Sunday, September 11, 2016

Review: Thursay 08.09.2016 - Too Many Mitchells Spoiling the Broth

Daran Little is a good writer, and this was, so far, the best episode of the week - but only for the Cokers' story. The Mitchell trash is so far gone that even he couldn't salvage it.

And I hope Steven terrorises the living shit out of Jane.

#FuckOffMark I get the impression that the TIT's welcome in the Beale House from Hell is wearing thin. I'm not their biggest fans, but tonight I bloody loved Lauren and Steven.

Since the poseur designer shampoo-and-hair care model was cast by the sort of EP who fancied his looks and who hoped the character would appeal to a certain viewing element as shallow as he, of course, tonight, we got the ubiquitous shirtless scene - not only the ubiquitous scene, but an extended one of the TIT barreling out "Mo'nin'" (as you do - not - in the States) and stomping downstairs, shirtless, and his little short gridiron training kex.

Tonight, ladies and gentlement, we saw uncouth American arrogance with a Surrey accent. Of course, Daran Little would know a bit more about such behaviour, having lived in the US, and whilst many here would see that as uncouth and arrogant, I think it was supposed to come across as the typical dumbass behaviour of a jock - that's "jock" as in "jockstrap", or rather, a university athlete.

Actually, it was pretty entitled, and Lauren was right to make a face. Common sense would tell you that you don't go traipsing about in someone else's house - as a guest, invited or otherwise (King Drip or NeAndyThal), or family, half-dressed and wander amongst people whom you knew were getting ready for a serious event, like a funeral, the funeral of a boyfriend of a family member.

You know, not even a redneck or trailer trash would do that. Southerners hold a high respect for the dead and ceremonies surrounding them, and being born and raised in the South, he'd have known their customs, even if his moon-faced mother had turned her nose up at them. 

Who the fuck does he think he is, assuming that Kathy is ironing him a shirt? Actually, who does he think she is? She's supposed to be his great-aunt, not his fucking servant. And anyone, again, with a modicum of common sense, would know that Ian, setting a mug of tea and a plate of toast down in front of Jane and saying, "There you go, love," would sorta kinda realise that this is Jane's breakfast ... I mean, wouldn't they?

Not Mark, who grabs a piece of toast and rams it in his mouth. When Lauren ticks him off, he mumbles a garbled apology, with his mouth full.

Oh, yes ... Michelle raised him well. 

If there were ever a time I welcomed Jacqueline Jossa's gurning, it was pitch perfect tonight, registering her disbelief and disgust at such entitled, uncouth behaviour (as if Lauren had never been entitled). Steven had the brilliantly coy line ...

Looking forward to going back to America tonight? 

... meaning ...

Dude, we can't wait to get your lazy arse out of this overcrowded house. Now, do one, and don't come back.

And he said all of that, without even deigning to look the asshole in the eye, concentrating more on his bowl of cornflakes.

Oh, and I'll tell you something else ... As Auntie Sharon - who rolls over on her back and begs Michelle to rub her tummy every time Michell betrays her - said that he's on a sports scholarship, and as the asshole, himself, said he played quarterback for his university gridiron team, here's what this means:- a sports scholarship is given to people with a particular ability in one sport. It's clear Mark's scholarship was for gridiron football, and by American standards, at his age, he'd be in his penultimate year of study and sport - that's two years off a possible draft by the NFL.

Well, this is what a 20 year-old university quarterback looks like ...

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And that ain't the way Mark Fowler is built.

There's even more Mitchell entitlement when he runs into Courtney the Butch in the Minute Mart - I mean, doesn't she have a home? It was the height of rudeness that they stood there discussing the chocolates in the store as "tat" within earshot of Denise, who got my kudos for advising them that Jane preferred the "tat" on the top shelf. But that went way over their privileged heads.

I hope this clown isn't staying around, but from the half-heated way he replied to Steven's question, I have the awful feeling that he's going to be hanging around like a bad smell. The thought of him and King Drip having towel competitions throughout the mpnth of September is really to much to bear.

