Posts Tagged ‘Soap Opera’

Just A Thought: EastEnders Update

April 15, 2009

So Phil’s fallen out with his mother and Danielle’s deaded up and Stacey’s been talking to a hole – and that’s supposed to be a cemetery in Telford, is it? Funny, because it looks suspiciously like the cemetery they buried wee-faced Jamie (Sonia’s squeeze) in back in the day.

And how are we to know that Danielle’s dad’s house in Telford is in Telford? For all we know it could be a shitty ‘60s semi in a London suburb. We’re not to know it’s actually Telford as there’s no sign saying ‘WELCOME TO TELFORD, THIS IS ACTUALLY TELFORD’.

And Phil’s overslept and missed Shirley the corpse’s cold meat buffet where Josie Laurence has got on fat Heather’s nerves by being with Minty, and isn’t Dawn looking lovely? What’s she doing with Garry?

And I don’t trust that 1940s granddaughter of Dot’s because she’s up to something, the shifty little bitch. I know Ricky’s boy Liam’s a bit thick but, as Pat says, he’s no liar and Dottie’s turning out to be a chip off the old block. A chip off Nick – and where’s he gone, eh?

And Archie’s evil schemes worked out well, didn’t they? What with buggering up Ronnie’s life – and hasn’t she got a lovely bone-structure? I would as long as the wife didn’t find out, like. He did well there, losing his wife and getting bundled into a van and I missed Friday’s and Monday’s episodes so I don’t know if he’s dead or not. Is he dead? Archie, I mean. If he is dead, what the hell was all that about? Talk about hidden agenda.

Meanwhile Janine’s feeling the strain after running over Danielle, don’t know why she’s so cut up, she didn’t bat an eyelid when she murdered Barry. And how come Pat still speaks to her because she knows Janine murdered Barry and you’d have thunk she’d never speak to the woman again, wouldn’t you? I mean, if my son-in-law had been killed up in Scotland by my step-daughter I wouldn’t give her the time of day never mind inviting her on a holiday to Paris that all went tits-up when it turned out she’d been stealing off of Peggy to fit up Jay.

Mind you, the way people treat each other on the square’s weird what with banning somebody from the pub / the shop / the curry house / the beauty parlour one minute and letting ‘em back in the next and … WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING STILL WATCHING THIS SHOW?

Advertisements

The Friday Question – Soap Yourself

March 13, 2009

Buttercup Lane - image by BP Perry

Buttercup Lane –

Love and Betrayal in a Family-Owned and Run Rural Garden Centre …

Ted Clappers: Maureen?
Maureen Clappers: Yes, Ted?
Ted Clappers: Did you put in that order for more pruning saws? We’re down to our last box.
Maureen Clappers: Yes, Ted. I phoned the supplier this …
Frankie Clappers: Mum, dad … I … I’ve got something to say …
Ted Clappers: What is it, son?
Frankie Clappers: I’m … I’m gay.
Maureen Clappers: Oh my god!
Ted Clappers: You’re what?!
Frankie Clappers: Gay, dad, gay. I like men’s bums.
Ted Clappers: WHAT??
Maureen Clappers: Oh, Frankie! Not in front of the Geraniums!
Frankie Clappers: I’m sorry, mum, but I had to say it. I’ve been gay ever since Julie was killed last year when the terrorists attacked the nursery sheds.
Ted Clappers: This can’t be happening! My son, a woof …
Frankie Clappers: That’s right! I knew you wouldn’t understand, dad! You’re prejudiced! Prejudiced against us gays. Ever since you caught Harry having unnatural relations with Daft Tony and saw what their shenanigans had done to the Chinese Trumpet Creepers, you’ve turned your back on tolerance!
Ted Clappers: It wasn’t YOU what had to shell out for four new palettes of Climbing Hydrangeas, my lad!
Frankie Clappers: It’s always money with you! You’re a monster!
Ted Clappers: How dare you speak to me like that in front of your mother!
Jeb Drudger: Mr. Clappers?
Ted Clappers: Yes, what is it, Jeb?
Jeb Drudger: I’m sorry to interrupt, sir, but that was Jackson’s on the phone …
Maureen Clappers: The suppliers?
Jeb Drudger: Yes, Mrs. Clappers. They … they …
Ted Clappers: Come on, Jeb, spit it out!
Jeb Drudger: They … they can’t deliver your order of Carpet Bugles because there’s been a mix-up at the depot …
Maureen Clappers: NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

So that’s WWM’s idea for a new soap opera, but what’s yours?

