“The Irish are the niggers of Europe, lads. An’ Dubliners are the niggers of Ireland. The culchies have fuckin’ everythin’. An’ the northside Dubliners are the niggers o’ Dublin. Say it loud, I’m black an’ I’m proud.” Jimmy Rabbit – The Commitments, Roddy Doyle
Original Irish scripted drama has not travelled well. In fact it hasn’t stayed where it is well either on account of it being shite. An exception to this is Stuart Carolan‘s Love/Hate which mires us filthy and deep in the capital’s drug gangland, a place inhabited by unusually small men with unusually short tempers. Series one introduced us to the drug empire of John Boy Power (Aidan Gillen) a smart, ruthless coked up piece of shit running his operation with a combination of verbal abuse, summary beatings and some scandalisingly epic parties. Carrot and stick, his philosophy. His fuckwitted loose cannon stepbrother Hughie got himself killed and in series 2 the splits in the Power gang became faultlines. John Boy himself ended up fatally plugged by his own lieutenant Darren (Robert Sheehan), hopelessly outmanoeuvred as the hubris and coke piled up.
Now in series 3 Nidge (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) has taken over the reins. He wants an end to the gak-fuelled paranoia and backbiting of the John Boy years – an altogether more civil criminal conspiracy. He’s shit out of luck though as the Continuity IRA accidentally kneecap one of his dealers kicking off a chain reaction of lies, beatdowns, sexual violence and explosions that make the previous regime look like the Waltons. Goodnight, John Boy!
“Nidge is shit out of luck though as the Continuity IRA accidentally kneecap one of his dealers kicking off a chain reaction of lies, beatdowns, sexual violence and explosions that make the previous regime look like the Waltons.”
It’s an entertaining journey through Dublin’s mean streets among these tiny men, their nausey plus-ones and their idiotic self-destructive beefs. Every solution to a problem breeds about 50 more and there’s a palpable sense of everything spiralling out of control. And it must ever be thus. The Wire taught us that the game is rigged and that even the hardest fought victories are transitory – just meaningless baubles to collect on the way to your inevitable grisly end. That is sad enough but Love/Hate suggests home-grown Irish drama may actually have a future.
The verdict on Love/Hate Series 3: New Jackeen City.
Marks out of 10: 7.5