Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Denise Show - Review:- Thursday 23.02.2017

Well, that was truly awful. Half an hour of my life I'll never get back. This has to be the absolute worst episode under Sean O'Connor's watch. It was literally everything Newmanesque rolled into 30 minutes and served up, without even a dollop of ketchup with which to flavour it.

We had the absurd (Ben and Jay, the non-couple couple whose relationship veers someplace in the netherlands between friends, lovers and brothers, whooping it up in what looks like a glorified squat, living like the former tenants - students whom they disparaged - taking order of an expensive flat-screened television and scavenging in wheelie bins for teaspoons) to the predictable (Whitney getting ready to move from one husband to someone else's) to the creepy (Petronovich bedding Rebecca RedNose to make the odious NuMichelle jealous) to the boringly repetitive (Denise is the new Carters is the new Brannings, featured in every episode and juggling about ten different storylines simultaneously) to the ridiculous (the near-blind Dot, marvelling over the "woman in the heavens" who guides the satellite to the garden centre).

The dialogue was awful, the acting was amateurish and the theme of the broken community is pretty trite. It's fucking life, that's what it is. Get the fuck over it.

This programme is tanking. Maybe the BBC should sell the rights to Tony Jordan's production company and see what he can do with it.

Because it's sinking. Fast.

Men Behaving Badly. On the one hand, against the backdrop of incessant whining about a community being broken, Ben summed up life amongst the lowly perfectly for the 21st Century in one line ...

Tonight, this house becomes a home.

And why? Because of the delivery of a huge, flat-screened television.

And doesn't that encapsulate the lack of community Saint Holy Mother Queen and Empress Denise was bemoaning? Because what everyone wants at the end of the day is a little peace, to close the doors of he world, have a bite to eat and settle down in front of the telly.

Ne'mind the fact that Ben and Jay are sleeping in sleeping bags, in their clothes on top of bare mattresses and living out of one room, surrounded by the rotting detritus and assorted rubbish left behind by the previous student tenants, it doesn't matter that they're living the same way - the only difference being that, unlike the students, who were, ostensibly studying at some point in the day or week, Ben and Jay actually have jobs.

Not well-paying jobs by any sense of the word and certainly not paying enough money to afford them the luxury of renting what appears to be a three-bedroomed terraced house in London.

These two were like strangers tonight, and I think it was because within that scope of thirty minutes, where their section encompassed about five minutes altogether, it seems that no one in the writing room could really decide who or what Ben and Jay, together, were meant to be.

To begin with, all the hoopla they exhibited in the run up to renting the house, seemed oddly false and forced. All this "We're-getting-our-own-place-it's-party-time" bluster and bonhomie rang curiously hollow. It's natural that they want to do the place up their way - it's a statement of their independence, after all - but turning down Kathy's offer to clean the place for free to pay professional cleaners to do the job is simply stupid - as stupid as scavenging in a wheelie bin for a couple of teaspoons spotted at the bottom of the bin and getting stuck in head first.

Since moving into this house, Jay and Ben have become a garrulous sitcom, everything badly cute and awfully stereotypical about two young blokes living together; but the situation appears to have confused the writing room about who Ben and Jay are and what they mean to one another. At the beginning of the episode, they were hunkered down on two mattresses in the front room, head-to-toe, and discussing plans for a house-warming party to end all parties. There was more than a little rampant sexism in Jay's remark about missing Sharon ..

All you had to do was put a cup down, and it was washed, dried and put away in an instant.

Yes, Jay, because that's all that women do is clean up after men. You put something down, you expect someone to trail along behind you and pick it up, but now you have to do something yourself.

In another instance when Jay phones Ben at the Arches (after Ben tells Kathy he's got the day off work so he can unpack, he shows up at the Arches), whilst they talk on the phone, Ben's attitude and manner of speaking is almost as cosy and intimate as a man speaking to his girlfriend, or even his boyfriend. I know that the love of Ben's life is Jay, but Jay is heterosexual, and he'll never have a romantic interest in Ben; so maybe sometimes, in unguarded moment, Ben's tenderness to Jay seeps out, in telephone conversations and in talking to other people.

And yet in the next scene, where Jay's found, feet up and stuck in a wheelie bin, because he'd been scavenging around Whitney's cast-off detritus and spotted a couple of teaspoons at the bottom of the bin, they're supposed to be a comedy duo - Jay getting stuck in a bin was supposed to make us laugh, even if it didn't.

The entire exchange between Ben and Jay in the past few episodes has come across as too-loud, too-forced, and too-unfunny.

Their final scene, a trifecta involving themselves and Whitney, a character with whom neither of them have ever had any connection or even dialogue, was totally surreal and borderline bizarre. Released from the bin by Whitney and Ben and seeing them laughing, Jay immediately starts over-acting and shouting at them, telling them not to laugh at him, but in a way that acknowledges that they are, indeed, laughing at him and that he thinks it's funny - before flouncing away to have a shower. 

That's when Whitney, ever the victim and mourning the loss of a man she disparaged, alludes to Paul and asks Ben how he coped after Paul's death - except that this false equivalency was frivolous and grossly disrespectful to Paul's memory - because at the end of the day, Paul is dead and is never returning to Ben; and Lee can return to Whitney anytime he chooses to do so.

Obviously, Ben and Jay expect to get other people to move into the house and share the costs of the rent - how, exactly, does this make them landlords? They rent the house; they don't own it. It simply means they get a couple of other souls to move into a spare bedroom or two and pay their respective quarters of the rent. Ben and Jay can't "rent out" rooms, per se.

Honestly, this is the first episode in a long time where I found myself looking at the clock. Never a good sign.

American Squirm. I was surprised to hear Preston Prestonovich Prestonovsky say he'd only been here a week. It seems like longer.

I'm sorta kinda glad that neither Louise nor Dennis seem all that keen on Michelle hanging around like a bad smell, because she's getting on my nerves as well. 

This was an atrocious segment for various reasons. Really, if Michelle sticks around, maybe she could forge a friendship with Denise. They could sit around, using four-syllabled words in sentences which contain their own incorrect grammar and syntax, whilst looking down their disdainful noses to everyone else.

Martin has never heard of the word "impetuous"? When Michelle warns Martin to keep an eye on Rebecca's growing friendship with Preston, deeming Preston "impetuous", Martin makes the standard Luddite remark ...

You're using big words again, Michelle.

You fucking what? I get it that Martin is supposed to be some sort of common-and-garden Everyman, in the way Ricky Butcher, and before him, Martin's father, Arthur, was; but neither of those predecessors were dolts capable of using words of only one syllable. Once again, the distance between someone like Michelle, with a university degree and everyone else who'd barely finished secondary school, is presented as a vast void. 

To begin with, Michelle has a poxy polytechnic degree. One assumes she got teaching qualifications in the US, where she taught English - but, trust me, even Trumpster Americans in the Deep South aren't so stupid to think that someone speaking with an English accent is qualified to teach high school English. She would have had to have taken a certain number of Education courses and she would have had to have completed a semester of practice teaching even to get licenced by the state - you have to be professionally licenced to teach in state schools.

Secondly - and I was listening to a programme about linguistics today on Radio 4, which made me think of this. You adapt your language to your audience. It stands to reason that Michelle would employ one type of English vernacular in her professional guise and a more familiar speaking tone and vernacular when talking with your friends and family. An example? I sound more Southern when I'm speaking with friends and family from Virginia. 

There is no way Michelle would have come onto Martin sounding like the educational professional and well-spoken woman she's become; conversely, there's no way Martin wouldn't have understood the meaning of the word "impetuous."

But then again, something else struck me about the Michelle segment: Michelle is now a well-educated professional, even though she'll never front a classroom full of children again; she's a self-fulfilling prophecy in EastEnders' terms - the well-spoken, well-educated professional in a position of trust who's done a truly awful thing. Like Stella (who secretly abused Ben); Mad May (who wanted to cut Dawn's baby from her uterus and leave Dawn to bleed to death); and Yusef (who was a wife-beater who tried to burn his wife to death as a young man) - a solicitor, two doctors and a teacher, all of whom are scumbags.

