband was and is, to garner sympathy. As if Kat and Stacey have never told major lies and as if their shit doesn't stink.

This isn't the first time we've seen an inequality of measure between men and women on the show. Cast your minds back. Ian found that Jane had cheated on him with Grant Mitchell, and he planned to humiliate her and was foiled. He took her back. Ian cheated on Jane with Janine, and Jane left him for a month.

Stacey's admonitions to Kat about how she didn't have to forgive Alfie, how much Stacey hated him are all words. Kat was right to wonder exactly what she would do now? Because what can she do? Continue to live in the Tardis flat? Dean would only stand so much of that, and it wouldn't be long before Kat was dipping her oar in interfering if she felt he wasn't treating Stacey well. Go seek out Charlie?

The worst thing was that Stacey didn't attempt to offer any explanation about why Alfie had done what he did (and she knew), nor did Kat even want to listen to Alfie. Alfie's intentions in keeping the truth from Kat were misguided, but they were sincere and borne from wanting to love and protect her.

Even worse than all of that was the way the whiter-than-white local yokels turned on him. IIRC, Sharon was at the height of her Princess of Walford era when Grant tried to fry her and Rolly, unintentionally, but no one shunned Grant Mitchell.

The Carters were especially vile. Not only was Nancy's comment about hoping he'd freeze shallow and indicative of her overall maturity, Johnny wailed about him having attempted to rescue Alfie - shut up. No one told you to run into that burning building. Suck it up and shut up. And the old Firestarter, herself, sitting in the corner passing judgement. Yes, I'm looking at you, Shirley, who had the front to offer Alfie a job on the South Coast with a bevy of scam artists for some easy money earlier this year, and who burned down your brother's pub, yourself.

The only one of that lot to show any understanding and compassion was Mick, and I liked him for that, alone.

The irony of that entire piece, concerning Stacey, is that she manipulated and encouraged Kat's self-obsession in refusing to wonder why Alfie had done what he did, when she is sleeping with a rapist, and someone who would quite blithely have liked to see her own brother rot in prison as a petty means of getting revenge. Strange, how Stacey never considers what Dean tried to do to Sean.

Let's leave that discovery for a few more episodes. Then Stacey and Kat can have innumerable "girls' nights in" with their takeaways and in the company of vile, gossipy Donna to stir the flames and see how much they like it or can afford it. And, please, don't anyone say that Stacey will buy the salon when Dean leaves. She doesn't have a pot to piss in and couldn't afford it.

As much as I like Stacey, if they are setting her up to be the Wise Woman of Walford in Pat mode for the future, they'd better cut back on the judgemental stance she gives. She lost the right to judge anyone or anything morally the night she brained Archie Mitchell with the Queen Vic bust.

I hope 2015 sees the departure of both Kat and Alfie. Kat, without Alfie, becomes a graceless, shrieking banshee wailing about feeding her kids - another Bianca - or worse with Kim looming on the horizon and who'll probably return with her "secret" being her husband was yet another weak-willed asshat.

Please. Let 2015 see the end of this incessant man-bashing culture that's evolved on this show. It stinks. 

BranningVille. Poor Dummerhayes. She means well. I honestly think that she does, but Lauren's gone back in self-obsessed mode, and she revealed tonight exactly the sort of friendship she, Whitney and Lucy only and always had.

Lucy and Lauren were friends long before Lauren befriended Whitney; Lucy, in both Suffield and Bywater incarnations, couldn't abide Whitney. For the better part of a couple of years, Lucy made a reluctant effort to tolerate Whitney and vice versa, but Lauren was stuck so far up her own arse, she either refused to see that Lucy was having a subtle go at Whitney or refused to listen if Whitney wanted to tell her what was happening. The truth was, when all three of the girls got together, they tended to talk at each other about themselves and didn't listen to what the other person was saying.

But Lucy talked to Whitney - by text and social media messaging.

I actually found myself liking Lee tonight in his defence of Whitney. Even though you might blink and miss it, Whitney is his girlfriend, and she appears to have confided in him about what was going on between her and Lucy - but then, as Lauren pointed out, Lee had moved easily from sleeping with Lucy to sleeping with Whitney with no qualms and no after-effect sensitivity over Lucy's death.

Add to that Abi, sneaking around and eavesdropping and ultimately confessing, when caught between the proverbial rock and hard place, to having sent the photo of Max kissing Lucy from Lauren's laptop instead of her own ... because she didn't want the IP traced back to her. Well, at least she was honest there.

The high point of the episode came from the appearance of DI Keeble, always a joy to watch, and to her goes the line of the night:-

We can't drag up the dead, Mr Branning, so we have to make an attempt to drag up the truth!

Poor Dummerhayes is desperately trying to cling onto both her career and to Max, who feels betrayed by the fact that the woman was basically trying to aid in an investigation, albeit unwittingly and, I imagine, since she was hoodwinked into appropriating Lauren's laptop without a warrant - i.e., illegally - this might come back to bite her. As Keeble ascertains, she's finished.

At least we now know that it's Lee who's the hooded figure leaving the USB file marked for Emma's attention, but is Lauren genuinely stupid? Someone posts something through the letterbox, and she thinks someone's knocked at the door? She just shuffles, zombie-like, through the welter of post on the floor to look outside and find nothing? I guess she must have seen the stuff on the floor, and since none of it had her name on it, it really wasn't important.

I want to know what she was doing mooching around the Beale house on the night Lucy was topped.


Yep, they're having a baby, which is easily guessed, but whose baby?

According to the scan, she's about 11 weeks along, which means the paternity is still dubious. Dean raped Linda on the night of Sharon's wedding, which was at the end of September, so there's some ambiguity, and with the Firestarter, herself, unwittingly setting up a slap-up Carter family Christmas, the stage is being set for Christmas week.

Since this is bound to be heard at sometime next week, you better hear it here first ...

Codicil: The assertion that yo-yo couples are a thing of the past is pure, utter tripe. Ian and Jane will be back together, meaning the race is on to see which of the two will cheat on each other first; and we can almost guess that the "big Kat-and-Alfie" storyline for 2015 will inevitably be Alfie pursuing Kat to regain her love, which only shows how shallow each half of this couple has become. The show begged us to condone Kat's infidelity as an excuse for the ineffectual male Bryan Kirkwood had made Alfie. 2013 saw Kat spend a year redeeming herself in order to win back Alfie. 2015 will see the same, except with Alfie in redemptive mode - as much as the writing room manhaters will allow. Spare me.

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