Sugar Rush Series 1, Channel 4

by | Aug 2, 2005 | All, Reviews

Debut Tuesday 7 June 2005

A 10-part dramatisation of Julie Burchill’s controversial novel, adapted by Katie Baxendale.

It centres on 15-year-old Kim (Olivia Hallinan) from Brighton, who comes out as a lesbian and suffers from a crush on a fellow pupil, gorgeous, sassy Maria Sweet aka Sugar (Lenora Critchlow). She also has to cope with her dysfunctional, embarrassing family – freaky brother Matt (Kurtis O’Brien), house-proud dad Nathan (Richard Lumsden) and childish mum Stella (Sara Stewart).

Episode guide

1 – Kim tries to deny her interest in Sugar and tries to lose her virginity to a man. Her first target is a gorgeous decorator called Dale, who has been called in by Stella to do the house up, on the recommendation of gay neighbours, Dave and David. But the gay pair’s son Tom (Andrew Garfield) has fallen for Kim and is stalking her.

Highlights

• Kim’s narration was peppered with some excellent soundbites such as “It’s the 21st Century – a 15-year-old using a toothbrush to masturbate over her best friend shouldn’t be that big a deal!”

• Olivia Hallinan is excellent in the role of Kim. We’d already spotted her talent on childrens TV programmes such as Julia Jekyll And Harriet Hyde and Girls In Love (yes, we watch everything_, so it’s nice to see her progress to adult drama.

• The beautiful Lenora Crichold as Sugar.

• The premise of a gay teenager being in love with their best mate was very well handled, and a lot of it rang true especially the line: “She’s not gay and I don’t want to be”. It was also not forced, and was presented as just another problem in Kim’s life. Teenage gay issues haven’t been dealt with this well on TV since As If. In fact this programme reminded us a lot of As If, which is a real stamp of approval as far as we’re concerned.

• Kim’s dad Nathan doesn’t know his wife Stella has been cheating on him with Dale the handyman: “He’s done a good job – nice and straight, well hung , got through all the nooks and crannies.” But Kim does. “I’m going to be sick!”

* The long lingering close-ups of muscly, sweaty barechested Dale the handyman – and the brief shot of his naked arse.

• Blondie’s classic One Way Or Another was the theme tune.

• Kim’s little brother Matt, who wears a goldfish bowl on his head pretending to be a spaceman, which he does all day every day, even sleeping with the costume on. It caused him problems when he was eating and he made a mashed potato mountain of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind a la Tim from Spaced.

• It managed to be romantic and sweet in a realistic, down-to-earth and rough setting.

• The lovely postcard shots of Brighton. As with the Doctor Who episode in Cardiff, they appear to be giving Brighton something back for allowing them to film there.

• The excellent soundtrack – Chicken Payback by The Bees, Teenage Kicks by Nouvelle Vague, No Sleep Tonight by The Faders, Praise You by Fatboy Slim and Bingo Bango by Basement Jaxx

Lowlights

• The witty narration was the best part of the programme, which isn’t really a good thing as it means that the programme couldn’t show the audience what was there for itself.

• Comparisons with Olivia Hallinan’s other main role at the moment – Ellie in CITV’s Girls In Love – were inevitable, and it ended up just looking like a sleazier version of Girls In Love. In both she narrates her teenage worries about her family and relationships, worries about her looks etc, and the characters of Ellie and Kim are very similar. Not just that, but nearly all the others have counterparts in Girls In Love – the drippy, bespectacled liberal father, the “free spirit” blonde mother, the geeky “stalker”. Even Sugar bore a striking resemblance, physically and personality-wise, to Magda from Girls In Love. All they need now is a sensible, shy goth girl.

• Tom, a geeky, clumsy nervous admirer of Kim. Obviously she has no interest in him. But if she was straight she wouldn’t either. He ended up accidentally brushing his teeth with hair removal cream. This sort of clichéd stock character is very annoying. In fact, the characterisation of most of the male characters is pretty awful. The only ones who spoke were drippy, geeky airheads, and the others were dumb, hairy cavemen or polished, toned sex objects. Is such sexism really progress?

* The bland, “identikit gay neighbours” Dave and David who were, of course, in no way whatsoever ripped off from Jim and Jim the bland identikit gay neighbours from American Beauty.

• It didn’t really make much sense that Kim would be attending such a rough school when her parents were the epitome of middle-class dullness.