Michelle is no fool, however. She knows exactly what Preston is about, and she knows he's using Michelle. This doesn't, however, exonerate Michelle, the fact that the boy in question in her downfall happens to be a pushy, manipulative, spoiled little shit. She was still the adult in the equation of teacher and student. Whether she made the first move in the establishment of the ensuing relationship or whether Preston did is moot. At the end of the day, if she started the thing, she was the groomer and should have known better; if she didn't, being the adult, she should have put the brakes on the thing and taken responsibility as the adult in the room.

The show should stop trying to make her sympathetic. Some pimply-faced little unpaid intern simply assumed that the age of consent in the United States was the same as that in Great Britain, and that an affair between a teacher of forty-seven would be taken as slightly more serious than an illicit slap and tickle. It wasn't. Somewhere along the line, someone discovered the unintentional faux pas, hence the reason why Michelle was forced to acknowledge that she'd committed a crime in dialogue last week. Her subsequent line about being lucky not to have been prosecuted was a joke - because in the real world, she would have been prosecuted ... because she is technically a rapist.

Only in the narcissistic world of Milo Yiannopolous would she be given any sort of credibility, and we've seen how far he's fallen.

On the other side of this beefcake sandwich is Rebecca, a girl who's a walking example of someone who has a lot of book sense but precious little common sense. And with friends like Louise, who needs enemies? What exactly did Louise mean by telling Preston that Louise had "had" every boy in school? I know she's trying to get Preston interested in Rebecca to help Rebecca move on from Shakil, but did she think that presenting her friend as someone who's cut a sexual swathe through every male student in their high school would make her attractive to Preston, or was that a cack-handed way of saying that she was popular? Except that it gave this horndog the idea that Rebecca would be an easy lay - which is just what she proved to be in the end.

And here, as well, we have the utterly naive Martin, writing off Rebecca's escapade with Shakil, and preferring her involvement with Preston, someone about whom he knows nothing, and why? Because he believes him to be a mate of his nephew's? Because he speaks with an accent he might think exotic and comes from a country where his middle-class lifestyle is miles above anything to which Martin could aspire? Because his cleancut appearance is more preferable than the streetsuss knobhead that is Shakil?

Martin simply thinks Preston is a nice guy, and Shakil isn't because he took Rebecca's virginity - well, it took Rebecca less than a week to crawl into bed with Prestonovich. That either makes him manipulative or it makes her stupid. Or both.

Another anomaly with this badly portrayed character comes when he grabs Rebecca's phone and calls the school, imitating Martin in a cockney accent (probably the way he really talks), presenting Martin as a blokey-bloke ignoramus who would address whatever school official was speaking on the other end of the phone as "mate." Surely the school knows Martin, and surely Martin, in a million years, would never address school officials like that. 

Finally, there was no end to the irony of Kathy rushing to show Michelle a vacant teaching position at the local community college, and Michelle knowing exactly that she could never apply for that position at all. Her professional career is finished, and if the show pretends it isn't, it's dead wrong.

The National Health. Talk about cracking a walnut with a sledgehammer ... we get the message that Ian is worried about his health, specifically about his weight. His constant questioning of everyone from a distracted Michelle to a visibly uncomfortable Mick - I mean, asking Mick if he'd literally fancy what he saw were he to see Ian naked was a bit nonsensical - if he'd put on weight was a walking advertisement for a public service announcement, as well as the fact that two hours after he had breakfast at his home, his mother is calling him out for having a second breakfast in the cafĂ©.

I realise the show has dumbed-down in its messaging, but this is ridiculous.

What distracted me, however, was the scene shared by Woodyatt and Dyer. I kept thinking about the way Dyer allegedly has supposedly impugned Woodyatt as an actor, yet they carried off that weird scene to perfection.

Dotty Dot. Just what was that supposed to achieve? At first I thought this was all about Dot believing her eyesight was improving to such a degree that, rather than wait for Jack to be able to take her to the garden centre, she felt she could do so, herself. I was afraid for Matthew being with her; but then the whole thing was all about Dot getting bamboozled by the latest technology.

Dot, as I recall, almost twenty years ago, was one of the first people on the Square to crack computers and to understand the Internet; yet here we had her wittering on about Bradley teaching her about "the Google", searching "bushes" and obviously coming up with images of naked women, and inadvertantly starting some sort of music.

And surely she's been in enough cars or at least heard talk of sat nav? Instead, Dot has to play stupid and act as if the mechanical woman talking in the sat nav device is a New Wave spiritual embodiment of an omniscient being, someone away with the fairies on a star in a galaxy far, far away, offering Dot guidance along the roads.

That's enough for her to take Matthew, clamber in the Smart Car and toddle to the garden centre to buy a bitch load of plants, and to get into what can only be described as a dingbat conversation with an elderly couple she'd literally run into. Honestly, talking about the woman in the satellite guiding her, they must have thought she had dementia.

In the end, high on singing to hymns and getting confused by the sat nav device, she manages to turn the wrong way down a one-way carriageway. 

I don't think Dot will be driving anymore, but what the hell was that all about?

Another Notch in Her Lipstick Case. Whitney doesn't want to throw a pity party, but that's exactly what she does. 

The supreme piece of unintentional irony tonight came from Johnny, who told Whitney not to worry, that perhaps "Mr Right" was just around the corner. In Whitney's ambitious mind, he is. It's Mick. 

And remember that most things in EastEnders are not said without reason or purpose. The last thing Lee told Johnny to fo was to "keep an eye on Whitney." Now it's just Johnny, Whitney and Mick living under the same roof, and we know that Whitney and Mick have already come precariously close to a bit of 'ow's yer favver.

They'll do the dirty, and who will discover their sordid little secret?

There's a room waiting for you in Ben's new house, Johnny.

If Whitney had any integrity, she'd spend a long time on her own, thinking about her marriage and her own behaviour towards Lee, but since, like Lauren, she's all about herself, she won't.

And she always looks as though she needs a bath.


Round and Round the Garden. John Yorke started the over-emphasis of particular characters/families (the Slaters), and no one in succession has learned the lesson of overkill. The Slaters were pitched as a better family than either the Beales, Fowlers or Mitchells. They were spread throughout the Square without ever integrating into friendships or associations with depth. They featured in every episode aired for one entire year. They were everywhere. And within five years, they were completely spent.

Oh, they soldiered on in another form with Stacey the resident ingenue at the helm for another five years, but they overkilled Stacey (and Ronnie) during 2009-2010.

The Brannings were meant to replace the de facto Mitchells after Peggy's departure. They grew apace until at times, week after week of episode featured scenes only peopled by the Brannings and their satellites. They came in all shapes, sizes and colours. They slept with each other. They traded wives and girlfriends. When Bryan Kirkwood killed off Pat, he presented us with a ready-made matriarch, Cora Cross, who happened to be an inlaw of the Brannings.

Then, after Derek was terminated, the clan began to crack and break up. The next galaxy of ascending stars were the Carters, DTC's pet project based on his own family and featuring his own favourite "icon", Shirley.

Familiarity breeds contempt, and Denise is now rapidly approaching that.

Several points - just when did the beautification of the Square become so important? We had one episode in the dead of winter where Stacey and Jane mentioned doing some therapeutic gardening, and nothing more. Denise didn't even bother to help with the chore. In fact, when asked, she turned her nose up at it. Now, all of a sudden, the Square's gardens are becoming the symbol of a broken community. 

Oh, please. The Square's been introverted for years. As people keep reiterating. This is the 21st Century, not 1985. People are more well-off. When the show started, the Fowlers didn't even have a telephone in the house and still used a coal fire.

It now seems that SOC seems intent on making Denise the star of the show. She's featured in almost every episode, even if it's only one scene in the Minute Mart. I've lost track of the number of storylines she has, but she acquired a few more tonight. The magistrates' scene was ridiculous. She went from acknowledging that she'd done wrong - the kid provoked her, and he's vile; but she did assault him - to mouthing off at her sentence in the magistrates' court. 

She pleaded guilty. Did she expect they were going to let her off without a fine? As one of the magistrates said, she simply couldn't take the law into her own hands. Keegan played the system, but that's what people like him do; and even though he did deserve a smack, it did leave a mark, a bruise and noticeable breaking of the skin, even though he did milk his "head injury" for all it was worth.

Even worse, was the ludicrous performance of Kim in the courtroom. Is she just stupid or are they seriously trying to emulate idiotic sitcoms and make her a comedy character, pretending to be an "attorney" based on having watched L A Law. 

