Married Single Other Review: The Love Bug

February 22, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

3.5MARRIED SINGLE OTHER: Monday 22nd February, ITV1, 9pm ALERT ME

ITV must be furiously trying to work out how to replicate the success of Cold Feet, the influential comedy drama about the turbulent relationships of a handful of 30-somethings. Married Single Other may yet prove to be it’s successor as it feels oddly familiar – everything from it’s quirky title sequence to it’s musical overlays.

Eddie and Lillie (Lucy Davis – carving out her own niche after The Office) have been together for 16 years and have two children. But despite being a great couple, Lillie refuses to marry Eddie, even though he asks her every year on her birthday.

Lillie’s best friend Babs is getting frustrated with her husband Dickie, who despite having dreams of internet entrepreneurialism is always distracted by the lure of all-night online poker tournaments.

Dickie’s brother Clint (The Royle Family and Two Pints’ Ralph Little) is a serial womanizer and sleaze but he’s caught off guard by Abbey (Spooks’ Miranda Raison looking rather lovely), a savvy model for a superbike company who sees right through him. She won’t go out with him till she’s had a chance to vet him through his friends. Could she finally be the one to keep him on the straight and narrow?

It’s so far, so familiar – a bit of harmless fluff; the couples are well established and the dialogue is snappy and light. That is until you’re knocked sideways when Lillie gets punched in the face by an angry husband at the refuge centre in which she works. Who put that razorblade in my candyfloss?

But when that momentary dark cloud passes over, it’s back to rather predictable storytelling with sentimentality so thick you could lay it on with a palette knife.

It’s a difficult mix to work out. It has its moments of comedy and the relationships for the most part feel genuine.

But some of the set-piece heart-to-hearts hit the iceberg of cliché – “I want to be loved for who I am, not the person I pretend to be? – isn’t that something we’ve heard rephrased a thousand times before? – even if it is well meaning.

The script just isn’t very original; in some ways it feels like you’re watching a mash-up of light-hearted ITV dramas in your head.

But it’s only the first episode and I am intrigued to find out how things pan out for the characters. It’s definitely worth a look but the rest of the series will determine whether it can get into it’s stride or trip over itself and fall in an untidy heap.

Chris says:

This looks like a cross between Cold Feet and Shameless, positioned towards the affluent, aspirational ‘Cold Feet’ class, but with the base and crude approach of Shameless.

The effect is to demonstrate a general UK underclass in a semi-professional setting. On this basis, it is frankly objectionable, condescending and straightforwardly appalling television.

Avoid ‘Married, Single, Other’ like the plague.