2 – Kim is out for revenge against her mother Stella after she caught her in a compromising position on the kitchen table with decorator Dale. Stella hopes she’ll stop Kim spilling the beans by treating her to a day at the spa – but Kim insists that Sugar is allowed to come, too. It backfires when Stella and Sugar get drunk and friendly, leaving Kim feeling betrayed.

Highlights

• Kim and Sugar taking revenge on Kim’s obnoxious mother Stella by going on a spending spree with Stella’s credit card. Sugar says: “You get revenge, I get clothes!” Kim also remembers what her mother’s pin number is, one she’ll never forget – “It’s the date she shagged Simon Le Bon!”

• The excellent soundtrack – Banquet by Bloc Party, Are You Going To Be My Girl by Jet, The Weekend by Michael Gray and There She Goes by The La’s.

• Matt’s insult to Kim: “I hope your pubes turn ginger!”

• Sugar’s response after Stella remarks that teenage girls are so clued up these days. “That’s because you adults are so full of shit!”

• Stella using her daughter’s make-up and perfume, and trying to borrow her jeans.

• Examples of the lies your parents tell you- “These are the best years of your life” and “Of course we love you”.

• If you missed the first episode, Kim summed it up beautifully in the pre-opening title sequence: “So I’m a 15-year-old queer virgin and my mum’s a whore, and she’s so scared I’ll tell my dad she’s trying to be my best friend”.

• More great Kim narration quotes, the best being “We walk around pretending we’re in a Disney movie when really it’s a gangster porn flick”.

3 – Kim’s obsession with Sugar reaches dangerous levels when she considers drugging her in order to get her into bed. She gets the chance when her pal comes over when her parents are out – Nathan, oblivious to wife Stella’s cheating with Dale, takes her out for a meal to celebrate their anniversary.

Highlights

• The much darker themes of this episode. After two light comedy episodes this one had a lot of dark absorbing drama – Kim’s obsession with Sugar getting more intense, Stella displaying guilt about her affair, Nathan’s despair at not being able to keep his family together as well as the main issues of the programme being date rape, drug overdose and suicide.

• Stella is feeling guilty about her affair with Dale the hunky decorator so she can’t enjoy him licking her out. He’s more concerned about satisfying his boner when he’s only got a half hour lunchbreak. When Stella leaves abruptly as she thinks Kim is suicidal, he contends himself with ordering a porno film called Chitty Chitty Gang Bang via room service.

• Kim contemplating telling her mother the truth about why she had all the house’s prescription drugs in her room “There’s this girl, Sugar, who I like, I really like, I suppose you could say I’m obsessed, and basically if I don’t shag her soon I’m going to explode, so I thought heavy narcotics might ease things on a bit.” And the lamest of lame excuses she came up with: ” It’s for a school project – Domestic Dangers: Toxicity In The House!”

• Stella’s “talks” from the past with her daughter: how Snowy the bunny turned brown overnight, the inevitable excruciating “now you’re a grown-up talk” and Kim’s nightmare soap opera situations of what her “talk” would be about this time- she thought it was either that Stella and Dale were going to emigrate together, Dale was moving in, her dad was moving out and Kim’s room would become the showroom for the new decorating business, or that Dale was in fact Kim’s brother.

• The exchange between the two chav girls gossiping in the girl’s toilets: “I swear on my mother’s death bed!” “You hate your mum!” “Alright, my cat’s then!”

• Best Kim narration this week: “It’s amazing the things you do when you’re a f**ked up teenager. Adolescents are hormonally insane.”

• They seem to be able to pull the rug from under us. Our loyalties were reversed this week, as Kim was the selfish one while Sugar showed genuine sympathy about Kim’s brother’s accidental overdose, and stated that her mother tried to kill herself a few times after father left.

• The cheesy pop classics from Kim’s childhood: Barbie Girl by Aqua and Tragedy by Steps, plus some great disco/handbag house stuff, the pick of the crop being I Feel Love by Donna Summer and Put ‘Em High by Stonebridge.

Lowlights

• Kim was very unlikable in this episode, motivated only by selfishness and lust. She acted, at best, like a pervy stalker. She was contemplating and almost carried out date rape. The fact that the drugs she was going to use to try and drug Sugar nearly killed her brother didn’t bother her and she exploited Sugar’s sympathy because it meant she would get more physically close to her. While having fully rounded characters is a good thing – and pretty much everyone else gained an extra dimension to their character – it’s probably not a good idea to make Kim so unpleasant when we’re seeing this story from her point of view.

