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Squinters–Season Finale (End of the Road)

So we’ve reached the season finale of Squinters.

We kick off the episode with Ned and Macca on their way to the civil suit mediation. Ned slightly reveals how wealthy he is through how much he makes through his app sales and Macca, wearing his wedding suit, reveals that he tried to commit suicide after finding out his wife has moved in with one of his mates.

Both Lukas and Miles’ morning and afternoon drives revolve around Audrey’s recent death and deciding what burial wish of hers to respect. While Paul is on his morning drive alone as Romi has moved up to the Gold Coast and Simoni constantly apologises to Talia during their morning drive. Bridget and Mia’s morning drive was interesting as Mia brutally broke up with Gary for Bridget, and both Bridget and Mia reveal to each other that they might be pregnant.

In regards to the afternoon drives home, Lukas talks to Davis about the reveal that the Kosciuszko Distribution Centre has been bought out by a U.S. Hedge Fund. Lukas is actually calm due to the fact that he took a $300,000 redundancy pay out and only had to pay Macca $10,000 in the civil suit. Lukas ends up asking Davis out and accepts, so he gets his happily ever after. Ned and Macca’s afternoon drive home also revolves around the outcome of the civil suit, which Macca is happy about, as well as the reveal of the Centre being bought out. Macca also apologises to Ned for giving him the wedgie that led to his testicle removal.

Simoni and Talia’s afternoon drive home misleads the viewers slightly, making us believe that they managed to return the virgin hair albeit under pressure, only for Talia to reveal that they never returned it. While Bridget and Mia’s afternoon drive home reveals that while Mia is not pregnant, Bridget is, and then Mia informs Bridget that she’s out of a job. While Paul’s drive home is diverted to the airport to supposedly pick up a prisoner, only for it to be Romi surprising him with the news she quit her job to give their relationship a shot. While I found this to be cliche, it was also the best outcome as they got their happily ever after and it would disappoint the viewers if they didn’t.

The episode and the season ends with all of the characters embracing the happiness they found, without worrying too much about the future, with the last moments showing the Kosciuszko Distribution Centre sign being taken down. This moment can be interpreted as providing potential for the next season (if there is another one) or that it marks the end of the show in a subtle way.

Overall I enjoyed watching Squinters, the characters weren’t really relatable but they were fun and easy to get to know. The writers’ choice to have the premise be on the characters’ commute to work rather than showing their actual day at work was a unique one that I believe paid off reasonably well. I believe the choice to make it a 20-30 minute show instead of the typical one hour show was a good one as focusing on people in cars for an hour would grow tired.

I’m hoping there’s another season, however there isn’t, this finale provided a good, well-rounded end to the show.

 

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Squinters–Season 1, Episode 5 (Crossroads)

This episode was different.

For starters, we have Lukas and Miles on their morning car ride, however Miles isn’t in the car for whole journey, Lukas ends his morning journey by talking to Davis about Barney going MIA. Romi is driving instead of Paul, Talia is driving instead of Simoni and Miranda has tagged along again, and a forklift driver by the name of Gav is tagging along with Ned and Macca. The morning car rides aren’t really all that exciting, with the exception of the reveals that Paul and Romi hooked up, Simoni used Talia’s pass code to steal the virgin hair, and Macca got promoted.

The afternoon car rides were much more revealing. During his afternoon drive, Lukas informs Davis that he found Barney and had him desexed, and the viewers sees Davis for the first time via an accidental FaceTime call. Meanwhile during Talia and Simoni’s drive home, Talia reveals that she knew that Simoni stole the virgin hair, and Macca reveals to Ned on their drive home that Jess left him. While on Bridget and Mia’s drive home, Mia reveals that Vijay broke up with her via a badly written poem, which inspires Bridget to do the same to Gary.

The episode ends with Romi revealing to Paul that she has accepted her dream job offer on the Gold Coast, hence the episode’s title.

Overall this episode started slow but ended on a high note with many character and subplot developing reveals, I’m looking forward to seeing what the next episode, the season finale, will bring.

 

Best one liners:

  • “Do you think I live in ’80’s porno?” (Paul to Romi on her perception of delivery driving).
  • “I’m saving my P’s money to go to New York!” (Miranda to Simoni and Talia on why she doesn’t have a licence).
  • “Testicles are a garnish” (Lukas to Barney after having him desexed).

 

Squinters–Season 1, Episode 4 (Road to Nowhere)

This episode revisits the previous episodes and briefly sets up a subplot for Simoni.

