Sando–Season 1, Episode 2 (Sorry)

Now that the pilot has established the premise and characters, we can get into subplots and story arcs.

Again the episode kicks off with another 90s-ish furniture ad featuring Sando, Don and the kids when they were younger. The ad is about a “don’t be sorry sale”, which fits the episode’s name and main theme, which I’ll get to.

Another theme of the episode is the mother-son relationship between Sando and Eric, especially with the first appearance of Vic Junior (Zane Ciarma), her son with Kevin. In the first few minutes of the episode, Eric is clinging to Sando in an unhealthy and creepy way, to the point where Sando kicks him out of the pool house, and the contrast between both Eric and Vic Junior, and the relationships that Sando has with the two of them are made explicitly clear when Vic Junior shows up at the house.

When Vic Junior shows up to the house, he comes across as obnoxious as he refers to his parents by their names, however he shows his intelligence as he points out to Susie that he didn’t do anything wrong and neither did she and that they were two innocent bystanders in the Sando-Kevin situation. Interestingly, after this interaction it is revealed to the viewers that Susie felt hostility towards Vic Junior and she herself admits that now she has met him she not only likes him, but likes him more than Eric. While Eric is immediately jealous of Vic Junior and Sando’s bond from the moment he shows up, especially when he witnesses their weekly ritual of watching Canterbury Bulldogs games whilst wearing personalised Bulldogs shirts.

Vic Junior is not the only character from the past that makes an appearance, Kevin makes a reappearance as well. With his reappearance it is revealed that he and Sando are not together and unlike Sando, he sincerely apologises to Susie and she in turn forgives him. Now that Susie has forgiven him and has met and likes Vic Junior, and she is starting to show some selfish qualities similar to Sando’s, it will be interesting to see where her character development goes over the course of the season.

I felt that the kidnapping jokes after Eric left Vic Junior at the movies fell a little flat, but was nevertheless written well as Eric’s decision to leave and then change his mind, and Vic Junior’s choice to call an Uber home and mess with Eric’s head was true to both their characters. Vic Junior said Eric would pay for his actions but doesn’t specify how, I’m looking forward to seeing their bond grow and if it doesn’t, how Vic Junior will get his revenge.

The end of the episode provided not slapstick comedy so much, but more of an outlandish joke with Sando making a film starring Sigrid Thornton to apologise to Susie. While I love Sigrid Thornton, I felt that this joke fell flat. That being said the film led to a significant moment between Susie and Sando, as Sando calls Susie out on her unwillingness to forgive her for her actions, especially as while they were unacceptable, they did provide Susie with the opportunity to find a man better suited to her. After this, there seems to be hope at the end of the episode of the start of a reconciliation only for Sando’s selfishness to get the better of her again, which brings her back to square one.

Overall this episode was an improvement on the pilot with increased character development and decreased slapstick comedic moments and outlandish jokes.

 

Stray Observations:

Running gags: “belt broken” as a reason/excuse to have sex, Don and Nicky having sex in confined spaces, and Don and Nicky using peanut butter while they have sex.

-Sando’s son is named Vic Junior, yet his father’s name is Kevin.

-Sando’s and Vic Junior’s laughs are identical.

Best one liners:

  • “I’m allergic to confrontation” (Gary).
  • “Not bad, I definitely heard some regret” (Gary to Susie on Sando’s attempt at apologising).
  • “I’ve got to do everything in this house! Answer the door, drink all the wine…” (Sando).
  • “Rivers, oceans, Don’s throbbing….” (Nicky to herself, trying to keep calm and focused).
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Sando–Pilot (Prodigal Mum)

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 did a good job.

The episode kicks off with a 90s-looking television ad of Sando’s–a discount furniture store, with the “package deal queen” and namesake, Vicki “Sando” Sandringham (Sacha Horler), with her family advertising the discounts on offer. We are then brought forward an unidentified number of years to the wedding of Sando’s oldest child, Susie (Krew Boylan) to Kevin (Firass Dirani). We are given a brief insight into how Sando’s fame has affected her as a person, and the background on the furniture business, before the reveal that Sando is pregnant with Kevin’s baby. Sando fails to comically explain away the affair when Kevin admits at the altar he’s in love with Sando and we then see Kevin kicked through the church doors by Susie, before Sando runs off and Susie rushes back to the catastrophe of her fallen-through wedding.

We are then brought forward 10 years into the future, to the present day, where we see a more current ad of Sando’s, albeit without her family. Sando’s have become successful, however Sando herself is still as immature as ever, deciding to throw a crazy EOFY party without a second thought, which leads to the CFO, Tony (Rob Carlton), revealing she has been thrown out of the company and her paid-for home.

Then the viewers are brought up-to-date with Susie’s life, which has changed mostly for the better, as she found love with husband, Gary (Uli Latukefu) and had a daughter, Rian (Sierra Lewis) however she is living with her father, Don (Phil Lloyd), and younger brother, Eric (Dylan Hesp) to save money as her online business is struggling.

Sando showing up at Rian’s birthday party on a horse and trying to make amends was hilarious, especially as it led to scenes which gave more of an insight into the family and their dynamic. Don can’t build a music career due to his only success amounting to the jingle he wrote for the furniture store and is having an affair with Susie’s best friend, Nicky (Adele Vuko), Eric is still a child, and Gary is working four jobs to support Susie’s business idea which isn’t going anywhere. Another insight into the family dynamic is provided when Susie and Sando’s conflict comes to a head at the birthday party when Eric reveals he told Sando about Susie’s business, and Susie tasers Sando.

Ultimately it’s Gary, the family in-law who doesn’t know Sando, who suggests she moves in to help them out, and here the premise of the show is set up.

Overall this pilot did a good job with establishing it’s premise and characters. While this pilot was packed with great one-liners, I’m not sure if the slapstick comedic moments such as Kevin being thrown through the church doors, the EOFY party, and Sando being tasered, really suit the show, I felt they were a little over the top.

I’m looking forward to reviewing the rest of the season and seeing where it goes.

 

Stray Observations:

-Susie allows her anti-vaxxer friends to bring their children to Rian’s birthday party on the condition that they stay in a pen. Susie display some new age qualities, but isn’t completely anti-western medicine.

-Sando’s furniture displaying skills are shown in the last five minutes of the episode when she manages to clean up the pool house that has been used as storage for years.

Best one liners:

  • “You’ve turned my beautiful boutique store into a bargain basement furniture whorehouse for bogans!” (Sando’s mother, Catherine to Sando).
  • He was all over me like a fat kid on a biscuit!” (Sando on her and Kevin’s sexual encounter which led to her pregnancy).
  • “We’re like fake tan on a bra–we’re everywhere!” (Sando to her colleagues on the store’s success).
  • “I’m the reason people run through those doors and blow their baby bonus on a flatscreen” (Sando to Tony).
  • “It’s not my fault that you’ve burnt every bridge you ever had with anyone who ever loved you!” (Tony to Sando).
  • “Stop using my life as a routine” (Gary to Eric).
  • “Vicki, what have I told you about showing up here on one of your redemption benders!?” (Don to Sando when she shows up at Rian’s birthday party on a horse).

 

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.

 

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)