• Gross-out moment – Kim contemplating stealing Sugar’s soiled knickers.

• The predictable ending – in which little brother Matt eats the drugs and accidently overdoses instead of Sugar. And it was a little annoying that there were apparently no consequences to this other than her parents putting Matt into therapy and Kim sleeping over at Sugar’s place.

• Matt killing his hamster by drowning it in paint, and Kim using this to justify the fact that she almost killed him.

4 – Kim arrives at Sugar’s flat, ready to bare her soul, but is horrified to discover Sugar has been struck down with a bad case of crabs and has no idea who she caught them from.

Highlights

• Sugar catches crabs – and she’s managed to narrow down who she got it from to three guys: Darren, The Donkey or Ray The Doorman. As she points out crabs “don’t come with name tags!”.

• Kim catches Sugar’s crabs because they shared a bed linen (“Just when you thought life couldn’t get any worse you’re a virgin with a sexually transmitted disease!”)

• The camera angles made it look like Stella and Dale were enjoying sex. In fact they were struggling to get Stella out of the very tight jeans she borrowed from Kim so they could enjoy sex, but they couldn’t as Stella had caught the crabs from Kim’s jeans which Kim caught from Sugar’s bed linen which Sugar caught from god knows who…

• … And Stella passes the crabs onto husband Nathan who hasn’t slept with anyone other than his wife for 18 years, so she FINALLY confesses that she’s been having an affair with Dale the decorator.

• Sugar tries to cheer Kim up with Tango, Pro-plus and Vodka.

• Sugar gets a bunch of flowers each from Ray and The Donkey after she blames them individually for “spreading their filth to an underage girl” and threatening to go to the police. She did the same to Darren and he gave her a teddy bear which she thinks he won on the pins. “If he doesn’t do better next time he’s finished!”

• The brief scene straight out of a cheesy horror movie of Kim tossing and turning while blue lightning and deafening thunder sound outside while her parents argue downstairs and her weird little brother Matt comes in with Barbie voodoo dolls.

• Bitchy comment of the week goes to Kim for telling Stella: “You’re to stop borrowing my jeans. They look fat on you anyway!”

5 – Kim is hating being stuck in the middle between her feuding parents Stella and Nathan. When she seeks solace with Sugar, she finds her friend is preoccupied with French exchange student Guillaume, but she gets a job as interpreter to the randy pair.

Highlights

• Kim finally gets a snog from Sugar! Though it’s after she tells Sugar that her departing boyfriend would love to see two girls kissing.

• Sugar’s latest squeeze is Guillame, a lanky, greasy “arrogant French tosser”. Unfortunately Sugar can’t speak French and Guillame can’t speak English. Kim speaks both, so she has to be the interpreter. She uses this to her advantage of course, telling Sugar the French for “up the arse” when what she wants is cunnilingus. Unfortunately, it turns out Sugar likes what she got very much indeed…

• Sugar is convinced Guillame cares for her because “he is the first person to make me come!”.

• Aside from the language barrier, Guillame and Sugar aren’t different from a lot of dates. She’s thinking he’s such a gentlemen while he’s wondering if she does it doggy style.

• More perfect picture postcard shots of Brighton – the pastel pale blue sea, the gorgeous fiery sunset and the technicolor fairground at night.

• Kim’s cheating mother Stella is kicked out of the house and has to move in with her boyfriend Dale. His stereotypical Loaded Lad’s flat is filled with Jordan posters, empty beer cans and pizza boxes with half eaten pizzas still in. She also undergoes an horrific transformation from spoilt suburban slapper to creepy Stepford wife. During her transition she makes a bacon sarnie while dressed in sexy black negligee and decked in her finest jewellery.

• Kim declares that “It was the first day of the rest of my life. I was no longer going to be shat on.”

• Kim is stuck in the middle of her now separated parents who won’t speak to each other so she has to act as a go-between. “I was so busy telling everyone what everyone else thought I forgot to tell them both to sod off!”

• Nathan takes the break-up of his relationship rather badly. He downs a bottle of vodka and saws the table that never stayed steady in half so they could have a bonfire.

• Little brother Matt has taken to wearing sock puppets on his hands 24/7 and using them to act out what his sister and father are saying. But at least Kim is being nicer, if incredibly patronising, to him.

