Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Busted - Review:- Tuesday 07.02.2017

This episode was much better than recent fare, largely because, as far as the Carters were concerned, there was a fair bit of action.

But first, the inconsequentials.

Yoof. I'm fast going off Sean O'Connor. The 21st Century has seen a long line of increasingly bad Executive Producers, each successive one worse than the other in some way, shape or form. John Yorke scratched the surface with problems that now have ceased to become problems and more like a way of life on the show. It started bleeding viewers with the first Lazarus rising in the form of Den. Santer staunched the flow of viewers a wee bit - with returns of old characters and DTC's special brand of sensationalism; but with each successive EP, the viewing figures get lower and lower.

O'Connor's decision to turn this thing into some sort of amalgamation of Grange Hill, Waterloo Road and Erinsborough High School, is totally wrong. Admittedly, the show is supposed to appeal to a broad range of viewers, but the fact that he has chosen to emphasise this demographic through the auspices of some of the most unlikable young characters in the show's history, played by some of the worst actors, many of whom are not even remotely close in age to the people they portray and all of whom are blatantly, and for varying reasons totally unsympathetic, makes me question his judgement.

Louise, as a character is all over the place. O'Connor and his writing room have spent the last six months giving her the dialogue and actions of a young woman on the cusp of entering her twenties, saying and doing things no fifteen year-old would even think of doing. And why not? Instead of writing for the adolescent Louise Fowler-calling-herself-Mitchell (she never ever has been "Mitchell" - who made that one up?), they have been writing for Tillie Keeper, a professional actress six months off her 20th birthday.

Now, however, they've got her back in what they think is fifteen-year-old mode, but the storyline is a hodgepodge of everything and nothing. It's about bullying, but then the bullied person becomes a totally unreasonable bully, and a liar, and a betrayer of a friend and someone for whatever reason brings up her father's near-fatal illness as an excuse to behave inappropriately. In that respect, she's no different from the majority of so-called tragic female characters on the programme who either use their pasts or elements from their past as an excuse and justification for bad behaviour- and TPTB expect us to sympathise with us.

Then there's Rebecca, the natural successor to Libby Fox in the po-faced stakes. Rebecca has two expressons - smug and smugly sullen. And neither one is attractive. When I think of Rebecca, I think of a jutting chin and a bulbous red nose. She's actually the epitome of someone who has hordes of book sense and very little common sense. As this sanguine tale seems to be an examination in various types of bullying, Rebecca being the victim of Shakil's prolonged passive-aggressive persuasion technique in trying to get her to have sex with him, resulted in his own inadvertant downfall. Had Rebecca had the common sense and foresight to delete those nude pictures of Shakil he sent her, he wouldn't be in the predicament he finds himself in today.

You have to ask youreself why she kept them? Is the that much into him that, after their split, for no reason at all, she kept them as a fond momento - instead of staring wistfully at his face each evening, she stared wistfully at his willy? Was he that good? Because her first conversation with Louise after the event led one to believe that he was pretty underwhelming, if she knew what she was looking for even to begin with. At least Libby Fox had common sense, even if she were unbearable. Rebecca has no common sense, and that makes her even more unlikable.

At the moment, she's caught between the proverbial rock (in not wanting to grass up Louise for nicking her phone and sending the picture) and the unenviable hard place (feeling guilty about Shakil hating her for what he perceives she has done). She feels sorry for him, but no one else does. 

And then, there's Shakil, himself. I can't figure out what TPTB have in mind for him. Are we supposed to feel sorry for someone who, actually, ended up being hoisted on his own petard? Because he started all this palaver by pressuring Rebecca into having sex. It was obvious from the get go that, although he liked her well enough as a mate, he didn't love her, and if thought that as she was showing willing enough in being attracted to him, he could use that attraction to his advantage. Once he'd partaken, he treated her as someone who'd provide him with sex on tap and little else. She wanted a relationship. He wanted nookie.

