Friday, May 26, 2017

Shit Happens - Review:- Friday 26.05.2017

Well, that didn't last long, did it? We got one fairly decent and enjoyable episode, and then it's right back to same shit, different day. Oh, stuff happened, but then, to paraphrase Forrest G-u-hu-hump, shit happens; and shit certainly happened in this episode.

The incongruity of Sean O'Connor is that he has good ideas on paper, but for some reason, they don't translate well onto the screen. That's largely due to poor writing (and this episode was not one of Daran Little's best), inadequate acting and overuse of certain characters. In one of his interviews, O'Connor actually said that the actors don't rehearse; they just learn the lines and go into a shoot cold, and this totally shows. This is probably due to budget cuts and the stress of shooting four episodes a week. I've long been the proponent of reverting to three, even two, episodes weekly.

We're just now getting the first of O'Connor's permanent characters, after his chopping spree at the beginning of the year. My verdict so far? It's too early to tell about Joyce and Ted Murray, but they appear to be a weird amalgamation of the Slaters (who came to Walford with antecedents there, especially Big Mo, who was Pat's sister-in-law and knew Dot and Ethel) and Les and Pam. It's so easy to compare them to the latter, because they are a direct replacement - ax one elderly couple with no real connection to the Square and replace them with another of similar ilk.

At least this couple knows Walford, although in the 40 years they lived in Walford Towers, I find it odd that they found no excuse, in recent years. After all, Pete and Kathy Beale, and a very young Ian, lived there and were living there when the show started. Since that was well over thirty years ago, I'd certainly expect Kathy to remember, or at least know, Ted and Joyce. In fact, I was suprised that Sharon didn't mention Kathy living there or, for that matter, that her current husband, at one time, lived there with his first wife.

In a spot-the-retcon moment, however, Dot certainly never lived in Walford Towers. When the show began, the complex was considered a step up from the sort of accommodation where Pauline and Arthur lived cramped with Lou. Once again, EastEnders goes tampering with the show's history. It would have been enough for the Murrays to say that they remembered Dot from their days in Walford, but I find it odd that they lived so close to the Square and hadn't set foot in it in years.

They mentioned having children, which means that there's always a potential to bring in more Murrays if the couple prove popular or if Sean O'Connor wants more Murrays - most likely, the latter. Their son, Alan, had been a cohort of Nick Cotton, Does that make him a bad'un? Maybe he's the mysterious Grouty-type Mr Big character who's enabling Max's revenge from behind the bars of the prison? Maybe they're Keegan's grandparents? Maybe one of their children is Lola's mother (a mystery never unfurled)? If they frequented the Vic some forty years ago, they'd have certainly remembered Den, Angie and their small, blonde daughter. Do they know Pauline? Do they remember Lou? And more, importantly, what was the significance of the gun? Do we have yet another killer in our midst?

Do we care?

For the moment, I don't. He seems too happy-go-lucky, and I can't disassociate Christopher Timothy from All Creatures Great and Small. They appear to have lost an animal of some sort - Lucky - who disappeared a year ago. Why am I thinking that Dave the cat just might be Lucky? She just seems exactly how she described herself, a miserable,old boot. She snipes at him, always finding fault. Yes, there are couples like that, but all that behaviour did for me was convince me that she's another one of life's eternal victims, another Alpha woman who appears to have browbeaten another ineffectual husband - there are so many in Walford. Actually, it's not too difficult to imagine them as Alfie and Kat in forty years' time - him, always trying to see the positive side of a bad situation and her, always moaning about her lot in life.

Give me the warm and compassionate Pam and the over-acting Les any day of the week.

The rest of the episode concentrated on the self-pitying plights of two of the Square's biggest, hairiest, most self-entitled BabyMen - Jack and Mick. Or should I re-name them Cack and Prick? The inevitable happened between Mick and dirty Shitney, accompanied by some of the worst and cheesiest dialogue ever written by anyone before. 

Whitney: I don't know who I am anymore.
Mick: You're Whitney, whose smile lights up a room.

