Archive | August 2017

The Wrong Girl–Season 2, Episode 2

Now the premiere has come and gone, the season can get well and truly underway.

This episode’s A story focused on Jack and Lily trying to find their own place, or at least that’s what the writers were trying to have it focused on. Simone’s efforts to find a girlfriend for Vincent, and Lily and Pete’s fight over using the latter’s book as a segment for The Breakfast Bar, overshadowed this character development.

What I enjoyed the most about the A story was the flashbacks to when Lily and Pete first met and became flatmates, which provided a necessary, interesting and hilarious background on their friendship. I also appreciated the writers’ choice to juxtapose these scenes, with scenes of Jack trying to convince Lily to buy a house together as another sign to the viewers that their relationship will clearly end in the finale.

I found the B story of replacing Erica on The Breakfast Bar more interesting than the A story. I enjoyed the “pitch fight” between Jeremy and Lily, which perfectly juxtaposes what Lily wants to show to be (real news/documentary) and how Jeremy and the rest of the staff want it to be (tabloid). I couldn’t help but wonder as I watching these scenes whether these kind of “pitch fights” happen behind the scenes on real-life morning shows.

The highlight of the B story and the episode was Nikki coming into her own, awkwardly yet perfectly, from stage frightened first-time co-host to a co-host with guts and potential. I hope they show her improvement throughout the season as she is clearly smarter than she lets on and will eventually eclipse Eric in popularity.

Overall this episode was an improvement over the premiere but it wasn’t spectacular either.

 

 

Stray Observations:

-Lily and Pete have been friends for 10 years.

-Nikki’s “audition” for co-host reminded me of the “admissions essay” video scene from Legally Blonde.

-Ivan’s mystery illness hinted at in last year’s finale was finally addressed–he has Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease usually found in contact sport athletes.

Seachange alumni, Kerry Armstrong and Kevin Harrington sharing scenes together.

-Apparently Mimi and Ivan kissed at Pete’s 21st birthday party.

-Meredith and Mitchell are back together and she can see that Pete is in love with Lily. I actually like that the three of them are friends, it turns the “ex” situation on its head.

-Nikki throwing up on the Health Minister was very fitting.

-I’m not a fan of the close-up head shots, this week they were done on Vincent and his date.

-Best one liner:

  • “This is the second time you’ve had to apologise in a week, so you get points on your turnaround time.” (Pete to Lily)
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Doctor Doctor–Season 2, Episode 3

This episode felt completely different to the previous two and I think it was due to the amount of character development.

This episode provided major character development with Hayley and Charlie. With Hayley we learn that she was adopted like Ajax, meet her parents, and see where her religious beliefs and pressures come from. With Charlie, we learn that she wrote a book years ago about the Knight family hidden in sci-fi metaphors.

What I loved about these developments is the fact that they enabled Hayley and Charlie to become more rounded characters. There is finally more to them than being love interests of the Knight men. In this episode we get an insight into Hayley’s life as she grew up and why she is struggling with both the electoral fraud and losing her virginity to Ajax. The fact that Meryl knows she has lost her virginity but her own mother doesn’t, provides a subtle but strong contrast, between the two mothers and families. Hayley confiding in her mother that as she’s getting older it’s harder to know what the right thing to do is, perfectly sums up Hayley’s character at this point in time and the situations she’s in. Her breakdown over the electoral fraud was well performed by Bayliss, with a great pay off of Tugger catching her and Meryl in the act of trying to hide the ballots again. I’m looking forward to seeing the outcome of the electoral fraud story arc in future episodes.

I loved the writers’ choice to have Charlie’s book appear to be badly written because Matt didn’t enjoy it, when in reality it was good and Matt thought it was bad as he didn’t grasp the metaphors. The running gag of the book making its way to each Knight family member (with the exception of Hugh) was hilarious. I felt Matt publishing the book online was the perfect outcome as it was true to his character and I hope it’s not the last we hear or see of it.

Meanwhile Penny has returned but surprisingly Nora hasn’t actually left yet. I honestly thought her departure was in the previous episode but I was wrong. I loved the writers’ choice to throw in another plot twist through the reveal that Nora was dealing Oxycodone to Gus, as he would be the last person you’d suspect of being addicted to drugs. I would have liked the reasons behind his addiction to have been addressed, but considering the reason for this twist was to provide another obstacle, to eventually finding another way to get rid of Nora, I’ll give it a small pass. I found the outcome of getting rid of Nora by scaring her into thinking that Gus died of an overdose unsatisfying, but as she’s finally gone, I’ll eventually forgive it.