That had to be the most embarrassingly butt-clinchingly bad segment of the show. It showed Kim and Denise at their worst. Even more unbelievable was the fact that Denise could just ring up the Walford Gazette, and immediately they'd be interested in hearing her tale of woe and broken community, simply based on what she did and why she was punished. She's effectively been put on probation conditional of good behaviour for 12 months. Mouthing off to the papers will only wave a red flag in Keegan's direction as the little scrote is so de-sensitised, narcissistic and simply mean enough to pursue a vendetta against her, and - again, here we have an adult and a child - Denise is the adult in the room.

Kim even beginning to compare Denise to Nelson Mandela was an insult to the great man, himself. She's an odious creature and simply ignorant. As for Denise, the so-called brainy intellect, for once I was Team Carmel. Carmel is a soft touch. Denise can't retaliate against Keegan, so she targets Carmel with undue criticism aimed at Shakil, who really hasn't done anything but stand around with a basketball, looking gormless. It's corporate responsibility or guilt by association, but she isn't doing herself any favours. 

All this plethora of storylines heaped on the latest version of the Blisters has done is make me wish they were off the screen. Soon. Please.

Awful episode.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Be Careful What You Ask For - Review:- Tuesday 21.02.2017

Here we are, with a new producer, and much of the same old same old - or should I say, same shit different day? I've lost count of how many producers in recent years have manager to make the great majority of characters in the soap totally and utterly unlikable. Either they're simply unpleasant or they've become incorrigibly bad.

As nice as SOC has made them, Ian and Jane can never lived down the concealment of Lucy's murderer and condoning Max being punished for a crime he didn't commit. Maybe they're paying for it via karma, with Jane confined to a wheelchair and Ian about to have a health scare, but they are still irredeemable, as are Phil and Sharon. Both of those characters were fucked up and over by John Yorke, and successive producers made them worse.

Also, I think viewers need to stop asking for dead characters to be raised, secret offspring to be introduced and characters played by people who have stopped acting to be re-cast. In all of these three instances, viewers' demands have been met, and those demands now are met with more than a little bit of caveat emptor.

Kathy was raised from the dead to be a dithering, whimpering dish rag of a woman, decorating the background in most instances and sleeping with a man in a committed relationship. She's a wet noodle and nothing like the Kathy of old. People screamed for Mark so-called "junior", who somehow in the wilds of "Yearling" country spoke with a flawless Surrey accent, acquired at a British school hidden away in remotely rural Florida, didn't know he was supposed to use his father's surname and ponced about with underaged kids like a leering Hugo Boss manniquin. People wailed for Michelle to be re-cast. She was, and returned as a statutory rapist, because someone in the writing room ASSUMED that all laws in the US mirrored those in the UK. This Michelle is an appalling character.

The sum result is that all of this just adds to the show's woes at the moment. O'Connor killed off the Mitchell sisters, one of whom was well past her sell-by date, only to replace them with the appalling Fox non-sisters, one of whom is a narcissistic fool and the other is an arrogant extra who's been unable to fill a storyline since 2010.

I don't know what this show is coming to or where it's heading. In the meantime, Emmerdale keeps winning awards.

The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming! Oh,my Lordy! The writers are all over the place with American speech and vernacular, and Preston Prestonovich Prestonovsky is all over the place with his accent.

I haven't heard the slang word "hanging" since I were a lass donkey's years ago in Virginia. This is the stuff of 70s America, of Starsky and Hutch, Mork and Mindy, of polyester shirts with big collars and wide ties. Who researches this shit? Don't answer, no one. And to have this character mispronounce "Spitalfields" as "Spite-alfields" yet five minutes later refer to area of London unfamiliar to most Americans who don't visit London on a regular basis (South Kensington) as "South Ken" isn't just unbelievable, it's plain, damned stupid. It's laughable, a joke, like Prestonovich, who sounded like a Russian exchange student in that scene in the kitchen with Louise and Rebecca and then sounded like no one I've ever heard in America in the next scene. For the record, an American would pronounce "Spitalfields" with the first syllable like what gobs out of your mouth when you find something disgusting, pretty much like these characters.

Prestonovich is a spoiled, white privileged whiney little bitch who's making a foolish woman who's long lost her common sense jealous, using the woman's niece and taking advantage of the household of a couple whom he's never met. Michelle is taking advantage of her best friend's hospitality. After betraying Sharon twice in their friendshiip, as the shitfucker in the White House would say, bigly, when the shit hits the fan about what's gone on in the Mitchell household whilst Sharon and Phil have been away, this should be the end of the Sharon-Michelle axis.

Pauline would be rolling in her grave.

And, please, Rebecca is such a silly character. She isn't in the least bit sympathetic, and the actress sucks. I am tired of looking at her up-turned chin and her red nostrils when she delivers lines, and I hate the way she tosses her head too. It makes her look smug. She's supposed to be a schoolgirl, not a show pony.

Someone likened Michelle to Tennessee Williams's Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire. I can't see her coming onto Phil desperately and Phil, bellowing a bad impersonation of Ozzie Osborne and screaming, 

Sha-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-r-o-n-n-n-n-n-n-n!

I guess, pretty soon, like Blanche, Michelle is going to have to be dependent upon the kindness of strangers, because when the truth comes out, I doubt her family and friends will want her in their midst. 

Sugar Sugar. Notice how the episode called for Ian to wear his knit shirt tucked into his trousers? It emphasized his portly paunch. After all, Adam Woodyatt's wife is a pastry chef, and it shows. But normally, Ian wears his shirt flowing over his midriff and not tucked into his belt.

Ian's suffering from nocturia, which is a sign of Diabetes Type II, and he's a ripe candidate for that malaise. It's weight-related, and it will mean, if the storyline is accurate, Ian maintaining a certain type of diet and losing weight. Maybe Woodyatt suggested the storyline in an effort to help his own plans to slim down. Just to give you an idea of how much weight Ian's put on in the past decade - well, 9 years - here's Ian finding out just what a little bastard (quite literally) Steven was (and look how much Aaron Sidwell has changed as well) ...


By the way, I like Steven, but what is his point? This was a character who left, having established that (a) he is gay, (b) that he's decidedly quirky and unpredictable, (c) that he's unpredictable and untrustworthy and (d) edgy. Since his return, he's devolved into the good son, who wants to be at the bosom of the family; he's prayed away the gay, and he's become the dependable bloke who manages Ian's restaurant and carries Lauren's son here and there. What a waste of a character, but then, I can't quite fathom why the Branning girls are now glorified extras.

Abi is still snorting and giggling, and Lauren's "web-design" career seems to have morphed into her looking after various other babies who seem to be there or thereabouts the age of Louie.

Two Peas in a Pod. Did I miss something, or did they scrap an episode? I know EastEnders balks at any display of racism or xenophobia, but tonight we saw the aftermaths of something that's very contemporary in Brexit Britain, and we got what was actually a quasi-racist remark from the doltish Kim. Reverse racism, but racism all the same.

Obviously, there was some trouble directed against the pub's Polish night, with "Poles Go" smeared across the pub door in red paint. Konrad made an apt observation, which was the line of the night ...

This is the Britain we live in.

This is a very current and very relevant storyline, but EastEnders wimps out, yet again, and lets essential action happen offf-screen, so we get what could have been a significant aftermath, but which has now become little more than a titbit for conversation.

Against the backdrop of the Vic's kitchen being fumigated and cleaned for inspection, is the storyline of Mick's money problems and his effort to look after Eternal Victim Princess Whitney, who's stuck alone in her lovenest, staring at the expensive wedding rings on her fingers and her even more expensively manicured acryllic nails. Seriously, how can she be any use in the pub with paws like that?

Whitney's presenting herself as the eternal victim again, and Lee's on the receiving end of disdain again. As well, Whitney's on the receiving end of gossip and misinformation. Now that Lee's gone, she's torched off the warpaint - I guess she's trying to look gamine and innocent in an effort to promote her innocence in the end of her marriage to Lee, when she was a significant part in his breakdown and depression.

Lauren overhears Mick begging Jack to give him back the deposit for the flat, and when Lauren tells Whitney, Whitney, in pure self-pitying mode, assumes she's going to be kicked out. And so ensues a feisty scene with Mick, where she tells him how Lee tried to emulate him, but now she thinks Mick is probably as weak as Lee.