And finally, there are the three new teen characters, each one, in and of themselves, absolutely without any redeeming qualities. The girls, whom I call Rat's Nest and Sniggle, also played an important part in manipulating Louise into eking out revenge against Shakil for absolutely no purpose whatsoever. Shakil has done nothing to her, apart from stand gormlessly by his putrid new friend Keegan (cf: below), whilst the latter remorselessly tormented Louise. Shakil, in fact, went against the selfish wishes of that little scrote and stayed with Louise until he was certain she was safely off the bus. This is a curious example of transferance, Louise taking aim at Shakil because for some reason she feels she can't respond to Keegan's intimidation and her using the pithy excuse that this is revenge for Rebecca on Shakil for his having dumped her. Both reasons are stupid, in and of themselves, the latter being none of Rebecca's business at all, but it's some sort of daft reasoning she's using because she's being leaned on by Rat's Nest and Sniggle.

I guess this is a prime example of female bullying, but why should she even care about what these girls think? Does she desire their friendship that much? They clearly don't like her. Why is she so craven to win their approval?

The final piece of the puzzle is the incredibly hateful Keegan, a character without one morsal of redeeming quality. He's rude and hateful to everyone in the most spiteful of ways. He's enormously misogynistic - the way he goes out of his way to humiliate Louise openly is disgusting. In this episode, after the largely ineffectual Carmel warns him to stay away from Keegan (after having been unprofessionally warned about him, herself, by the head), Shakil makes a beeline for this creature in the schoolyard - because if everyone isn't avoiding Shakil like the plague, they're waving pictures of his widdle willy about and laughing. 

It turns out that we learned a bit of the background of this depraved little shit in this episode, when Shakil was whining to him - in a scene where we were introduced to the upper architectural tiers of the new school set, whilst we heard the voices of Shakil and KeeganShite conversing in a voice-over. Shakil is worried that he's always be known as the bloke in the nude pictures, until Keegan tells him he has to see that he's known for something else. It seems Keegan's reputation preceded him. He was expelled from his former school for a violent assault on a teacher which left the teacher lucky to survive with his eye intact. And, allegedly, there were other incidents which no one heard about. 

Oh, joy. A budding psychopath, who's taken the gormless Shakil under his wing.

At the end of the day, the only thing the teens are teaching us is how these kids are coming over as horrifically de-sensitised and devoid of any compassion whatsoever. And to think I hated the Moon Goons so much!

Please Stop Insulting Our Intelligence with Michelle. Unless O'Connor is about to show us how the world has become increasingly smaller and how now employers are able to snap up references via e-mail for a prospective employee and how a person's professional reputation, or lack thereof, precedes them, then stop this gratuitous storyline about Michelle thinking she can get a teaching job right now.

Just shut up about her saying that there are some desperate schools around in need of good teachers, as if she is the best of the crop, because she isn't. In fact, she shouldn't be allowed around any sort of young person, certainly not impressionable adolescent boys.

It's also an insult to assume that what Michelle got up to (un)professionally in the States would be counted for nought here, because whatever the age, teacher-student relationships, especially in secondary school, are simply not allowed. As much as in the US, schools here have a duty of care, and sexual relations between a student and a teacher is the worst sort of breach of trust.

This is a fact: In the US, had the writers bothered to research background and real laws, Michelle would have been branded a rapist, because she had sex with someone who was below the age of legal consent. The boy's parents and the school in question would have contacted the police. The parents would have done so as a matter of fact anyway because - well, wouldn't you if this were your kid? Any decent parent would have done so and wanted to see the adult swing. The school is duty-bound to support and even enjoin this enactment. They were responsible for the child's welfare. So without a shadow of a doubt, police authorities would have been called.

In EastEndersLand, I guess they think that rural Floridians, even the educated ones, simply take statutory rape lightly. Michelle got off with a smack on the wrist, in comparison to what she would have suffered in real time. (She'd be sporting an orange jumpsuit). Be that as it may, she's either arrogant or stupid or both to think that any school she approaches with a view to working in a classroom with young students, won't ask for a brace of professional references; and they'll be easy enough to garner through the wonders of the internet and e-mail. Does she think that any school in Walford or the surrounding area won't ask for references? I can tell you that they will, and even though Michelle is British, her teaching qualifications would be 100 per cent A-OK American, and a lot of British educators are still snotty enough to turn their noses up at that. But it shouldn't get that far, because Michelle has committed not only a crime, but a serious professional breach of trust as an educator.

