Lip Service

Lesbian!

Are you shocked by that word? Does it make you chortle like an amused schoolboy? Are you currently tittering like Frankie Howerd at the very thought that two ladies might…well….you know.

If so, then you’re Lip Service’s ideal viewer. It tried so hard to be daring and feisty, showing ladies doing …you know… variously:

• During a photo shoot despite being (improbably) interrupted by a phone call about a dead aunt
• In a funeral parlour
• In a bed…while an ex-girlfriend hides underneath! OMG, etc.

…however, if you are amongst the high percentage of people who accept that sometimes ladies like to sleep together, it wasn’t particularly shocking or exciting at all.  Quite the opposite, in fact.

Part of the problem seemed to be that Lip Service doesn’t really have an identity of its own. Not yet, anyway. It was too busy trying to be the L Word: the iconic US import set in West Hollywood, so popular that it’s become pretty much the official Church of Lesbianity, with Shane (Kate Moennig) as a sort of Lesbian Pope.

The episode even started off in the US – in New York to be precise – where ‘Shane off of The L Word’ lookalike Frankie was taking photographs of a lady who, despite being engaged and about to be married to a chap, was instantly seduced by Frankie’s immortal words: ‘So, how long have you been into women then?’

‘I’m not’, says the model, before almost instantly flinging her pants (and heterosexuality) to the wind and getting jiggy with Frankie. Mid jig- they’re interrupted by the aforementioned ‘your aunt who brought you up is dead’ notification, but Frankie barely bats an eyelid before returning to the action.

I tend to find the deaths of close relatives to be a bit of a turnoff, myself. But maybe I’m just odd.

That was pretty much it for my suspension of disbelief: even the hardest, most unfeeling person in the world would stop for a bit to take in the news and have a little cry about the transient nature of life for, say, five or six minutes before getting back to the bonking. For a minute, I thought it was parodying itself, but unfortunately I don’t think it’s quite that clever.

The dead aunt brings Frankie back to Glasgow, which in Lip Service looks improbably cool and glamorous rather than, say, full of disabled pigeons pecking at discarded sausage rolls. There, she stalks her ex, Cat, a startlingly pale, small, ruby-red lipped lady who looks like the lovechild of Snow White and one of the Dwarves. Possibly Tetchy. Was Tetchy a dwarf?

It was all terribly predictable, with lines like “You just thought you’d waltz back in here and everything would be OK? Well it’s not,” which rates about 8 on the cliché-o-meter, just behind “which part of ‘no’ don’t you understand?”

I found it a real shame, to be honest, as I’ve been looking forward to this for ages and was expecting something a bit new and interesting. As a Scotland-based ladybotherer myself, I was intrigued by the fact it was set in Glasgow and thought it might be a realistic depiction of Scottish lesbian life.

But instead what we got was a virtual scene-for-scene remake of the L Word, with ladies swooning over Frankie (Shane) and chuckling at ditsy blonde Tess’s antics (Alice). It would have been great if they’d come up with something a bit more original instead.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m off to write my own version starring grizzled, heavily accented ladies called Morag and Senga who work in a Haggis, Whisky and Shortbread factory in the Gorbals.

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About Hilary Wardle
Hilary is a freelance journalist and copywriter who writes for a wide range of websites, magazines and newspapers, including Buzzfeed, MSN, The Poke, Chortle, the Guardian and the Independent. She specialises in arts and entertainment, comedy, video games and viral content. Contact her at Hilary3@gmail.com.

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