The episode kicks off with Lukas driving his mother, Audrey, to the doctor. Audrey brings up her death and what to do with her remains again, this time suggesting the cheaper option of having her body preserved in a glacier in the Andes. She also brings up the civil suit, asking if Miles is representing him and he will be.

I was disappointed that the writers decided to go with the “I don’t remember because I was drunk” cliche with Paul and Romi. Their morning car ride consists of them discussing what happened at the after works drinks function and Paul eventually bringing up the kiss, which makes things awkward between them, however the awkwardness isn’t fully explored until the afternoon car ride, which I’ll get to.

Simoni and Talia’s morning car ride consisted of talking about their Yoga wine bar and digestive health, with the rather odd reveal that Simoni would get belted for farting when she was growing up. Talia also mentioned that the Centre’s stocks have plummeted and stock take is coming up.

During Ned and Macca’s morning car ride, Macca reveals that he has slept with one woman and has realised that he loves his wife and wants a monogamous marriage. He also reveals that his wife agreed to it and they are actually having a “re-commitment” ceremony. Ned offers to be his best man, which Macca shuts down until he receives harsh declines from his “friends”.

Bridget and Mia’s morning car ride consists of making a list of no-pros and heaps-of-cons on Gary. Mia also displays songwriting and singing talent when she practices her singing for Bridget.

The afternoon car rides kick off with Lukas talking to Davis on the phone again about his “break up” with Eric, with Davis suggesting, just like Audrey, that Lukas get Barney desexed. Davis also admits that he views Lukas as a friend, which Lukas is touched by, maybe a romance is on the cards.

Ned and Macca have a fight during their afternoon car ride about Macca’s intelligence, when he reveals he wants to impress the management staff at the annual warehouse quiz, after his previous attempts to apply for a management position have failed.

During Bridget and Mia’s car ride home, it’s revealed that Bridget read Mia’s online diary and found out that Mia’s no longer a virgin. What’s interesting is that Bridget isn’t so much bothered by the fact that Mia is no longer a virgin but that she is having more sex than her. It’s also revealed that Mia won the school singing contest.

The most interesting afternoon car ride is Simoni and Talia’s, especially with Miranda (Miranda Tapsell) from dispatch tagging along in the back seat as her alternator died. During this car ride it’s revealed that someone stole the $24,000 virgin hair mentioned by Talia in the previous episode. It’s obvious that Simoni stole it, however whether she stole it to get revenge on Talia getting the supervisor position or if she just needs the money, hasn’t been established. I’m looking forward to seeing the ramifications of this play out in a later episode.

The episode ends with Romi and Paul’s afternoon car ride, where Romi tells Paul that she will be carpooling with Rachelle. Romi is obviously doing this to avoid Paul, which Paul partially calls her out on as he admits that he may have made a mistake in bringing the kiss up. He then admits to Romi that he doesn’t really like his job or click with his co-workers and his favourite part of the day is “talking shit” with her. It is then Romi asks Paul to hang out with her at her place, which shows development in their friendship and the romantic subplot.

Overall this was another solid episode, especially with the developments of both the Paul and Romi, and Simoni subplots.

Squinters–Season 1, Episode 3 (King of the Road)

I mentioned in my previous review that once a pilot has aired and established the premise and characters, a show can move on to establishing subplots. The previous episode established a subplot for Ned, Macca and Lukas when Lukas hit Macca with his car and subsequently went to court. This episode established a subplot for Paul and Romi.

This time, the episode kicks off with Ned and Macca, with Macca revealing that his wife, Jess, loved the open marriage idea and ended up having a sexual rampage over the weekend while Macca didn’t. Their morning car ride pretty much consisted of Macca going over the ground rules he set for his open marriage, the most hilarious being that they can’t sleep with Roosters supporters. Lukas’ morning car ride wasn’t all that thrilling, as he was going to work on his own for the first time but did have interaction with the employee counsellor, Davis, over the phone. Interestingly the civil suit wasn’t mentioned in neither Lukas’ or Macca’s drive to work or throughout the episode. This made me wonder if the writers decided to abandon this subplot or revisit it in a later episode.

Simoni and Talia’s morning car ride pretty much just consisted of them briefly discussing Talia’s supervising skills. Whilst Bridget and Mia’s car ride marked the first appearance of Bridget’s love interest, Gary (Wayne Blair). I found Gary and Bridget’s banter natural and hilarious, if not slightly cringeworthy and I hope we see more of Gary. What I found interesting was Mia’s hostility towards Gary wasn’t entirely malicious and it will be interesting to see how their relationship, if you will, progresses. Interestingly, Vijay didn’t make an appearance in this episode.

