This Life (reprise)
So I had a group activity last night (watched with a bunch of buddies, having seen the end of the last series on video - how last century, I know). It left a lot of questions unanswered - what happened to Miles' first wife? How did Ferdy die? Why wasn't there an apostrophe in the Writers Week (sic) poster at the British Library talk?
Criticisms? Well, Amy Jenkins hasn't had any serious success since she first conceived the original series (despite her fulsome wikipedia entry), and last night felt a little formulaic. Almost like she wrote a list; war in Iraq, ipods, fertility, yummy-mummy angst. So there was some of the old magic, and the script was pretty good... but you can't help wondering about the meta-ness of the whole thing.
At the time, I remember Amy Jenkins being censured to some degree for basically writing about her own friends sharing a London house, and when she came to write about other things, they apparently were not so critically acclaimed. And now, that's what Egg's doing; it's kinda like Amy's writing about herself, and Egg comes out all OK in the end, even though you don't totally know what his and Milly's relationship is really like.
The great characters were still there, but they've turned into caricatures; Anna is a desperate single; Warren is a hippy life coach; Miles is a failed hotelier ... Hobotel just sounds like Habbohotel for grownups, right? (not everything is entirely clear, like a lot of Amy's stuff, too many loose ends. She prides herself on being "plotless" in a modern way, but it's slightly unsatisfying).
Amy's clearly been reading Malcolm; I so recognised Anna's little monologue about some scientist who can tell how long couples will stay together from analysing fifteen minutes of conversation... and then a friend texted to remind me it's from Blink.
There's a great Telegraph piece (commenting on Tony Garnett's ground breaking direction), and the music (apparently selected by Ricky Gervais) is brilliant, spot-on. And there's a whole BBC microsite (which N last night described as midrash) where you can find out everything about everyone... like, did you know that Egg and Miles are best friends in real life and really were best men at each other's weddings?
Like all modern TV, it's a commentary on everything that's gone before; there's shades of Friends (opening shot in the fountain), Peter's Friends, Big Brother and every other celebrity thang... but for a brief moment I felt like it was ten years ago, and that may or may not be a good thing. Although, even though they're in a £7m mansion, they still all wander around in their pajamas like there's only one bathroom. Some things never change.