So unless this is a story designed to show how a person's professional and personal reputation can not only be shot by a moment of madness, but pursue them across continents, literally, forever ... just shut the fuck up. Please.

Unfriending a Sibling Friend. Not only is the contrived, retconned and tacked-on situation where Denise finds she isn't Kim's sister at all amazingly pukeworthy, it simply does nothing for either Denise or Kim. In fact, it makes both of them look petty, immature and just disagreeable.

The Square has seen non-blood-related people who consider themselves siblings before - the most recent being Whitney Dean and Tiffany Butcher. They were no less sisters than they were before Whitney found out that Tiffany was no blood relation to her at all. Denise and Kim were raised as sisters. That doesn't end with this titbit being found out. If anything, this should be presented as a positive learning experience; instead, TPTB are presenting Denise, dubbed by someone as O'Connor's Shirley, as someone amazingly arrogant, obtrusive, ungrateful, stubborn and just mean.

I had to pick my jaw up off the floor when Denise said that, as Kim was her sister, she'd have eventually forgiven her attitude toward Denise and the adopted child, as well as Kim's behaviour in front of Denise's English class, because that's what sisters do ... but as Kim now wasn't her sister, she wasn't going to bother forgiving her at all.

This is another ludicrous example of asinine and immature mindset. Denise had crossed the line and had actually defended Kim against her mother's behaviour, and the ice between the two had cracked; but she finds this out, and now, it's as though everything were Kim's fault.

I don't like either one of them, but this entire storyline has done neither of them any favours. For all Denise defended Kim as a good mother, the sight of Kim repeatedly screaming at Pearl for throwing her bottle out of the pushchair and both women actually giving the increasinly dirty bottle back to the baby was totally unreal. The last bit where Auntie Denise, who hadn't been up all night with a tetchy baby, just knew exactly what to do to get Pearl to behave because, well, because Saint Denise is such a good mother, she would know what to do.

Or they could use this as a teaching situation, for Denise to show Kim how children adopted out aren't really "raised by strangers", but are raised in a situation where they are much loved and much wanted. But noooooooo ... I don't knwo what they're trying to prove with this story. Instead, I think it's something prolonged with twists and turns and silly retconned reveals, planted as a means of trying to make both Kim and Denise, especially Denise, relevant. It's Connor's attempt to plant the Fox non-sisters onto the same pedestal as formerly occupied by the now deceased Blisters.

Who knows where this storyline is going - round and round in circles as things usually do with Denise until somebody gets too dizzy, and the storyline is stopped, and she'll go back to standing around the Minute Mart, sneering, and Kim will just go poncing about Walford with her fashion accessory  daughter in a pushchair, admiring herself until the kid is about five years-old or until someone else comes up with a bright idea of what to do with Denise. Again.

You Don't Choose Your Relatives. Wow, the Carters' woes continue, with Mick, Shirley and Babe ending the episode behind bars, charged with breaking licencing laws. 

Here's the irony of the situation: Mick was genuinely innocent and protested his innocence vociferously. He's totally right - he was raised in the pub trade, this is his first venture on his own, so why would he jeopardise his future and his livelihood by breaking licencing laws? Once he got wind of Babe attempting to do that, he put a stop to it immediately. He didn't know that Babe continued dishing out alcohol with her breakfasts. OK, maybe he should have kept a closer eye on the situation, but he was distracted - Linda being away with an infirm Elaine, Lee's financial problems, his own financial problems and his secret snog with Whitney. So he took his eye off the ball. 

Now consider this: Shirley certainly knew Babe had been violating licencing laws. She simply looked the other way. In this episode, we saw Mick vociferously fight for his name and his innocence, and every word he used with the police was true. However, he managed to give the police just enough rope with which they could hang him - telling him about needing a new roof for the pub and getting caught in Babe's trap by having to acknowledge that he told her to use any means by which to raise money for the pub.

However, so much for families. The Carters are not the Mitchells or even the Brannings. Shirley's reaction to the entire ordeal was to quip, "No comment." Plead the Fifth where I come from. She knew what Babe was doing, and instead of establishing Mick's innocence and taking a blow for her son, she sought to protect her own arse in all of this. Does she think Mick knew? Seriously? Mick, in situations like that, is straight as die.