What an irony! She's actually speaking the truth.Mick is a weak man.In fact, he's weaker than Lee ever was, because he presents himself as the strong head of the family, but maintains his position amongst his close-knit family by sheer passive-aggressive bullying and sulking - Linda, Lee, Nancy ... all have been victims of his manbaby behaviour. He's coddled by Shirley and defers to her, but he's an overgrown manchild, and he knows it. He's even admitted as such to Linda - and now, for the first time, he won't even talk to her or return her calls. He's got other things on his mind, other concerns. Sure, one of them is the Vic; but it was obvious that his most important concern was Whitney.

The Hygiene Inspector was due, there were two leaks in the roof of the Vic - one affecting upstairs and one affecting the pub, itself, and the toilet - obviously, a problem with the plumbing; and Mick hasn't even organised someone to fix this.What happened to the roofer Shirley found the other week? Mick can blame Lee for his finances as much as he wants, but it was he who took out the payday loan of £14 grand to get Linda and Elaine back from Spain, and thanks to Babe, he got landed with a fine of £20 grand.

Nope, tonight this was all for Princess Whitney, who gets invited to live in the Vic. I hated the line from Mick that Lee may have turned his back on Whitney, but the "family" hadn't. Bullshit. Mick told Lee to walk away from the marriage. Surely walking away from the marriage meant Lee had to leave Walford. There's no way Mick would have allowed Lee to return to the Vic. He'd have housed Whitney first.

Stay with us.

Who, exactly, is "us"? Shirley and Tina live in Shirley's flat with Sylvie. That means we've got Johnny, Mick and now Whitney in a Linda-less household. Johnny's "worried" about Whitney, he tells Ben. Well, he should be - because harken unto Lee's last words to Johnny

Keep and eye on Whitney.

I think the next few weeks are going to be chokka and repetitive with people finding couples who shouldn't be together in flagrante delicto. And as someone's spotted Shona McGarty filming with a baby bump, I think we're about to get a dose of that old EastEnders' staple "Who's the Daddy". 

Enter Linda with a hearty slap. And there goeth MIck Carter, coward that he is.

I found Ian's reaction to the prospect of Whitney sliming down on their couch hilarious. He always was appalled by her. His line about her staying too long in the shower was sublimely ironic. Whitney always looks dirty.

Oh, and I didn't like the way the Carters casually blamed Abi for the buckets catching leak water hanging about the establishment, joking about her being a "scrubber." That may have been an oblique reference to what happened between her and Lee, but that was still cruel and unnecessary. Also, buckets here and there on the floor of the pub and in the loo are a health hazard. People could trip up and do themselves an injury. That was mean, but then the show is mean at the moment. Mean and ugly.

Gunfight at the OK Corral. That's what the never-ending-ever-decreasing circular story of the Fox non-sisters devolved into - a comically contrived scene which showed the entire market en masse gathering to witness the showdown of the century between a gobby, miserable, arrogant woman whom TPTB are foisting on us by trying to explain her relevance, and a cartoon character of a rude, gobby, OTT little piece of shit.

I am so tired of this adoption storyline. Bottom line is this: the couple adopting appear to be outstanding, so much so that Trish, the hardlined social worker, is championing their cause to adopt. They already have one adopted child. They sound as if they are stable and loving. They love Denise's baby, and the baby has bonded with them. They've named him Raymond, after Ray Charles. And Kim is quick to ask if the couple are bi-racial. Has Kim seen the baby? Does she know he's bi-racial? And what the hell difference does race make? The child could have gone to a black couple or a white couple or even an Asian couple. As long as the child is loved and wanted, why was she so fucking particular?

I also think Denise should have asked Kim to leave whilst she met with the social worker. If she were in need of moral support, then she could have asked Patrick, who would have been the better candidate. Instead, she knew exactly what course Kim would pursue - the emotional blackmail trick. She's playing "good cop" at the moment, reminding Denise that it's not too late to take the child back. 

What a cruel thing to do to those parents, who've bonded with the child and who have given him their time and unconditional love since he was born. He's been with them since birth, and although Denise recognises that, I don't think this will stop her from rescinding her decision. And whilst she feels guilty at giving up this child, she doesn't feel one iota of guilt about the ructure this might cause to Sharon's marriage.

As much as I hate Keegan - and this isn't a character people like to hate and want to see, like Janine; he's just a hateful, misogynistic little scrote in every way - I came to the conclusion that he's a cartoon villain of a character. The initial interaction in the Square between him and Denise was over-acted on both their parts. His basketball bounced onto a bed of flowers. Kids do these things. She got shirty with him, he replied in kind. He was rude, but the line about her being an old bat or whatever it was he called her was cartoonish. Don't get me wrong, I hate this character. In fact, I hate all the yoof characters, but that dialogue throughout was atrocious. 

The second encounter was surreal. It was played out against the backdrop of everyone in the market stopping making a living and standing in a group - important named characters like Martin, Kush, Carmel and Donna to the fore - to watch a showdown between a middle-aged woman and a 16 year-old mouthy kid. Honestly, it was like a schoolyard stand-off, and all about her demanding an apology from him and him trampling on flowers, descending into her making the ubiquitous comment about "blaming the parents" and being glad she wasn't his mother. Only a moment before she was remarking to Kim how she hoped her son wouldn't turn out like Keegan and Shakil, which was rich, considering Shakil has really done nothing but hang about gormlessly with Keegan, and Shakil is also the son of her so-called best friend. That's a slight on Carmel's parenting skills, and Denise wants to remember that Chelsea was no angel and how Denise whinged and whined to Tanya not to punish widdle Chelsea when she had sex on the tanning table with Sean Slater or how she and Kevin destroyed the CCTV tape which proved that Sean never mugged Patrick because the truth would land Princess Chelsea inside a prison.

So she smacked Keegan, something all of us wished that either Shakil or one of the girls would do; but she didn't only smack him. She decked him. She broke skin and drew blood, and that will bruise. And that's assault. Because a little shit like Keegan would know just how to play the system, and at the end of the day, it is an adult smacking a child.

Who am I kidding? He'll turn out to be her nephew with terrible parents, she'll take him in and he'll be her next pet project.

What the fuck has happened to this show? Is O'Connor the new Newman?

Friday, February 17, 2017

Whiney Little Bitches - Review:- Friday 17.02.2017

And so Sean O'Connor continues in his efforts to fill EastEnders with a gaggle of the most unlikable characters in the history of the soap. The only bright beacons on the horizon this evening were Konrad, the Polish shopkeeper, and Kathy, and she kept pretty much in the background.

This was Monday's episode. We knew that because the kids were in school, and it was a disappointing episode, because it made hard the things which should have been logical and easy.

Psssst ... the worst kept secret in the world? Max is behind the food poisoning complaints. 

Michelle's Swiss Cheese Storyline. I'm surprised we don't lose sight of Michelle and her disgruntled Preston Prestonovich Prestonovski, the Brit speaking with an American accent and sounding like one-half of the old Saturday Night Live Czechoslovakian brothers ...


Fer shur, he is one wilde and crazy guy. 

Tell me, what is Florida fried chicken? There is no such thing. Please, writing room, we call it Southern fried chicken, becaussssssse ... Florida is in the South, right? Interesting to note that Michelle's and Prestonovich's first date consisted of Colonel Sanders's finest. 

Here's the biggest hole in the story: Michelle has no job and no money. God knows where she found the money to pay for Prestonovich's dinner, unless Sharon and Phil left her housekeeping money for Dennis and Louise. Out of the wrong side of her mouth, she's promised Prestonovich a ticket back to the US. 

Here's the problem .. He's a minor. He's 17. Surely his parents have tried ringing his phone? They must have notified the police that he's gone missing. A one-way ticket is always more expensive than a round trip one, and these days, airports and border patrol are always suspicious of people travelling on one-way tickets. Also, his parents must suspect he's gone off to be with his middle-aged lover, and they must have had the police check all the airport records. And in the case of her rejecting him out of hand, why didn't he just eat crow, tuck his tail between his precious little legs and call his parents? They'd have an e-ticket ready for him to print off immediately. Of course, his mamma would shame him and beat his white privileged ass. Instead, he's going to hang around like a bad smell, passive-aggressively reminding her about her promise.

