Friday, April 7, 2017

From Bad to Worse - Review:- Tuesday 04.04.2017

I'm a glutton for punishment. Each time this show airs, I watch it. God knows why, but like Brookside, which I watched until the bitter, unwatchable end, I kept hoping that it would somehow regain its quality, its momentum, its mojo, if you will.

Quite frankly, it's all over the place now. Tonight, I was actually amazed the 30 minutes went by so quickly. I kept waiting for something to happen, and all of a sudden, it was over, with yet another misplaced, ill-fitting duff-duff, which - to me - is evidence that no one - not the writers, not the directors, not the storyliners, nor anyone on the production team and certainly not the EP, himself - have a snowball's idea of hell what is going on.

Tonight, we had Sharon running around like a demented beach ball bouncing after Michelle and showing, yet once more, that she cared more about this pathetic excuse and poor imitation of something Michelle Fowler never was or ever was intended to be, than her own son, who is clearly resentful of and uncomfortable with Michelle being in his home. I imagine Dennis spoke for himself and Louise when telling Michelle the blatant home truth that "we" - i. e., he and Louise - thought they'd be well rid of her by now. Ian and Martin, Michelle's blood kin, glared and stared, whilst Ian got a few gripes in; and Michelle is actually so pig shit ignorant and stupid enough to think that all she needed to do was apologise, and the police would let her skip along her merry way, back to the States with a promise to Ian to get money from her half of the house she owned with Tim to repay him his loss. Good luck to that.

Ben, Jay and Abi provided unfunny comedy, and it now looks as though we're going to have a rolling list of temporary characters staying short term in Jay's and Ben's spare room. As fucking if. Shirley got in a fight as a means of grieving for Sylvie and also letting her cellmate know that she was being a royal pain in the arse - hint: In yesterday's episode, we saw a For Sale sign go up on a property in the Square, obviously, a harbinger of Christopher Timothy and wife yet to arrive; tonight Shirley's Cheshire-cat-grinning cellmate disclosed that she'd recently made contact with her mother after years of estrangement. Who wants to bet that she rocks up as the new couple's secret after a bit, much to Shirley's chagrin?

Lauren began her road to High Infidelity, by showing how brainless and stupid she was, with a man who most certainly has "married" stamped on his forehead, offering her a shot at a job in his firm for which she, rightly, admits she has no qualifications. Just to emphasize that point, she let rips with a couple of well-placed "ain'ts" in the bargain. Meh, he just wants her on hand for a fuck in the toilets, I imagine.

It was rank. It was awful. But never fear, folks, next week, we have the teen bullying story back for a new chapter.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water ... Cue Jaws mucus music.

What Do You Get When You Cross a Chicken with a Leech? Answer: Michelle. Said it before, and I'll say it again: Sean O'Connor should be taken out and smacked, repeatedly, for casting Jenna Russell as Michelle Fowler and for creating the pathetic, simple-minded, stupid, arrogant, common-sense-lacking, weak, deluded character who says she's Michelle.

This woman is awful. She is just as emotionally immature as the sexually precocious child who pursued her for sex. She doesn't have a pot in which to piss, and no money for a taxi home from the hospital (so she has to cadge money off Sharon, the woman whom she accused of judging her only the day before; but it looks as though she certainly has money to buy a bottle of booze; because she was surely headed to the allotments to drink when Sharon spotted her, after dashing out of the house, in a frantic search to save Michelle from herself. 

What about your son, Sharon? He's obviously not too keen to be sharing a house with the woman who smacked him. Does Sharon actually know why Michelle smacked Dennis? It wasn't because he was blackmailing her, but because he called her a paedophile - she isn't, but Dennis was astute enough to know that what Michelle had done and was doing with Preston was wrong; and as a kid, he clearly felt uneasy with her in the house, after he discovered her and Preston in a compromising position. And there he is, having to share a house with the woman who caused him such unease, this time, at his mother's bidding.

This must do wonders for Dennis's sense of security and respect for his mother, especially mindful of Michelle telling him that Sharon would never believe him, nor would he ever come between her friendship with his mother. You can just see the resentment building up.

No one's happy to see Michelle return to the Square, except Sharon; I don't think Michelle is mindful of the glares and stares that laser in on her across the Square from her brother and her cousin. After all, she's only used her niece as a sexual tool and demolished her cousin's business with his mother, her aunt, inside the building.

All she's worried about is grabbing her passport, packing and heading back to Florida, to try to get back together with Preston. Boy, she's not only brazen, she is one stupid bitch.


Because if she went back to Florida, she may as well walk back into a prison cell ... Because Preston is still underage !!!!!!! She'd be up on multiple counts of statutory rape - or did the writers conveniently forget that? Are they so stupid to think that once is enough? You can't claim double jeopardy because single jeopardy hasn't even occurred!

All she has to do is beg the price of an air fare from Bank of Sharon, a subsidiary of Bank of Phil, providing international travel to deadbeats everywhere. That's what's brazen about her. Like her jailbait boyfriend, she's a deadbeat. She can rail at Sharon and accuse her of all sorts, but she's financially dependent on her, especially if she wants to return to Florida. 

