Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Be Careful What You Ask For - Review:- Tuesday 21.02.2017

Here we are, with a new producer, and much of the same old same old - or should I say, same shit different day? I've lost count of how many producers in recent years have manager to make the great majority of characters in the soap totally and utterly unlikable. Either they're simply unpleasant or they've become incorrigibly bad.

As nice as SOC has made them, Ian and Jane can never lived down the concealment of Lucy's murderer and condoning Max being punished for a crime he didn't commit. Maybe they're paying for it via karma, with Jane confined to a wheelchair and Ian about to have a health scare, but they are still irredeemable, as are Phil and Sharon. Both of those characters were fucked up and over by John Yorke, and successive producers made them worse.

Also, I think viewers need to stop asking for dead characters to be raised, secret offspring to be introduced and characters played by people who have stopped acting to be re-cast. In all of these three instances, viewers' demands have been met, and those demands now are met with more than a little bit of caveat emptor.

Kathy was raised from the dead to be a dithering, whimpering dish rag of a woman, decorating the background in most instances and sleeping with a man in a committed relationship. She's a wet noodle and nothing like the Kathy of old. People screamed for Mark so-called "junior", who somehow in the wilds of "Yearling" country spoke with a flawless Surrey accent, acquired at a British school hidden away in remotely rural Florida, didn't know he was supposed to use his father's surname and ponced about with underaged kids like a leering Hugo Boss manniquin. People wailed for Michelle to be re-cast. She was, and returned as a statutory rapist, because someone in the writing room ASSUMED that all laws in the US mirrored those in the UK. This Michelle is an appalling character.

The sum result is that all of this just adds to the show's woes at the moment. O'Connor killed off the Mitchell sisters, one of whom was well past her sell-by date, only to replace them with the appalling Fox non-sisters, one of whom is a narcissistic fool and the other is an arrogant extra who's been unable to fill a storyline since 2010.

I don't know what this show is coming to or where it's heading. In the meantime, Emmerdale keeps winning awards.

The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming! Oh,my Lordy! The writers are all over the place with American speech and vernacular, and Preston Prestonovich Prestonovsky is all over the place with his accent.

I haven't heard the slang word "hanging" since I were a lass donkey's years ago in Virginia. This is the stuff of 70s America, of Starsky and Hutch, Mork and Mindy, of polyester shirts with big collars and wide ties. Who researches this shit? Don't answer, no one. And to have this character mispronounce "Spitalfields" as "Spite-alfields" yet five minutes later refer to area of London unfamiliar to most Americans who don't visit London on a regular basis (South Kensington) as "South Ken" isn't just unbelievable, it's plain, damned stupid. It's laughable, a joke, like Prestonovich, who sounded like a Russian exchange student in that scene in the kitchen with Louise and Rebecca and then sounded like no one I've ever heard in America in the next scene. For the record, an American would pronounce "Spitalfields" with the first syllable like what gobs out of your mouth when you find something disgusting, pretty much like these characters.

Prestonovich is a spoiled, white privileged whiney little bitch who's making a foolish woman who's long lost her common sense jealous, using the woman's niece and taking advantage of the household of a couple whom he's never met. Michelle is taking advantage of her best friend's hospitality. After betraying Sharon twice in their friendshiip, as the shitfucker in the White House would say, bigly, when the shit hits the fan about what's gone on in the Mitchell household whilst Sharon and Phil have been away, this should be the end of the Sharon-Michelle axis.

Pauline would be rolling in her grave.

And, please, Rebecca is such a silly character. She isn't in the least bit sympathetic, and the actress sucks. I am tired of looking at her up-turned chin and her red nostrils when she delivers lines, and I hate the way she tosses her head too. It makes her look smug. She's supposed to be a schoolgirl, not a show pony.

Someone likened Michelle to Tennessee Williams's Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire. I can't see her coming onto Phil desperately and Phil, bellowing a bad impersonation of Ozzie Osborne and screaming, 


I guess, pretty soon, like Blanche, Michelle is going to have to be dependent upon the kindness of strangers, because when the truth comes out, I doubt her family and friends will want her in their midst. 

Sugar Sugar. Notice how the episode called for Ian to wear his knit shirt tucked into his trousers? It emphasized his portly paunch. After all, Adam Woodyatt's wife is a pastry chef, and it shows. But normally, Ian wears his shirt flowing over his midriff and not tucked into his belt.

