After watching the first episode of Love Life I wasn’t really taken with the characters of Joe and Lucy it was nothing to do with actors Rob James-Collier or Andrea Lowe but rather a fault with the creation of these two characters. I think this second episode was an improvement in terms of character development, however some of the dialogue was just a little random such as Lucy’s observation that all babies look like Ant or Dec. Lucy has now given birth to Arthur the baby that was a result of the affair that she had with her boss Dominic, however her layabout father has had all the furniture in his flat repossessed and an eviction isn’t far behind.
Joe offers the use of the static caravan belonging to his brother, who is possibly the most genuine character in the show having given Joe both a place to stay and a job, and Lucy goes a bit mental over the beautiful nature of her new abode, demonstrating to us that she is an emotional wreck. I have to say that Love Life really doesn’t endear itself to any woman who’s ever given birth, as Lucy claims that having a baby turns you into a pathetic, needy sponge.
I have to say though I’m still not wholly invested in Joe and Lucy’s will-they-won’t-they relationship as there is a lack of chemistry between James-Collier and Lowe. While I can believe a friendship between them, the suggestion that they might resume a romantic relationship is something that I find quite unbelievable. So when she claims that she wants a man, not a little boy and he retorts that he would like a woman who doesn’t have a baby with a married man straight after they’ve split up I wanted them both to find these people. Another roadblock in Joe and Lucy’s relationship presented itself this week in the form of Naomi Bentley’s Alex, who was one of Joe’s travelling buddies during his Everest excursion. Alex had and still has the hots for Joe and wants him to join her on her trip down Lake Titicaca and that’s not a euphemism. If I were Joe I wouldn’t hesitate and would be getting my vaccinations right after the offer was made however instead he went to spend more time with Lucy in the leaky caravan.
My other hope after watching last week was that Alexander Armstrong’s Dominic and his wife Penny – played by Sophie Thompson – would have a more major part to play and thankfully they did. With the revelation now out in the open, it was up to Dom to decide whether to do the right thing by the mother of his child, or stay loyal to his wife – somebody who herself has always wanted to be a mother. A nice little device employed here was the use of small montages to illustrate the characters thoughts on their situations and in Dominic’s case his recollection of events meant that he got really angry and smashed all the tiles in his lovely little tile shop. Not to be outdone Penny went a bit mental as well crashing the couple’s car into a cemetery, after her husband told her the truth and then having a mini breakdown by the gravestones. This was another great little performance from Sophie Thompson, as we saw more elements to Penny with the introduction of her well-meaning mother played by Sorcha Cusack. After the briefest of brief separations Dom and Penny reconciled at the police station after they’d given a statement regarding the cemetery accident. The tone then shifted once again with Penny becoming convinced that Dominic had rights to look after his child and discovering that Lucy was homeless meant that she had a way of finally getting a baby. I feel this turned the slightly emotionally distraught Penny into another version of Stella the psychotic lawyer that Thompson portrayed while on Eastenders and for me at least it didn’t feel quite right. What I did like however was the fact that Lucy and Dominic were kept apart until the final scene of this episode in which he informed of his wife’s intentions.
Two episodes in and I still feel a little disappointed by Love Life, as every time they do something I like they then spoil it by adding something unnecessary into the mix. For example they slotted in a mini storyline in which the policeman who’d come to take Dominic to the station fell for the girl that he was interviewing for a possible work placement at his tile store. For me this added nothing to proceedings and unless it slots in somehow with the final storyline next week then it should’ve been cut out. As I previously mentioned Joe and Lucy are growing on me but at times I’m still finding them very self-involved especially Joe when he barks at his family, who are the same ones that are currently housing him and his ex-girlfriend. While Dom and Penny are still great characters, or at least have great actors playing them, the direction that the final episode will go in is one that I don’t find particularly pleasing. A custody battle and a possible elopement are not things that I would associate with your average romcom and if Joe isn’t going to take her up on the offer then I may well join Alex in Brazil rather than watch the final episode in what has so far been a lukewarm comedy drama.
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