Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Kate’s death’

Last Tango in Halifax cast series 3 image credit Red Production Co., BBC

Last Tango in Halifax cast series 3
image credit Red Production Co/BBC Photographer – Ben Blackall

Don’t let the happy family photo above fool you. Last Tango in Halifax: Series Three was laden with tragedy, family clashes and secrets kept hidden away for years.

As you may or may not know, I wrote recaps for all the episodes from the most recent series for a PBS affiliate. According to comments we received on social media and the website for the channel, series three was notably polarizing. Some viewers felt it was the best series yet specifically praising the performance of Sarah Lancashire who plays Caroline.

However, complaints were many and varied. Therefore, I wanted to look at why this latest series rubbed folks the wrong way. In a nutshell, some of the main criticisms and pet peeves people expressed were as follows…

Editing of the British version by (or for) PBS: Some who have seen both the UK and US broadcasts were not pleased about what the American edits left out. Sexually suggestive scenes and shots of texts and notes that might have contained profanity were the most common things cut from episodes. Was PBS trying to be more family friendly (Last Tango did air in the 8 pm ET time slot) or were episodes just being trimmed for time? I don’t have the answer to that question, but some felt the network should be more forthcoming about the fact the installments were edited for US television and why.

 

Caroline (SARAH LANCASHIRE), Kate (NINA SOSANYA) image credit Red Productions, BBC

Caroline (SARAH LANCASHIRE), Kate (NINA SOSANYA)
image credit Red Productions, BBC

Kate’s death – The mother-to-be’s demise eliminated two of the few diverse elements of the show. Kate was the only person of color who was a cast regular. It also ended the only same sex relationship of the series.

 

 

Celia Buttershaw (ANNE REID image credit Red Productions, Photographer: Rachel Joseph

Celia Buttershaw (ANNE REID)   image credit Red Productions, Photographer: Rachel Joseph

Celia emerging unscathed after her bad behavior: Whether she was making snide remarks about her daughter’s sexual orientation and life partner or behaving like a spoiled child when she found out her new husband had had a one night stand decades before he married her, the first half of the series was punctuated with Celia’s brooding and self-pity. After the sudden loss of Kate, Celia’s unkindness is forgiven which is understandable in the circumstances perhaps, but we don’t really see her grow from the experience. She continues to assert she is broadminded, an example to her family and “the bigger person” but we know that’s never going to be the case.

 

Alan (DEREK JACOBI), Gary (RUPERT GRAVES) image credit Red Production Co., BBC

Alan (DEREK JACOBI), Gary (RUPERT GRAVES)
image credit Red Production Co., BBC

Gary’s paranoia and insecurity got on a lot of people’s nerves: Alan’s new-found son Gary seems perfect at first – handsome, wealthy, successful. But the family is soon concerned with his fixation on them. Gary throws his money and influence around to impress and win them over and sulks when they politely reject his excessive overtures. He’s easily agitated when things don’t go his way and has the bad habit of pestering his new family until they surrender to his will. How else do you think he got so far in business?

 

 

GILLIAN (Nicola Walker) and JOHN (Tony Gardner) image credit Red Production Co., BBC

GILLIAN (Nicola Walker) and JOHN (Tony Gardner)
image credit Red Production Co., BBC

Gillian’s slutty ways: In the course of this series, Gillian slept with three men that I can recall and she was only engaged to one of them at the time. An abusive marriage has made her cautious but economic factors have made a new union a virtual life-line. Gillian’s  constant attempts to sabotage her own happiness as punishment for what she did to her first husband, however, were getting a bit stale by the end of the series.

 

Tipping over the edge from drama into melodrama: This sentiment was repeated again and again. Last Tango in Halifax used to be a good quality drama/romance about an adorable old couple who found one another after fifty years and now it’s become a soap opera.

As I wrote up my recaps for this series, I too felt some of the same frustrations.  My biggest complaint concerned what I felt was excessive repetition. Must we hear the same bit of news or gossip passed on from one character to another three or four times per episode? This is the way we pass information among our friends and family in real life, but it makes for boring television.

I think the problem many fans had with series three was actually the degree to which the characters’ behaved in realistic ways. People say petty, thoughtless things to one another. They can have racist or other prejudicial attitudes. They don’t think they are deserving of happiness so they do things to prove their unworthiness. In the middle of chaos and grief, people forgive their loved ones when in normal conditions they might hold a grudge much longer.

Show creator Sally Wainwright has given viewers a world that is simultaneously authentic in its human interactions, but rather extreme in the number of  tumultuous situations in which the characters find themselves. I surmise that the people who really enjoyed this past series prefer their characters flawed and their lives full of uncertainty. Those who don’t, probably gave up on the show already or will not tune in when it returns for series four next year. I’m still not sure which camp I’m in at the moment, but I know I wish these characters well no matter whether I decide to return to Halifax or not.

 

Read Full Post »