• Soundtrack highlights: Blur’s lovely Out Of Time, plus the French version of Blondie’s Sunday Girl and a languid, lazy version of The Boo Radley’s Wake Up Boo!.

Lowlights

• Nathan and Stella’s arguments amounted to little more than wooden half-hearted whining from both of them.

• Kim’s recap of the last episode this week recycled the same old jokes she’s said every week. Maybe its for the benefit of viewers who have tuned in for the first time, but that’s no excuse. It’s getting irritating and is fast becoming Sugar Rush’s equivalent of the spoilers, sorry previews of the next weeks episode on Doctor Who.

• The first truly crap song on the soundtrack – Louise’s feeble version of the Stealer’s Wheel classic Stuck In The Middle With You.

6 – Sugar is told her French lover Guillaume doesn’t care about by Kim, who then tries reveal her feelings to her love object. Meanwhile, Nathan is having a breakdown now that wife Stella has gone.

Highlights

• Another great cliffhanger: Sugar has finally figured out for herself that Kim fancies her. The fact that Kim snogged her and keeps complimenting and touching her tits seemed to have escaped her – it was because she spotted how jealous Kim was of Sugar’s relationship with Tom. However, she thought that Kim fancied Tom. When Kim said he wasn’t her type, the penny finally dropped.

• It was a nice change that Sugar had the best one-liners this week rather than Kim:

On Guillame – “He gave me a multiple orgasm, I think I know him well enough!”

On phone sex: “You have to do all the work yourself!”

On what Guillame will be doing now he’s back in France: “I bet he’ll be with some stupid French bird with hairy armpits, garlic breath and giving him a crap blowjob!”

On her ideal date: “I’m not wanting someone to sit and watch movies with. I’m looking for someone to f**k!”

On what she considers a real gentleman: “He held back my hair while I was puking!”

• For her birthday, Stella gets a lot of gifts wrapped in boxes. Sadly for her, they are cardboard boxes of all her possessions sent by her husband and son, and labelled as Tart’s Medicine, Slag’s Shoes, Bitch’s Books, Hooker’s Bras and Whore’s Clothes.

• Soundtrack highlights included The Flaming Lips’ Do You Realise? and Ami Stewart’s Knock On Wood.

Lowlights

• Kim’s bunny boiler behaviour is back and more annoying than ever. She kidnapped Tom’s odd-looking fluffy little pet dog Vanessa and tied her to a lamppost so that Tom would not be able to go on a date with Sugar. A dumped Tom then got to the lamppost just in time to see Vanessa get run over by car and then squished by four other cars, accompanied by cartoony squishy sounds and yelps. Apart from how downright malicious this was, it was too stupid to be funny.

• Is there any point in Tom at all other than for him to be pissed on and laughed at in every episode he’s in? He obviously just exists to be the butt monkey for so many pointless jokes. This week he was called, among other things “a crap shag” and “a desperate sod.” Kim even complained “he’s a sexually frustrated stalker” – a bit rich coming from someone who spends all her time perving at her best friend’s tits and who tried to date-rape her. As well as seeing his dog crushed to death, Tom has a premature ejaculation and has a boring conversation about trombones a la Eugene from Big Brother. To top it all off, even though he has a crap part, Andrew Garfield really isn’t that good at it.

• Kim using the word “square” to mean “uncool”. Clearly this was written by someone who hasn’t been a teenager for at least 30 years.

• Weird little brother Matt’s eccentricities were quite endearing to begin with, but they’re getting beyond a joke now. He painted himself red from head to toe and painted “my mum is a whore” in red paint all over his bedroom wall. The only debate is whether he’s turned into Jack Nicholson in The Shining or Joe Wicks in EastEnders.

7 – Kim has not left her bedroom for a week, terrified of how Sugar will react to her confession that she’s in love with her – but when the pair meet up again, she’s in for a surprise. Meanwhile, Nathan is an emotional wreck without Stella, and she’s is struggling to keep up with her energetic young lover Dale.

Highlights

• Kim and Sugar snog for real. We saw a fleck of saliva EXACTLY like the one in the lesbian snog between Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair on Cruel Intentions. But it was at least shot to look somewhat romantic from Kim’s point of view.

• Pissed-up, drugged-up Kim staggers out of the club unable to walk in her high heels and with mascara running down her face, and encounters pissed-up drugged-up Stella sitting down on a bench with mascara running down her face. With some difficulty they order a burger with onions, which at first Stella insists she can’t eat then scoffs the lot. They tell each other how bad their night went even though neither is really listening to the other. We’ve ALL had nights like that.