Her reaction to Ian's plight is even more offensive and baffling - she's sorry, but it's not her fault that he didn't have insurance. 


That makes no difference whatsoever. Ian's mother was in that chip shop and could have been killed. She's using a deadbeat's desperation in promising the impossible - to cover Ian's losses. She'll get the money somehow, but she has to return to the States and get her husband to turn over to her her half of the house they own  - in other words, convince him to buy her share out. What she'll probably do is leave for Florida, never to return.

At least, the show remembered that the crash was another crime that Michelle has committed, and at least, it's now been established that blood tests were taken at the hospital. Surely, the fact that her presence was required at the police station must have emphasized the seriousness of what she'd done? She's certainly lived in Walford long enough in her youth and had been aware of how serious it was when police wanted to see you at the station for a statement? Instead, she breezily thinks this is nothing more than a formality. She'll be able to give the police her statement, apologise - apologise! - for doing what she did, and then be on her way.

Throughout all of this, I was repulsed and horrified at the way Sharon ran after Michelle all the time, but then at the end of the episode, it dawned on me how infantilized Michelle has become. Her association with Preston has regressed her intellect to that of a fantasy-ridden 14 year-old girl, obsessed with a dangerous puppy love for a 17 year-old boy. But Michelle isn't 14, she's 48, yet she's thinking like a desperate adolescent in the throes of a holiday romance.

Like Preston, when she hears Sharon discussing her situation with Phil on the phone, she elaaborately flounces off the way Preston would storm out of the room - especially after the encounter with Dennis, who made it clear to her in no uncertain terms how he feels about Sharon bringing her back into the house. When she overhears Sharon remark to Phil that she can't return to him - not while Michelle is "acting so crazy", she's offended by that.

Really, Michelle?

The police interview only proved that not only is Michelle pathetic, she's pathetically and arrogantly stupid. She actually cannot understand that her statement isn't just a formality, that this accident needs to be investigated. The police need to hear her side of what happened, and it's vague and confused - even to the point of why she collided with the chip shop structure, which she can only ascertain was a vague assumption that perhaps she'd swerved to avoid hitting someone.

She genuinely thinks the statement procedure is simply for her to apologise and then go on her way. Whether or not she remembers the reason she grabbed the keys to Sharon's car and ran off is a moot question. She either doesn't remember or she chooses not to remember. Does she remember the encounter with Louise before she left or how the girl tried to get her to return to the house? All she could think about was getting to Preston.

The most abjectly pathetic part of the police interview came when the officers confronted her with evidence that barbiturates had been found in her blood sample - specifically, sleeping pills. Seriously, Michelle affected ignorance of the effects of such prescription drugs, saying that she'd only taken them (and drunk wine) to calm down, and blaming the doctor for not telling her how severely they would impair her. 

Pardon me, but you take sleeping tablets ... to sleep, not to chill out and calm down. They make you drowsy, and her instructions with the tablets would have warned her against driving or operating machinery, and yet she's trying to pin the blame for this accident on her doctor not being thorough enough in explaining about the barbiturates.

And most of all, she seems genuinely shocked that the police are referring her case to the CPS for possible prosecution for dangerous driving and driving under the influence of drugs; moreover, she's stupid enough to tell them that she's leaving the country ... she ain't going nowhere now, more's the pity (grammar errors intentional, by the way).

The face-off scene in the middle of the Square between Sharon and Michelle should have been the highlight of this episode. 

It wasn't.

Michelle has the abject gall to throw up the fact that Sharon was married to the alcoholic brother of her ex-husband. Sharon should have shot back with a remark about how Michelle had slept with that selfsame ex-husband and had his child, after having slept with Sharon's married father and having had his child. She has the gall to accuse Sharon of mismanaging her own life? Well, at least Sharon has a home, which is something Michelle doesn't have at the moment, and it wasn't Sharon who slept with someone who was considered, legally, to be a child. Ian was right. She's a fool to think that no one in Walford isn't talking about her. They are, but she's put herself about as being culturally above everyone in the Square, that she's fair bait for being the butt of gossip.

This is an atrocious character. Michelle, the real Michelle, was a nuanced character - someone who could make you angry one instant, but whose fierce loyalty could inspire you the next. This incarnation is a pathetic, wimp of a woman, throwing caution, and her family, to the wind to chase after a sexually precocious child.

She doesn't deserve any sympathy, and she is in serious danger of bringing Sharon down. Her reaction tonight to Sharon's interference showed what she really thought of Sharon and probably what she's thought about her all her life.

Sharon doesn't need Michelle. Nobody does. TPTB should be aware of the fact that this character is now almost universally disliked - this iconic, original character, in Jenna Russell's recast, has become an abominable aberration.

Go. Just go. Someone show her the ax.

Men Behaving Embarrassingly. It's obvious that TPTB don't have a clue in hell what to do with Ben and Jay, now that they are renting a house in a trendy part of London, something which they can ill afford.

