Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Unlikability Factor - Review:- Tuesday 28,02,2017

That was 30 minutes of my life I won't ever retrieve again. The show is a joke. Although there were some redeeming features - two topical storylines seeming to be done very well - the rest was predictable and trite (the emergence of Whick), stupid (the Fox brouhaha), and boringly cruel (the yoof).

It was a cross between a bad sitcom and Waterloo Road.

You know, now that Shitler's in the White House, I find myself longing for the days of Dubya Bush; where EastEnders is concerned, I'm missing Newman.

First the good stuff - Tina's and Shirley's predicament, and Ian Beale's health.

The Carter Sisters. EastEnders always over-eggs the pudding. It wasn't enough that almost everyone has slept with their partner and their partner's sibling or that a gaggle of women were sexually abused as young girls or even that almost everyone on the Square has a daddy issue, the place is awash with sister acts.

You kill off the Blisters, but the Branning sisters still remain, hovering in the background and looking for a storyline, as do the Fox non-sisters, who seem to be intrusively everywhere and stinking up the place from overexposure; and then, there are the Carter sisters, whom we seldom see together. 

They have a storyline at last, independent of, yet on the periphery of the Carter enclave. It's topical, it's relevant and it promises, however short it may be, to be good.

In an ageing population, there's a dilemma about how to care for elderly people, especially those who suffer from Alzheimer's and the people who are closest to them. Tina has always been adamant about caring for Sylvie, even though Shirley has been reluctant to do so. Shirley has serious historical issues with Sylvie, she carries a grudge and her hurt runs deep. Tina, naturally good-hearted, doesn't remember Sylvie's desertion, and is willing to care of her in her dotage; but as Sylvie's dementia worsens, things are getting hard for her carers.

It seems as though Sylvie is Shirley's responsibility during the day, whilst Tina works at the cafĂ©, while Tina takes over in the evening as Shirley is working in the pub. Lately, Tina's been tired and distracted at work, resulting in a nearly-serious collision with a lorry in this episode. She's told Kathy that she's been up most nights with Sylvie, who's keeping her awake. 

Sent home from work because of her injury, she finds Sylvie asleep during the day, and later discovers that Shirley's been feeding her brandy during the day, making her bedroom dark and encouraging her to think night is day and day is night because - quite honestly - Shirley can't cope with Sylvie. It isn't Sylvie, herself, it's her condition, and you know, that's all right. Really, it is. Not everyone can cope with an elderly relative who has dementia as the dementia progresses. 

When Tina discovers Shirley's been medicating Sylvie with brandy, in their confrontation, Shirley admits the truth - that she can't cope, and that she thinks it's time they considered putting Sylvie in a home, not because it's callous, but someplace where she could receive proper care and attention. She reminds Tina that Sonia, a trained geriatric nurse, warned them that Sylvie's condition would worsen. Even Sylvie's appearance, demanding breakfast and wondering if Stan were bringing kippers, fails to convince Tina, who's tired and hurt and conflicted about what to do. 

She doesn't want Sylvie to be consigned to a home, but she doesn't want to admit that looking after her mother is impinging on her health and that of her sister, who's reduced to dishing out alcohol to keep the old lady calm and manageable. 

This is a very relevant problem in today's society, and taken away from the mess that is happening in the pub, it's an interesting, concerning and sympathetic topic. When did Tina become so likeable in a show filled with distasteful people? Probably when Sonia left and Tina stopped obsessing about Sonia's amazing tits. She works best in the family nest, with her natural compassion and loyalty coming to the fore. And anything Linda Henry does is well worth the watching. 

What's concerning is that this storyline will become secondary to the dross the show is pushing to the front.

Ian's Health. Does the show have to show the same old same old about illness or medical conditions every time? I mean where the sufferer throws a stubborn paddy and refuses acknowledgement/treatment/diagnosis/whatever. We've seen it with Stacey. We've seen it with Carol. We've seen it with Dot, and now we're witnessing Ian duck and dive and generally avoid seeing his GP about his health test results.