A one-way ticket wouldn't break the bank - BA would shift him as far as Orlando for the sum total of £225. But that's a lot if you don't have it, and Ian won't spare that amount of small change for an old friend? How did Prestonovich get the money to get here anyway?

This Michelle, who isn't really Michelle, but a weak, horny, desperate rapist imposter, isn't really sorry for anything at all about her dalliance and rape of this kid, who's clearly messed up and even moreso for her actions; she's just sorry that her past has caught up with her. She was so ignorant, so arrogant that she thought running home and trying to start over would work, but you never shake off your past; and it took the end, literally, of everything for which she studied and for which she strove to bring this home to her. She lost everything because she abused a child in her trust. That's just sinking in right now, and all she wants him to do is just to leave, whilst she wallows in self-pity. At the moment, she's desperate for him to go because she's afraid that the longer he stays, there's a chance that their real relationship history will surface. Her claim that she still cared for him rang hollow. Someone like this woman would apportion the blame to the child in question instead of shouldering the entire responsibility for grooming him and encouraging his attentions.

The boy is very much the spoiled child, grabbing is jacket and flouncing out of the Mitchell house when Michelle rejected him yet again, and so his new game is to try to make her jealous by currying favour with Rebecca and cosying up to her. My guess is that Rebecca will find those pictures on his phone, and that will blow Michelle's sordid little secret, and it should. Whoever wanted this woman to complete and front the new Fowler unit as a matriarchal figure needs to think again. Who wants to associate with a rapist? Martin and Stacey have young children, and it's already been pointed out that Michelle has cosied up to Rebecca more as a friend than as her auntie, but I suppose she's Rebecca's idea of a cool auntie until the kid finds out what Michelle's been up to with Prestonovich.

This is a sordid, ugly little storyline, which has managed, irreparably, to ruin a seminal, iconic character. And the boy isn't a very nice person, who'll use Rebecca for his own end. 

Martin isn't going to be very happy.

The Fox Sisters: Same Shit Different Day. Somebody smack that feckless, tactless, shitty Kim, if only for the remark she made in Jack's hearing about preferring to go blind rather than have needle injections in her eye.

Neither of these women have benefitted from this storyline. I'm tired of both of them whining and whingeing about a child who should never have been born, but for someone old enough to know how to take precautions.

Kim is still so obtuse as to refuse to understand that an adopted child isn't a child who's discarded by his mother and raised by strangers. And for all she was a feckless mother, I don't like the fact that Denise is now suddenly referring to her mother - the only mother she's ever known - as Emerald, purposefully. This woman might have been short on responsibility, but someone had to care for, clean, rock to sleep and clothe the infant Denise. Emerald gave her a name and a family. For that, she should be grateful. Not only are the Fox sisters SOC's blisters, Denise is also SOC's resident adoptee. Remember Sharon referring to her mother as Angie? It's almost as if this producer has to repeat DTC's stuff his own way. WTF? Maybe Gavin was Denise's father.

It's also difficult for the selfish, unintelligent Kim to understand how Denise's gesture isn't an "easy" option. She's thought about this, and she's decided, for a myriad of reasons, that this child would be better off with younger parents, in a two-parent family, with people who want and love him. However, what is this gumpf about the child knowing who Denise is and where she is? Adoption records are sealed until the child in question is 18 years old. Who writes this stuff?

Lee. I was a bit disappointed in his departure. In fact, in the previous episode, I thought he was at the allotments, not Dover. And Mick getting to Dover and back from that part of London in a couple of hours? It's two hours in traffic each way.

I had to laugh, I must admit, listening to Whitney, kohl-eyed and with the chavvy nails and bling, wondering if she would fit in in Dover. Answer: She would have fit that town like a glove. Lee is with Beanbag, so I assume Beanbag's marriage is over, as he's staying in the town?

Mick is angry at Lee for the wrong reasons. He's fighting Whitney's corner, again for all the wrong reasons. I thought Lee would tell him some home truths about what a prick Mick had been, but I guess his rationale for going is as good as any - he never fit the civvy life in Walford, and Walford was where things began to unravel in his life. Basically, he's saying what Nancy could never say and what Tamwar saved her from saying - that the only way he could heal himself and have a meaningful life would be out of Walfore and away from Mick and his family. Part of his reason for going was Whitney, but as he pointedly didn't include Linda in that explanation, I presume the elephant in the room pressuring him was Mick.

I like that he alluded to wanting to be like his father's perfect image so much, striving to attain that in every way, and failing; but Mick didn't rush to inform Lee that he, Mick, was really weak and emotionally dependent on either Linda or Shirley - he admitted as much, omitting Shirley, to Linda in the wake of finding out about her rape. What did bother me was Mick suddenly seeming almost anxious, immediately, to agree with what Lee said, as if it didn't take much to convince him. You wonder how much he really did love his son.

As for Whitney, for all her crocodile tears and protestations of love and then her assumption that he would take her with him to his new life, he handed her his arse. He would always love her, probably more than she loved him; but he was just on notice, waiting for the scales to drop from her eyes and for her to realise he wasn't what she'd made him up in her mind to be. His nemesis Oz saw that with her from the beginning, and the fact that she was openly flirting with, first, Danny Mitchell and then cosying up to Beanbag in order to secure Lee a job, was indicative, not to mention her secret snogging with Mick.

For the first time in her life, the ubiquitous dependable bloke dumped Whitney,and you coudl tell from the hard glint in her eyes as she watched him leave, that Mick was well in her sights.

Other Observations. The fox analogy always had relevance for Den and Dennis Rickman. Now it's associated with a trapped and feral Lee, out of his natural environment and scrabbling around a rubbish heap of an existence with fear in his eyes. Lee was too kind to Mick, who effectively told him to leave Whitney and then upbraided him for having done so.

The constant whingeing about the bins annoys me, especially since now there's an infestation of mice and rats. With all the local government cutbacks, most coucils do fortnightly collections. That doesn;t  mean people and businesses allow rubbish to accumulate, uncollected for two weeks. There's a wonderful invention called the DUMP, and you can see hordes of people there every weekend, ridding themselves of rubbish.

Dot's storyline with Jack and the kids was sweet, but my mother-in-law has macular degeneration, and it doesn't get any better.

I think Max is behind the Vic's problems, but why is the mystery man so interested in the Vic? And didn't Konrad say his snacks were slightly out of date? Won't that cause more food poisoning complaints?

I'm wondering ... will the Carters lose the Vic? Oh, and tip to continuity for Kathy's mention of Magda.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Immaturity - Review:- Thursday 16.02.2017

Tonight's "hour-long" episode is really tonight's and tomorrow night's episodes spliced together. Tomorrow's episode is the one which would have aired Monday night, but since the BBC is airing non-league Sutton United's FA Cup match against Arsenal, Monday's episode went out the window.

Although tonight's episode was watchable, the show is pretty much going out the window now, with the news that some boy band bankrupt with virtually no acting experience whatsoever has been signed to play the Square's latest attempt at a bad boy. The show has something about helping bankrupt actors. Past charity cases have been Shane Richie, Jamie Foreman and, most recently, Danny Dyer.  At least all of them had previour and extensive acting experience. I really do wonder at the direction the show is taking at the moment, as well as some of the Swiss cheese-style storylines - i.e. riddled with all kinds of holes - that it has chosen to pursue.

As I said, tonight's episode was watchable, just barely; but one of the most overriding themes of O'Connor's time as EP has been the almost unbridled cruelty that has emanated from virtually all of the characters - from petty teenaged meanness, to quirky little acts of sabotage against longtime friends, to getting revenge on dead people to just sheer, utter, psychological bullying. Put that alongside the blatant misogyny, and EastEnders is a pretty mean place to be.

How long before any of us forget what Max is supposed to be up to?

The Rapist Ends Up Sucking on a Bottle. One of the most hole-ridden storylines has been the tale of NuMichelle and her teenaged lover, which is simply preposterous. I would say that probably a majority of viewers these days are simply too young to have remembered the real Michelle, played by Susan Tully. Michelle was one of the original characters, and probably the most seminal female character the show has ever produced. However, those who are only familiar with Jenna Russell in the role will now only think of Michelle as a statutory rapist, a sad, drunken woman who's freeloading off her best friend and who poke fun at that best friend's appearance behind her back, who preys on men and boys young enough to be her son. And she's a secret lush. 