On smaller notes, Hugh is living in the unused section of the hospital and even buys a sauna for his own use, which perfectly leads to the hospital blackout. The pay off of the sauna at the end of the episode by Ken using it to help the Lupus patient was hilarious and perfectly executed. Hugh has also come up with the idea of designing a stent in the shape of helix as another project for him and Trevor, after their artificial heart transplant failed, during another hook up with Kimberley of all times. That being said, I’m looking forward to seeing the stent development in future episodes.

Overall this episode was a big improvement over the previous two and provided interesting, as well as much needed character development.

 

 

Stray Observations:

Hospital Drama: The Lupus patient, the crush syndrome patient, the blackout and Nora dealing Oxycodone to Gus.

Dora sighting: I think in the background at Matt and Charlie’s place when they were discussing Charlie’s book.

Throwbacks to season one: The running gag of Penny following Floyd while he was on his way to school, and the reappearance of Gus.

Best one liners:

  • “Can it be the right decision and still be a mistake?” (Penny to Betty on moving back to Whyhope) (N.B. I haven’t quoted this line exactly right)
  • “We should have just let her die, hey?” (Mia on Nora upon discovering that the latter has given the hospital a new set of problems)

-Ajax is smarter than he lets on as he was capable of clearly explaining the metaphors in Charlie’s book to an oblivious Matt.

-Apparently Betty had a long-distance relationship with a man in Bulgaria.

-Apparently Ajax wants to have three children with Hayley.

-Hugh’s LED display clock counting down the end of his probation is hilarious.

 

The Wrong Girl–Season 2 Premiere

The purpose of a season premiere is similar to the purpose of a season finale. The season finale’s job is to conclude the season’s story arcs and set up potential new arcs for the next season. The season premiere’s job is to commence new story arcs for the new season, and to follow up on the potential plots set up in the previous season’s finale. I felt that this premiere barely ticked off the items on this checklist.

Usually when a season premiere kicks off, especially second and beyond, the writers make a choice for a period of time to pass in the fictional world to give themselves wriggle room to kick off new arcs. In this case six months have passed, which is an extremely long and unrealistic period of time, especially as Lily has quit her job and clearly hasn’t worked since then. Lily and Jack are living in what they think is romantic bliss but in reality is denial about the fact that they clearly aren’t working, in New Zealand.

Lily gets a phone call from her old mentor, Sasha, who has somehow become her boss as she now runs the network The Breakfast Bar is on, which also needs saving from cancellation. I wondered at the end of last year’s finale what Lily would be doing professionally since she suddenly quit her job, so for her to be offered her old job back, I think was the best choice for this situation, however it felt too convenient.

I did enjoy The Breakfast Bar subplot as it took the focus away from the Lily-Jack-Pete love triangle, and its up-and-down nature kept me in suspense. I felt that Erica being sacked due to her age and requesting equal pay was sadly realistic, but it also gave Madeleine West the opportunity for some great but over-the-top breakdown performances.

I felt Eric using Erica’s sacking as an opportunity to hire a younger woman, who he clearly hoped to eventually sleep with, was also sadly realistic, but I found Lily pointing out the reality of that situation to him hilarious. I didn’t see Eric quitting coming, but it did add a necessary but cliche obstacle into the plot. I felt that Lily once again running away from her problems via karaoke was cliche, however I loved the pay off with the running gag of her colleagues asking her if she had been drinking. The outcome of Erica both getting her revenge, and her revenge simultaneously saving the show was perfect.

I was pleased with the writers’ choice to have the Lily-Jack-Pete love triangle going on mostly in the background, especially as this subplot will clearly continue throughout the season. The fact that Lily can’t tell Jack she loves him and that Jack was slow to delete Pete’s voicemail message to Lily, provides the viewer with subtle hints that the relationship is in trouble. I’m honestly not sure who I want Lily to end up with, which I think proves the writers’ talents by not making the viewers’ investment in either character or romance too easy.