This is all about obesity and the underlying illnesses it can cause, and I'm betting, with Ian's collapse, that this is about Type II Diabetes. This is clearly a public health awareness storyline, but I would wager that it's also done in conjunction with Adam Woodyatt wanting to lose a few extra pounds, and he already looks like he's been successful in that.

The other thing this storyline emphasized heavily is how much Konrad should really be a regular, especially as he's the owner of the Polish shop on Turpin Road. I would welcome a romance with Shirley, and I was surprised that he and Ian were associated - again, by something that, ostensibly, occurred off-screen (possibly, being one of the scrapped episodes, because Ian being accused of shoplifting must have been a moment to capture on screen. If that be the case, the show is sadly lacking even more at the moment).

Konrad seems to be a man of immense integrity and compassion, and we could do with a few more of his ilk on the Square.

And now, for the bad bits ...

Chick on the Side. Did anybody notice Whitey morphing into Linda in this episode? Linda is the driving force behind the Carters. She's the one who gets things done. Plan an event? Linda takes care of the details. She was the one who took on the Council about the bins. She's the one behind all the promotions in the pub. When Mick gets in a blue funk, she panders to his ego and coos sweet nothings. 

Well, Linda isn't there.

And Whitney's sidled right into her place. 

From the moment she first appeared tonight, when Mick was talking with Konrad about not having the money to pay for the work done, she barged in in her pyjamas to interject her two penneth into a discussion that wasn't any of her business. That was the actions of a wife.

When Konrad was working, she was the one who demanded the pub be cleaned and swore to Mick that he wasn't "going to prison", all the while, making doe-eyes at him. And Mick's responding. He's keeping things from Linda again. Linda's name is above the door, yet she knows nothing about the ceiling, the plumbing, the roof problems ... or about Lee, the most important secret being kept from her.

I somehow don't think Linda would countenance Whitney, Lee-less, hanging about the pub, considering the dressing down she gave her for chasing after Mick previously. In fact, I don't think Linda would believe half of the trash talk Mick and Whitney would give her regarding what Lee did and how he behaved, as perceived by them. Why?

Because Linda is Lee's mother. She'd know something was amiss, and she wouldn't trust Whitney.

And all the while Whitney's acting like she's the Queen Bee of the Queen Vic, Mick is returning her longing stares. He misses Linda, and she's acting like Linda,and - truth be known - Mick, I think, resents the fact that Linda is prioritising her sick mother's needs now over his. Widdle Mick has to be first, and Linda's off nursing Elaine, whilst his world comes crashing down - literally. Then, along comes this nubile twentysomething, his daughter-in-law, and suddenly Mick's the centre of her world. She's fighting to save his business, fighting alongside of him. She's made him believe his oldest son mistreated her, and Mick facilitates an eventual illicit relationship by actually telling his son to walk away from his marriage, he literally bans him from Walford, re-inforcing his low self esteem and condemning him to a miserable exile in a miserable South Coast town away from his family.

And in the meantime, with Linda away and Lee gone, something rotten is developing between Mick and Whitney. Shirley's pretty suss, and you'd think she'd be onto Whitney's machinations. Johnny will be the one to discover the dirty work. And Mick will alienate yet another one of his children. 

I can actually see Johnny living across the Square and renting a room from Ben and Jay.

And I want to see Whitney and Mick get their ultimate comeuppance.

The Inevitable Revenge Porn Story That Wasn't. So two bad storylines collide and invade each other's space. 

The yoof storyline is bad enough. In fact, it's the worst piece of misogyny the show has produced under Sean O'Connor - whom, I'm beginning to believe more and more has a mean streak when it comes to women.

The die is cast for all of this to facilitate Michelle's dirty little secret coming out.

First, I hope Prestonovich is leaving soon. Please ... the references tonight to him selling fruit and veg for "bucks" was stupid enough, the SAT reference was even sillier. 