That's irony. The Mitchells wean Phil off the bottle, and Sharon will probably return to find Michelle propped up on the lounge sofa and surrounded by empty vodka bottles.

Let's start with the simple things first. New Rule: EastEnders must never EVER EVER depict any other character coming from the United States. EVER. First, we had to contend with Mark Wotsit, who thought he was Tim's son,but didn't bother to use his surname, who attended a "British" school rural panhandle Florida. Then we had to contend with Preston, the underaged lover,who tried an American accent, and sounded like a cross between a Canadian and a Russian.

Memo to people attempting to portray Americans: Yes, there are some words we pronounce differently to the way British or English people pronounce them. But we do not say "pay-tronise". It's pronounced with a short "a", the way you lot say it.

Anyway, Preston's been in Walford a couple of days. Why haven't his parents called him? He's a minor. He can't leave the country without their permission. Why haven't the police authorities been contacted here?

Secondly, Michelle knows exactly what she did. She said:-

What I did was a crime. I was lucky I didn't get arrested.

Girlfriend, if this were real life, you'd have been arrested and you'd be awaiting trial right now in an orange jumpsuit. Then finally, she admits to her spray-tanned sugarbaby:-

You're a CHILD!

Yes, he is ... and do you know what that means? Michelle admits that she had sex with ... a child. As Bianca would screech, that's rape. Michelle the rapist, who thought she'd get taken on at a supply teaching agency because she believed, and because Preston the boob-baby reinforced the notion that she was a "good" teacher.

No, Michelle, sadly, you aren't. You ceased to be a good teacher the moment you crossed the line, seduced and had sex with an underaged child to whom you had a duty of care.

And do you know what the creepiest thing about this entire storyline is? That on the night when Michelle confessed to Sharon what she had done, at first Sharon was appalled (and rightly so), but she ended the night by giggling and referring to Michelle as a "cradle-robber." This is a woman who has a young son on the cusp of adolescence. She trusted her lifelong friend enough to leave her in charge of her son and her underaged step-daughter, and Michelle moves her underaged toyboy in at the earliest convenience. Yes, I know that at 17, in this country, Preston is of age, but he isn't a citizen of this country, and that leads to the third fallacy ...

That he blagged on and on about coming here to be with her. Sorry to be obtuse, but when you come into the UK with a US passport that doesn't say "Given leave to enter the United Kingdom and remain for an indefinite period," you are asked how long you're going to stay and why you are here. You're also viewed suspiciously if you enter on a one-way ticket, which he obviously did because Michelle had to sort him out a ticket home. The idea that anyone can just up stakes and go to the US (Martin), the UK (Preston) or even New Zealand (Peter and Lauren), who have no educational or marketable skills or any means of support is pretty ludicrous.

I'm beginning to wonder if this kid had some sort of Oedipal complex, obviously so. It isn't a matter of Michelle being ten or even fifteen years older than Preston. She's thirty years older than he. He's a minor, and the only excuse she can think to give her brother for his presence is that he's a friend of her twenty-one year-old son. He wants a future with Michelle. In twenty years' time, he'll still be a young man, and she'll be pushing seventy.

At least the programme showed exactly how small the world is, and it was totally realistic that, within minutes, the supply agency had received enough of Michelle's professional references to know exactly what she did and why they, as professionals, couldn't trust her around impressionable adolescent males. In the end, she actually acknowledged that her lover was a child. That realisation must make her, a mother, feel like a prize piece of shit. Would she countenance any other adult taking advantage of her children this way. I mean, has she even mentioned Vicki in all of this?

I hope that "Preston" isn't sticking around to flirt with Rebecca. Where would he stay? And how long before Martin is made aware of what Michelle has done? I thought it funny that TPTB had given him a spray tan to indicate that he came from Florida. By the way, he's from the Gulf area, the Panhandle. That area isn't as culturally diverse in terms of Caribbean culture, as he indicated regarding cuisine. He'd be more attuned to Paula Deene's downhome grits'n jowls than anything Latino. 

The line of the night went to Michelle:-

I had to give you money for your dinner!

... as well as the fact that he stomped off in an adolescent sulk when she told him he was exactly what he was. 

Mmmm-MMMM! (As we say in the South). I'll bet his mamma takes a two-by-four to his spray-tanned ass when he gets off that plane.

I have to say, I'm astounded that it never even entered into Michelle's mind that a supply agency would request references for her - they must have wondered what she was doing here during the school term, anyway - or that her former employers wouldn't mention the reason for her dismissal. It's called duty of care.

And of course at the end of the day, she reaches for the bottle.

The Wise Women of Walford. I get it that a great part of these two-for-one episodes was a tribute to June Brown, but to give her a two-part storyline which consisted of her sitting beside a washing machine thinking that her cat had got wedged down behind the back of it, whilst playing the radio and talking to no one in particular wasn't funny nor in any way a tribute.

And are we to believe that now that the launderette is closed, Dot takes in Ian's and Jack's and Kim's washing and ironing? For a cream bun? Doesn't Kim have a washing machine, anyway? What is that all about? I can see her doing Jack's laundry. He's family, and he's her stepson. I like his relationship with Dot. 

I also like Stacey, but I'm beginning to draw the line at her being presented as the font of all wisdom to people who've lived longer and seen more than she has, when she isn't even thirty yet.

Jack is grieving and feuding with a dead woman. Sneakily refusing to honour Amy's wishes and leave the Valentine's card on Roxy's grave, as well as refusing to acknowledge Roxy on the joint gravestone. Roxy wasn't responsible for Ronnie's death. The only person responsible for Ronnie's death was Ronnie. What bride on her wedding night traipses off to down two bottles of bubbly with her sister rather than spending time with her husband? 

That's what killed Ronnie. That decision and her wedding dress.

Stacey was right to tell him that it's not right that he keep the memory of Roxy from Amy. Roxy was Amy's mother. She's old enough to retain memories of Roxy, ,and her questions about her won't go away. Roxy is the mother of one of Jack's children. She may have been a flake, but she loved Amy unconditionally, and Amy loved her.

And this nonsense about not wanting to move on was the height of selfishness for Jack, but then selfishness is the key to the Brannings' persona. We had two references to Bradley tonight - one by Max, which prompted Jack to have the maudlin scene at Ronnie's grave where he spoke to her, but neglected to leave Amy's card, and then the oblique reference by Stacey to Bradley's death 7 years ago and how she found happiness again. She also referenced Ryan and how she never bad-mouthed him to Lily, which was a curious remark, since Ryan is all loved-up in Yorkshire and hasn't been near Lily - did he even see her when he was here for Whitney's wedding? - and besides, Martin introduced her to Preston earlier as his daughter. She's called Lily Fowler now.

At first I wondered why Stacey was hanging out around Jack, and then I realised that Amy and Lily were friends.

Dot helped by gently pushing the symbolic act of Jack dealing with Ronnie's clothes and belongings. At least, by the end of the episode, he was acknowledging Roxy's importance in Amy's life and memories.

Glad they found Dave, however.

Teenaged Angst and Unrealistic Expectations. Please stop pushing Jasmine Whatever's singing talents. All we got in this episode is Shakil peering at a tablet and her tinny voice, and the odious Keegan gurning. Not to mention the obviously twenty-something Rat's Nest and Sniggle winding Louise up about a boy we've barely seen. Keegan? Travis? Where do they get these names?

The teens are boring and unlikable, and I rue the fact that the show has chosen to bring them to the forefront of the show. The friendship of Louise and Rebecca rings hollow as well - on again and off again, depending on what boy they fancy. Is Louise so thick as to not see she was being used and manipulated by the Rat's Nest and Sniggle? And these are girls who are supposed to be a full year younger than Rebecca! Doesn't she have friends in her own year?

And Ben and Jay take on the rent of what appears to be a three-bedroomed terraced house. One half of Max's and Tanya's old front room was rented out to Lee and Whitney for £1500 per month. How much must a house like that cost? 

Jay is a go-fer in a funeral parlour. He can't be earning much above minimum wage. Ben is probably better off, as he appears to be managing the Arches, which is a total anathema, because there is no way Ben has any sort of professional qualifications to work on the sophisticated late model car engines of today, much less any apparatus with which to work with them. Three-bedroomed properties in that area of London to rent must be exhorbitant. And maybe Kathy kept some of that Gavin money to help with the deposit.