Ian's suffering from nocturia, which is a sign of Diabetes Type II, and he's a ripe candidate for that malaise. It's weight-related, and it will mean, if the storyline is accurate, Ian maintaining a certain type of diet and losing weight. Maybe Woodyatt suggested the storyline in an effort to help his own plans to slim down. Just to give you an idea of how much weight Ian's put on in the past decade - well, 9 years - here's Ian finding out just what a little bastard (quite literally) Steven was (and look how much Aaron Sidwell has changed as well) ...

By the way, I like Steven, but what is his point? This was a character who left, having established that (a) he is gay, (b) that he's decidedly quirky and unpredictable, (c) that he's unpredictable and untrustworthy and (d) edgy. Since his return, he's devolved into the good son, who wants to be at the bosom of the family; he's prayed away the gay, and he's become the dependable bloke who manages Ian's restaurant and carries Lauren's son here and there. What a waste of a character, but then, I can't quite fathom why the Branning girls are now glorified extras.

Abi is still snorting and giggling, and Lauren's "web-design" career seems to have morphed into her looking after various other babies who seem to be there or thereabouts the age of Louie.

Two Peas in a Pod. Did I miss something, or did they scrap an episode? I know EastEnders balks at any display of racism or xenophobia, but tonight we saw the aftermaths of something that's very contemporary in Brexit Britain, and we got what was actually a quasi-racist remark from the doltish Kim. Reverse racism, but racism all the same.

Obviously, there was some trouble directed against the pub's Polish night, with "Poles Go" smeared across the pub door in red paint. Konrad made an apt observation, which was the line of the night ...

This is the Britain we live in.

This is a very current and very relevant storyline, but EastEnders wimps out, yet again, and lets essential action happen offf-screen, so we get what could have been a significant aftermath, but which has now become little more than a titbit for conversation.

Against the backdrop of the Vic's kitchen being fumigated and cleaned for inspection, is the storyline of Mick's money problems and his effort to look after Eternal Victim Princess Whitney, who's stuck alone in her lovenest, staring at the expensive wedding rings on her fingers and her even more expensively manicured acryllic nails. Seriously, how can she be any use in the pub with paws like that?

Whitney's presenting herself as the eternal victim again, and Lee's on the receiving end of disdain again. As well, Whitney's on the receiving end of gossip and misinformation. Now that Lee's gone, she's torched off the warpaint - I guess she's trying to look gamine and innocent in an effort to promote her innocence in the end of her marriage to Lee, when she was a significant part in his breakdown and depression.

Lauren overhears Mick begging Jack to give him back the deposit for the flat, and when Lauren tells Whitney, Whitney, in pure self-pitying mode, assumes she's going to be kicked out. And so ensues a feisty scene with Mick, where she tells him how Lee tried to emulate him, but now she thinks Mick is probably as weak as Lee.

What an irony! She's actually speaking the truth.Mick is a weak man.In fact, he's weaker than Lee ever was, because he presents himself as the strong head of the family, but maintains his position amongst his close-knit family by sheer passive-aggressive bullying and sulking - Linda, Lee, Nancy ... all have been victims of his manbaby behaviour. He's coddled by Shirley and defers to her, but he's an overgrown manchild, and he knows it. He's even admitted as such to Linda - and now, for the first time, he won't even talk to her or return her calls. He's got other things on his mind, other concerns. Sure, one of them is the Vic; but it was obvious that his most important concern was Whitney.

The Hygiene Inspector was due, there were two leaks in the roof of the Vic - one affecting upstairs and one affecting the pub, itself, and the toilet - obviously, a problem with the plumbing; and Mick hasn't even organised someone to fix this.What happened to the roofer Shirley found the other week? Mick can blame Lee for his finances as much as he wants, but it was he who took out the payday loan of £14 grand to get Linda and Elaine back from Spain, and thanks to Babe, he got landed with a fine of £20 grand.

Nope, tonight this was all for Princess Whitney, who gets invited to live in the Vic. I hated the line from Mick that Lee may have turned his back on Whitney, but the "family" hadn't. Bullshit. Mick told Lee to walk away from the marriage. Surely walking away from the marriage meant Lee had to leave Walford. There's no way Mick would have allowed Lee to return to the Vic. He'd have housed Whitney first.

Stay with us.

Who, exactly, is "us"? Shirley and Tina live in Shirley's flat with Sylvie. That means we've got Johnny, Mick and now Whitney in a Linda-less household. Johnny's "worried" about Whitney, he tells Ben. Well, he should be - because harken unto Lee's last words to Johnny

Keep and eye on Whitney.