• Kim and Sugar’s playful bitching exchange: “Dyke”, “Slapper”, “Rug-Muncher”, “Slut”.

• Sugar looked especially glamorous in this episode.

• Stella snorting cocaine and generally acting like an embarrassing old auntie at a hen party when going clubbing with toyboy boyfriend Dale and his trendy friends.

• The clubbing scenes, and Kim’s first time on E were quite well done and it was clear that a lot of effort went in to make them look realistic. It didn’t always look convincing though.

• Sugar asks Kim for tips because she’s a lesbian. “You must have some tricks up your sleeve, how else are you going to make up for the fact that there’s no cock!”.

• After Stella suggests to boyfriend Dale that they talk instead of having sex, he immediately decides to play on his Playstation.

• The idyllic holiday snap shots of Kim and Sugar riding a carousel at a fair while eating candy floss, throwing pebbles into the sea and sitting holding hands on deck chairs. Plus the beautiful cinematography emphasises the bright colours of the funfair and underplays the dull overcast British seaside sky.

• At first, Sugar acts as if nothing as changed between her and Kim. She continues to bitch about one of her boyfriends, Darren. According to Sugar, he’s now going out with a 14-year-old. “He can’t stomach anyone having more GCSE’s than he has: metalwork and a U in computer studies!”

• The excellent music played at the club: Good Luck by Basement Jaxx, The Time Is Now by Moloko, and the great Strict Machine by Goldfrapp.

• Stella’s strange frilly dominatrix costume, including pink fishnet tights.

Lowlights

• Another predictable outcome. Kim goes to the bar after kissing Sugar; when she returns Sugar has her tongue down the throat of a man who asked if Kim and Sugar were lesbians. If you didn’t see that coming a mile off, you would have done by Kim’s journey from the bar being accompanied by her narration stating: “Tonight was different. Tonight I was living the dream. I was buying my girlfriend a drink and nothing could stop me”.

• The subplot with Nathan and Matt is tolerable, but it continues to fall flat. Matt’s truly bizarre problem this week is he thinks he’s starting to menstruate. Richard Lumsden as Nathan plays the part of a concerned father wanting to do the best for his children but not having a clue how to go about it very well, but the whole thing comes across like the respective characters of Nathan and Matt – boring and strange.

8 – Kim is hoping to eject all the affection she once held for Sugar by joining a religious group who will “cure” her of her “gayness”. Meanwhile, a disenchanted Stella spurns Richard’s efforts to persuade her to stay with him and not walk out again.

Highlights

• The religious group attended by Kim to “cure” herself of her homosexuality. Members include Belinda who “overcame” lesbianism in 1999 and has since managed to date one bloke, and the very camp Gary who after “leaving” homosexuality two years ago is now “happily married” to a woman. They are “hoping to begin conjugal relations any day now”.

• The slogans of the group were a mixture of cheesy self-help psychobabble (“helping you along the straight path”) and fundamentalist Christian hate mantra- (“Homos go to hell! Gay girls burn!”)

• There is only one person in the group Kim is interested in (even though she doesn’t even know her name): a gorgeous young woman who has been exchanging glances with her since she joined. They share a love for Jodie Foster and held hands during The Lord’s Prayer. Awwww.

• Also, going back to our initial view that Sugar Rush could easily be a late-night version of Olivia Hallinan’s other big show Girls In Love, if Sugar is her Magda then it seems in this new nervous slightly gothish girl we’ve found her Nadine.

• Kim loses her virginity to Tom. It’s great to see him as something other than an object of ridicule for once. She talks to him about her usual family problems and he makes her a cocktail made from all the spirits in his house plus a little bit of coke. They laugh with each other at their individual failures to have sex and, as both are depressed they’ll die virgins, they have sex with each other.

• “It was nice. Tom was nice”. However, Kim was thinking of Sugar at the time. “Fantasising during my first time. I’m sure they don’t tell you to do that in Cosmo Girl!”

• Kim’s prayer: “Dear God, please stop me from perving over Sugar and help me find a fit guy to perve over instead. Or if it turns out you’re OK with the same-sex thing then stop Sugar messing me about and help her find a way into my bed”.

