Lip Service Review: No Balls
LIP SERVICE: Tuesday 12th October, BBC3, 10.30pm ALERT ME
A recent survey of the British population’s sexuality revealed that 1.5% of the population is gay (a marked reduction on the 10% figure that has been thrown around in recent times) and if this new BBC drama is to be believed, nearly all of that 1.5% live in Glasgow.
Lip Service introduces us to lead characters Frankie and Cat, who are both gay. Frankie has just come back to Scotland after a few years in New York and Cat lives with Tess, who’s also gay. Tess has an ex (gay, obviously) who’s sleeping with a girl from her Spanish class, who I guess must also be gay.
Not only is their entire social group gay – aside from two straight male sidekicks, one of whom has a predictable crush on Tess – but every girl these women meet is a lesbian, or at least bi-curious. The model that photographer Frankie is shooting? Gay. The girl crying in the toilets? Gay. The bloody funeral director? Gay. Every woman in the street seems to stop and stare at the female leads with all the subtlety of a bottom-sniffing Labrador and most of what the characters say to each other is about lesbianism and being a lesbian.
Now, I’m quite prepared to accept that everyone in Glasgow is gay. I’m even prepared to let the fact that all these characters are beautiful and apparently well-off slide because hey, that’s television. But unfortunately its improbable premise and unconvincing characters are the least of this programme’s numerous flaws. For a start, the plot is a dreary cocktail of unlikely and uninteresting events and can’t justify an hour’s worth of viewing time, which doesn’t bode well for the five further episodes in the series. The shaky storylines even fail to be supported by litres of back-story awkwardly shoe-horned into each section of dialogue.
Talking of dialogue, Lip Service must have some of the most pointless and insipid lines in recent television history. Exchanges like, “I just thought…” “You just thought you’d waltz back in here and everything would be OK? Well it’s not,” are as limp and clichéd as the very shoddiest of soap scripts.
Factor in the generally piss-poor acting (Ruta Gedmintas as Frankie is the possible exception here) and you have an infuriating and lacklustre programme that wants to be witty, shocking and entertaining, but fails on all counts. It doesn’t even manage to normalise lesbianism and bring it into the mainstream, because all the characters are constantly screaming, “Look, I’m gay! Everything I do and say revolves around my homosexuality!” at the camera. The L-Word it is not.