Paul and Romi’s morning car ride followed up on Romi setting Paul up with her “friend of a friend of a friend”, Carly. While the date was awful, the drunken paralympian chaos sounded fun and hilarious.

The afternoon car rides mostly revolved around the reveal that the CEO of the Kosciuszko Distribution Centre was given a massive payout and has left the company. In Ned and Macca’s afternoon car ride, Macca reveals how he truly feels about his life and that he use to work for the SAS, showing that Macca is stronger and more intelligent than he makes out to be. Ned also reveals when Macca falls asleep that he seems to be having troubles in his own marriage, however he doesn’t make it clear exactly what these troubles are.

In Lukas’ afternoon car ride, he is once again on the phone with Davis, where Davis reveals to him that due to the CEO being paid out, the offer of redundancy can be retracted, which makes him reconsider. Another interesting element to Lukas’ car ride is that he actually opens up to Davis about his unhealthy friends with benefits relationship he has with the unseen Eric. Whether Lukas is in denial or completely oblivious of this unhealthy pattern, which Davis points out to him, hasn’t been made clear.

This episode also marks the first time that the after work car rides extend beyond the 5pm commute when Paul takes a drunken Romi home after their work drinks function. Romi reveals that she was once married and her husband cheated on her and she kisses Paul. After the kiss, thinking Romi has passed out, Paul reveals that he only gave her a flyer for the carpool and Romi admits that she knew it was a fake carpool, which is where the episode ends. It will be interesting to see the ramifications of this moment in the remaining episodes, I’m hoping they won’t go with the “I don’t remember because I was drunk” cliche.

Overall this was a solid episode, especially with the developing romantic subplot between Paul and Romi. It will be interesting to see where the rest of the season goes now that we’ve reached the halfway point.

Squinters–Season 1, Episode 2 (Rocky Road)

This episode provided a smooth transition from the pilot–establishing the premise and characters–to developing subplots.

The episode kicks off with Lukas, this time in the car with his barrister brother, Miles, on their way to court to deal with the ramifications of Lukas hitting Macca. Their moments together pretty much summed up their sibling relationship–close when they were younger, having drifted apart at some point, with Miles becoming more successful in his career rubbing that fact in Lukas’ face, however he clearly loves him as he is willing to help him out for free.

Next we go to Ned and Macca, where we see Macca in a neck brace with bruises with Ned driving him to court. Macca yelling out compliments to women and pointing out how politically correct society has become simultaneously, was hilarious and a highlight of the episode. While all the characters have their place of work in common, Lukas, Ned and Macca going to court marks the first time that some of the characters actually interact with each other, albeit off screen.

Separate to the Macca and Lukas subplot, next we go to Simoni and Talia, with Simoni asking for intel on the employees she’s supervising. After this, we go to to Bridget and Mia, with Mia once again giving Bridget dating advice, which isn’t that helpful but leads to a great comedic moment when Gary calls. While Paul paints Romi a portrait after he notices that it’s her birthday on Facebook, only for it not to be the case. While Paul is meant to be a pathetic and slightly creepy character, it was interesting to see more of a natural interaction and a friendship develop between the two of them.

At the end of the day, we find out that Lukas won his criminal case, walking away with only having to pay a $300 fine, however his victory is short lived when he learns from Miles via phone that he might not win a civil suit. While Macca informs Ned that he could sue Lukas, and that he cheated on his wife whilst he was at work, which I believe will lead to ramifications later. Bridget is worried about her Brazilian waxing gone awry and Talia reveals that Amazon may take over the Kosciuszko Distribution Centre, as she takes selfies with her Polaroid camera.

Overall this episode made a good transition from a pilot to an episode starting to develop subplots. The choice to develop a subplot with Lukas, Ned and Macca was a good one considering how the pilot ended, it will be interesting to see what subplots will be developed for the other characters.

 

 

Best one liners:

  • “Guess the blood alcohol content!” (Macca to Ned on his new “game”).
  • “Greek sex pest” (Miles describing Lukas after seeing him for the first time in five years).
  • “Massive ideas thief” (Simoni to Talia).
  • “If you want to go on his Facebook, just stalk” (Mia to Bridget).
  • “Nice to meet you baggage!” (Gary to Mia on the phone after Bridget makes a remark that men view children as dating baggage not knowing Gary was still on the line).
  • “I could be your cuddle pimp” (Paul to Romi as she is discussing becoming a cuddle therapist if she loses her job).
  • “I don’t have time for your garage metaphors” (Miles to Lukas)

 

 

Squinters–Pilot (Hit the Road)

The job of a pilot is to establish a show’s premise and characters, and set up story arcs for the season, I felt that this pilot pulled this off beautifully.

