By Anna May @AnnaMayMight
Ah, Eastenders, how I’ve missed you…with your wheelie bins full of rubbish, bickering market traders, weekly wife swaps and interchangeable offspring. I mean, you’re always there, aren’t you. No matter how much my commitment wanes, you’re always there. Waiting…just waiting…beckoning. Anna…Anna…come watch me. Anna...Max is back and he’s being a bastard. Anna...Kathy is still alive and Shirley is still bitter and angry. Anna…Phil is all better now and a lovely shade of neon pink, instead of a nasty yellow. Anna…Anna…FOR GOD’S SAKE ANNA!! WATCH ME!! OMG!!
ALL RIGHT, ALL RIGHT!! So I did…and wasted no time at all in finding out…what’s new? Well, for a start there’s…um…err...wait, it'll come to me. Oh yes! What about the…hang on…what exactly IS new?
Okay…Jane’s still risking her life every day she lives with Ian. Although, she’s doing very well on her crutches now, so will soon be running about, good as new. Might take some years, but who cares, eh? We’ve nothing better to do than wait for her to be restored to full health, before another member of Ian’s family decides to shoot, stab, bludgeon or poison her to near death. Near death, mind. She can’t die. Jane never dies.
Steven’s hiding a terrible secret. Another one? Really? No. He’s actually hiding loads of terrible secrets. Will he be found out, though? Past experience will tell him there’s no secret left untold in Albert Square. But he’s not worried. Why would he be? When the rest of the Beales find out (and they will) they’ll be all…omg, Steven, how could you! But then they’ll be all…we’re family, though, so let’s just move on. Jane will pass it off as just another one of those family bust ups, as she looks for that massive square plaster in the first-aid box that no-one ever uses, to stick across the split lip Steven will have given her for threatening to tell Ian, who already knows anyway, because he overheard SHOUTING through a door stupidly left ajar. Fair enough...it’s not easy, remembering to shut a door firmly behind you, before discussing how you’ve lied about having a tumour, been unfaithful to your bride-to-be with her sister, committed arson and generally been a twat…again.
Oh…and the Taylors! All those kids! What a great way to inject a large number of new characters into a soap. That mother’s bra strap, though! Always slipping off her shoulder and annoying the internet. This is real life, you know. It’s absolutely vital this woman’s bra strap is seen to be constantly falling out of her vest tops! Real life, folks! Although, I thank the continuity people with all my heart and brain, for turning a blind eye each time those same vest tops are allowed to gradually ride up around her waist, exposing more and more of her bare midriff, before being pulled very firmly and noticeably down again after a cut. Bra strap, fine…sweaty bum cleavage…NOOOOOO!! Yes, I know, real life, but just no.
Of course, it doesn’t matter how long Max is away from the Square, his return is always anticipated with bated breath…but only because we’re face-palming so hard at his instant acquisition of a new set of MILFS and someone to blackmail into doing all the illegal things he’s too cool to dirty his own hands with. Oh…hello, Steven! You don’t look very busy. Burn something down for me, will you, or I’ll ruin your whole life…and the lives of my daughters, if I have to, because I don’t care about anyone. Now run along and look scared out of your wits for the next few weeks, will you? There’s a good boy. Cheers!
He’s not all bad, though, is he. He’s obviously become totally committed to Carmel…and in such a short amount of time as well…and she’s totally NOT being a gullible, desperate, middle-aged single mum. No, she is not. He loves her…he said so. He even repeated it to her when she asked him to. At last, he’s doing the right thing by a woman. Doesn’t it just touch your heart.
Something I’ve always wondered is…why are so many of the characters written as spoilt children at times. Even Phil still stomps about like an attention seeking toddler. He had something to tell Jay, but spent days just bottling it all up and telling everyone to leave him alone. The old ’What’s wrong?...NOTHING!’ scenes never grow old, do they. Oh please! I mean, how long did Jay have to follow Phil about before he finally gave in. Poor Jay knew there was something Phil wanted to tell him. “It's written all over your face!” he shouted at him…as they both straggled across the Square for the ten millionth time to find yet another place to shout at each other.
Eventually, Phil confesses to being a murderer. I beg your pardon? Phil? A murderer? That doesn’t sound like Phil at all. Poor Jay can’t believe it. Especially as he also finds out he wasn't Jason’s son at all…and Phil is responsible for his rubbish childhood. At the end of it all, however, Phil speaks to someone on the phone and reassures them he’s told Jay a pack of lies and he’s believed the lot.
So, everything Phil told Jay was a load of old shite? Hope not, ‘cos I’ll feel REALLY cheated if I’ve spent a good few hours of my precious time (I have no life) trawling through the latest episodes, just to be denied an immediate game of musical dads!
Talking of musical dads…Ben couldn’t help letting it slip to Jay that Phil has another son by Denise. Then baby Ray was mentioned again in a crowded room. Surely, this news should be leaked out far more slowly. Did Eastenders get a temp writer in, or something? Instructions probably read, “Info about Phil’s secret baby needs to be gradually spread.” Well, if you only have a day to make an impression…make it count, right? Dialogue like, “Phil has another son called Ray from a fling with Denise, when he and Sharon were on a break,” should do it.
Probably the same temp who decided to randomly drive a bus through the market and injure all the main characters…’cos why not?…leaving the regular writers the task of gradually patching them up again so they could carry on torturing us with Mick and Whitney and their naughty little secret…which everyone knows about, because it was so bloody obvious!
Uh oh! Who’s the guy with the clipboard? He managed to upset both Shirley AND Phil with his petition to keep hardened criminals out of Walford. Good old Shirley, with her default way of dealing with smug gits...or anyone else, come to that. Yep, you guessed it, a proper good bollocking! Then it’s Phil’s turn to walk into the pub at that exact moment and dish out a further bollocking. The timing of that, eh? Then he asks her if she’s okay and they look lovingly into each other’s eyes. Omg…not again!! Bleurghghgh!!
Poor sweet Abi, yet again, tries to find happiness with someone else’s fella. Nothing new there. Steven is her sister’s fiancé, but you can’t choose who you love, can you. Such a sweet girl. Always being caught in the middle of it all, through no fault of her own. No, actually. I think naïve little slag is the word we’re looking for, but we have to feel sorry for her, because she’s always getting messed about and dumped at the end of it all.
Sadly, I think she’s another one of those characters, like Roxy Mitchell, who’ll be forever used in the same childish scenarios and refused a grown up future. Then she’ll be too old to change her ways and die. Just die.
What am I saying! Of course nobody ever just dies! We’ll be subjected to at least a year’s run up to her death, during which time we’ll already have found out she’s due to be murdered. But, it won’t end there! NO! Another two years will be spent seeking out the killer who was already named in countless news articles before she even died! WITH STILLS FROM THE ACTUAL SCENES, BECAUSE WHY GIVE US EVEN A SMALL SHRED OF HOPE THAT WE’LL BE SHOCKED BY THE OUTCOME!
Honest to God, so much STRESS! But we’ll still keep watching, because we can’t help ourselves!
Note to director: Please stop showing us close-ups of the back of Max’s bald head. It takes up the whole frame and I can’t concentrate on what’s being threatened. Thanks.