And speaking of places to rent, there's an empty two-bedroomed flat going begging above Coker and Son, which, I'm sure, Pam and Les would let them rent for a peppercorn.

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder. Nice to see Mick shitting himself at Lee's disappearance and the fact that he's not returning anyone's calls. But he is still so obtuse as to not to understand why Lee left. We still hear him bleating on about wanting "the boy" to show some responsibility, to "step up." Even Johnny referred to him as a loser. 

As for Whitney, she's playing up the victim stakes, whining to all and sundry about Lee telling her he didn't love her. Neither she nor Mick are able to acknowledge the part they may have played in driving Lee away. Since his condition was diagnosed, she's been fearful of his depression returning - and so she did the very thing that sent him spiralling downward, by putting immense pressure and expectations on him to live up to her ideal; and Mick's done nothing but tell him to "man up" - oh, and don't think I didn't notice Kush dishing out the same sort of advice to Shakil about Rebecca tonight - man up, and talk to her, when maybe he had just accepted that she might have wanted to move on.

Mick is beginning to worry now because he's afraid that Linda may have a way of finding out where he was, or as Shirley suggested, maybe he went to Linda. Now, after the fact, Shirley's offering platitudes like saying that Lee just needed some space. That wasn't what she was saying earlier. They wanted him to walk away from his marriage because he didn't deserve his skank of a wife, who loves Mick anyway. Did they really think he would have stayed in Walford? Mick wouldn't have allowed him through the door. 

And how much of a child is Mick? He's so unstrung, that he has to go out for a walk with Mummy. I ask you. 

The abject blindness to all concerned about what they did to Lee was astounding, even silly Whitney's attempt to gain Mick's admiration by bravely showing up to do her shift. It's a good thing she was too engrossed in gabbing with Lauren to hear the phonecall that Lee made. 

He wants to see Mick. I hope he tells him some good, blunt home truths.

And Finally. Ian will have some health problems, and Shirley will have a Pole.

























Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Here's Another Fine Mess - Review:- Tuesday 14.02.2017

Sure, Natalie Mitchell's scripts are good, but there's a lot of stink going on in EastEnders these days. What is it about this show that makes a lot of the characters so unlikable? Since Sean O'Connor's taken over, there's been a decisive bent towards misogyny and niggling cruelty in general.

There's such a thing as nuance, but I thought this man had a respect for the show's history. Dominic Treadwell-Collins killed of arguably the most important legacy character in the programme, and squandered an God-given opportunity to tie up the Sharongate quandry when two of the show's characters who exuded the most amazing sexual chemistry in the show's history gave way to a totally unrealistic storyline about a long-forgotten secret son, badly played by an actor whom the EP obviously fancied. I thought it was bad enough when he dicked about with the established back stories of no less than Sharon Watts, but also Kat Moon and the Mitchells.

Sean O'Connor did worse. He recast an original character. Not just an original character, but probably the most nuanced, seminal character amongst the original cast, with a woman who portrays the character in a way so vastly unfamiliar with anything like the original as to make her a veritable stranger. And on top of that, he's made her a sex offender. Worse, a rapist.

One Yank and They're Off. Well, at least this one attempts an American accent, but you know what he sounds like? Like Russians who have learned fluently English. He has that clipped, gutteral accent they use, which is better than the wide-mouthed frog variety employed by Vicki Fowler (fer sher fer sher), but it still ain't kosher. 

Oh and all 17 year-olds just able to get their grubby little mitts on enough money to skip off school - no half-term there, folks; they started school on the day after New Year's Day and they're in session right up until Good Friday - and fly to England to be with the much older woman he lurrrves. Not only is he truanting, which could get his parents in trouble, those people could still take out a warrant against Michelle because he may be over the age of consent here, but he isn't there. At 17, he'd either be in his penultimate year of high school or possibly his last year, depending on when his birthday was.

Whoever came up with this storyline for Michelle ought to be taken out and shot. It has totally blown away any credibility or integrity the character - and she was a supremely important character in the general scheme of things - ever had. The actress is good, but she isn't Michelle. She is in no way, shape or form Michelle, and I'm so glad that people too young to remember this character are delving into YouTube simply to see what Sue Tully's seminal interpretation of the character was supposed to be and noting the atrocious differences. 

Michelle, even now, even in middle age, would never think to consort with an underaged boy, much less someone to whom she had a professional duty of care. She's thirty years this kid's senior. In twenty years' time, she'd be approaching 70 and he wouldn't have hit 40 yet. This is more than a midlife crisis, this is sick.

Even sicker is the absolutely arrogant, bordering on ignorant thought that she can even hope to go back into the classroom here. And the operative word is "arrogant," because there has been an air of arrogance that's clung to this character this time around that risks turning into a major stench. It's the 21st Century. Educational transcripts and professional references are easy enough to come by in the digital age in a matter of hours. Does Michelle seriously think an English school wouldn't want to have references from an educational institution where she worked in the US? Don't they count schools as schools there? Does she even think she will get some sort of non-committal reference? The US isn't the UK. You talk the talk, and you walk the walk; meaning, they won't stint to say she was summarily dismissed and they'll go into great detail why. This is a woman who cannot be trusted around young, impressionable boys, they'll say. After all, they have a professional duty of care to other educational institutions in which she'll try to infiltrate.

Secondly, why is she surprised that all of Walford know she got drunk and tried to come onto a young man of about twenty years of age? Surely, she must remember how gossip-ridden the Square has always been, or dies she think herself above all of that now? In fact, she did a good job of looking down her nose at Donna and Tina when they invited her to join them at their table -why is she annoyed that they got a kick out of her making a fool of herself?

And thirdly, there's a meanness about this Michelle. Tully's Michelle, even now, would never think to make a scarecrow interpretation of her lifelong best friend. Michelle was always a strong support for Sharon. The last thing she would ever do is make fun of her appearance, even now. And why did she even think the Valentine card she received was from her husband? It was clear that it was hand-delivered, so unless it came by carrier pigeon, instead of post, it was always going to be local.

You know the one thing American that enters my mind about this abysmal character, and that's something we say in the US ...

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Tully turned down repeated requests to return as Michelle, and Michelle was so ingrained in the viewing public's mind as Susan Tully, it was unthinkable even to attempt a re-cast. O'Connor did, and this is a failure. 

Michelle should never have been re-cast. Ever.

Jack Prat. It's only right he should be Mick's new BFF ... Jack Prat and Mick Prick. The two go hand-in-hand.

Yes, yes, yes ... Jack's grieving. Yes, yes, yes, as before, he goes running to Dot, not telling her his problems but yet relying on her intuition to get to the core of what's bothering him - and what's bothering him is basically the fact that he's going to have to go through Ronnie's clothes and belongings. That's a symbolic and powerful act any survivor has to undertake, and having done that, myself, it's hard. It is the ultimate gesture of a survivor moving on,

Dot knows that, but Jack doesn't want to face this. Instead, he effects the pettiest of acts and an example of hateful meanness to a woman who is dead and cannot defend herself. Ronnie and Roxy are buried in the same grave; however, Jack has omitted Roxy's details from the headstone marking this grave. It's his ultimate revenge because he blames Roxy for Ronnie's death.

It was Ronnie who chose to put her sister before her new husband that night. Had she stayed and helped him put the kids to bed, she may have been alive today. Instead, she and Roxy put away two bottles of champagne before they tried the swimming pool caper. It's a singular act of cruelty to consign the mother of his child to the cold ground in a nameless grave. This is Amy's mother, someone whom she loves and remembers; and Jack seeks to wipe that memory from her just because of his own innate moral deficiency.

Oh, and it wouldn't crack his arse if he were to make an effort to get in touch with Ricky;s mother from time to time. He may have the boy, but Ricky also needs to know that he has another parent out there. So who will go through Roxy's belongings? Sharon? Honey? Donna, who seems to be the only person, besides Jay, who's grieving for her? Will Glenda come back for a day of grieving by boxing her daughter away?

Jack needs a smack. Seriously.

Mick the Prick and HIs Mugly Sother Interfere. Patrick Is a Hero. The penny dropped for me tonight. 

Mick wants Whitney. He wants her, and he's jealous of Lee. I was thinking today of when Mick found the Samaritans' card in Lee's phone case. Discovering that amongst your child's possession would give a parent cause for concern and worry. You'd speak to your child and hope that he would open up to you about what's bothering him. As a parent, you'd probably show him enormous compassion. 

