I’ve been to a few weddings I didn’t want to go to. I’m scheduled for more next year, no doubt. And I bet you are too. Sometimes, if it’s a family do, there’s no getting out of it, as the recriminations just aren’t worth the bloody hassle. The same goes for funerals – if Grandma kicks the bucket, obligation demands you don your black suit and race off to whatever godforsaken part of the country they’re burying her in.
With this in mind, will tonight’s wedding between Bradders and Stacey see a glorious reunion of two disparate clans – The Brannings and the Slaters? Will Kat ‘n’ Alfie will be there? Will Little Mo make an appearance? And Lynne, and Belinda? Zoe? Maybe not, as I recall she had a bit of bother over being an accessory to murder a while back.
And on the Branning side? Well let’s not forget Carol Jackson, Robbie, Sonia ‘n’ Martin, Bianca … maybe even little mop-haired Billy, yeah?
That’s what happens at family weddings, yeah?
Well no, not in EastEnders they don’t. Even though the soap purports to being set in the real world, events like weddings and funerals show it up for the lying scam it really is. Last night’s hen night was a case in point. We’ve all witnessed the packs of drunken fillies wobbling around town centres, the bride tarted up in veil and L-plates as she blunders from Yates’s to Wetherspoons to All Bar One with her dreadful coven of twenty-something mates.
Yet Stacey’s hen night (and lest we forget Stacey looks and dresses just like one of those girls on a Blackpool hen night we’ve all seen on Street Crime UK) took place in a house with various available cast members. Unlike on a real hen night, Stacey’s do featured her mad mother, her great aunt, her fiance’s icy mother, her lover’s wife, and, for some reason, that idiot Honey and that other idiot Asian girl whose name escapes me. Great night, Stace – no wonder you went to the pub.
And in the pub, there was Bradders, having his stag night. Bradders, who works in the City and presumably has lots of smarmy City-Boy friends, chose to spend his stag night with the likes of Charlie, Billy, and those two veteran ‘Stenders stag nighters, Minty ‘n’ Garry. Where were Bradley’s mates? Don’t you usually go out on your stag night with your mates? Out and about – to different pubs? Then get tied to a lamppost, starkers, in Dundee?
The problem the folks behind EastEnders have in trying to connect its world with our reality is that their cast of characters regularly bugger off and don’t come back. Thus, when it comes to family occasions (weddings, funerals, Christmas, births, christenings etc.), we have the odd phenomenon of a character’s supposed loved-ones not being there for them through good times and bad. Off the top of my head, here’s a few examples of how callous your relatives are if you live in Albert Square …
Grant was happy to come back for two weeks to help his brother out over that Johnny Allen business, but couldn’t be arsed to get on a plane to come back when it came to the small matter of Phil getting married.
David Wicks just couldn’t spare the time to go to his best friend Barry’s funeral. In fact, David couldn’t even be bothered to go to Roy’s funeral – his friend and biggest contact in the motor trade.
Cathy, loving mother that she was, clearly didn’t grasp the concept of airports when her only son got married, got shot, got married, had kids, went bankrupt, grew a moustache etc etc. For that matter, for quite a while until his off-screen death, Pete Beale couldn’t be arsed with Ian either.
Pauline, matriarch of the Square, uber-family woman, keep the faaaaamily together, faaaamily, faaaaamily, faaaamily woman extraordinaire, couldn’t even lure her daughter back to London by having a brain hemorrhage and dying at Christmas. Mind you, Michelle (that bitch), was reluctant to hand over her money to Virgin Atlantic even when her dad died – and he was the nice one of the bunch. Ditto her brother’s death, her other brother’s marriage, her best friend’s wedding (s?), her best friend’s husband’s funeral, or her best friend’s father’s (and father of her child’s) funeral. The cow.
So what hope, then, that we’ll see a reunion of those screeching harridan Slater sisters and those bothersome Jackson buggers? Don’t hold your breath, Stacey.