Who the flaming fuck speaks like this? This was truly barf-inducing dialogue. One wonders if Little were royally drunk when he wrote those lines - in fact, I've just poured myself a liberal portion of Merlot - or if he wrote them on a dare with some other writer from Corrie or Emmerdale to see who could come up with the cheesiest most barf-inducing lines.

That scene came across as his feeble attempt to re-create a down-market, Cockney version of Now Voyager's iconic last scene. All that was missing were a night-time setting and Danny Dyer lighting up two cigarettes in his mouth and passing one to Shitney.

But Danny Dyer isn't Paul Heinried (not even a poor man's version of him), and Shona McGarty certainly isn't Bette Davis. 

Mi Chiamo Denise and I'm Starvin' for Culture, Innit? It just dawned on me that if Denise's story were an opera, it would be La Bohème, with Denise playing the starving, tubercular Mimi and Kush her boyfriend Rodolfo. Because you know this is how Denise will end up, ultimately - minus the dying bit, that is, more's the pity.

All I could think of watching the ubiquitous adventures of the star of O'Connor's EastEnders, with her interaction with the awful Kim, was ...

They killed off Ronnie and Roxy for this shit?

The noble Denise is still starving from pride, when Kim pops by to offer some moral support. Being the supportive sister means sitting around being nosy and generally being a distraction, because Kim isn't the type of person who can abide being supportive of anything or anyone.

These two have been shipped by O'Connor as the soul and conscience of the community, yet there sat Kim, curtain-twitching as the Murrays moved in and offering what was tantamount to a mean and bitchy running commentary. I know it was meant to be camp, but it was laced with total vindictiveness.

She accused Sharon of being a nosy cow and horning in on the Murrays, who don't interest Kim in the slightest, simply because they are old. Sharon was showing friendly to new neighbours, just as she intervened with Max over Jack's stupidity. That wasn't nosiness. Kim, on the other hand, would only have stopped to accost the couple if they interested her, and because they were elderly and appeared to have ordinary possessions, she clearly thought them beneath her. 

Imagine getting that far in life and having nothing to show for it?

What does Kim have? Everything she owns has come to her through her marriage to Vincent. Before that, she owned a flea-bit B and B, which was in danger of being shut down a few times. Take Vincent out of the equation, and Kim has jack shit.

Denise's situation is of her own making, the culmination of a lifetime of bad choices and bad judgement when it comes to the male sex. She'll get rescued from this predicament, eventually, by Kush and his muscles, and any bonding he'd previously made with Arthur ill go by the wayside, because Kush - like Mick, like Jack - is another big,fat BabyMan, who has to have a Mommy to nurse him, discipline him and then fuck him.

So that's Kim's wonderful empathy and concern for her community. She's fronting the Community Centre drive because she's the focal point of attention, and Denise only effected a community concern when her arse landed in trouble, thanks to her arrogance and her big gob. Now, she's sublimated shoving food into that gob for the nobility of studying for her life-changing GCSE. (Jesus Christ, I just realised this asshole is going to probably devote an entire episode to her receiving her result in August, culminating in a celebratory fuck with Kush).

These two care nothing about their community. They care nothing about anyone or anything, except themselves and each other, and in this instant, in her warped way, Kim cares more about Queen Denise than Denise cares about Kim.

I get it that we're supposed to feel great compassion and pity for this poverty porn, which is an insult to people who really do struggle, but she wasn't that hungry that she couldn't resist, giving a triumphant hoot when she realised that she actually knew the answer to the first question on the exam.

Still, she sacrificed everything for her culture, just like Rodolfo starving in the garrets of Paris, devoting his life to painting for a pittance, and poor, consumptive Mimi, making her lace by the light of a single candle and hawking her wares on the cold streets of Paris.

Well, at least Mimi went looking for work, which is more than Denise did.

BabyMan I: The BeetleBrow. Jack acted like a spoiled brat. I'm sick of seeing his perpetually, pouting, down-turned mouth and his beetle-browed obdurance and his obsession with Matthew.

Jack needs help, and none of those kids need to be with him. Amy needs to go to Glenda. Ricky needs to go back to Portugal to his living mother, and Matthew needs to go to his father, who wants and loves him.