Did Mick do any of that? Did he, bollocks! We got the usual stern talking-to, with the usual subjects broached about Lee owning up to his responsibilities, manning up, and reminding him of what he owed his wonderful, loving wife. There would also be consternation that Lee found it easy to open up to the stranger, the woman in the carpark. Of course, he wouldn't understand that this is really and truly the basis for cathartic counselling; instead, Mick becomes the full-on bully.

I understand why Mick couldn't help but interfere in Lee's marriage. For the past few weeks, whilst Linda's been away, Whitney has preyed upon his vulnerabilities, recognising that Mick was emotionally floundering in Linda's absence, she placed herself in his emotional void, doing the things Linda would have done (doing extra shifts in the bar, attending Ollie's out-patients appointment, going to the Cash and Carry with Mick) and some of the things Linda wouldn't have done, like cook Christmas dinner. Additionally, she made sure Mick knew her dissatisfaction with Lee - Lee wasn't paying enough attention to her sexually (she made sure Mick knew that), amongst other things. 

When the truth about the raid came out, everything that niggled her about Lee, afterward, she made sure Mick knew as soon as it happened. That the couple were having marital difficulties was a given. Their basic problem was that, like Mick, Whitney refused to acknowledge that Lee's depression was a medical condition that could impede upon his judgement and behaviour. To Whitney, Lee was weak. She refused to listen to the fact that he hated work, that the conditions of his workplace had a lot to do with Lee's frame of mind, and that was the least of his worries. Yet day after day, she forced him to go to work. She refused to admit that her incessant greed and materialism, her pushing for Lee to provide her with the dream wedding, the dream flat, expensive jewelry, her constant comparisons of Lee to some unreal idealistic portrayal of him, as well as his own poor self-esteem in the face of what he perceived to be a perfect father, made his depression deeper.

Instead of stepping back, instead of recognising that Lee and Whitney had to work these problems out themselves, Mick barged into that relationship like a raging bull. Fine, he had to get involved with Lee's financial situation; that was one thing, and yes, the fact that he was naturally angry upon finding out about Lee's part in the raid; but still, Lee is his child. Surely, he must wonder why Lee did what he did? Yet, it never occurred to him to ask. Instead, he simply railed and raged, excluding Lee with his cold silences, all the time bigging up Whitney's importance and responding to her subtle sexual insinuations. If he wasn't telling Lee that he didn't deserve Whitney, he was telling her that she was too good for him.

Instead of refusing to take sides, he barred Lee from the pub one night, when the pair quarrelled and gave Whitney refuge, putting her in Linda's bed wearing Linday's pyjamas.

Now they'v exchanged a surreptitious kiss, and not only do Whitney's protestations that she loves Lee ring hollow, Mick's pinings for Linda have taken on a phoney edge as well. This is the longest he's been away from a woman with whom he's been sexually involved since he was a child. He's never known another woman, and whenever some female would come onto him, he'd deflect them because Linda was there, nearby, and he loved her proximity. Now she's away, she'd putting her priorities into place - she's nursing her sick mother and leaving Mick to hold the fort, yet Mick has done anything but. The roof's leaking, he blames his son for his own financial troubles in bailing him out; but Lee's few thousands paled before the major payday loan Mick effected in order to ger Linda and Elaine back from Spain and into rehab. It's that interest which is killing him - and the untoward interest in Whitney.

At first, I thought Shirley urging him to talk to Lee meant she'd had a re-think.Instead, Mick's idea was to berate Lee, to tell him yet again, that he didn't deserve Whitney, that she was too good for him and deserved better. The pair had actually taken a step toward repairing what had gone wrong. Lee admitted he was wrong to have overreacted and hit her. It's not in his nature to be overtly violent. He was living in fear of not living up to her expectations, either as a man or as a person. When they exchanged cards and he returned to her the wedding and engagement ring he'd redeemed at the pawnshop, they seemed sincerely attempting to make an effort. Their declarations of love sounded sincere - at least Lee's did.

When Lee walked into that pub, his marriage was on the mend. Who the fuck was Mick to tell him to walk away from the marriage, leave his wife simply because he wasn't good enough for her. That's right. Lee wasn't good enough for a slapper who made a living from enticing nice lads into a relationship only to dump them at the first hurdle the moment a bad boy came along, and upon being called out, to whine about her history of sexual abuse and use that as an exoneration of her bad behaviour.

Mick's behaviour was abominable - he literally told his son, not only to walk away from his marriage, but effectively to get out of town, leave the area - because he certainly couldn't expect Lee to hang out in Walford with Whitney around. He refused to let him stay for more than one night in the pub. And Shirley actively reinforced this idea, encouraging Mick and telling him he did the right thing. Mick's actual message to Lee was that he was rotten inside, that he needed to go away and get help. He spat that out as if it were a piece of rotten food.

Look, Lee does need help. He needs proper counselling where he can talk with someone about the trigger points which initiate his depressive episodes. He needs medication, but he needs all of this in a positive light. Instead, Mick made what Lee needed sound pejorative and bad. Lee was worse than a loser, Lee's mental state meant that he was dangerous, bad, almost evil. Mick and Shirley now reached the stage where they are comparing him actively to Dean, and, let's face it, the great majority of Dean's psychological problems with women came from his non-relationship with dear old Mummy; and Lee's low self-esteem comes from his rose-coloured vision fed to him by Mick and Linda throughout his life about his father as some positive forceful pillar of strength, who's never put a foot wrong.

Bullshit. Mick was trying to get Lee out of the way in order for him to have a pop at Whitney, and as soon as he;s gone, Mick will have her back in the Vic. The first scene we had of Mick today was in the kitchen of the Vic, when Shirley came in with a Valentine's card and told him to ring Linda. Instead of ringing her straight  away, he decided to share his Valentine from her with Sylvie. That's how much Mick is not missing Linda now.

On the other hand, when Lee decided to bunk work and headed for the allotments, he ran into Patrick, who gave him a symbolically significant pep talk about the roots of plants going bad and needing replacing from time to time, indicating that Lee needed renewal in and of himself, not that he was bad to the core and needed replacing. I thought Lee's question to Patrick, asking him if anyone had ever told him to give up was poignant, and Patrick's answer was just the ticket. Never give up. 

And I was glad to see Patrick hand Mick his arse about his treatment of Lee, that Lee was a troubled young man who needed the support of his father, admonishing Mick to hold Lee close. At the end of the day, Lee is Mick's child. Whitney is just a conniving little slut.

As for the couple themselves, instead of using Valentine's Day as an opportunity to spend the evening talking their problems out, Whitney decided to make the big gesture and cadge a free meal at Beales as a Valentine's romantic gesture. Lee was reluctant to go. And that was when Lee reached an epiphany about his marital situation. 

First, there was Lauren, not only taking their order, but taking advantage of the situation to make a snarky comment. She even lied to her resident child carrier and all-round fixture and fitting, Stephen, (another emasculated male), who told her to mind her business; but the final straw for Lee was listening to Whitney begin to go on about how wonderful he was and how they would get through this and everything would be solved as soon as Lee got a well-paying job. Then, she dropped the clanger - Lee would end up being just like Mick; in fact, they'd be like Linda and Mick, a strong and solid couple. What a dumb bitch - Mick is neither strong, and his relationship with Linda has inherently weakened because of her. Or maybe Lee just heard for the first time how much Whitney was trying to convince herself with her umpteenth speech about how proud she was of him and how much she loved  him, when she was saying just the opposite two nights before. Maybe things just began to ring hollow at last.

So Lee cleared up and left, leaving Whitney to pick up the bill. Good. And he'd cleared out and gone. I was glad he left her with food for thought and that he actually said if first - that he didn't love her anymore. I'm glad, because he realised that night that she clearly didn't love him, and he wanted to say it first. And I do hope that the penny dropped with him about Mick's overt defence of Whitney - that Mick's interest in her is neither paternal nor innocent.

I wonder what Shirley will think when Mick and Whitney eventually do the inevitable against Linda?

Mean Girls. Rat's Nest, Sniggle, Louise and Rebecca bore men. The one thing I noticed tonight was that Rat's Nest clearly is someone who looks, close up, to be in her mid-twenties. Adults playing children. Please, EastEnders.