  • Where is it set?
  • Who are the main characters?
  • What hot topics will it cover?
  • Will it be a glamorous, Dynasty-style slice of fluff, or will it be a gritty urban drama where everyone’s got The AIDS?
  • Who do you want in it?
  • What era will it be set in?
  • Is there any chance you could give Paul Shane a job in it?

And, most importantly, what’s the soap’s resident dog, and what’s his / her name? Is it a poodle like Roley was, or an Alsation crossed with whatever the hell Wellard was crossed with? Hey, it’s not something like Ethel’s little Willie, is it?

Y’know – a source of endless cock jokes?

WWMers, it’s over to YOU

EastEnders

February 18, 2009

Garry Eastenders BBC

Are the scriptwriters that write Phil and Peggy and Pat and Jack and Max on holiday at the moment? I only ask because EastEnders has given itself over to storylines featuring what you could describe as its ‘light-relief B-team’ recently.

We’ve had a strange evening of farcical misunderstandings in the curry house involving Minty, Garry, the utterly pointless yet lovely-looking Dawn, Heather, Ricky and Bianca; we’ve had a peculiar non-suicide storyline involving Garry going on holiday to Spain and not telling anyone; we’ve had Heather and the cadaverous Shirley stalking George Michael (with Heather falling off a wall in a comically fat fashion); and we’ve got a strange Carry On film going on at the moment in the shape of the Masouds and the Beales going into the catering business with each other. There’s even been food fights! Food fights with Christian – EastEnders’ very own Kenneth Williams – sneering and giggling in the background.

Any minute now I’m expecting Peggy’s tits to pop out. Well … tit. Let’s not forget she’s one tit down after catching the cancer a few years back.

What’s going on? Wasn’t there some bad blood between Max and his brother? Have there been no further developments in the five yearly Dot-murdering plot? Wasn’t Tania’s daughter accused of something?

Apparently not. Instead we’ve had two weeks of pratfalls, fuck ups, food fights, mishaps and comedy Humpty Dumpty recreations. You mark my words, if this continues it’ll be custard pies and collapsible motor cars next.

What happened to the spirit-crushing drudgery? Where’s the woe? Why has EastEnders turned into a 1970s West End farce? What’s going on?

I WANT MY MISERY BACK.

NewsGush: Emmerdale Hit By Credit Crunch

October 9, 2008

Due to financial shortages, Emmerdale is the latest soap to enforce cutbacks in the form of AXING background staff.

There are genuine concerns on the back of the job losses that viewers who have grown used to the gritty, rustic realism of the series will now notice a shortfall in the amount of people pretending to sip fake pints of beer at the back of The Woolpack.

Television watchdogs are preparing for floods of calls via their specialist helplines from ITV-viewers who may have become disturbed by the lack of non-speaking characters tutting under their breath when an argument kicks off in the street.

Experts say the potential devastation that may be caused by the absence of unusually silent characters finishing their transaction in Viv’s post office at the very beginning of a scene, who then walk out before anyone says anything, is impossible to calculate.

Rumours that Eastenders is about to suffer the same fate, placing WWM favourite, stall-holder Winston Smith in the firing line, have not yet been confirmed.

Just A Thought – EastEnders

September 25, 2008

Have you noticed anything familiar about the storyline that’s unfolding in the Jackson household at the moment? No? Then let me enlighten you …

1999 – Carol Jackson returns to the square with a new man in tow called Dan. Carol has had several children, all by different fathers. Carol is blissfully happy until she discovers Dan has been fucking about with her daughter behind her back. The shit hits the fan.

2008 – Bianca Jackson, daughter of Carol, returns to the square with a new man in tow called Tony. Bianca has had several children, all by different fathers. Bianca is blissfully happy until she discovers Tony has been fucking about with her step-daughter behind her back. The shit (presumably) hits the fan.

A coincidence? A lesson to us all that the child is destined to repeat the mistakes of the parent?

Or just the lazy sods that write EastEnders recycling exactly the same fucking storyline a decade later and hoping nobody will notice?

You decide.

EastEnders – September ’08

September 17, 2008

On Friday night, a new story-thread began in Eastenders. Bianca’s other half – Tony – was released from prison after doing a 12-month lump of bird.

We’ve been hearing that he was locked up for a beat down on a young man who was trying it on with Whitney – Bianca’s 15 year old, ironically-named daughter. The news was always delivered suspiciously when discussed, paving the way for the big-eared lunk to make himself known as one of the dodgiest characters ever to tread the hallowed paving of the Square.

