Thursday, 28 February 2008

EASTENDERS: Feeling uncomfortable yet?

Thursday, 28 February 2008

What a horrendous episode of EastEnders tonight! I'm not one of those snotty people who condemn soaps (as I was brought up on a diet of 'Enders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale), and still dip into them sometimes, but EastEnders is the one I keep a closer eye on -- and it's been atrocious recently. Hasn't it?

Tonight's episode was just hideously clunky in every respect. Ian Beale being targeted by sexy, young femme fatale Claire (typecast Hollyoaks actress Gemma Bissix)? It was extremely uncomfortable to watch, and not even in a funny way. Of course, Bissix is absolutely gorgeous (her breasts deserve their own National TV Award!), but she's incredibly stunted as an actress -- inflicted with a curious way to speak all her dialogue veryveryquickly... then... sort of pause, for effect... beforegoingveryveryquick again. Oh, in-between the odd pout, fluttering eyelashes and a leaden come-on. "Are you stiff?" She's a trained masseuse, see.

Needless to say, the sexual chemistry between Bissix and Adam Woodyatt is non-existent, and no amount of cleavage shots could gloss over seeing Ian's scrawny lily-white body sprawled over a two-person sofa, dirty soles of his feet exposed to Claire -- who returned from upstairs, showing more cleavage than a Dolly Parton lookalikes convention! Yeucch.

Elsewhere, we have to suffer one of those cringe-making comedy subplots, with cab driver Charlie being immediately ostracized by Yolande because he "touched her bottom". Clearly a sex-pest, Charlie spent the evening propping up the bar with sour-faced mother-in-law Big Moe, soaking up snide remarks from Yolande, husband Patrick and Terrahawk-faced barmaid Shirley. But it was okay in the end, because Charlie was actually just unsticking a humbug from Yolande's rear-end. The writer obviously watched this Simpsons episode recently.

And, if you weren't already chewing a pillow at the tackiness of everything going on, we were also "treated" (inflicted) with the Branning family's karaoke. The two kids just about managed to murder Britney Spears' "Toxic" believably, but watching soon-to-be-divorced Max and Tanya wail their way through "Where The Wild Roses Grow" was simply awful. Okay, it was at least meant to be uncomfortable to watch, but this entire episode was fuelled by skin-crawling irritations like that...

Oh, and has there every been a character more irksome than Stacy's dotty mum Jean? That woman's whiny voice and mannerisms make my teeth itch; forever bumbling around and giggling inanely. Give it a rest. Yes, I know her character's battling mental illness, but that rarely gets mentioned. I think the writers just want her to be considered amusingly scatterbrained now, but her every appearance makes my eyes roll.

Or did everyone else enjoy this on a so-bad-it-was-good level?