Monday, April 24, 2017

Doing the Denise Fox Strut ... Oi! - Review:- Monday 24.04.2017

The final frame in that dismally dire episode, written by Natalie Mitchelle (one of the better writers in the writers' room), was worth the 27 minutes or so that went before, if only to see Max's smug little smirk on his face when he realises he has Shirley over the barrel about the Vic freehold.

My second guess is that the person fronting this company which will take over the Vic freehold will be fronted by Lisa Faulkner, another leggy blonde who will, before long, be crawling into bed with Jack Branning.

Sean O'Connor's biggest vice is using a sledge hammer to crack the proverbial nut, and we've had it up to the eyeballs in milking sympathy for a dog. 

Ubiquitous sympathy line?

Shirley: I'm going to call the vet later and set a date.

Cue lingering shot of cute dog and pub full of Carter remnants who, up until that time, had been living a normal life - Johnny's dissertation is unimportant, Woody the Woodpecker ...

... and his incipient flirting with Whitney, fresh from cleaning the bogs with her £75 designer acrylic nails doesn't matter, Tina's face like an overgrown five year-old's smacked bum is irrelevant ... everyone's concerns pale beside what Shirley has announced that she has to do.

Increasingly, I find it damned difficult to believe that this pub can be operating in the red so much and that this family has made such a balls-up of running it. It's a local pub in an up-and-coming section of East London, within spitting distance of an underground line. It should be making a killing, and it has, under various ownerships/leaseholds until now. With all the infamous Carter theme nights, quiz nights and karaokes, with little on staff outlay (because, apart from Stacey and, lately, Sharon, they employ only family members), the place should be coining it. 

Yet Mick has never had any sort of money on hand. The Mitchells, and subsequently, the Moons, used to keep the front room safe bulging at the seams with money. OK, the Mitchells were dodgy, but the Moons earned their keep from the pub. You wonder where all of Mick's profits have gone, that the pub account doesn't have a spare £6k for a dog's operation. And with Tina suggesting hitting various and sundry Walford residents/businesses with a charity bucket emblazoned with Lady Di's picture was totally daft in this day and age - especially with people as clued-up in the internet age as Johnny (dubiously dubbed "Brains" by Woody) and, indeed, Woody, himself, who could have suggested fundraising for the op via a GoFundMe page or something of that ilk.For fuck's sake, the rural local yokels in Emmerdale had that much nous in order to raise funds for cancer treatment for that annoyingly wet child, Sarah Sugden - why can't the street suss urbanites of EastEnders think of something similar?

Instead, we get half-baked ideas like pub themes and bucket begging, with the relentless assumption driven home to us that "everybody's skint." 

Come on ... this isn't the 1980s when everybody was, legitimately, skint. When the Queen of Walford can strut the streets with no job in sight and no effort being made to find one, again,with expensive lacquered acrylic nails and no mention of tightening the purse strings,when Steven and Jane can go on an expensive shopping spree,expressly for the purpose of cheering up Lauren, when Donna and Abi can trip the tiles clubbing every night... people aren't skint.

But the Carters are.

The Carters are living in a pub with a literal gaping hole in the roof and barely a pot in which to piss.

The bulk of their part of the episode consisted of repeated scenes of Shirley moping about Walford, getting snarky with Sharon when she offered her some sort of sympathy and a reminder that people care - and that bloody annoyed me, that scene. Not because I like Sharon and dislike Shirley. Not at all. For the moment, I'm pretty much disliking Sharon in this incarnation and liking Shirley for the most part, but I do get bloody annoyed at various characters reminding such eternal ingrates like Shirley and Denise that people - i.e. people within the community - actually care about such people, who don't have a kind or polite word to say to anyone outside the parameters of their family dynamic, and then they often include relatives in their permanent ire.

Of course, Shirley's dilemma is whether or not she'll accede to Max's suggestions that she sell the freehold of the pub,which would entail the Carters becoming leasehold tenants. The freeholder would own the building and the property on which it was built, they'd take rent and a cut of the profits above a certain level. That's true, but as freeholders, they would also have the right to negotiate terms of supply with a particular brewery or supplier and the leashold tenants would have to comply. It's true that Mick and Linda wanted a pub with a freehold so that they could be their own bosses, but from the get go, they haven't been very good bosses, have they? They've been, essentially, little kids playing house.