I watched on catch up, and as a result had already read an article in the Guardian’s Weekend magazine about discussions the Eastenders bosses had implemented to ensure the story is handled with sensitivity. The actor who plays Tony came across very well in interview – well aware of the danger such a part might mean for him. Whitney’s parents, the article pointed out, asked that she isn’t required to do any publicity for the plot line. A wise move. The overall impression was that this was all being handled with kid gloves (if you’ll pardon the pun) and with a depth of psychological precision that would ensure the topical subject matter wasn’t treated lightly.

Yet again, it’s a case of not believing everything you read.

I’ve seen Friday, Monday and Tuesdays’ episodes now and, if I’m not mistaken, Eastenders appears to have turned into the imaginary paedo-sitcom someone dreamed up in our comments section last week (with tongue firmly in cheek, I ought to add).

Chris Coghill is a good actor – there’s no disputing that. He carries off the persona of a grown man stuck with the maturity and inclinations of a 14 year old boy with something approaching aplomb. Shona McGartney as Whitney is also pulling out all the stops – believably experiencing those rushes of love and resentment that are pretty much on tap when you’re that age. But despite the skill displayed by the staff, there are some real problems going on here.

Whitney looks (at the very least) 16 years of age – like a young adult. After a bit of googling, I find that the actress will be celebrating her 18th birthday next month. She doesn’t look like a child. In a cursory (and disturbing) piece of dialogue, Tony said ‘you don’t look like the 12 year old girl I fell in love with’ before asking her to remove her make up. Fair enough, there’s something interesting going on with the story here, in terms of Tony not being able to bear his prey growing up. But really, it feels like we’re dealing with a Woody Allen here, rather than an Ian Huntley. It renders the really taboo scenes as slightly less powerful. These scenes now look sick, but not illegal or utterly depraved. Because Whitney is evidently a young adult.

The aspect that really lets the whole thing down is the plotting. This being Eastenders, narrative devices are worn proudly on the sleeve – and the ‘Romeo and Julie’ school play issue arose at a suspiciously inconvenient time for Tony. He’s flustered as a result of Whitney participating (and probably having to kiss one of Ian Beale’s hideous offspring), so it’s been pure panto round at Pat’s gaff. Whitney’s literally chased around the house by Tony, who increasingly resembles Frank Spencer to the point he might he might, at some point, turn to the camera and gurn when Bianca tells him Whitney’s at rehearsals.

The inclusion of Sid ‘RICKY’ Owen in this mess just increases the sense we’re watching a sitcom from another dimension. If this were a film, the tagline would be ‘Ricky loves Bianca, but Bianca loves Tony and Tony loves…. Bianca’s daughter!’ Surely there’s a better way to handle this than by making the twisted man/child relationship part of some freakish love quadrangle? Why not go the whole hog and bring back Wellard – get him involved?

Fair play – there is the defence that it’s a topic nobody ever talks about and it needs to be discussed sensibly. But the problem with that argument is that it IS a topic people talk about – all the time! It’s a subject that’s constantly in the news. It’s a political hot potato. It’s a point of anxiety for many, many people.

So maybe trivialising it even further – via the lightweight medium of Eastenders – really isn’t going to help matters much.

The Hills

August 12, 2008

Soap operas have long been a supporting leg for the table of society; they provide common ground for discussion, offer up countrywide watercooler gossip and dangle before us the idea that somewhere within our barren, empty lives there is drama.

I’ve known more than one person who would, every night, start with Neighbours and then work through Hollyoaks, Home and Away, Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Eastenders in a straight flush of working class escapism. These people based their lives around those of others who didn’t exist. They spent their time absorbed in a fictional reality, whilst their very real one ebbed away.

When reality television became the genre du jour these people immersed themselves in that too – absorbing more and more cathode rays in the pursuit of gossip and speculation. Endlessly watching, discussing, watching, discussing, watching, discussing and all the while unaware that their days revolved around reacting to the stylised actions of others.

Which, in case you were wondering where this was all going, is a bit like sitting through half an hour of MTV’s reality soap opera ‘The Hills‘.

I wasn’t aware of this show until I stumbled upon this afternoon so a bit of Googled backstory may help the equally uninitiated – it’s a ‘docusoap’ about the lives of a bunch of rich and beautiful white people living in Beverly Hills, a spin off from another show about the same bunch of rich and beautiful white people living by the beach. I can’t quite work out who these people are or why they deserve their own TV show, but I’m guessing the fact they’re rich, beautiful and white has something to do with it.

Despite having no discernible talents, charisma or purpose we follow their every move as they are afforded the sort of connections and opportunities most people can only dream of, and we get to watch as they piss them away in a scat-orgy of mindless self indulgence and childish arguments. They work in exclusive nightspots, in high fashion, in entertainment and get to mingle with movie stars and industry giants whilst riding in private jets and squandering the income of your average household in one champagne-sodden long weekend. They are a Bret Easton Ellis novel come real.

