COUCH POTATO: Three magic number for Eastenders
What a summer it’s been down in the merry old land of Walford.
Kirsty Branning is in a love triangle with Max and Carl.
Alfie’s in a love triangle with Kat and Roxy.
Janine’s in a love triangle with Michael and Danny, who was last seen in a love triangle with Christian and Syed and has subsequently forgotten he’s gay.
And, by the gods of originality, Lauren’s in a love triangle with Joey and Whitney, whose ex Tyler left Albert Square because he couldn’t stomach a love triangle with Whitney and Joey.
Such is the rich variety on EastEnders where, in the space of a week, Max was hoping that if he and Kirsty: “can’t be together, we can still be mates,” and, by contrast, Whit was hoping if she and Tyler: “can’t be together, we can still be mates.”
If I didn’t know better, I’d say the writers have zero imagination.
Unfortunately, I don’t know better.
It’s like watching a dog chase its tail, two hours every week.
So there was no explanation for alcoholic Lauren returning from six weeks inside a rehab clinic with a perfect tan, or Carl dipping into what must be a fortune to book another month at the B&B, like Alan Partridge outstaying his welcome at the Travel Tavern.
Neither is there any foreseeable break in the unrelenting conveyor belt of misery.
Current resident baddie Carl has threatened to end Max’s relationship with Kirsty on September 3.
I checked the calendar and, would you believe, against astronomical odds it happens to be an EastEnders night.
The one saving grace this show has going for it, however, is Michael Moon.
He may not be spending as much time as he used to in that super-villain armchair of doom, but he’s delivering the only decent lines.
“There’s a yawning chasm between you and me, Daniel.”
“If he’s going to be in Scarlett’s home environment, it would be sagacious.”
“She can be like that. Mercurial.”
I can only assume he has word-of-the-day toilet paper.
And a high-fibre diet.
It will be hard for any soap this year to top his description of singles night (in broad daylight, incidentally) at the R&R as: “Munters’ Ball.”
But here’s the real tragedy about EastEnders.
Its abject lack of imagination has turned every female into a bossy, man-despising mare (Denise: “Men, eh? Just weak, pathetic creatures,”) and every male into either a spineless, powder-puff pushover or a scheming lowlife.
And it means Michael goes almost unnoticed as one of the great soap characters, having to work doubly hard to stand out from the rest of the bunch.
It’s one of the reasons it has slipped behind Emmerdale into third place in the ratings and a rational explanation for the show’s solitary gong at the British Soap Awards – Adam Woodyatt’s long-service company medal.
Those bruises it’s been nursing can heal if only they’d learn, 28 years later, how to create more than three types of character, reduce the number of weekly episodes (less is more, dimwits) and to inject some fun that doesn’t revolve around slapstick irritants like Fatboy.
It’s a forlorn hope though.
As Poppy tells him tonight: “Now is not the time for frivolity.”
Is it flippin’ ever?
This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...
An ensemble acting masterclass on Southcliffe.
ITV’s intelligently and sensitively handled My Dwarf Family showing C4 how to do this kind of documentary.
Steve Cram’s commentary, Mo Farah’s heroics and Christine Ohuruogu’s podium tears on BBC’s World Athletics Championships.
That Puppet Game Show pumping some good old-fashioned fun back into Saturday nights at the expense of celebrity stooges in a 45-minute sketch.
This jaw-dropping exchange moments before Deal or No Deal landed its first male quarter millionaire – Noel Edmonds: “Paddy. £140,000. Deal or no deal?” “No deal.”
And David Walliams’ answer to The One Show’s Alex Jones who asked: “Why did you set your new sitcom Big School around a staffroom?”
“Because it’s about teachers.”
Top marks, David.
This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...
Jeremy Paxman’s disturbing Newsnight beard.
Sob stories, tears and “journeys” invading Dragons’ Den.
The man behind Peter Jones Enterprise, the Peter Jones Foundation, Peter Jones TV and BBC2’s Peter Jones Meets accusing an entrepreneur who named a hot water bottle after himself of being “egotistical”.
Big Brother approaching its pulsating finale with this narration: “Day 58, 1.47pm. Joe and Jack are worrying about their hairspray.”
C4’s absolutely terrifying Crazy About One Direction, which came with this charming little teenage fan’s opinion of Harry Styles’ ex Taylor Swift: “If I saw her now I would rugby tackle her, rip all her hair out and squeeze her eyeballs out.”
This Morning “TV expert” Brian Dowling with this mind-blowing insight into That Puppet Game Show: “I didn’t see it, Eamonn, but I believe you’ve seen a bit of it.”
And the imminent arrival, on ITV, of a Jane McDonald makeover show.
So I’m leaving the country until it’s over.
Column returns in three weeks.
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