And I cannot believe that, even now, "Lee's debts" are still being blamed for this predicament. First of all, Mick was inadequately insured. In fact, he was underinsured. Secondly, no one is mentioning the huge payday loan Mick, himself, took out - £14,000, was it?- to bring Linda and an ailing Denise back from Spain. I still cannot fathom Lee's debts being that insurmountable.He paid for Whitney's wedding, which was done on the cheap - the reception was in the Vic, she made over Bianca's wedding dress - the other essentials didn't cost the earth. They had a two-day honeymoon at a spa. He maxed out his credit cards, the credit on which couldn't have been that much. The rest of his money was made by stealing (off Jack and off that neighbour),and to this day, no one acknowledges Lee's illness, which had a big deal in the way he behaved.

In usual and predictable fashion, we have to see Shirley brought right to the brink of ringing the vet (The Urban Vet, really?) before she decides to visit Linda and tell her 90 per cent of the truth about the situation - well, about Lady Di and how selling the freehold of the pub could be the answer to their woes.

And this is what Max wanted. Interesting to know that the company he's representing isn't Weyland & Co, but another outfit; and I'm wondering if the mysterious man played by Simon Williams is part of that outfit or if the company mentioned by Max is just a front company for this organisation.

Why do I smell money laundering in all of this? After all, the pub was what Simon Williams, or whoever he was, wanted. That whole ordeal made the last scene worthwhile.

As well as everything else in this segment, I have to say, I'm not bothered at all by Lee Ryan,and I wouldn't be averse to seeing him stick around. Is he a good actor? No, probably not; but he's adequate for EastEnders' needs, and that shows you how low the bar is set for the BBCs flagship show these days. (Coming a day after the penultimate episode of Line of Duty, you notice the difference in sheer quality). He serves the purpose, and he's the right male age dynamic for the show, but the show is sadly lacking in corresponding females of that particular age group.

It's boringly typical that he should share scenes where it's made blatantly obvious that Whitney is flirting and sexually interested in this man. It's moot: handsome, provocative young bar manager and Whitney's tongue is down to her knees. Who didn't see that one coming? (Although one wonders if she's still carrying a torch for the married Mick). Wherever the Carters go in this storyline, I really wish this would be the end of the road for Whitney, especially when Linda returns and she who knows all and has a part in every aspect of life on the Square accidentally on purpose reveals to Linda that she saw Whitney and Mick share a kiss.

And Johnny ... oh, my god, how bad is Ted Reilly! The highlight of that, for me, was Woody dubbing him "Brains" for going on and on incessantly about his dissertation. It just dawned on me that Johnny will this year qualify as a solicitor. Will he still be pulling pints at the pub, or will he get sucked into the sinister machinations of Weyland & Co and their satellites as they threaten the "community?" 

Whatever happens, Johnny will, most probably, continue doing what he does best at the moment - and that is, being a whiny little bitch.

All Hail the Reign of Queen Denise. Strut, strut, strut, strut, snog, suck, strut, strut, strut, strut, smile smugly, strut, strut, strut, snog, suck, strut, strut, strut, affect a modest pose when the world of Walford bestows praise, strut, strut, strut, strut, snog, suck, strut, strut, strut, beam with pride when someone points out your picture in the paper.

There she is down Walford Town
Struts the market up and down
Smug smile on face
Doing the Big D Strut ... Oi!

Short and curlies in her hand
Leads her strapping toyboy man
People bow and scrape 
Doing the Big D Strut ... Oi!

She's much smarter than the rest
Yokels think she's just the best
Mouth out for hire
Doing the Big D Strut ... Oi!

Doesn't need to work all day
Speaks her mind and has her say
Self-appointed Queen
Doing the Big D Strut ... Oi!

All bow from the waist for the reign of Queen Denise, who struts down Walford Market to accept the cheers and benevolences from her subjects, praising her to hilt whilst she beams with pride as they praise her for her rude, loud-mouthed rant at the mayor, which has suddenly resulted in the streets being cleared of rubbish. 


It's a fucking fortnightly rubbish collection. Newsflash! Most councils implement that nowadays. Because most people have cars or access to transport and can make use of the local dump.And no council anywhere in London would be so remiss as to leave rubbish to fester until rats appeared. That's a public health hazard. For fuck's sake, this is London, not Naples.

Of course, we had to have the ubiquitous Denise segment, where she's praised as the saviour of Walford, where she preens and smiles and affects false modesty and has to get a dig in, inadvertantly, as Carmel, horning in on a conversation Carmel was having with Donna about men and toilet seats, just to make her presence known and glean some recognition of her achievement at Carmel's expense. There's such a thing as tact, and she wanted Carmel to know and be cognizant of the fact that she and Kush were very much a couple - you see, Denise had to get a line in about men and toilet seats.

Instead of looking for a job, she sits out on Kush's stall - remember she didn't want to help him sell clothes, that was too much beneath her fragrant being - but she can sit there and play silly hand games with him. You do wonder how she's paying her mortgage on the property in which she lives, which must pack a hefty punch.

