Monday, April 10, 2017

Is Mediocrity the Norm Now?- Review:- Monday 10.04.2017

Is it normal now for everyone to be so unlikable? The Michelle and Denise Show continues. If one isn't being featured,then the other puts in the ubiquitous obligatory performance.We get not one, but two silly sitcom stories - Jay's and Ben's sitcom was painfully obvious, and you could see it coming a mile off; Kim's situation comedy was again the typical 1950s-style wife trying to hoodwink a husband fare. Give me strength. Lauren lying and planning a cheating night on her permanent babysitter, and Whitney stealing a credit card I thought Vincent had pocketed. Add Carmel being Trump to Max's Putin, the return of Sniggle and Snaggle, the 25 year-old teens, and what could go wrong?

The Useful Idiot. Max was the only bright spot in an otherwise dismal tale, and it was down to Jake Wood's ability to make a subtlety obvioius that saved this episode in the end. You realised, with that brilliantly sneaky little look on Max's face as the duff-duff sounded, that he'd been hanging about the Square all afternoon, just looking for a useful idiot to further his and his company's plans. In fact, it's probably Weyland & Co's (or whatever it's called) remit to have him hang about, casing the place just to get some sort of local yokel who'll inadvertantly figure into whatever plans this company has.

It's obviously property development of some sort, because of the interest he took in Carmel's proposed hope for getting a job on the Council Planning Commission. Max, the inveterate womaniser of old, knows exactly when a victim is at her most vulnerable, and thus, he knows exactly which buttons to push. This is no seduction of Carmel, however, unless it's a seduction of her ego and her neediness to be front and centre.

From the behaviour of her sons - Kush, directing his full-on Oedipal urges in Denise's direction and Shakil, being his usual disinterested self - he senses her loneliness; and after witnessing Stacey, freezing her out of any opportunity to foist herself on Arthur (by pointedly reminding her that Jean, Arthur's grandmother is coming to visit, Max senses a willing victim. Of course, he's heard her witter onto Kush about talking to him about a proposed Council meeting, and that pricked up his ears.

Play Carmel with drink and her already big mouth becomes cavernous with whinges, whines and moans, telling Max about her son being in a relationship with her ex-best friend and having a moan about her perceived reason behind the Fowlers' prohibiting her from associating with Arthur and whining about this being all about catering to Martin, who wasn't the baby's father. It didn't take much for her to brag about going for an interview in the Council's planning department, something that would, undoubtedly, give Max an unwitting mole to further his plans.

He's there on hand to watch her take up his suggestion of calling a meeting just to set out her stall - much to the collective shock and horror of the market traders, summed up in vocal dissent by Donna. Max further insinuates himself by convincing Stacey to allow Carmel access to Arthur, and I thought that was a bit of a wimpy scene,that he could convince Stacey so easily to give into Carmel,simply by telling her to play nice. Stacey was, initially, right. Max didn't know exactly what it was that Carmel had said, how she'd used Stacey's bi-polar condition against her to reveal that her real intention was to try for getting custody of the child. Stacey's intuition is not to trust Carmel one inch, and when she shows herself in the pub to tell Carmel she's had a change of heart, she makes it painfully obvious that Martin isn't on board with this, but Martin, being a man in EastEnders, is largely irrelevant. I actually thought that Stacey giving into Max's pithy persuasion was contrived for plot effect - she's normally feisty enough to stand her ground, considering Carmel's behaviour in the incident which provoked the ban.

Anyway, the otherwise isolated Carmel has now become Max's useful idiot, the Trump to his Putin, and it's only a matter of time before he preys on her horniness and beds her, although she's nothing like his type of bedfellow, but she'll do for his purposes, which are slow enough in being realised.

More Michelle. What would EastEnders be these days without Michelle? How would it exist without her? Here we have, not only Sharon trying to shove her down the throats of people who should, rightly, be disgusted by her behaviour (as well as viewers), but she's got Patrick doing the same.

And, of course,we get the lengthy reference to Pauline. Or Arthur. Or Pauline and Arthur,as if to say Look, I'm MIchelle, I remember my parents. It behooves me to wonder if SOC and friends are having trouble with this actress as well, and so they have to insert constant references to Pauline or Arthur or both - Pauline, not only in her blue overall, but carrying the frog bag as well, something we never saw in Pauline's later years -just to convince everyone, including themselves, that she is the real deal as Michelle Fowler.