I think the next few weeks are going to be chokka and repetitive with people finding couples who shouldn't be together in flagrante delicto. And as someone's spotted Shona McGarty filming with a baby bump, I think we're about to get a dose of that old EastEnders' staple "Who's the Daddy". 

Enter Linda with a hearty slap. And there goeth MIck Carter, coward that he is.

I found Ian's reaction to the prospect of Whitney sliming down on their couch hilarious. He always was appalled by her. His line about her staying too long in the shower was sublimely ironic. Whitney always looks dirty.

Oh, and I didn't like the way the Carters casually blamed Abi for the buckets catching leak water hanging about the establishment, joking about her being a "scrubber." That may have been an oblique reference to what happened between her and Lee, but that was still cruel and unnecessary. Also, buckets here and there on the floor of the pub and in the loo are a health hazard. People could trip up and do themselves an injury. That was mean, but then the show is mean at the moment. Mean and ugly.

Gunfight at the OK Corral. That's what the never-ending-ever-decreasing circular story of the Fox non-sisters devolved into - a comically contrived scene which showed the entire market en masse gathering to witness the showdown of the century between a gobby, miserable, arrogant woman whom TPTB are foisting on us by trying to explain her relevance, and a cartoon character of a rude, gobby, OTT little piece of shit.

I am so tired of this adoption storyline. Bottom line is this: the couple adopting appear to be outstanding, so much so that Trish, the hardlined social worker, is championing their cause to adopt. They already have one adopted child. They sound as if they are stable and loving. They love Denise's baby, and the baby has bonded with them. They've named him Raymond, after Ray Charles. And Kim is quick to ask if the couple are bi-racial. Has Kim seen the baby? Does she know he's bi-racial? And what the hell difference does race make? The child could have gone to a black couple or a white couple or even an Asian couple. As long as the child is loved and wanted, why was she so fucking particular?

I also think Denise should have asked Kim to leave whilst she met with the social worker. If she were in need of moral support, then she could have asked Patrick, who would have been the better candidate. Instead, she knew exactly what course Kim would pursue - the emotional blackmail trick. She's playing "good cop" at the moment, reminding Denise that it's not too late to take the child back. 

What a cruel thing to do to those parents, who've bonded with the child and who have given him their time and unconditional love since he was born. He's been with them since birth, and although Denise recognises that, I don't think this will stop her from rescinding her decision. And whilst she feels guilty at giving up this child, she doesn't feel one iota of guilt about the ructure this might cause to Sharon's marriage.

As much as I hate Keegan - and this isn't a character people like to hate and want to see, like Janine; he's just a hateful, misogynistic little scrote in every way - I came to the conclusion that he's a cartoon villain of a character. The initial interaction in the Square between him and Denise was over-acted on both their parts. His basketball bounced onto a bed of flowers. Kids do these things. She got shirty with him, he replied in kind. He was rude, but the line about her being an old bat or whatever it was he called her was cartoonish. Don't get me wrong, I hate this character. In fact, I hate all the yoof characters, but that dialogue throughout was atrocious. 

The second encounter was surreal. It was played out against the backdrop of everyone in the market stopping making a living and standing in a group - important named characters like Martin, Kush, Carmel and Donna to the fore - to watch a showdown between a middle-aged woman and a 16 year-old mouthy kid. Honestly, it was like a schoolyard stand-off, and all about her demanding an apology from him and him trampling on flowers, descending into her making the ubiquitous comment about "blaming the parents" and being glad she wasn't his mother. Only a moment before she was remarking to Kim how she hoped her son wouldn't turn out like Keegan and Shakil, which was rich, considering Shakil has really done nothing but hang about gormlessly with Keegan, and Shakil is also the son of her so-called best friend. That's a slight on Carmel's parenting skills, and Denise wants to remember that Chelsea was no angel and how Denise whinged and whined to Tanya not to punish widdle Chelsea when she had sex on the tanning table with Sean Slater or how she and Kevin destroyed the CCTV tape which proved that Sean never mugged Patrick because the truth would land Princess Chelsea inside a prison.

So she smacked Keegan, something all of us wished that either Shakil or one of the girls would do; but she didn't only smack him. She decked him. She broke skin and drew blood, and that will bruise. And that's assault. Because a little shit like Keegan would know just how to play the system, and at the end of the day, it is an adult smacking a child.

Who am I kidding? He'll turn out to be her nephew with terrible parents, she'll take him in and he'll be her next pet project.

What the fuck has happened to this show? Is O'Connor the new Newman?

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