Making the world a better place, one show at a time.

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I guess you would like to know a little bit about the person making all these proclamations upon good taste and horrid characters. I'm Andrea and when I was 15 I fell in love. An hour after meeting "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" I was forever altered in the way only love can, and I never questioned for one minute afterwards that television offered me an amazing chance to experience lives and moments that I could never imagine. So now, when I'm not getting distracted by my real life, I write about TV. I also read, am finishing a Master's degree in English Literature, travel, am attempting to learn vegan cooking, am the 5th of 6 children, and drive my roommate nuts by constantly cleaning our already clean apartment. Now that we're old friends, time for you to take my opinions as the be all and end all.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Weekend Fling: Monday Monday, Season 1

I'm going to have to rename my blog "What Andrea Watched When She Couldn't Sleep."

The combination of a nasty head cold and the emotional fall-out of some dear dear friends moving out of DC made sleep an impossibility the other night.  So good old Netflix rescued me with Monday Monday Season 1.

Okay, maybe rescued is too strong a word, because honestly, this show isn't fantastic.  It's not terrible, but I'm pretty sure if it were different circumstances I wouldn't have picked the ease of just clicking "next episode" until I finished and the sun came up.

Monday Monday is one of those workplace comedy/dramas and our main protagonist is the overworked and unappreciated Sally (Morven Christie), who just happens to be as romantically challenged as she is professionally stagnate.  In the employ of faltering supermarket chain Butterworths, Sally is the PA (personal assistant, I know that should go without saying, but it took me forever to figure it out, maybe the accents) to HR Manager Christine (Fay Ripley), a hardcore alcoholic.  The company is down on it's luck, with the recession and all, so the headquarters has just moved from London to Leeds, and despite the fact that her job is awful, Sally makes the move.  It might be that her fiancee has just called off their wedding.  To improve performance, the board has hired watchdog Aylson (Holly Aird), much to the chagrin of longtime head Roger (Peter Wight) and his faithful PA Jenny (Jenny Agutter).  Trying to give her new life a shot, Sally goes home with Steven (Tom Ellis), a nice fellow she meets in a bar, and as if throwing up in his shoes weren't humiliating enough, it turns out Steven is Alyson's PA, and secret boyfriend.

Things proceed pretty much as you'd expect: Alyson is so career driven she'll stop at nothing to cut the dead weight, but when her life circumstances change it might turn out that she has a heart after all; Christine abuses Sally relentlessly by forcing her to do all the work for the department while demanding constant reassurance of her worthiness before flitting in and out of rehab; Sally and Steven fall in love, but he just can't seem to get disentangled from that pesky affair with his boss.  There are a few surprises: Christine isn't keeping her job in the way that you'd expect; Roger has additional reasons for being suspicious of and resenting Alyson.  But by the end, mostly you just find out that these people are a lot less pleasant than the genial format and comfortable staging would like you to believe.

As a girl filled with shame and regret about the life choices that lead to her soul crushingly dead-end job and who hasn't even managed to bother to like a guy in the last 5 years, you would think I would really connect to a show like this, feel a deep empathy for Sally and her struggles.  And to an extent I did.  It is sad to see a basically decent person mired in mediocrity and humiliation.  I wanted better for Sally.  But then I just got mad about this stupid lie that TV is trying to tell women: just wait around at your crappy job because that really cute guy you happen to work with will eventually fall in love with you.  Uggg, enough.

So, aside from insomnia, is there any reason to watch Monday Monday?  The cast is pretty good.  They approach their characters (as limited or grating as those may be) in a straightforward and polished way: no one really changes all that much, but you easily believe that they are who they are.  And Tom Ellis really is quite handsome, so there's that in the plus column.  Miranda Hart (the amazing comedian who stars in the phenomenal show Miranda, (which also features Tom Ellis)) has a small part, playing the tall half of a PA team both named Karen.  Ms. Hart is an unending delight to watch; she is so distinct and remarkable, her humor both dry and slapstick, so even though she is a very minor character, she really brightens up the show.

Essentially, Monday Monday is a pass-the-time show.  Neither exceptional nor dreadful, it fills in the space that you aren't interested in filling with anything you care about.

The TV Girl

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