She's not.

And then there are the constant American insinuations- like when she volunteered to work at the café (much to Kathy's dubious chagrin - I get the idea that Kathy's not best pleased with Michelle working at the café, herself - and Sharon's silly encouragement that this would give Michelle an opportunity to build bridges with Rebecca - Michelle chirps up that maybe she could make her famous pancakes with maple syrup.

You fucking what?

To begin with, this is Ian's and Kathy's quintessential English café - mugs of tea, the occasional coffee, sticky buns, cheese-and-pickle sandwiches and full-English fry-ups. I doubt Ian has a bottle of maple syrup on the place, much less a packet of American pancake mix and a free griddle. Then, there was Patrick, seeking her out in a scene that must have just been filmed earlier today, which revealed that Martin had won the Grand National sweepstakes by choosing One for Arthur as the winner. He had Martin's winnings of £200 and wants Michelle to give this to her brother. He feels he has to explain what the Grand National is to her.

Of course, you probably haven't heard of the Grand National in America. 

Duhhh ... no. We've heard of this race. Anyone familiar with National Velvet in the States, knows about the Grand National,and even if we don't, Michelle was old enough when she left to live in the US that she would have been well familiar with the Grand National.

What the fuck was that? The only thing that scene served, after the blow-up with Rebecca in the café, was to reinforce the fact that Michelle and Martin are still estranged, that her plan to cozy up to Rebecca in the café certainly didn't cut any ice with her.

The café scene was all over the place. Michelle kept pushing herself on Rebecca's agenda, even reminding the girl, in a pushy manner, that at the end of the day, she was still Rebecca's aunt. Does she thinks this reminder is all it's going to get Rebecca onside again - a silly hot drink with a smiley face and a whining plea (this Michelle is awfully good at whining) for her and the girl to "spend time together like before."

Like before? Like when? Has Rebecca even visited Michelle in the US? And she didn't spend that much time with her this time around, because she was either picking fault with Stacey or mooching about with Preston. And why wasn't I surprised that Michelle spoke to Michelle in that curiously condescending way, telling her that even though the silly girl might think she's an adult, you're basically, according to Michelle, as old as you feel - or in Michelle's case, she's only as old as the boy she's feeling. She tells Rebecca that, in her mind, she's still young, implying that she and Rebecca can still bond on some level.

How bloody patronising! Besides, real Michelle was old beyond her years. She'd never say something as trite as that. It only gave Rebecca the opportunity to have the line of the night:-

Is that why you went with a teenager?

Then there was the inevitable return of Sniggle and Snaggle, the 25 year-old teens, and Snaggle actually looks her age, a grown woman pretending to be a teen. I get that Louise is being bullied and manipulated by them, but I thought her part in revealing Preston's treachery to might have called a truce between her and Rebecca. To be fair to Louise, she didn't radge Rebecca the way the two giggling idiots did - and I must say, as much as I'm offended by both of these morons, Sniggle is just another example in EastEnders' long line of offensive racial stereotypes. Honestly, these girls are so stupid, you'd think a Mitchell like Louise would have long dispensed with them. Roxy would have nutted them both.

All Louise needs to do is administer a quick bitch slap to both,and they'd probably run off crying. Instead, we're treated to a lengthy scene of those two doling out open insults both to Rebecca and Michelle, with Louise edging ever so slightly away from them,saying nothing (and obviously paying for their drinks) and looking as though she wants the earth to swallow her up. In this sort of situation, you wanted Sharon or Kathy or even Tina to come around the corner, someone who could put the fear of a slap into these two. Instead, Michelle seems eager to jump in (and real Michelle would have effectively done something about that). Instead, Rebecca ends up screaming at her to leave.

And of course, we get the eventual heart-to-heart scene on Arthur's Bench between Sharon and Michelle. We seem to get at least one of these each episode, as Sharon continues to coddle Michelle. Michelle takes umbrage that Sharon suggests that Michelle could have used the café as a stepping stone to better employment. Michelle is still snobby enough to think she'll get a job suitable to her qualifications, but what is it about statutory rape that she doesn't understand?

