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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Dates gets darker for Episode 2


Presumably, not every episode of this series will feature a chalk and cheese pairing, but as with last night, so Jenny and Nick were less than well suited. Although just how unsuited was a surprise.

After the rather jolly psychological drama of David and Mia (not to mention a nation of women swooning at Will Mellor) Jenny and Nick’s story was much darker. Jenny is a cute blonde teacher, down from the North after the break up of her engagement. Nick has been through a costly divorce but it hasn’t dented his City Boy confidence. It quickly becomes clear that both of them are living in the past and I’m not sure I really liked either character, though both were beautifully played (as expected) by Sheridan Smith and Neil Maskell.

The real star of tonight’s episode was the red elastic band, worn by Jenny and played with often. Elastic bands are a tool used by people who need to remember not to do something, you snap the band against your wrist which hurts so you associate wanting to do the thing with pain. I assumed Jenny was a smoker but it turns out she is a kleptomaniac. Mind you, who leaves their handbag open when they go to the loo, and that was a nice lipstick, I’d probably have stolen it as well.

Nick is super keen and frankly a bit creepy, kissing Jenny after 5 mins which is moving fast by anyone’s timing. Of course it doesn’t help that he is indelibly printed on my mind as near remorseless killer Arby from Utopia, and with the greatest of apologies to Neil Maskell, I can’t shake the feeling that any minute, Jenny’s blood is going to be spraying the restaurant walls. A quick glance at twitter in the ad break revealed that my friend was of the same opinion.

The series, part of Channel 4’s ‘Mating Season’, is designed to show how hard modern dating can be, and it certainly isn’t convincing me to go on any dates. Certainly not with people who haven’t been approved by several of my friends. As I think this, Nick leaves Jenny alone for ages to take a business call. If someone did that to me he wouldn’t be getting a second date, and they certainly wouldn’ t get a second date if they left to go engage in a sex act with the waiter! Or the waitress, just to be clear, and certainly there was no suggestion of homophobia in Jenny’s reaction when she discovered the amorous pair, just revulsion that anyone could be so selfish.

Things took a further dark turn when it was revealed that Jenny would be staying till the end of the date, and I wondered if she was planning revenge. My hunch was right as it turned out she had stolen Nick’s wallet, leading to a violent altercation with the waiter who he assumed had stolen it, and Jenny getting a new Oyster Card with plenty of money of it. I predicted most of the twists in this episode just before they were revealed, but even my powers of deduction couldn’t foresee Nick’s devastation at the loss of his Nectar Card. Obviously someone for whom possessions mean more than people.

Tomorrow night sees the return of Oona Chaplin as Mia, when she potentially meets her match. I don’t see that date ending well either.

Contributed by Victoria Prior 

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