This is all about Jack's obsession with Ronnie and his unresolved grief over James. In fact, James is the one big elephant in the room here. Jack can harp on and on about having "brought Matthew up," but really, he was only a part of his life for the past year, and the fact that he refers to Matthew as "his" son isn't just a man, considering his stepson as his own. It's more than that. I daresay Phil Mitchell loves Dennis like his own son and wants to adopt him, or he did, before he was side-tracked. But he doesn't go about, harping that Dennis is "his" son. 

Or Ian Beale. He considers Steven his son, but in a pinch, he knows, as does Steven, that Simon Wicks is Steven's father.

It's not as much an obsession. For Jack, Matthew has come to represent what James was to him. James was more important to Jack than any of his other children. He didn't want to know Ricky and found dealing with Amy difficult. Now it's the same with Matthew. Matthew is his obsession. Part of this obsession does, indeed, include the fact that Matthew is the last living connection to Ronnie that Jack has, but a great part of this is the guilt he feels about James.

Don't think that Ricky and Amy haven't picked up on the fact that Matthew is the one and only in the eyes of their father. They have. They know Jack is their father. It hasn't even been a year since Ricky re-established a bond, and Amy certainly knows that Charlie, her uncle, is Matthew's father. They certainly feel Jack's preference. It's evident in the resigned, desultory tones of their voices, when Jack rhetorically asks them if they want to see Matthew taken away. They give the correct answer, but without any conviction or alarm.

They've been holed up in that house with a proprietory Jack, separated from their schoolmates and now presented with the fact that they have to run away ... to "protect" Matthew. Everything is done with Matthew in mind, which is part and parcel to the reason Amy actually opened the door to Dot. Amy has regressed from a 9 year-old to a 5 year-old. Once again, that's evident when she tells Dot in that sing-songy 5 year-old voice:-

We have to go away to stop them from taking Matthew away.

Even more proof of Jack's preference for Matthew is revealed by the fact that, whilst he wouldn't trust Dot to care for her own flesh and blood, whilst he visited Ronnie's grave to say good-bye, but he'd trust her with Amy and Ricky. In fact, I don't think Jack gives a cahoot about Amy or Ricky. If they stayed behind in Walford with Dot or the Mitchells, it would make it easier for him to disappear with Matthew.

But even Jack's plan is another fallacy of EastEnders. Jack's on bail. Surely, the first term of his bail conditions would be that he surrender his passport? Presumably, he also has to report to the local police station a certain number of times per week. The police know Jack is an ex-copper. The first thing they would want is his passport. And here's where Daran Little stated the bleeding obvious: You just knew what Dot was going to do when Jack made her promise that she wouldn't tell Charlie that he was running away, and Dot's pointed reply was...

I won't tell Charlie ...

You just knew she was going to unwittingly tell Max.

And once again, we had a maternal woman character step out of the blue and talk Jack out of his spoiled hissy fit. Because Jack was running away like a spoiled brat who didn't get his way. It wouldn't have taken long for the police to have found him. Then, not just Matthew, but Amy and Ricky would have been taken from him. He never thinks of these things, it's just reaction. He's the bull in a china shop, being soothed by his cool,calm and collected older brother.

What could possibly go wrong?

We all know - shock, horror! - that Max is now a villain and that he's out to scam the whole of Walford, but how much longer do we have to suffer the same old same old circular story of Jack and Charlie? Surely, this can't last much longer because Declan Bennett has other commitments. It just seems endless.

BabyMan II: Prick and the Mattress. You wonder how Johnny will react when he finds out that his immature father is boning the slut who was once his own sister-in-law. Johnny was last scene, playing the adult in the room in Thursday's episode, comforting Mick, who was sitting, cross-legged, on the floor of the Carter lounge, having defaced Linda's signature wallpaper.

Mick has been so far up his own arsehole that he never even realised that his youngest son had finished his exams and completed his education. Even after all of Mick's brattish behaviour, Johnny is willing to throw away his education and work behind the bar of the pub. 

For what? For Mick? Mick doesn't deserve one iota of love his children have for him. His shitty, selfish behaviour drove two of them away. This incipient affair with the slut who ruined his oldest child's life will virtually kill Johnny. I don't see how he would stay under the same roof.