• Kim sailing on that great Egyptian river (“I had a Sugar thing, not a girl thing!”) and then trying to “drown suspicions of gaydom in a vat of alcohol”.

• Kim kissing an empty 5 Alive can that still had Sugar’s lipstick mark on.

• Sugar waits in Kim’s bedroom and when Kim confronts her for her messing her about she replies “What do you want me to do? Ask you out? Hold your hand in the playground?”. When asked to leave, Sugar says “Why, isn’t this where you want me?” before kissing her and leaving. As Kim put it – “Bitch!”

• Hearing Bloc Party’s excellent Banquet again.

• Kim on the aftermath of losing her virginity: “No shooting stars. No comets, No veil falling to reveal all the secrets of the adult world. No different”

• Kim is told to “maintain a chaste lifestyle”, so she throws her trusty electric toothbrush out of the window, accidently hitting a cat in the process.

• Kim is nervous about meeting Sugar again and when she runs into her in school she tries to suppress her sexual desire for her and repeats in her head “Sugar is bad for me”. Sugar just thinks that the reason Kim is gibbering wreck is because she is on some sort of drug and wants one for herself.

• More perfect picture postcard shots of Brighton. The excuse this week was that the “de-gaying” group has encouraged Kim to “crowd out sexual thoughts with pleasant images of nature”.

• Stella blames husband Nathan’s blandness for her having an affair. He tries to be more spontaneous by “skipping dinner” and going straight to dessert, a large blancmange. In a very bizarre scene, he and Stella eat it off each other’s fingers and then she smears some on her breasts where he scoffs that. They try to have passionate sex but Stella chokes on some blancmange and Nathan breaks one of her ribs after trying to give her the Heimlich Manoeuvre. Stella has to go to hospital and weird little brother Matt laps up the leftovers like a dog. Certainly as surreal as this series has ever got.

Lowlights

• The “de-gaying” group was probably the most far-fetched part of the show. It was more like a satire sort of organisations that exist in America rather than over here. It seemed to have been copied off American sitcoms which have sent up these groups in a similar way.

• The series continues to alternate between cartoony comedy and soapy drama, making it very entertaining, but also a little hard to keep track of. Sugar herself is worst affected by this. In one episode, she seems to deeply care about her friend; in another she’s a clueless bimbo; in another she’s a total bitch who uses people.

• This was definitely the most sitcom-like episode so far, and a lot of scenes seemed to recycle many ancient sitcom cliches – the cat sound effect when Kim throws her toothbrush out of the window, uptight dad Nathan caught playing air guitar with a mop etc.

• You had to suspend your disbelief more than ever with this episode. For example, an ambulance arrives at Nathan and Stella’s house unnoticed by Kim and Tom who are just next door, or Sugar who is asleep upstairs in Kim’s room. All the subplots involving Kim’s family have never really gelled well with her main relationship with Sugar and this just brings that point home.

• Tom is of course very happy to have lost his virginity, especially to Kim the girl next door he’s fancied for so long. Good for him. However he chose to celebrate by dancing in his boxers and sunglasses to Love Train by the O’Jays. Bad for us.

• The scene where Kim is about to let a chav lad have sex with her in a toilet was quite graphic, and the shots of Kim’s quivering, tear stained face made it very disturbing viewing. Fortunately the bloke couldn’t get erect and ran off after Kim broke down in tears.

9 – Kim is distraught about her ruined domestic life as her mother has come home as she has nowhere else to stay, while her Dad has left after reaching the end of his tether. But then into Kim’s life comes Beth, who is cute, sympathetic and nothing like the heartless Sugar, who she just can’t help thinking of.

Highlights

• Beth, the beautiful, lovely charming, saintly raven haired Irish lesbian who is basically a clone of Anna Nolan from Big Brother 1.

• Kim fancies her and unlike Sugar, Beth fancies her back. They met at the Christian “de-gaying” group, though Beth admits the closest she’s been to Christianity is getting off with her RE teacher Sister Angela and she only joined the Christian group to see who she could pull. The appearance of holy glowy angelic Beth was accompanied by a Hallelujah chorus when Kim found out she was interested in her.

• The kiss between Beth and Kim was more tender and certainly more convincing than Kim’s kisses with Sugar.

• Beth’s opinions on Sugar (“She’s not worth it, Treacle, Candy Floss, whatever her name is.” and “Sugar – a short term fix, sends your heart rocketing then rots your teeth”).