On smaller notes, Meredith and Jack have broken up but are still living together, and Simone and Vincent are flatmates but not a couple. It will be interesting to see what the writers will do with Meredith and Jack now that their romance is over but they are trying to make co-parenting work, and whether the writers will drag out Simone and Vincent’s non-romance. I also enjoyed the reveal of Anthony proposing to his girlfriend, Yvonne, which I think will provide great comedic moments throughout the season due to its awkward nature.

While there were some solid moments, especially one-liners, I felt overall that this premiere was underwhelming, to the point where I wouldn’t know it was a premiere, had it not been pointed out to me through the ads leading up to it. I’m hoping improvement will show itself throughout the season.

 

 

Stray Observations:

-Mimi casually admitting to Lily that she and Anthony had casual sex, on the same couch that Lily was currently lying on.

-This episode had a bunch of great one-liners, which included:

  • “We didn’t need four weeks, we just needed you.” (Sasha to Lily on the disaster that was Eric quitting)
  • “You know I haven’t asked what’s going on there, but don’t think I don’t know something’s up.” (Simone to Lily on Lily and Jack’s relationship)
  • “It’s not that it didn’t mean anything, it’s that it meant too much.” (Lily to Pete on his declaration of love)
  • “Eric relax your face, you look like you’re having a prostate exam.” (Sasha)

-Delta Goodrem’s, Born to Try, is apparently old enough to be a karaoke song.

-Despite his eccentricities, Jeremy seems to be in Lily’s corner, hopefully it’s not the last we see of him.

 

 

Doctor Doctor–Season 2, Episode 2

Now that the premiere has come and gone, the season can really get underway.

The A story focusing on Ajax and Hayley was incredibly sweet and touching, as well as hilarious. Hayley struggling with her conflict between her religious beliefs and human desires was realistic, funny and true to her character. Both hers’ and Ajax’s reactions to their “first time” was hilarious, especially Hayley asking Charlie if they did in fact have sex.

The most interesting part of this story was Ajax seeking approval from Jim, Matt and Hugh on his decision to propose to Hayley and their subsequent reactions. Matt takes his marital issues out on him, Jim wholeheartedly (and sweetly) approves, and Hugh (or “other dad” as Ajax calls him) tries to discourage him more as a doctor than a father. True to his character, Ajax sticks to his guns and proposes in a very sweet and romantic manner, which in turn inspires Matt to let his marital issues go. I’m thankful that the writers made this decision, if their marital issues continued for the whole season, it would bore the viewers, in fact I was already bored with it, let the new season be new.

Meanwhile, the B story revolves around getting rid of Nora. The gang’s (Hugh, Betty, Ken and Mia) plan to hide the patients in a (sadly) unused section of the hospital and film her sexually harassing Ken, was funny, but also a little cliche. Nora threatening to expose Hugh’s and Penny’s involvement in Joey’s death to save her own skin would have been more shocking, if Joey’s death wasn’t referenced before the episode kicked off. That being said, it was a genius way for the writers to throw a spanner in the works.

The outcome of Nora being struck by lightning on the golf course and Ken rearranging the roster so Nora would ultimately be given a huge enough Workers Comp payment to be able to retire, was bizarre but also the most refreshingly unique character departure I’ve ever seen. Like with the Matt and Charlie subplot, if the Nora drama lasted the whole season it would bore the viewers.

Penny and Floyd’s appearances were brief, however it’s clear these brief appearances are to provide reasons and a transition for their eventual return to Whyhope.

Overall this episode was a solid springboard for the rest of the season with the conclusion of the Matt & Charlie, and Nora subplots, as well as Ajax and Hayley’s engagement. This episode was also a step up from the premiere.

 

Stray Observations:

Hospital Drama: The Racetrack accident and getting rid of Nora.

Dora sighting: Standing behind Ajax, outside the house, as he was proposing to Hayley.

Throwbacks to season one: Joey’s death and toxicology report.

-Best one liner: “People are complicated messy individuals, especially the interesting ones.” (Meryl)

-Second best one liner: “We’re trying to save her, right?” (Mia on Nora after the latter is struck by lightning).

-Ken clearly has some mojo as both Nora and Mia are attracted to him.

-The unused section of the hospital due to government funding being cut off, provides a sad but realistic insight into the harsh realities of medical care in regional areas.

