Anyone tuning in to last week’s episode of Lip Service expecting a revamp and possibly a new, jazzy L Word style theme tune (‘girls with bad mullets, who eat deep fried hag-gis. Chicks driving fast, Irn-Bru in large glasses’ etc.) would have been disappointed.
Instead of using the year long break to refresh the format, fix some of the flaws from the first series and move the plot along a bit, we picked up exactly where we left off at the end of series one.
Despite being the thinnest person in Glasgow and therefore theoretically able to pull any woman she wants, we’re supposed to believe that Frankie is still inescapably hung up on Cat: a woman with all the charisma and personality of a shoe.
Cat, on the other hand, is still in love with her reliable, nice police officer girlfriend Sam. You know she’s reliable because she has a firm jaw and a centre parting so straight you could use it to hang a painting.
This means we’ll have to spend the next however-many weeks watching Frankie mope around the place looking like the lovelorn, skeletal corpse of Princess Diana.
That’s no fun. At least last series we could live vicariously through her, watching as she humped her way through the female population of Scotland while we sat at home on a Friday night with our long-term girlfriend in ‘hers and hers’ slankets.
It seems the writer and producers have taken the old adage ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ and changed that to read ‘even if it’s broke, don’t fix it. Also, why not move it to a 9pm time slot so we have to reduce the sex scenes to the bare minimum?’
The sex was- arguably- one of the more edgy and convincing things about series one. It was Channel 4 levels of rude on the BBC, with strap-ons, bizarre morgue antics and naked boobs all over the place. In contrast series two seems positively puritan.
Things looked optimistic two minutes in when Cat and Sam, just back from holiday, decided to get frisky rather than unpack. They stripped each other down to trousers and a bra, fell onto the bed and then…the camera panned upwards to show their collection of ornamental plates and a cooker hob.
Ok, it’s true that we lesbians like home furnishings, but we like watching women having sex just that little bit more. Later in the episode Frankie and Cat got together in an alleyway for an illicit shag, and again the action cut away before anything exciting happened.
Come on! Do the programme makers really think focussing solely on the characters and plot is a good idea? That’s a very dangerous road to go down: the characters are wafer thin and lacking in backstory (apart from Frankie’s whole bizarre ‘my uncle was actually my dad all along’ story arc).
Similarly, the plot is as transparent as the ghost of a window. A little way into the episode, Tess is shown watching her boyish girlfriend’s football match with an expression most people would reserve for identifying a body. Later, she and Frankie recruited a hot, feminine flatmate, Lexy. Tess is clearly going to ditch the footballer and get jiggy with her, but no doubt the whole thing will be drawn out with various angsty twists and turns added in (‘but you’re my flatmate/have previously slept with Frankie/I’m seeing someone else!’).
The reason Tess and Frankie need a flatmate is that their landlord found out Frankie’s letting agent shag-buddy Sadie (who looks like a young Marsha from Spaced) was giving them discounted rent and kicked them out. When Frankie tracked Sadie down to complain, she delivered possibly the best like in the history of the series: “Frankie, sort yourself out and stop acting like a fucking cock”.
We like Sadie. She should get her own spin off show where she individually insults each and every self-absorbed idiot in theUK while wearing an oversized jumper and smoking a fag.
Conundrum of the Week:
The constant references to tea were utterly confusing. At least four separate characters in different settings referred to the fact Tess had bought a ‘selection of tea’ culminating in a scene that saw a heavily Glasgow-accented conquest of Frankie picking up the box and making the words ‘goji berry’ sound like some kind of obscure sexual practice (‘fancy a Goah-Jee?’).
Is this series being sponsored by Twinings?
Keep an eye out for more recaps on TV Jam’s websitey friend, Lesbilicious.co.uk
Lip Service is on tonight, 9pm on BBC3. Catch on iPlayer here