Gavin & Stacey: The new Terry & June?

There was a pleasing amount of Dawn in this episode, as it centred round her renewal of vows with the grimly awful Pete. The more Dawn the better, though this was another episode which felt strained, as everyone was forced together in biblically unnatural circumstances.  Even the characters acknowledged this, Dave Coaches saying, ‘I don’t know why they’ve invited me’. Because the writers don’t have the courage of their convictions, Dave. They think they’ve got to have everyone into the same room. But they really don’t need to: one of the best things so far this series was Smithy’s reaction on receiving a text from Nessa.  Jones and Corden are like your decrepit old uncle, the one who refuses to use email or even the phone because face-to-face is so much better. But, as you keep telling your uncle, there are lots of methods of communications these days. Gavin & Stacey would benefit hugely from a bit of imagination in getting the main protagonists to connect without them having to be actually in the same physical place.

There were a few gems to enjoy this week, in addition to Dawn’s wonderful facial expressions. Smithy’s mother, failing to take charge of her two terrible kids; Ruth on her heelies; and Smithy in a suit – good lord, he was almost handsome, in an outsize department sort of way. Mick, when he saw Pete’s bling ring and said, ‘Whodya think though you are, Puff Daddy?’  Mind you, I love every second Mick is on screen, and would happily pay to watch him reading his Visa bill. If that doesn’t sound too weird. Was I the only one who actually liked Pete’s gangsta ring? I thought it gave him a bit of much-needed bit of dash.

But the terrible pregnancy storyline was embarrassingly underwritten. It was completely obvious from the word go that the lack of sproglet would be Gav’s fault, purely because Gavin and Stacey – unbelievably – didn’t consider that possibility. They both assumed it would be Stacey, which meant the whole story just tumbled headlong in pursuit of the incredibly boring, seen it a million times before pay-off , of hearing that Gav had a low sperm count. I was suddenly transported back to watching a shit 70’s canned laughter sitcom, accompanied by a twinge of anxiety that I hadn’t finished my homework.

Also disappointing was the personality change of the lovely Dave Coaches, from gentle and solicitous to mean and selfish. All done, presumably, to make more of a black and white distinction between him and Smithy, thus freeing up Nessa to choose Smithy over Dave. But this crassly ignores the interesting dynamic between the three of them, and the fact that they have all been, till now, complex characters: sometimes nice, sometimes not so nice. I don’t want Dave to be a baddie just so the other two get together by default. I want Dave to be considerate, as he was, so that if Nessa chooses him we can see why, and if she chooses Smithy we can believe that there must be a true bond between them.

Still, it was almost worth sitting through this tired and complacent writing to get to the last scene, in which Smithy told Dave that he and Nessa had recently woken up in bed together. Everyone’s face was a picture: Nessa’s when she realised she’d been outed, Dave’s when he realised she’d been unfaithful, and Smithy’s, when he realised he’d pushed it all just a little bit too far. More of this, please, and less of the sort of stuff I last saw when there were only three channels and Ab Fab was but a twinkle in June Whitfield’s eye.

Posted by Qwerty

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Gavin & Stacey: The new Terry & June?

  1. inkface

    Since it’s Christmas Eve, it seems timely to say that I agree completely about predictable, badly constructed and frankly implausible pregnancy storylines!

    Merry Christmas one and all…

  2. Qwerty

    Too right Inky, though Gavin & Stacey is so hackneyed, it makes the nativity story look feasible.