Sometimes TV Is So Trashy Its Brilliant, And Funny
Every year in June, the BBC does something brilliantly wonderful, they take three pilot episodes, and air them, and the one that gets the most positive feedback both in the press and from viewers, they turn into a series. Now this is brilliant in the simple fact it almost guarantees them to hit a homerun with the following series, many have come from this I'm told, but the only one that sticks out in my head at the moment is Being Human's original pilot, which though alot different from the series that came from it, was the best pilot for 2007. One of this years contenders, is a twisted but at times hilariously funny and completely dark black comedy called Stanley Park. Set in Croydon, a south London suburb, in a fictional estate for which the show is named, it focuses on the interweaving lives of those who live thee, focusing on four teenagers who you are never really sure if they like each other, but their complete dysfunctionality is what keeps them friends, because deep down, they do truly need each other.
The story is narrated by our main character, as most of these sort of things go, she goes by the name "Dirty" Debbie, and well, Debbie is a mess. Its hard to tell from the start if Debbie is delusional or is so truly wrapped up in her own world that she can't see the truth right infront of her eyes. Debbie lives with her Aunt Pat in the estate of Stanley Park, and well, to say she acts and dresses like a complete slut would be an understatement. She writes insanely bad pornographic stories that all of her friends laugh at either to her face or behind her back, and is proud of the fact she makes and designs her own clothing, at one point making a joke about how no one can resist an outfit with two wonder bras sewn into it. She sees nothing wrong with her behavior, and truly believes that she is as hot as she claims she is. She also compares herself to Carrie Bradshaw from Sex In the City.
You also meet her friends, "Bent" Ben, the young man who everyone around him believes to be gay, but he claims not to be, though its very obvious that he is, his way fo speaking, his actions and movements, he claims that another girl they all know is his girlfriend, but everyone laughs this off. "Raggity" Anne is Ben's best friend, or his "beard" as Debbie calls her, (Beard is a term for a woman that a gay man is very close to that he also uses as an excuse not to tell people he's gay for those that don't know.) Anne is a shy, emotionally unstable girl who has alot of trouble fitting in, she feels that she is inviable, even among her friends, she is sort of dating Lee but not dating him until the actions of Debbie in the pilot episode ruin that. The final member of their group is Lee Stevens, a young man who is rather confused about his life and where exactly he is going in life, he is kind of dating but not dating Anne, until Debbie, intent on seducing his other brother decides on seducing him instead, simply because he is there at the time, and not his brother.
The rest of the cast is, Debbie's Aunt Pat, whom she lives with after her mother was hit by a truck leaving a dry cleaner's shop, Pat is a middle aged woman that keeps telling Debbie its alot better to just sleep around instead of having a steady boyfriend of loved one, Pat has a long distance relationship with a man in Albania but dates and sleeps around with out telling him about it, for she feels its none of his business or concern. Pat tends to lie about some of her dates to save face with Debbie and those around her. Others are The Stevens family, Lee's parents Julie and Rob Stevens, and Lee's older brother, Harry Stevens, whom Debbie is very smitten with, as well as Harry's fiancée Sadie, who sort of forced Harry into marrying her after she asked if they would get married one day and he says he thought they would, and she stands up and announces to everyone in the pizza place they're in they're going to be married, then claiming he "can't take it back on a technicality like not actually asking.", thus leaving Harry stuck and feeling unable to get out of it.
The cast is pretty well thought out, Holliday Grainger leads the cast as Debbie, I loved her earlier work that I've seen, she was Ruby on the series "Demons", and her recurring role on the series "Waterloo Road" not long ago was really good too. She plays Debbie with the right amount of clueless and sluttishly sexy and just enough confidence to be dangerous. Jennie Jacques, who I'd only really known from her role on "Desperate Romantics", plays a shockingly good Anne, at times you can't tell if you wanna hug her or cry with her or cut yourself with her, or maybe just start bitchslapping people. And newcomers Joe Cole and Richard Southgate as Lee and Ben both turn in good performances as well. Antonia Thomas as Sadie, Harry's soon to be wife, is a complete turn around from her other role of note as Alisha on the series "Misfits", where she plays a totally different role, which was a surprising find, but very welcome.
So I guess the big question is, would I like to see this as a series? Sure I'd love to see it continue, its both funny and meaningful at times, and though slightly formula at times, but you get that with all shows at some point or another. there is alot of promise and the chance to find a guilty pleasure series out of it all, so if you haven't seen Stanley Park yet, give it a look, the pilot's pretty easy to find on the net if you look for it, and it was really rather enjoyable over all. Its sort of like Shameless meets Skins meets Sex In The City, but with out the shame or depression that would come from watching Sex In the City, but don't let that get you down on it, seriously, its really worth a look...