Listen, I'm not going to beat around the bush. This show is in a sorry, sorry state. The piss poor episode we saw on Tuesday, and the amount of action taking place off-screen - the homophobic hate attack, Ben's and Jay's stalking of the killers, Paul's funeral and even Colin's wedding - are the results of serious budget cuts, and it shows. Bad writing, bringing back a character played by a man who hasn't acted in a decade and then giving him the worst type of storyline with which to deal is preposterous. 

Look, when people think of Grant Mitchell, they think of Sharongate, especially with Sharon and Phil both figuring prominently in the show at the moment. They don't give a shit about the secret son, especially now. We've been being force-fed secret sons since DT-fucking-C took over, and the late Frank Butcher still has a secret son out there someplace. 

No. We wanted to see the resolution of Sharongate. Most older viewers have waited over twenty years to see this, because if you think this has been resolved, you're deluded. Instead, we get the revelation of a secret which should have been forgotten and never revealed, and what has it done? What has it accomplished? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

It's made the return of Grant Mitchell something of a bore, and it's introduced yer another prettyboy character fancied by the producer, whom he thinks a majority of the fans will fancy.

Please stop insulting the viewers' intelligence.

Fathers and Dads. This was not only patronising, it was insulting to every character on the show who's raised a child who isn't his. This means it's an insult to Patrick Trueman, to Ian Beale, to Stan Carter, to Kevin Wicks and to Martin Fowler (who, I notice, keeps a good distance from his prissy, posy nephew).

This was the sickening part of tonight's episode, from Phil's pep talk from his sick bed to Jane's unnecessary meddling at the end, and the bit between, dished out by Ian and Sharon was done all wrong.

First of all, why the fuck does Phil think Grant even has a right to know about Mark, much less the opportunity for Grant to "be his dad." Phil's having the wrong kind of epiphany here. From his virtual deathbed, he not only decides he's going to support Ben in his hour of need at Paul's funeral, he's going to lecture Grant about not only revealing his paternity to Mark, but also actively becoming a part of Mark's life. 

Phil isn't stupid, but he's presumptuous and arrogant. Mark has a father - the man who raised him (but who, unfortunately, has no last name), the man who sat up with him when he was ill and taught him to ride a bike. Tim. This is the man this little gobshite actually loves and considers his father - as much as Sharon loved and revered Den. Actually, Grant was right when he told Phil that he might be Mark's father, but he wasn't his dad. That much is true. He has no business revealing this to this kid - that's Michelle's remit, and if she doesn't want it revealed, it's her call; although I must say, it would have sounded strange to hear her rant about how bad a person Grant was all these years and then to find this out.

That could seriously fuck someone up.

What Phil should have done was implore Grant to make it good with Courtney, take time for her and reconcile with her. But this was all about Mark, the all-important Mitchell secret son.

Mind you, Sharon's been all over the place with this. At first, when Phil found out, she was dead set against him saying anything. As she told Phil at the time, the lad was happy, well-adjusted and in a good place. He loved the man who had brought him up. End of. Then, she changed her mind and wanted to tell him - actually, tell him, herself, remembering how Phil had kept back news of Gavin from her; but then, Sharon should remember what a sublime disappointment Gavin was to her. I know from experience that birth parents can often be a disappointment.

Now, she's back in the keep-it-a-secret camp. Actually, Grant knowing gave the writers the opportunity they needed to inject a scene where a virile and virulent Mitchell gets to abuse Ian Beale physically. I guess they couldn't conjure up a scene in the loos of the Vic where Grant would dunk Ian's head and flush the toilet, or maybe this came too soon after Ben's dunking of Louise, but it still gave TPTB the opportunity to see Grant at his unchained best, tackling Ian and smacking him, assuming "Michelle's lot" had known this secret for ages. 

The dialogue, after the reveal, was pathetic. It went something like this.

Grant: Why didn't she want to tell me? Because I'm too broken and damaged and some kind of monster.
Sharon: Well, yes ...
Grant: She's right.

Actually, Sharon could have said more than she did. After all, she could have reminded him that she was just as betrayed by this secret as Grant. It happened on the heels of her leaving Walford, and Michelle had paraded the kid in front of Sharon all his life and said nothing. She wanted to remind him that Michelle had deceived her over Vicki and now over Mark. But Michelle had made it abundantly clear that she didn't want Grant involved, and they had to respect her decision. The kid had been brought up by Michelle and her husband, and he not only considered, he thought of this man as his father, who had adopted him. (Really, the surname "Fowler" is TPTB treating viewers like morons.)