• The scene where Beth and Kim run into the sea fully clothed and splash about, looking like they are really enjoying themselves and having a good time, and it also looked quite sweet and romantic together. Soundtracking it with Coldplay’s rather lovely Don’t Panic worked brilliantly as well.

• Tom’s gay dad David comforts his son who has had his heart broken by Kim who he lost his virginity to and was in love with, except she now has a girlfriend. “I wouldn’t worry about having slept with a lesbian. Most straight guys would consider that something of an achievement. Most straight guys would be pretty proud.”

• Tom is later seen trying to look cool by smoking – but coughing after taking a drag – and hanging out with some mosher kids on a street corner. When Kim walks past he claims: “Had her. And her girlfriend”.

• Beth’s story on how she came out: her mum caught her in bed with her girlfriend. She and her mum didn’t speak for months until Beth confronted her. After chatting and crying from both of them, Beth got “the usual shit” about grandchildren but then things calmed down and she got a turkey baster for Christmas.

• Beth getting Kim an ice cream. “They were out of raspberry sauce. Got you hundreds and thousands instead. It’s good to branch out occasionally”.

• Kim runs through the whole series to Beth in her usual deadpan way. “My mum’s a whore, my brother’s a freak and my dad’s a wet. I’m a homophobic gay virgin desperate to f**k a girl who’ll never fancy me” and Sugar is “a total goddess. And a total bitch”. “I tried everything, honesty, date rape. It’s OK I failed, I just nearly killed my brother in the process. I tried to shag a bloke only my mother beat me to it. I found them at it doggy style on the kitchen table”.

• Kim dancing in her underwear to Edwyn Collins’ A Girl Like You, only to be embarrassed by her dad bursting into her room.

• Kim: “I was a 15 year old with no spots and a passable pair of tits.”

• Nathan getting tired of being the doormat of his spoilt, selfish dopey wife Stella and deciding he isn’t going to continue to pretend everything is OK. Though abandoning his house and his kids probably wasn’t the best option.

• Beth advises Kim to be sensible and mature and talk to Stella about her family problems. She succeeds in getting Stella and Nathan to try to sort things out for her and Matt, but Kim can’t resist a good insult at her mother. “Just look at you. You’re crap”.

• Sara Stewart’s acting continues to bring some emotional depth to the throughly unlikable character of Stella.

• The more realistic misty grey and gloomy shots of a British seaside town in this episode were a nice change from the lovely glossy holiday brochure shots we’ve had before, although we got some of those as well.

• Sugar doesn’t appear in this episode at all until three minutes before the end. Her sudden appearance wasn’t much of a shock but the state she was in certainly was. She phones Kim and we see she is covered in blood, terrified, in tears and “in deep shit”.

• The episode succeeded in delivering its message this week, contrasting Kim’s relationships with Beth and Sugar. The relationship with Beth seems based on love while what she had with Sugar was based partly on friendship and partly on lust, and one-sided lust at that. If Kim had any sense she would be better off going out with the nice, lovely sensible lesbian Beth than perving over the bitchy, slutty and unpredictable heterosexual Sugar, but she probably finds the latter more sexually attractive. Kim is her own worst enemy for not taking what she knows is better for her and going for something which will ultimately hurt her. That was the message, though they could probably have been a little more subtle with delivering it rather than whacking is over the head with it.

Lowlights

• The utterly boring scene where Stella and Nathan discuss how to sort out their relationship. It was just deathly dull. To be honest, the whole subplot involving their breakup apart from Stella’s Carry On style affair with Dale the decorator has been deathly dull.

• The final scene was a little stupid. The idea probably was that just had Kim had sorted her life out and had Sugar out of her system she was dragged back into Sugar’s life. But how it happened was that Sugar rang her just as she was on her way to meet Beth for their first proper date, and she rang when she was more or less right next to Beth. Firstly, why did Beth not notice Kim while she was on the phone and given how close Kim was to her why did she stop to answer it in the first place?

• But the most annoying bit was when Beth noticed Kim arrival and smiled, and Kim turned and ran away to find Sugar. Wouldn’t it have been easier just to tell Beth that a friend just rung who was in serious trouble than to run away without a word? Plus Sugar didn’t appear to tell Kim where she was, so where was she running to anyway?

• While Kim is a lot more sensible and responsible than most of the other characters, she can be very selfish and ignorant when she wants to be. Leaving aside the stupid final scene, once again Tom is made to look an idiot for thinking that night he lost his virginity was anything special, even though Kim admits she “may have been giving out mixed messages” by sleeping with Tom.

