For one reason or another, Aerial Telly knows quite a few lesbians and he would like to say “what up?” to all his Sapphic friends. He feels at home among these reckless pum-pum chasers and digs the straight talk, literacy and sanity of their company. And, yes of course a few them have found their way into his boudoir and received the kind of taboo-mauling sexing they imagined was vouchsafed only to a most particular type of enlightened woman; the type of sexing Anaïs Nin was referring to when she said “that shit’s too intense for me”. So nobody is better qualified to discuss BBC Three‘s Lip Service, their new drama about a coven of twentysomething lesbians in the city of Glasgow. Seriously, I’m not fucking about now – nobody in girl-on-girl history can play with me on this.
So, who have we got? Frankie (Ruta Gedmintas), hot in that sullen Justine Frischmann way, is our touchstone blonde – damaged, sexually voracious and returning from the States for the funeral of the aunt who raised her. The girl has issues, chief among them Cat, the ex-girlfriend she dumped before running off to New York 3 years hence. Played by the absurdly beautiful Laura Fraser, architect Cat is uptight as all get out, the polar opposite of Frankie and you can only assume they had the same kind of odd couple relationship that Sporty Spice and Patsy Kensit had in that Bo Selecta sitcom. Cat is all a fluster at Frankie’s return and she resents her ex’s gadfly ways and she isn’t getting much bedroom action herself. When feckless meets fuckless it’s moider.
“Cat is all a fluster at Frankie’s return and she resents her ex’s gadfly ways and she isn’t getting much bedroom action herself. When feckless meets fuckless it’s moider.”
“Ed hasn’t let her being a lesbian quash his hopes and hope is all he takes to bed at night. He sees less sex than a Belle and Sebastian groupie.”
So there’s a history there and that’s a big pain in the quim because, as is often the case with sexual subcultures, the threads of their lives are annoyingly intertwined. Their mutual friend Tess (Pieona Button), a reasonably attractive scatty blonde, lives with Cat and is “best friends” with Cat’s brother Ed (James Anthony Pearson). Ed wants to put his cock in Tess very badly and hasn’t let her being a lesbian and him being a gimp shitsack quash his hopes and hope is all this chump takes to bed at night. He sees less sex than a Belle and Sebastian groupie.
Which just leaves all the more for Jay (Emun Elliott), architect buddy of Cat, confidante of Frankie and the closest thing to a man we’re going to get. Although technically faithful to his nause of a girlfriend Jay is something of a cooze hound and will clearly be falling off that particular wagon at some point.
“It’s a thankless task taking on the British L Word. Write too timid and you’re a sell-out; too strong and you’re a shock jock. Have characters too butch and you’re a caricaturist; have them too femme and you’re a soft porn fantasist.”
Lip Service is pretty decent and all – just don’t expect the Earth to move.
It’s a thankless task taking on the British L Word. Write too timid and you’re a sell-out; too strong and you’re a shock jock. Have characters too butch and you’re a caricaturist; have them too femme and you’re a soft porn fantasist, no better than David E Kelley when he had Ally McBeal lez up with Lucy Liu hosing her character down with his hot piss in the process, the shameless skunk.
This show doesn’t do that shit and for all its occasionally clunky dialogue, predictable storylines and contrived setups Frankie’s a charismatic focal point and it’s a pretty entertaining way to spend an hour. Incidentally, Laura Fraser’s assertion that men watching it for the sex scenes will be disappointed is touchingly naive. The pum-pum is fresh, y’ken.
The verdict on Lip Service: ‘Scuse me while I kiss this bi.
Marks out of 10: 7