Friday, 13 April 2012

This Otter Pays No Lip Service

I'm going to go a bit gay for this ones, guys. Hold onto your hats. They say you've got to be cruel to be kind, in the right measure, therefore I have chosen to be extremely British and polite and reserved about it all. I'm sorry, I really shouldn't start my posts with a lie. Have at it, youngsters!
The Cublet and I were a little excited (with an additional healthy spoonful of fear) about the new season of Lip Service, which should be airing next Friday. After watching the first episode, sometime last year, I remember turning to my friends in horror and saying the phrase "good lord, this makes me ashamed to have ever touched a woman." I still stand by that statement. I apologise if that offends the Lip Service fan(s), but the show is a dribbling incoherent mess of plotlines and ideas, none of which ever really come to a satisfying or plausible ending, and most of which are casually ripped from the L Word - which is frankly a bad enough crime in its own way.
Now, I understand that for a lot of women, the L Word is the be-all and end-all of tv shows for gays. Perhaps it's because I'm only about 80% gay, and therefore manage to override this natural instinct to applaud even the most trite crap in the name of LGBT television, but look here - the L Word sucked. That's right. I said it. It absolutely sucked. If I wanted to recommend something queer to someone desperate for a fix, I'd rather offer the British drama 'Queer As Folk', written by the genius behind the new Doctor Who, Russell T. Davies, or perhaps the quietly amusing film 'Imagine Me And You'. In essence, I'd rather offer programmes and films that would clearly work even if the characters were replaced by heterosexual ones, because that means that it can stand alone as a quality product, which actually should be the main and most important factor.

I absolutely cannot stand the L Word. Listing the L Word as your favourite tv show is a guaranteed way to repel me both as a friend and a potential date (as it immediately makes me fear that you aspire to be like one of the utterly despicable characters - whether it is whorish Shane, who women are inexplicably attracted to despite the fact that when naked she looks almost exactly like a toaster on stilts, or Jenny Schecter aka Sarah Schuester aka The Most Embarrassing And Pretentious Excuse For A Novelist To Ever Ungrace My Television Screen. The only treasure in this pile of rubble is the character of Alice, played by the omnipresent Leisha Hailey, whose only real triumph here is that I did not want to strangle her character as badly as I did with the rest of the cast. Also, she's the cutest. Go figure) You have been warned.

Now, back to the original topic - Lip Service. The Cublet very kindly provided me with the pasted synopsis for the second season, and we spent the best part of two hours emailing each other and making fun of it. The fruits of our labour are as below. I hope you enjoy.

“After a loved-up month on holiday in South America, Cat and Sam arrive back in Glasgow with a colossal bump. Having run away from her relationship with first love Frankie, Cat knows she must now face the music.”
Cublet: Hi. Isn’t my new girlfriend awesome? We just had an amazing time in South America. Remind me how the funeral home banging has been going? What? Erm, no, you’re correct—I have not given you a second’s thought.

Me: There is nothing quite like being banged over the buffet table at your favourite aunt’s funeral. It’s refreshing. Invigorating. And totally appropriate. Haven’t you tried it?

“It looks like Tess finally has it all: her first proper acting role, a fabulous new flat and a gorgeous girlfriend. Landing one of the leading roles in a big theatre production should be a cause for celebration, but things don’t go quite to plan on her first day in the job.”

Me: Tess can’t act. This is partly because Tess is a terrible character, and partly because the actress playing her is terrible and gurns ALL THE TIME. I neither care nor wish to see anything develop between her and anyone, far less the electrician who seems to be an L-Word rip off of whatsherface the carpenter who sleeps with Bette in season 1.

Cublet: How can you have landed an amazing role in a big theatre production—were all the real actresses busy? Why do you have a fabulous new flat when you clearly can’t afford to pay for it? How did you land a gorgeous gf when you’re hands down the most annoying character after FauxShane?

Me: A big theatre production... in Glasgow. Yes, that will totally launch your career! It’s just like Broadway! Also, why are hardly any of these characters Scottish?

“Locking horns with self-obsessed co-star Nora, it’s clear Tess is going to have her work cut out, dealing with constant put-downs and snide comments. But new friendship and much needed support come in the shape of Hugo, a cynical but loveable actor.”

Cublet: Nora will not fancy you. Nora will not bang you.

Me: That’s my new favourite phrase.

Cublet: I’m serious! No, Lip Service, no matter how much you’ll try to sell me this - IT WOULD NOT HAPPEN. But of course they are right in the realms of the L Word, so it will happen. Hugo will be an almost carbon copy of last year’s flatmate, except possibly gay, but equally as annoying and for some reason will be ‘in love’ with Tess. Or he will sleep with Tess despite being gay. Because, you know, that’s what gay men do when faced with a woman just that fabulous. An alternative potential storyline is that Hugo will bang Nora and then backstab Tess. Could LS be that clichéd? One given: Hugo will not be loveable in any way, shape or form

Me: Hugo will most likely be a complete berk and so will Nora. This will not stop either or both from pursuing Tess in some implausible way, even though she has no redeeming features whatsoever (see above comment regarding the use of gurning) and also already has a girlfriend and apparently a new crush on the doctor. How much can one totally one-sided bland character handle?

“Frankie and Tess are struggling with the rent for their new flat and go in search of a flatmate. Enter Lexy - a sexy, funny and straight-talking Australian doctor who instantly makes an impression on Tess. But she’s not the only one who reacts to Lexy’s arrival…”

Me: So everyone is going to try to bang Lexy, is what I’m hearing here. Why can’t they just all be friends? 

Cublet: Why have they rented a flat they can’t afford? Why would a hot, funny doctor want to flatshare with 2 people? Frankie wanting to bang Lexi is a given: she’s a female, and Frankie is Shane 2: The Two Towers.

Me: A doctor, even in Glasgow, can definitely afford her own flat. If it’s company she’s after, she could have got a kitten like all normal people. Also, lesbians should never flatshare if they haven’t known each other long, because situations like this happen and people get all dramatic and European and everyone cries.

Cublet: Um...

Me: Moving on!

“Frankie bumps into her former flame Sadie and offloads her troubles onto her. Sadie, who is down on her luck, decides to deliver some home truths.”

Me: She should deliver a slap to the face, because that’s what Shane 2: Revenge of the Fallen needs.

Cublet: We don’t know Sadie. Do we know Sadie? Wait - who cares?

Me: Sadie was the estate agent – remember when Shane 2: Attack of the Clones shaved her in one episode that terrified us to our cores, because it looked like her hand was going to slip and there was ominous music? I remember. I REMEMBER.

Cublet: Shaved her where?

Me: You know. You know.

Cublet: I still don’t remember. Or care.

Me: In my opinion the most improbable thing about this show is still that Laura Fraser's character ran after a mugger. Ran AFTER the guy who just mugged her. In Glasgow. If the show was at all realistic, he'd have stabbed her and left her to die on the vomit-and-gum-splattered pavement outside a Greggs.

Cublet: Lovely.

Me: Honest depiction of life. That's all I'm asking for.

Cublet: You’re not going to get it here.

Me: Fine. Nora will not bang you.


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  2. HA! Lip service sounds… poor.

    I do have to reiterate what I've said before about Russell T Davies, though; he's a terrible hack writer (on science fiction, anyway, which he doesn't seem top understand) who's been very lucky. Also: the US version of Queer is *much* better than the original Brit one.

    Yes, I know.

  3. I'm super excited to be part of Escorts of Bangalore. Not.

    Paul - I respectfully disagree with your preference, and may throw a fish ;) Seriously? US version over UK? It's a shabby copy at best!