• Kim’s narration stated “Everything seemed to be turning out alright” which roughly translates as “the shit is about to hit the fan”.

10 – Just as Kim is enjoying getting to know a proper girlfriend who is interested in her, she gets a phone call from a frantic Sugar. She goes to her pal’s aid, cursing her as she does so, but soon realises Sugar’s distress is genuine and the pair of them need to skip town right away.

Highlights

• Sugar and Kim are on the run, and enjoy stealing people’s purses, stealing cars, seeing the bright lights and living it up in a posh hotel, enjoying a bubble bath and drinking champagne, all paid for by Stella’s stolen credit card.

• Lenora Critchlow’s acting as Sugar when she described what had happened to her was great. She went down to the beach to have sex with a guy, and when he was finished his mate just went on her too. She was shocked and after she told him to get off and he wouldn’t she stabbed him with a broken bottle.

Also the script had her finding defensive humour in it, and it was acted well as it didn’t compromise the seriousness of the situation. (“I’ve never done two before. That’s the kind of thing a girl needs to prepare for, right? Anyway he was a right minger, He stank of burgers”).

• Matt’s parting gesture to his sister, who is buggering off with her mum’s tacky jewellery and credit cards. “Don’t forget your toothbrush”.

• Kim – “It’s weird how you can live somewhere and not really know it. It’s like people. You live with them all your life but don’t really know who they are”.

• Kim on making stupid decisions for love: “The things we do for love. Like standing up a fit girl I could have a decent chat and snog for a slapper who treated me like shit and only snogged me to turn on loser guys”.

• Kim and Sugar talk about holidays. Sugar has never been on holiday (“Mum says what’s the point in going on holiday when we live in a holiday town?”), while Kim has been a few times to France. (“We go there, Nathan and Stella get pissed on red wine and leave me and Matt to it. As usual”).

• Kim enters the house and overhears her parents. She thinks they are having sex. “MMMM, you’re really good at this”. “Another half an hour before we’re finished.” They’re actually cooking dinner.

• Sugar wants to put sugar in her champagne.

• Sugar on what jobs she and Kim can get when they are in London. “I fancy selling flowers on one of those big market stalls. You can sell fish!”.

• Sugar’s cheesy chat-up lines. “You can put a little sugar in anything. Don’t you want to acquire a taste?”.

• The self-aware allusions as to how like a cheesy Hollywood movie this episode was, “Why stick around for the boring finale when you can co-star in an adventure of your own?”, “So there we were, heroines in our very own escape movie”, and “There’ll be snipers on the roof, helicopters signalling down, you know how it is!” “Yeah, in the movies!”.

• After Kim denies that she has a new girlfriend, Sugar says “You’re all tarted up for someone. What’s she doing with a minger like you?”

• The ending of this series: Sugar kisses Kim and says she “means it this time”. They share a night together and wake up in each others arms. It seems to finally be a tender moment of affection or an act of love for both of them. But while this is happening the police arrive at the hotel along with Nathan and Stella, to Kim’s last words “Don’t you just love happy Hollywood endings?”.

This suggests we may be getting a second series…

Lowlights

• As final episodes go, this tied up no loose ends and only left more questions. Nothing was resolved and it seemed to take the series in a whole new direction to where it appeared to be going. The feeling has been that the writers have been making this series up as they go along even though its based on a book.

• Frankly, this episode made bugger all sense. Sugar undergoes yet another personality change to “nice girl” not to mention an apparent sexuality change. Plus it is a massive stretch to believe two 15-year-old girls would be able to steal a car and get into a posh hotel with little trouble.

• The whole “Sugar glassing a guy in the stomach” thing was discarded early on and seemed more like an excuse to get Kim and Sugar on the run.

• Kim and Sugar steal a car. They can drive pretty well; they know how to hotwire a car and they got in by smashing a window, but there was no sign of broken glass.

• Kim’s grating self-righteousness and self-pity. She’s annoyed that Stella is leaving again, but this time she was only going to leave because Nathan suggested that it would be best all round for the family. And the reason they came to that decision was because Kim herself pushed them together to talk about their problems.

• Also, Kim has a go at Sugar for never doing anything for her, mentioning she has done a lot of things for her. She did most of those things just because she wanted to get into her pants.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles

02/08/2005

Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!

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