Here's what we learned about Mick in this episode - he and Linda lived with Elaine, worked for her in her pub and pocketed every red copper penny they earned, saving for one day when they would be able to buy the freehold of their own pub. This means that Elaine, not only paid them, she paid for their food, their clothing and the food and clothing of their children. They, like the children they continued to have when they were little more than children, themselves, became extended children in Elaine's household.

The purchase of the Vic, bought with a million quid carefully garnered away, not in a bank account, but in a hold-all someplace, was their first venture out into the big, bad world as adults. Remember how both he and Elaine would roll their eyes and act exasperated every time Elaine would ring them?

Mick has been with Linda since he was a child. Her mother raised him, gave him a job, taught him the pub trade, gave him ambition and made his dream of owning his own pub a reality. When Mick was in his teens, he was playing house with Linda when other lads his age were chasing skirt and looking for a love they probably only found in their late twenties. Mick has only ever known Linda, who idolised him and made him and their kids the centre of her world. 

In return, she was sidelined, infantilised, treated condescendingly and sidelined, often in favour of Mick's mother, who treated her appallingly. Even when Shirley was still bad-mouthing Linda as a trollop in Dean's refutations about her accusation of rape, Mick was still sneaking around, seeing her on the sly.

These two have never spent more than a week apart from each other in their lives, and the one time Linda has to answer her seriously ill mother's plea for help, Mick lets his eye wander and responds to the overt efforts of Whitney to distract him. Back at the time of the bus crash, it was she who initiated the kiss Denise witnessed (and hopefully will remember), but even then, Mick, in his right mind, should have realised that this girl was toxic for his emotionally fragile son. Instead, his head was so far up his own arse and so resentful he was of Linda being where she was really needed, he, instead, levelled blame for all of his own inadequacies, first on Lee, and eventually, now, on  Linda.

This is the truth: MIck is the original landlord who couldn't organise a booze-up in a brewery. We've seen proof of that from the very beginning. He bought the pub without benefit of a survey and was immediately presented with wet rot. Owning a buiiding means maintaining it, but he never thought of that, of course, because with a tenancy, Elaine's landlord took care of that. Stuff like that never occurred to Mick, so the leak in the roof came as a surprise to him.

Of course, he's been thinking about Whitney since he's been away. Immediately, she had manipulated Linda into returning to Watford, she set about insinuating to Mick how Linda had abandoned him to his fate, reckoning that Elaine was more important. This was only the woman who had been a de facto mother to Mick! 

Whitney made herself indispensable to Mick, leaving little voicemails whilst he was away, ever playing the sad victim, encouraging his trash-mouthing of Lee and even encouraging Johnny into trash-mouthing his mother. And Linda's about to turn 40 soon, and there's fortyish Mick, who's never known another woman since he was a child, suddenly becoming the object of desire of his slut-faced, overtly sexual daughter-in-law, and now, he's on the road of no return. Like the traitor who gets seduced into treason, Mick will find out too late that he's done the unforgivable on Linda. Linda had never been with or thought about another man but Mick, and the only other time she was with another man was when she was raped.

I only hope that Lee has been in touch with Linda whilst she was away and told her straight up what was going on, because it seems that since he's been away, he can now see Whitney's unreasonable behaviour for what it was.

Mick is a total asshole, a deeply despicable man who sulks when he isn't the centre of attention.That Whitney still sees him as the knight in shining armour to quell all her woes just shows you not only how insipidly stupid she is, but also how narcissistic she is as well. All she needs to drop her knickers is a bloke telling her how wonderful she is with a choice selection of pretty words. She's been so caught up in idolising Mick that in the entire time she has been living with the Carters, she never once noticed what Shirley has known all along - that it's been Linda who's been the backbone and support of that family. Mick is ten times worse than Lee could ever be. At least, Lee recognised his shortcomings. Mick never will.

Linda needs to come home and dust off that WonderWoman outfit. Time to kick some ass, two in particular, out of her life and out of her pub.

By the way, don't think the symbolism wasn't lost on the fact that Whitney had taken it upon herself to order new wallpaper to replace Linda's parakeets, but pointedly told Mick that she didn't order the same style. This is Linda's home, and already that snide little bitch is trying to sideline her out of it.

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