Babe, of course, sought to play the innocent old lady role - "I'm just the cook" - in Uriah Heep fashion just to land Mick in hot water literally, implying that he was having financial difficulties, but disclaiming any knowledge of their financial situation because they "wouldn't let her see the books" (when she'd been doing them, meaning the police will look and see where corners have been cut), hinting that Mick was desperate to do anything that would help his financial situation. Still, it surprises me that Shirley didn't corroborate Mick's innocence.

In the end, this solved nothing for Babe. All three were charged, photographed, hand-cuffed and put in the cells overnight. This is a criminal offence; even if it were established that Mick knew nothing about this, he'll still lose his licence. And Linda is subject to arrest as well, so shouldn't the Old Bill be getting in contact with their ilk in Watford in order to effect her arrest?

This means the Carters will lose the licence at the Vic, although I was surprised to find that Lee actually had a personal licence, meaning he can act as a manager of the premises as long as the premises is licenced to sell alcohol ... but with the licencees on charges, doesn't this mean that the Vic should be shut until such a time as someone can get a premises licence? I also suppose that this will open the door for Sharon eventually to get the licence. Whatever Max has up his sleeve, I don't envision seeing the Branning brothers running the pub. I can, however, see Sharon.

On the other side of the coin, it was interesting to note Kathy's quiet guilt about having alerted the police to Babe - specifically, Babe sabotaging Kathy's coffee machine. How that should have alerted a policeman to do an undercover stint at the pub during the breakfast trade to find that they were breaking licencing laws is beyond me. He could have simply arrested Babe for vandalism. Of course, Kathy's conflicted at seeing someone possibly lose their livelihood. Mick's done nothing to her, and she likes Tina,who's been loyal. I suppose that her fling with Buster will come out in the crossfire that will erupt when the Carters find out what she did, and Ian will certainly brag that about. He was quick enough to round all the breakfast people up to come to the café with a discount promised, and was well into encouraging all the gossip being promoted by the likes of Kush.

Oh, and Mick is going to contrive to keep all of this from Linda, ostensibly until she returns to Walford and finds her family divested of their business.

The Eternal Victim. Whitney makes me sick, the way she always casts all the blame for her marital predicament on what she perceives as Lee's inadequacies. She goes on and on about how everything is his fault, but in her whine to Lauren, she failed to disclose the one thing that niggles her the most about Lee. He isn't MIck. Nope, she's not telling anyone about their little secret snog.

Kudos to Lauren, who seems to have grown up somewhat for handing Whitney her arse and telling her to talk to Lee about the next thing that annoys Whitney so much - that Lee makes precious little money at his job. It seems as if she's more annoyed about that than annoyed at the fact that he was lying to her about the amount, although by the time she confronted him, she made it seem that what annoyed her was his lying. Did Lee ever lead her to believe that he made more than he actually did, or did she make that whole thing up in her mind? I'm not sure.

So now we know that Lee makes a small basic - probably minimum wage, and gets emoluments via commission through sales. And that he's been pulling a massive sickie lately because he hates the job so much, something which doesn't impress Princess Whitney so much. I sense we're getting near the end of Lee, but I also sense that as vulnerable as Mick will be right now, I can't see him not sleeping with Whitney.

The Brannings. I like Glenda, but I can't see what Max has against her. 

What Glenda says in that house goes.

That remark and his disparaging the cake she obviously bought when her own creation fell in the oven. She seems to be urging Jack to do the right thing - getting him to get the kids back to school, urging him to have some time for himself, and then hiding the fact that Amy, overcome by everything that's happened since the New Year has resulted in her bedwetting. She's forged a bond with Amy, and surely that's good.

I just hope Jack doesn't end up bedding his mother-in-law.

As for Max, what was that remark about asking where Stacey's husband was, whilst he played plumber. Martin has a job. I get it that they are mates, but Stacey wants to avoid getting overly close to him as this could impede upon Martin's perception of their relationship. After all, Max and Stacey certainly have form, and now that she's aware of his self-harming, with all good intentions, she might inadvertantly cause problems with Martin. The last thing I want to see is a resurrection of Stax, but then again, I put nothing past this EP.

Good episode.

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