But then, Ian's and Sharon's pathetic convincing of Grant not to get involved was contrived to suck Jane into meddling into a situation about which she knows nothing and about which she isn't qualified to speak. 

She's actually encouraging Grant to step up and tell Mark. Her reason? That secrets can tear a family apart.

Really, Jane? Well, you should know. But then, which family do you mean? Michelle's family in America, for all intents and purposes, is happy. She and her husband have raised Mark as his son, and even though Tim knows he isn't, he accepts Mark as his own. Sometimes, a secret is best kept buried, because the revelation of this secret will totally destroy this family. It will mean Mark will now know his entire life was a lie. It will alienate him from his mother and make him doubt the man who brought him up - because this kid is too totally shallow to appreciate the difference between nurture and nature. 

Jane needs to shut the fuck up. She cause enough damage by coercing her own family into keeping a secret, and she's about to cause bigger damage by throwing the person she was protecting under the proverbial bus. Everything she touches, she taints, and presuming to tell Grant that he owes it to Mark to reveal his identity is the height of ignorance. It quite simply isn't Grant's call to make. It's Michelle's and no one else's.

But then, this is the woman who let a four year-old demolish a house with a bottle of ketchup.

Equally disturbing is the hostility between Courtney and Grant. I totally imagine that Grant would be a doting father - he was the last time he was in Walford when Courtney was 9 years-old. I can also imagine him being an overbearing father, and that Courtney might be annoyed with him, but the love the pair had was too strong for this obvious retcon of her being neglected and Grant being the selfish, inadequate parent.

Also, Grant is supposed to be skint. Then I imagine Courtney must be living off the proceeds of a massive student loan, which will mean she'll begin her educated life in a well of debt. Oh, wait ... I forgot. EastEnders doesn't do degrees. She'll end up back in Walford, probably pulling pints when Sharon and Phil wrest the Vic from the Carters.

And Grant is driving around in a late model Beemer SUV and he's supposed to be skint?


Dot and Sonia. Oo-er, as Dot would say. Sonia is fast going off Tina. Tina doesn't know how to handle Sylvie, who's having a bad day and who ends up doing the splits. And she gets jealous of Sonia spending time with Dot?

Sonia got the line of the night.

Stop being so childish ... which produced Tina's signaturs pouting, slapped-bum face.

Apart from Dot talking in cryptic tones, so that Sonia, as well as the audience, were confused about what she was talking about, the inference of Dot's blathering was actually good continuity from Daran Little (who has a great respect for soap history). We've forgotten the days when Dot was mildly racist and actually homophobic, and to hear her skirt about the reason for not attending a wedding because "they" shouldn't be getting married was ironic, considering Sonia is in a same-sex relationship. The end of all of this was the return of Colin Russell, and Michael Cashman looked fine. Colin was a lovely character and reminiscent of a time when EastEnders was about normal people, and not someone swanning about, showing a six-pack and acting like a pretty prat.

The Cokers. They carried this otherwise sorry episode, simply because all of us could relate to what the Cokers were suffering - the untimely death of a close relative. The downside of this was Claudette "saying good-bye" to Paul and being emotionally affected. Claudette disliked Paul openly, when he returned, and even mocked his sexuality. Where did this grief come from?

Other than that, it was poignant and very realistic, including our finally being introduced to Pam's sister Mim, whom I liked, and who proved to be the only person who could get Pam to say good-bye to Paul. Interspersed in all of this Mitchell Madness adventure, and - indeed, Mitchell Week, where it was all about everything in Mitchelldom, including the revelation of one secret son and the realisation that there's yet another one on the horizon, we can easily forget that it was Paul's death which acted as a catalyst in all of this, and that this, eventually, became all about Ben.

At least we got the requisite scene of Ben in the hospital and Kathy and Phil finally acting like parents. Gillian Taylforth, like Ross Kemp, has been away from her role for too long, and has spent too much time lolling around the background to impress.

Mediocre episode. 

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