 

Doctor Doctor–Season 2 Premiere

The purpose of a season premiere is similar to the purpose of a season finale. The season finale’s job is to conclude the season’s story arcs and set up potential new arcs for the next season. The season premiere’s job is to commence new story arcs for the new season and to follow up on the potential plots set up in the previous season’s finale. By this logic, this premiere did about half its job.

Usually when a season premiere kicks off, especially second and beyond, the writers make a choice for a period of time to pass in the fictional world to give themselves wriggle room to kick off new arcs. In this case, four weeks have passed, which I think is a sufficient amount of time. I liked the writers’ choice to kick off with Hugh visiting Floyd and Penny at Bondi rather than at Whyhope, as it’s a smooth continuation of the vague last five minutes of last year’s finale. I also liked the writers’ choice to have them in a “non-relationship”—their friendship has clearly improved, they clearly have feelings for each other, but are also clearly not ready to face it and are living in blissful denial.

I also liked the reveal of Hugh’s other reason for being in Sydney–his artificial heart being transplanted into a human for the first time–which provided a nice throwback to the previous season. I felt that Hugh’s sense of failure when the patient ultimately died was true to his character, however I didn’t feel that the artificial heart moments really added anything else to the episode as a whole.

Back in Whyhope, Meryl has become mayor by a mere 11 votes, or so we think. Meryl’s disdain at the smell and colour of the mayoral robes was true to her character, and so was the reveal that she has hidden boxes filled with ballots. While we are yet to find out the context behind the hiding of the ballots, which will make a great story arc, Hayley’s attempts to hide them and her subsequent issues with her conscience were both true to her character and hilarious. I know her choice to hide rather than burn the boxes will come back to haunt both her and Meryl at some point.

Matt and Charlie are still separated with Matt apparently hiding out at some mystery location. The reveal of him actually staying at the local motel was predictable, however the cliche was kind of prevented by Matt revealing that he was originally staying in another town before coming back home. I found Charlie’s clingy then hilarious attempts to get Matt to come home realistic, however the highlight of this subplot for me was that it didn’t totally work at first as Matt snuck in to make the beer. I felt that Matt’s choice to ask Charlie about the B&S Ball incident was forced and only put in place to add further conflict–a writing necessity sure, but it didn’t feel natural. I mentioned in my review of last year’s finale that I hoped the writing of their relationship would be sorted out this season. Based on this, I feel that there’s still some work to do but since it’s only the premiere, I’ll give it a pass for now.

Meanwhile at the hospital, Nora is making everyone’s lives hell, but to me the most interesting development in her character is the reveal that she is clearly an incompetent doctor. However the reasons behind her incompetence are clearly going to be this season’s biggest story arc. It will be interesting to see how her character develops as the season progresses. In the meantime, Aoife has departed for India. While I enjoyed Shalom Brune-Franklin’s performances last season, I feel that since the relationship between her and Hugh had run its course, that she really had no further purpose in the show, so it made sense that she was written out. I’m just hoping that the writers don’t take Hugh down the same path with her replacement, the green but strong Mia (Brittany Clark). That being said I appreciated that Aoife made an appearance via Skype to give her a proper goodbye and that her and Hugh are on good terms.

I enjoyed the brief reveal of Penny dating a resident at her hospital. This will add some nice, necessary but also cliche conflict to the Hugh-Penny non-relationship.

Overall this season premiere was solid, but not spectacular. Other than the Matt and Charlie subplot, the writing was concise with nice throwbacks to the previous season, and the acting superb. I’m looking forward to reviewing the rest of the season.

 

Stray Observations:

Hospital Drama: A woman giving birth not realising she was carrying triplets as it was “a bit hard to get into town” for ultrasounds.

Dora sighting: Near the dam where Charlie was making her “alluring” video for Matt.

-There was no explanation for the hilarious appearance of the ram in Hugh’s office.

Throwbacks to season one: Hugh’s artificial heart, Jim’s blood disorder, the pharmaceutical rep that has casual sex with Hugh, the reveal of Ajax being Hugh’s son, and the B&S Ball.

-Ajax is clearly the most perceptive in the family as he noticed Jim’s fatigue before his collapse at the wheel.

-Matt is clearly the stealthiest family member with his methods of both preventing Charlie from waking up and letting her know that he was there.

-I didn’t really like Nora’s sexual harassment of Ken and the fact that it was meant to be hilarious. If the roles or rather the genders in this situation were reversed, no-one would be finding it funny.