I was fifteen when "Hollyoaks" first reared its painfully unimpressive head. The thing that disappointed me most about that terrible show was that it had so much potential. "Two Pints... ", another waste of a good concept, has in its cast two actors from that show - Natalie Casey and Will Mellor, both acted as comic relief in "Hollyoaks".
The episode I saw today featured Janet (Sheridan Smith) thinking about becoming a student. I was watching, getting annoyed at the portrayal of students as ridiculously upper-class muppets, when somebody asked Janet if she knew what an NVQ was. "Not Very Qualified?" interrupted Donna (Natalie Casey). That isn't simply a poor joke. That is a poor joke which I have heard used to describe NVQs since I was sixteen. And they stole it from common use and slapped it in the middle of a sitcom as if they wrote it - and it was still the best line in the show.
The nadir of the episode came at the end (yes, it was downhill all the way). Donna had spent the episode trying to prove that she could remain calm in the face of any provocation. By the end, Donna and Gaz (Mellor), her boyfriend, were walking by a canal, while she tried to remain calm as he admitted to trying to cheat on her, and recommended she dress more sleazily. Wouldn't you know it, she pushed him in the canal! Did the writers actually sit around thinking "I know, what if she pushes him in - they won't be expecting that!" It was one of the laziest punchlines I've ever seen.
Yet I'll carry on watching "Two Pints... ", because part of me still hopes that one day they'll write a good episode, and that the post-school, pre-"adult" demographic will have found a voice.
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