So, I suppose the obvious path is for them to be a distinctly unfunny comedy duo, whereby we explore the pitfalls of two lads sharing a house together. And what a storyline rife with gender assumption - Jay being baffled about what to use to rid the house of a rubbish bin smell when he runs into Abi to show up coincidentally in time to hear, essentially, that Jay now thinks that Ben is a slob - all Ben does is sit around in his pants, and because Abi just happens to be a girl, she'd know all about the right scents to have around the house.

And her volunteering is just the woman's touch they need - with pot plants and cushions - to give a good impression. The potential flatmates are something on which EastEnders is obsessive at the moment - cartoon characters: a geezer straight out of Kenny Everett's Sid Snot biker character, called "Hellraiser" and a wi-fi geek conspiracy theorist, capped off by a reluctant and very shy girl.

In the end, Abi, the girl of the piece, comes up with a suggestion, which still won't help the fact that they owe rent by the end of the week, rent they can't afford - hire out the room for tourists and charge a bomb. So does that mean we're going to get a spate of week-long specials of The Amazing Adventures of Ben and Jay, featuring stereotypical and probably offensive caricatures of Irish houseguests, American houseguests, German houseguests, Chinese houseguests etc? Because EastEnders has a long affiliation with depicting offensive racial and cultural stereotypes. 

Hey, since they're both young dudes barely into their twenties, maybe Michelle should rent a room from them?

Genetic Infidelity. Lauren is another stupid bitch. She's bored with Steven, for whom she probably left Peter, and she's bored with Peter's child. 

So much for DTC's fetish for babies. Children can expand a character's potential (Stacey, Janine), but they can also impede character development. Roxy, for example, was an awful mother, and lumbering Lauren with a child has done her no favours. 

In fact, Lauren has no potential left at all. It was inevitable that she was going to cheat on Steven, the gay guy who prayed away the gay in New Zealand and returned asexually heterosexual like a young Lawrence White from Emmerdale. I'm still waiting for him to make a move on Johnny, now that Johnny and Ben were only a one-night stand, by which neither of them can become pregnant.

Bless him, Steven is trying so hard to be the good son to a man who isn't his father, a good father to a child who isn't his son, and a good partner to a girl whose got a double dose of the selfish and infidelity genes. Lauren makes everything all about her, but in her segment of the show, I was amazed at the gender assumption prevalent there as much as in Abi's segment. 

Lauren hates her job. So much for her dreams of being a web designer, with no GCSEs or A-Levels of which to speak. She's the tea girl and gofer. Steven's solution for her problem is simple - quit the job and spend more time with Louis. In other words, if a woman hates her job, she should just quit and stay home with the kids.

Lauren is on the lookout for playing away, and Clark Kent lookalike Josh rings her with the excuse that he's put her forward for a new job at Canary Wharf where he works and wants to talk about it over dinner. It's an excuse, obviously, and the venue is in a very posh and very expensive restaurant, where Lauren orders ceviche  and supreme de poulet, studiously mispronounced to emphasize just how much of a worthy ignorant she is. I doubt she would even like ceviche - marinated raw fish doesn't seem to be something for which she'd have much appetite.

The job on offer is taking pictures of the company's property portfolio, another job for which she has no qualfications, but for which Josh has obviously bigged her in order to have her close at hand for bonking privileges. The line he fed her about one day finding herself with the man of her dreams and children and wondering about what she'd given up for those things leads me to believe that Josh is probably married, himself, and made me feel curiously as if this is some sort of a repeat of the Rob-Dawn affair that gave us Dr Mad May, or maybe Steven will discover her infidelity and that will tip him over the edge into his own vengeful morass again.

Lauren, as a character, is a non-entity, and it does look as though the show is struggling with a defined role, both for her and for Whitney at the moment. It seems as if the writing room lacks some sort of ability to define their characters in depth, but are they ever able to do that with anyone?

I didn't miss Lauren whilst Jossa was away, and the more I see of her griping, sneaking, self-obsessed, lazy character, the more I dislike her, as well as the odious Whitney.

The only thing I glean from this is that Lauren, who always took the moral high ground with Max in favour of Tanya, is the recipient of the worst part of both her parents' dubious genes. 

Another one for the ax.

Shirley. So much for Shirley's early release. The scene between her and Tina was the highlight of that episode, proving that Linda Henry is the last person standing in quality talent on the show. Watching the camera play on Henry's face as Tina told Shirley what happened to Sylvie was a masterclass in subtlety. You could see the struggle with Shirley to maintain a hardfaced composure in a place where emotion is perceived as an indication of weakness. 

This is lost on Tina, especially after Shirley's remark that Sylvie's death was the best thing for everyone, including Sylvie. It was cack-handed and came out the wrong way, but it prompted an emotional response from Tina, who - again - was let down by various family members, having to break the news of Sylvie's death to Shirley alone and being let down again by Shirley refusing to cooperate with Tina and plan Sylvie's funeral.

The ruckus isn't lost on the ubiquitously obnoxious cellmate, and Shirley's grief and ire are expunged by her giving the cellmate the beating of her life. It was actually quite disturbing - but all this was done after the cellmate disclosed that she and her mother had been estranged for years until recently. 

I wonder if the cellmate is the secret the Christopher Timothy couple might be hiding and she's the daughter of this woman?

Who knows? Who cares anymore?

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