Just so you know the difference between GCSE's and the testing system used in the US, it's thus:-

Rebecca is taking her GCSEs in a lot of subjects. Her equivalent in the US would be taking Mock SATS. In two years' time, Rebecca will be taking A Levels in probably three or four subjects. At the end of next year, 2018, her US equivalent would be taking SATS. The SAT exams are done over the course of one day and are maths and English grammar. Students who are college-bound take these tests - not everyone. They're usually taken at the end of their Junior year (Year 11) so that if either score is low, they can resit in the middle of their Senior (last, Year 12) year. The SATs are used as part of your university application. Some unis require a second level of SAT - an Acheivement SAT in at least three subjects - advanced maths or biology, chemistry, English/American literature, French, Spanish, German, Latin or US/European history or English composition. You take three of these, and sit them all in one day. The scores, along with your SATs are sent to the universities of your choice along with other criteria and you await your acceptance, which arrives around early April. By the time you finish Senior year (June), you either have a uni place or you don't.

Preston's taken SATs, which means he's uni-bound. He should be in the last semester of his Senior year, preparing for his finals and visiting prospective universities for interviews, not lolling around Walford, trying to unnerve Michelle, which is just what he was doing, playing on her jealousies by offering to talk to Rebecca for Martin.

On the other hand, for one brief moment, Shakil looked as if he'd "manned up" and decided to approach Rebecca in the spirit of friendship, but she stuttered, he stuttered and by the time she'd scarpered, Keegan had shown him his latest creation - a porn video with Rebecca's head superimposed on the body of a porn actress. Even Shakil was shocked. Of course, he put the video online and sent the link to everyone he knew, in an act of abject and cold cruelty. Why? He has no gripe with this girl. What happened between Rebecca and Shakil was between them. Louise intefered, but in a silly way, and it was very bad that she got Sniggle and Snaggle involved in the mess. Now they've seen the link and, like Keegan, find it funny. These three have no compassion or any sort of empathy and seem to be the latest budding psychopaths to emerge on the Square. Louise was upset by what she saw, but too timid to find her inner Mitchell and bitch slap those two clowns around the Square.

Rebecca knows something's happened and that it concerns her. She was tough enough to remind a cloying Prestonovich that he'd used her, but later, in a vulnerable moment - one which he assessed, as well, as soon as Rebecca sussed the others were having a laugh on her - he approaches her and taps into her vulnerability to use her yet again.

This entire thing is going to blow sky high, especially with Martin,and in the midst of it all, the secret of who Preston really is and why Michelle is still here, when she should be home, teaching and living with her husband, will be out. 

I must say, aren't Martin and Stacey in the least bit curious about what happened to Michelle's job, why she isn't working and what's happened between her and Tim? Are they really that thick?

OutFoxed. I'll tell you what I took away from this fiasco - how much I like and sympathise with Vincent, who has to put up with Kim, who thinks of nothing but herself. Their daughter is only a decoration. Vincent does most of the caring, as was obvious tonight the way the child, a toddler, couldn't get away from Kim fast enough and literally ran to Vincent.

All Kim was ultimately concerned about was helping Denise out of a prickly situation and winning a bottle of bubbly in the pancake race. She showed no concern at Ian Beale's collapse and in the pub, only bothered to quaff champagne whilst Vincent cared for their child and kept remonstrating with her to go talk with Denise.

The enormous amount of storylines and the over-emphasis of this sister act has caught up with the characters. Familiarity breeds contempt, and for all those people whining about wanting more Denise, well, you got it ... and both these women are stinking up the place. 

I hated Ronnie, but I do miss the Blisters, and I'd rather have them back than this dross.

The incessant storylines have done neither Kim nor Denise any favours. Instead, it's brought out the worst in both women. Both have enormous egos and are incredibly self-obsessed. Whilst Whitney and Honey discussed the Pancake Race, an activity designed to foster the community spirit O'Connor's banging on about, Denise -who ran to the media about a dysfunctional community - is only concerned with the impending visit of the area manager and her comments to the press.

The stupidity of both women is alarming. Neither can see that you simply never slag off publically the company which employs you. Even Vincent tried to explain to Kim how he wouldn't tolerate his bar staff griping to the public about the way he runs his bar or the price of his drinks, she fails to understand the concept of corporate loyalty. But then, Kim is a person who's never really had a job, someone who's lived off various well-heeled men (Dexter, Vincent) and who doesn't see past herself in life. Her daughter is meant to be a reflection of her, her husband is meant to serve her. I really cannot imagine Vincent loving this self-obsessed monster, and I wonder if he only stays with her for Pearl's sake. She's truly awful.