First things first: this is not a reality show. If this is an honest portrayal of life then I have a gateway to Xanadu in my bathroom. It’s shot with the logistical complexity of a Robert Altman film – multiple camera angles no matter how impromptu the moment, exquisite lighting setups for each deeply-wrung conversation and editing so judicious it makes the Apprentice look like the work of DA Pennebaker. It’s also shot like a Michael Mann film – so cinematic in its portrayal of another indentikit LA bar that you wonder how they can have a normal conversation with a crew of 36 no less than 10ft away.

Each cast member is virtually indistinguishable from not only the others, but from themselves as well. With all the emotional complexity of a blueberry muffin they bitch about minute aspects of each other’s behaviour, overreact to the most basic of situations and prove themselves beyond all but the most simple human interaction. This is a world where a two minute conversation with an ex-boyfriend can lead to a screaming argument, where modelling for the editor of Teen Vogue is the most impressive thing ever and where the word ‘like’ features more than all other words combined.

I don’t see the point of this show. Soap operas offer consolation for the viewer, aligning themselves in sympathy whilst drama is supposed to offer blissful escape. But this programme does neither. The characters are so vacuous and pathetic that they’re not even worth scorn and their lives are so empty and repetitive that they make the supposed glamour of Beverly Hills seem dull. They don’t come across as special, or impressive, or even worth knowing – they’re not good guys or bad guys, they’re just people, boring ones at that, living the same life as the viewer – watching, discussing, watching, discussing – albeit in a different place.

Maybe, though, that’s the point – TV used to present excitement and escape as admirable pursuits, but that stopped us watching. Now it offers boredom and repetitive behaviour patterns; makes gossip and self importance important enough to be on TV and the audience will copy, they’ll ask less questions and do fewer things. Soon TV will be like an Escher painting, a self-eating circle snake of navel-gazing and nadir-worship.

Think I’m overreacting? Consider this – for the entire length of the show there was a piece of text in the corner of the screen advertising a new show on MTV that night, Totally Calum Best, in which the mentally-challenged fucktard attempts to go without sex for 50 days. I don’t want to sound like the old man in the corner, but if The Hills isn’t the beginning of the end of civilisation, then that certainly fucking is.

EastEnders

June 17, 2008

As if we weren’t bored enough by it in the first place, Mad May returns to the Square to try and nick Dawn’s fucking baby. Again.

Now – this baby used to be nothing but a source of stress for young, crumple-faced Dawn who would attempt to foist it on any willing baby-sitter going so she could go out with unrealistic best mates Shabs and Carlie on the razz. Now that Carlie’s conveniently disappeared and Shabnam appears to have been locked in a basement, the coast is clear for Dawn to act like a responsible mother again – one who actually gives a shit about her baby. And as we all know, this means guaranteed boredom for those of us who watch this crap as May – the Howard’s Way type actress who looks like she’s on the wrong set – turns the lunacy up to eleven and we’re shown a bajillion shots of Dawn running away from something uninteresting. Hoo-fucking-ray. They’re trailing this rubbish as though we’re all excited about it. It’s a fucking disgrace.

It was entirely unrealistic in the first place. May and her husband could easily have adopted from overseas what with them both being rich, young professionals. Why would they want an infant from a working-class gene pool? If they were going to go for a peasant child, it might as well be an ethnic one, like Madonna’s or Jolie’s.

So what involving storylines have we got to keep us going while all this sprog-theft is going on? Since Bradley and Stacey broke up – nothing whatsoever. It’s enough to make you miss Max Branning.

Heather and Minty and Gal and Shirl and Bobby bleeding Davro can get lost. The Slaters are relying on schizophrenic Jean for laughs, which seems a bit off. Bradley’s starring in the most ill-thought out Indecent Proposal thread going – and even if the Millers ever find that lottery ticket after all this time, I’ve lost all patience by now. Phil Mitchell must’ve exploded, as he’s not been huffing and wheezing behind his bar for weeks.

And in other news – where on God’s green earth is Billy? Apparently he turned up for five-a-side training a week ago and he’s been mentioned in conversation as though he’s been about – but clearly Perry Fenwick is on some kind of sabbatical as I’ve seen hide nor hair of his E.T-shaped head for months. He’s even taken Honey and his kids with him, though admittedly that’s actually a massive blessing.

Despite the fact I’ve said this a million times before and never come good on the promise – if things don’t get spicy – and fast – I’m leaving Walford for good.