I had hoped that this episode of EastEnders, the first to be written about here, would be one of the usual terrible ones. This was a sadly above-average episode, in that very little particularly objectionable happened. Roxy’s line in casual insolence is enjoyable when left as it is (as at the salon), and it was not awful to hear Zainab pronounce ‘That’s debateable’ as ‘Masturbateable’.
Of course, even when EastEnders does not deliver an appalling episode you can rely on its idiotic characterisation. Clare, supposedly the vixen, gave Bradley a ‘What would Bond do?’ pep talk to get him out the house. Surely only someone stupid to enough to lust after Ian would believe that would work? It worked. Bradley, supposed to be intelligent if loveably daft, fell for it too. Clare’s attempted seduction of Ian was dumb, taking place as it did not only in Dot’s living room but also in Dot’s brightly lit living room. Why would she bemoan bad-boy behaviour in an attempt to get someone to act like a bad boy? Because the man would think it was the best way to get rid of the probably perpetually freezing cow? Does any man ever think, ‘Here’s a woman crying because men have been awful to her. I bet what she needs is an awful man’? Besides, if you did want to blackmail someone all you need is complicity. She had that with Ian, so why would she be disappointed to miss out on the pale flabby sex? Ian was obviously aware that he had transgressed, so milk that, not his penis (ha ha).
Also, why would Tanya think Max could do no worse than cheat on her with Stacey when they’re divorcing and have children to steal? She has more to fear from him than adultery, as she has been candid about in previous episodes.
Aside from the thoughtless characterisation, there was also the customary casual nastiness: Ian’s homophobia; Zainab’s contempt for dust on a mirror (a dusty mirror? Keith, you despicable slob!) and just her generally being a worthless stereotype about the Miller household; Phil calling Bradley ‘James Bland’ despite himself spending his evenings in a pub, with his mum, listening to single men moan. If these are to be played for laughs, they need to deliver laughs.
The writers did manage to inject a sliver of menace with the kidnapping. There was the soupcon that Jack would kill or rape or something Roxy, even if only based on the expectation the writers would go for the spectacularly stupid rather than the predictably dull. Naturally, Roxy did not die and tomorrow everyone will be back where they started.