Anyone concerned that last week’s opener was a little below par – and there, sadly, was a buzz that suggested this to be the general consensus – will hopefully be more satisfied with episode 2, which had far more belly-laugh moments, less scene-setting and plot catch-up, and loads more of the juicy, well-developed situation comedy that we’ve loved about this series for the last two years.
There was no formal family event this week; nobody was proposing, marrying or in labour. There was a get-together, of course, but it was just a curry night in Essex followed by a proposed round of golf that looked like it would never happen given the quantity of booze consumed the night before. No frills.
The Wales contingent – minus Dave Coaches, for once – piled in the car up to Essex, arriving late enough for Pam, Mick, Dawn and Pete to be already well on their way to completely plastered: “I’m not drunk drunk, but I have had some wines,” slurred Pam on their arrival.
The ordering of the curry was perhaps the funniest scene of any comedy this year. It was so dragged out, so believably confusing and absurd, with Mick trying to keep up with all the yelled-out requests from both the bunch in the house and from those in the car, on the line via Nessa. “Can I have a korma? Is a korma borin’? Gav, will you laugh at me if I have a korma?” panicked Stacey, while Nessa, ever militant in her approach to life’s little irritations, asked,”Oh, Mick, what’s the situation with papadoms, bhajis, nans?” before ringing off with “I get the picture. You’re boring me now.”
Very late in the whole curry ordering mayhem, just when you thought the action must surely be moving onto something else now, entered Smithy, who tipped the scene from funny to hilarious with his tirade against the tendency for families to think it’s acceptable to order loads of curry dishes and share them out. Who knew this was such a point of contention? In Smithy’s world – and Nessa’s, it transpired later – one orders one’s own dish and eats it in its entirety.
Ah, bless, nice that they have something in common, isn’t it? The script is definitely building up the picture of these two as a potential couple, beyond just the physical attraction that they generally can’t resist whenever they see each other. Yes, this episode did end with them in bed together. Of course it did. Much booze was drunk and many dance moves made an appearance, and there was nobody sober enough to keep Nessa and Smithy in check as they swung inevitably from dance floor to bedroom.
Stacey, of course, wasn’t drinking, so she could have been a bit more useful. But, what with being crazily preoccupied with pregnancy plans, leading to all sorts of madness including trying to sneak in a session with Gav in the downstairs toilet as soon as they arrived at the Essex house, she couldn’t have cared less what was occurrin’ in Nessa’s world.
Everybody cared as soon as the morning after rolled painfully around, though, with a relay of texts from Gav to Stace to Ness to Smithy, sharing in the awkward news. It was a brilliantly silent – but for text message beeps – and slow scene that contrasted perfectly with the curry- and booze-based mayhem of the prior 20 minutes.
As the realisation dawned and the credits rolled, it was clear that Nessa and Smithy have a situation on their hands that is anything but tidy.
Read our review of the season opener here.