The premise of the show was established within the first ten seconds of the episode by displaying the dictionary definition of Squinters–“person who commutes to work…squinting into the rising sun in the morning and again into the setting sun in the evening.” Displaying this definition literally spells out the premise for those unfamiliar with the term and is the easiest way of kicking off the pilot.

The show so far revolves around ten main characters who are paired up by the car that they travel to and from work in, with the common thread being their place of work—the Kosciuszko Distribution Centre.

We kick off with Lukas (Sam Simmons) in Sales on his way to work with his mum, Audrey (Jacki Weaver). We find out in the morning car ride that he is gay, a dog breeder, believes he is up for a promotion, and that Audrey apparently wants to be “heated and turned into a diamond” when she dies so Lukas can wear her. While I found that the odd and slightly overbearing mother stereotype is overplayed and cliche, the relationship did feel slightly realistic and the chemistry between Simmons and Weaver was believable. Not to mention Weaver had great one-liners. Interestingly, during his drive home, we find out that Lukas was not promoted but made redundant and his mother does not accompany him during his drive home.

We then move on to Paul (Tim Minchin), a courier, giving Romi (Andrea Demetriades) in Marketing, a ride to work. Again another cliche is at play, with the unrequited crush that Paul has on Romi, to the point where he clearly thought a fake carpool club would be the perfect opportunity to get to know her and win her over, and of course Romi is oblivious to the whole thing. That being said I did enjoy their debate on white vans and psychos, and their awkward conversation on the way home about dating where it’s revealed that Paul is a painter.

Next we have Ned (Steen Raskopoulos) in I.T. and Macca (Justin Rosniak), a forklift driver, who use to go to school together. Ned is driving Macca to work due to the latter’s recent DUI charge. Macca is by far the most hilarious character and is obviously the show’s comic relief, especially with his first comedic moment consisting of getting high off a water bottle bong. The morning drive reveals that Macca was Ned’s school bully, while the evening drive has Macca reveal that he and his wife are trying to have children, which leads to him having a panic attack over how his life turned out, which then results in him getting out of Ned’s car and running away.

We then move on to Bridget (Mandy McElhinney), a wrapper, driving her older daughter, Mia (Jenna Owen) to school with a younger unnamed daughter in the back seat. On the morning drive, Bridget is trying to persuade Mia to think about her future so she doesn’t end up like her, while Mia tries to change the subject by reading her mother’s texts from a mystery lover. On the evening drive, Bridget is also driving Mia’s boyfriend, Vijay (John Luc) home.

The last pair we are introduced to are Simoni (Susie Youssef), in Dispatch driving her unemployed room mate, Talia (Rose Matafeo), to a job interview at the company and making sure she is ready for the interview, while vaguely talking about their dream of opening a “yoga wine bar”. On the evening drive it’s revealed that Talia not only got a job, but her job is area supervisor which means she is Simoni’s superior. While Simoni doing a practice interview for Talia on the morning drive was great, the evening drive home was better as a solid conflict was established through the rug being ripped under Simoni’s feet by Talia’s new position, as she realises she may not be as talented or superior as she previously believed and implied to Talia at the start of the day.

While the episode alternates between each pair and none of them interact with each other à la Love Actually, the episode ends with Lukas hitting Macca with his car, which may be a sign that the pairs will interact with each other at some point.

The most interesting aspect about this pilot and the show is that it’s not a “day in the life of” rather we see and learn about the characters at the start and end of their days. We don’t see any of the daily dramas they have to deal with, rather we are told about them, therefore the overall story reverts the classic writing rule, and tells and instead of shows. That being said that doesn’t mean that the episode lacked nuances or “read between the lines” moments, these were present in particular with the interactions between Macca and Ned, Paul and Romi, and Simoni and Talia.

Overall this was a solid pilot with a promising premise, however some of its aforementioned cliches (Weaver’s character and Paul’s crush on Romi) did undermine it a little. I’m looking forward to reviewing the following five episodes.

 

Best one liners:

  • “Every silver cloud has a black lining” (Audrey).
  • “I know what Barney’s farts smell like mum!” (Lukas to Audrey)
  • “Why do people always say white vans are creepy?” (Paul to Romi)
  • “I think correct spelling and grammar are a turn on” (Bridget talking about her mystery lover’s correct spelling and grammar in his texts).
  • “Cold nads make lads!” (Macca to Ned on why he isn’t wearing pants on the evening drive).