And judging by the conversation between these two, we'll probably be in for a treat with a visit to Pauline's grave and another five-minute soliloquy and much gnashing of teeth and shedding of tears. People keep wondering what Pauline would have thought of Michelle's behaviour. She never thought much of her behaviour with Den,and she'd have thought even less of her bonking an underaged child.

This woman is really killing EastEnders, and in a bad way.

Sitcom I: Men Behaving Badly Again. And so the comedy capers of Ben and Jay continue, this time, with their makeshift B-and-B, catering to two blonde girls, ostensibly from Germany. You knew the minute we saw them leaving the house, with Ben making a play for one of their left-over sausages (good, smutty subtlety there) and Jay's over-excited horniness at the prospect of two such houseguests, that something was going to go horribly wrong - specifically, that they were probably a couple of grifters who would fleece them for what they were worth, in this case, a television.

Jamie Borthwick, again, was bloody awful. Slapstick comedy, or even comedy in general, is not his forte.The literal tongue-wagging horniness of him wanting to score with one of these girls, leading to the bathroom scam, which ended up seeing him de-bagged and tied to the toilet, just long enough for them to make off with the widescreen telly was bad enough. Borthwick's and Reid's poor attempt at making light of a Yorkshire accent in anticipation of their next set of guests was even worse.

If this is the best the show can do for Ben and Jay, turning them into a hapless unfunny comedy duo, then someone should think again.

EastEnders has done this storyline countless numbers of times - Barry Evans and the conwoman Vanessa, and Minty and the insipid SJ, spring to mind.

Sitcom II: The Many Faces Of Denise. SOC just can't resist putting Diane Parish in every episode. Tonight, she was back to being straight man to that other comedienne, Kim. Kim's "disabled" - which was highly offensive to the disabled - having wrenched her knee at a salsa do. So they head up West for some retail therapy. 

Kim has Vincent's credit card,and one would assume that she bought whatever it was Denise had for Denise as well, since Denise is skint. That was another unfunny plotline - the hapless, irresponsible wife spending the husband's money, only for Vincent to appear and become near apoplectic about the actual tat Kim had bought. It's not funny that she has to pull out playboy bunny gear to show Vincent her sexual schemes for the evening, but it's even less funny to hear her go on and on about how much money Vincent had.

That was, however, for a purpose. I actually thought she had given Vincent his card, that he'd pocketed and had left with it. Obviously not.

A card was left on the bar of the Vic. So first, we had Whitney stealing Lauren's phone and selling it for £150, and now we have her nicking Vincent's credit card, overhearing that he had a load of money, presumably to buy the designer crate as a safe space for Lady Di, on the recommendation of Abi, the vet's receptionist.Honestly, who is stupid enough to call a vet's receptionist when you think you have a sick animal? The dog is vomiting. That's cause for concern. I can't believe that the Vic is running at that much of a loss that they can't afford to get the dog to the vet? As for crates, they come much cheaper and more functional than that designer thing advertised. That was top of the range. Instead, they'd rather host a Miss Walford contest for the Fayre on the Square.


And bad dialogue from Johnny. 

I'm still wondering who the fuck has the licence here to keep this pub running? Presumably,Sharon,but she needs to be on the premises,and she's never there!

Steven Beale. I wonder if Steven will be a candidate for Max's club for dissaffected waifs and strays. He was certainly marginalised tonight. From Ian's offhand remark that Lauren should take a photo of Louis in his Easter outfit and send it to Peter to Lauren casually advising him that she and Whitney were having a girls' night out - because Whitney wanted it, whcih was a huge lie - on Friday, with Steven being told to babysit again.

Steven's been stiffed and reminded that he's, ultimately, a peripheral Beale, even in the conversation he's having with Ian in the pub, when Ian waxes lyrical about the first time your child does anything. The elephant in the room and the great unsaid is that Louis is not Steven's son. The moment Ian's said what he said, he realises the implications, and you would have liked to have seen Ian remind Steven that even though Louis isn't his son, Ian certainly loved Steven as if he were his own.

Lauren is so bored with Steven, it's seriously beginning to show. Lauren and Whitney are as bad as one another - Lauren lies and Whtney steals, and both of them think their shit doesn't stink.

I can't wait for both of these girls to experience a great fall from grace, long overdue.

Another trite episode.

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