Welcome back for Category #3: The Mince and Gary Award for Inane Comic Relief Storyline. Apologies for the extended absence – I had to go and buy a new awards dress in which to accommodate my new comedy breasts. Also, I’ve been struggling with this category, as EastEnders is such a desolate wasteland of misery most of the time that the comedy storylines get hoofed into the background and are over and done with before you know it. Why they can’t just hire Janice Dickinson to sit in the corner of the Vic passing loud crack-fuelled judgement on everyone I don’t know – that would be enough comedy to last me a lifetime. Anyway, here we go:
1. Ricky’s stag night
Oh, glory days. Why can’t they bring Ricky back? He was always there with a cheery word and a buffoonish expression on his face; losing spanners, incurring the wrath of Bianca and causing Frank to squeeze that bit of skin between his eyes eight times an episode. Mind you, I suppose they’ve got Gary now. Anyway: background. Rickaaay is about to marry screaming orange harpy Biancaaaaaar, and because nothing ever goes wrong in EastEnders, decides to have his stag party the night before. How wise!
Unsurprisingly, a great time was had by all until young Butcher woke up in a field in France the next day. Along with three men who anyone would want in a crisis – Phil, Grant and Nigel. Oh, what larks! Luckily, Nigel had taken GCSE French and asked a local peasant where they were (as far as I recall, Nigel’s French sounded rather similar to my dad’s on the legendary occasion where he got absolutely trolleyed in Paris and lost his hotel key; and then decided to sort out the whole fiasco by lurching up to the snooty receptionist and ask in ‘Allo ‘Allo style English: “Escooose me! Der yer ‘ave zer key?”). The peasant took pity and revealed that they were in fact in – wait for it – Kent. The day is saved! Although considering the fuss people in EastEnders make about going Up West or to the High Street, chances are that this fact caused more distress than finding out they were in St Malo or whatever.
2. Walford One Owed Freedom
Any canine who bites Ian Beale’s arse deserves a paw shake in my book. However, when this jolly event happened, thanks to the ever reliable comedy staple Wellard, Beale failed to see it that way and spent what seemed like weeks whining on about it and making his voice go all high pitched. When everyone failed to listen, or in fact care, Beale dug out his biggest Unreasonable Hat and decided that the only solution to keeping his butt bite-free was to have Wellard put down. “Nooooo!” cried the loyal audience. “He’s a much better actor than nearly everyone else on this soap!”
Luckily, the People’s Poet Gus Smith (new owner of said antisocial dog since Robbie took his acne to pastures new) and Newcomer In Need of a Storyline Deano Wicks were on the side of the viewing public, and started the unforgettable campaign WOOF, complete with T-shirts and everything. Beale got red faced and shouted, Gus banged on incessantly about dog rights, and in the end everything was resolved, as ever, by the sensible Jane, plus Peter and Lucy (aka The Woodentops). Also, in order to teach Beale that Dogs Have Feelings Too (Or Summink) they bought him his own dog, who has not been seen since.
3. Patrick and Jim, generally
I love it when EastEnders scriptwriters realize that there is so much moroseness abounding in the Square, and decide to lighten up life by getting Yolande or Dot to scamper off for three weeks to Jamaica/'to visit Michelle in Florida’ respectively, and Patrick and Jim to indulge in non stop boozing, betting and breaking of much-loved pottery products. ‘Hilarity ensues’, mostly involving Jim’s eye going wonkier and Patrick bellowing about plantains and rum at the top of his voice, until Yolande/Dot returns early and subjects them to a week of stupid punishments such as training for a marathon or manning the fruit stall. Oh, how we laugh.
And the winner is….(drumroll this week provided by Sean beating his head against the bar in protest at the lameness of this category’s nominations…)
Walford One Owed Freedom!
Well done, Wellard. Everyone knows dogs are funny. Dogs biting the hell out of Beale are even funnier, so props to you.
Next up: it’s bemused expressions at the ready for Category #4: The "Hang On, This Totally Doesn't Make Sense" Award. Which will hopefully be less of a Mick Fleetwood/Sam Fox type washout than this one.