But then, even Patrick was jollying Denise along by saying that nothing would come of the meeting she was scheduled to have with the comically stereotypical regional manager, another cartoon character, and the totally surrealistic scene between him and Kim in his car outside the pub.

That was embarrassingly bad. It shows the depths of condescension TPTB show toward the show's viewers. In short, the bar is low. The scene was trite, amateurish and a cack-handed tribute to every over-acted, unfunny sitcom ever produced and shown on television. First of all, it's winter and it'scold. The man must have been talking inordinately loud on his mobile for Kim, who just "happened" to be passing by, to hear every word he said about his official disciplinary visit to Denise. In actual fact, everything he said about Denise in that conversation with an unseen character was true.

She did whine about zero hours. She did demand and get a contract. She did kick up a fuss about maternity leave and pay. And she was rude to him.

Secondly, this was London, and the man, himself, was a stranger to this area. Who in their right mind in London, sits around parked on a street in a strange neighbourhood with your car unlocked. Your car remains locked with you inside for the very reason he was taken aback - a strange woman, Kim, simply opened the door and sat herself down inside. He could be forgiven, whoever she was, for thinking that he was about to be mugged or car-jacked, especially as aggressive as Kim was, shrieking at him to shut up and listen.

Instead, in the midst of all of this unfunny kerfuffle, EastEnders sought to inject a subtle jab at racism, with Kim, in the midst of her rant, accusing the man of racist assumptions, in perceiving his private space being invaded by a woman of colour. That's rich, considering not that long ago, Kim made an overtly racist remark in wondering about the racial make-up of the couple who wanted to adopt Denise's son. Racism cuts both ways, and Kim is none too tactful in anything she says.

She basically bullies the man into backing down about a disciplinary procedure towards Denise, something she was very much due for her behaviour. Not only had she openly slagged off the company for which she works in the local press, she had, as was pointed out, hit a kid. OK, she wasn't at work when that happened, but those of you who are employed, just try breaking the law - assaulting someone, shoplifting, anything of that ilk - and see how far your employer goes keeping you on as an employee. The rationale is that if she lost her temper outside of work like that, she could lose it on the premises, with clientele. She'd also refused to serve Keegan and Shakil.

But Kim essentially bullied this man, literally threatening him into doing something against his will, and that aggressive behaviour is surely worth a complaint to the local police authority. And to be honest, Denise's personal business - her marital woes and her choice of giving up her child for adoption - should have no bearing on her performance at work. No employer would have risen to the pity party of taking those things into consideration, especially after she so vindictively trash-mouthed a company from whom she'd stolen and who'd re-employed her after sacking her the first time on the spot, in lieu of calling the police.

The irony of all of Kim's belligerance is that Denise, who's just as obtuse, arrogant and stupid  ... the English Lit student exclaiming to the area manager I ain't stupid was too precious ... as Kim, even moreso. After a seemingly innocuous visit, Denise emerged from that meeting immediately with her signature sneering look of condescension and a chip on her shoulder. The area manager had decided to go easy on her, but she was having none of it. Her tone was vulgar, rude and disrespectful. Any employee who showed that sort of cheek and disrespect to someone in a position of authority should have been sacked on the spot.

And she was so hot-headed in her approach, that when she heard Kim was involved, she immediately assumed that the area manager was the perpetrator. She is someone who's impulsive, ignorant and narrow-minded, and she deserved to be handed her arse by the man who reminded her that an act of physical violence, even outside the workplace, is a bad reflection on the company, itself - IIRC, wasn't Denise actually still wearing her work pinny? and she openly slagged off the company with derogatory remarks. The permanent contract she craved so much had a non-defamatory clause by which she was bound. In short, Queen Denise is in breach of contract. Had she remained on the zero hours' contract, she could have said anything she liked, within reason.

If we're meant to root her corner, it isn't working. SOC placing Denise front and centre of this piece doesn't play to her strengths at all, it just emphasizes the fact that she has no strengths. The Fox non-sisters are just two loud-mouthed, pea-brained, narrow-minded bullies.


No comments:

Post a Comment