At the end of the day, Honey, who sounded annoyingly like the mechanical woman's voice on a tannoy at an airport, obsessing over training tips for her new shop assistant, convinces her to spend more time with Kush and Denise. I'm no great fan of either Denise or Carmel, but I can understand Carmel's discomfort at this, especially since Denise went out of her way to tell her she was throwing their friendship under the bus in preference for Kush. I'd feel uncomfortable after that with Denise as well, if I were Carmel.

Then, there's Max - and here's one character I'll never tire of seeing pop up here and there at opportune moments. He knows Carmel is vulnerable emotionally at the moment; he approaches her for advice about buying chocolates - for a date, which -we later learn,if indeed there ever was one - didn't show up. Was there ever a date? You wonder. You wonder if this were a ploy to whet Carmel's whistle of interest in Max. We all know Carmel isn't exactly Max's type, but he implied a drink was on the cards in the future, and I would imagine she'll become his useful idiot via her position on the council, for his future machinations.

I'm sure Her Imperial Majesty Queen Denise will resolve this problem, much in the same way she'll inform Linda that her husband was seen by Denise, snogging his daughter-in-law.

Omnipresent and omniscient. Is there a God complex here?

Mollycoddling Lauren. No one amuses me more than the shallow, ineffectual Branning girls.When Lauren isn't jealous of Abi, Abi's jealous of Lauren. Remember this, from 2014?


We're witnessing the Lindafication of Lauren, undeserving of such mollycoddling as the cheating little bitch is. Jane and Steven toddle off to buy Lauren some treats which she doesn't deserve, and Abi visits and prattles on about clubbing with Donna, her newfound BFF. Clubbing and drinking and partying and doing all the things that Lauren, lumbered with a child she really finds inconvenient and in a relationship with a man whom she finds boring, cannot do at the drop of a hat.

Now it's Lauren's turn to be jealous and snipe at Abi's new-found freedom and her friendship with Donna, a friend who won't accompany her to her trysts as a front and take the moral high ground to which she, herself, isn't entitled. It's now Abi's turn to have the last word and get the line of the night:-

Jealousy's an unbecoming trait, Lauren.

Of course, Lauren's worried about not hearing from the interview she had, which she thinks she's scotched by not allowing creepy Josh to manipulate her after finding out his real motive. At the same time,she wants to get the job, and she wants to hear from him. Why else would she keep staring at her phone?

Lauren sits, self-obsessed, amidst the Beales, who express concern about her on varying levels - Steven's encouraging her decision to pack in her internship, thinking that this means she wants to spend more time with her son and with him to Ian's pronouncing how rejection would be good for Lauren in this instance,and Jane just sitting sympathetically by.

When Steven is faced with the truth from Lauren, that she's packed in her internship, not to devote time to her son (after all, she actually implies, she's got Steven as an unpaid childminder), she wants to "pursue her career," I almost fell off my chair.

What career?

Lauren has no qualifications and no real job experience beyond waiting tables and two weeks of pretending to be a letting agent from her dining room table. What exactly is the career she's pursuing? One would be forgiven for thinking that it's a career in homewrecking, considering her entanglement with Jake Stone and the route she's taking now with this creep.

She didn't feel one iota of guilt or self-consciousness that Jane and Steven had spent the entire moment,shopping for fol-de-rols to make her happy.

The brief-but-strong scene where Steven pierced the condom with a knife was strangely overshadowing. I can't help but wondering if this will all end violently.

Chapter Two and Another Bit. So now we begin Chapter Two of the Bullying saga, wherein Sniggle and Snaggle begin the systematic bullying breakdown of Louise. It's started gently - by stealing her schoolbooks so she gets detention, and then gaslighting her into believing that she actually left her books on the bus. I would imagine that they've also contrived to get her sacked from the drama club presentation, which they're cleverly keeping a secret from her. It would have been far more interesting to have had Louise develop a backbone on Friday and tell these two women impersonating schoolgirls where to go, thus ending this sad, repetitive saga.

We've gone from watching them give us ample opportunities to see Rebecca quiver and cry, and now we're about to see them sniggle at making Louise look like a bootlicking fool - until they really hurt her and SuperBex comes to the rescue - or Denise. Probably Denise, as she seems to solve things nowadays.

On the other hand, we see Honey devolve from a silly mechanical woman dictating memoranda into her Smartphone to a bit of a snide bitch, who's more than disappointed that her colleague in the Minute Mart will be Derek,who's elderly and a stickler and a bit of an old fuddy-duddy with whom she can't have a good gossip. Are we now in for a bit of ageism?

I'll bet that Denise can put things right.

Call Denise Fox. She'll know what to do.

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