Lip Service- Episode Five

Originally written for ace telly website thing Watch With Mothers. I didn’t review episode four as I was in a desert riding around on a horse like some kind of weirdo. But more on that later…

It’s not easy being a lesbian in Glasgow. The cost of skinny jeans and open plan loft conversions is really quite prohibitive. Not to mention the near-constant taxi journeys, booze, cigarettes, booze, giant tribal tattoos, booze and overpriced Bed Head products (for your hard to maintain ‘tousled rentboy micro mullet’).

And booze.

But they make do on their limited budgets, bless them. In the future, they’ll tell the mini-lesbians of the 2050s how they had to make their own sex toys out of papier mache, PVA glue, courgettes, Vaseline and bin bags (what do you mean ‘urgh’? There is a recession on, don’t you know).

We’re now five episodes in (with one left to go), and I know you can’t wait to hear how my internal enjoyment-o-meter’s doing. It’s the question on everyone’s lips. Well, that and ‘why doesn’t Frankie go to her local Scottish sandwich emporium and get herself a lovely haggis, porridge and deep fried pizza baguette? She’s far too thin”.

Yep, my enjoyment level is now sitting at 69%, up from the 57.5% scored by episode three. There were only a handful of utterly implausible moments last night which, compared to the first couple of episodes, is hardly any. In fact, the first instalment was so silly that I honestly expected the cast to turn into giant burping caterpillars half way through and cartwheel off into the distance singing a medley of Saudi Arabian pop hits (but instead they just did sex in a morgue).

Last night’s episode kicked off with Frankie waking up in her scabby, soggy shag-pit of a bed with a majestic, awe inspiring hangover. The sort of hangover , in fact, that people write poetry about: ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud/ that floats on high o’er vales and hills/ When all at once I…AAAAARGH Oh my GOD my brain feels like it’s been boiled in ACID. Something, something, daffodils’.

The night before, Frankie done a sex at her friend Jay – who is a man with a winkle. Instead of going ‘urrrgh’ and biting her own fist in paranoid, hungover lesbo-horror, she shrugs it off, eats a handful of cigarettes for breakfast and continues with her day, pausing only to breezily ask Tess not to tell anyone.

Tess doesn’t much care as she’s having problems of her own. She’s turning… get this… THIRTY. What’s the big deal, I hear you cry? Well, one Lip Service year is roughly approximate to three normal years, which means she’s actually turning 90. Next week’s episode will see her admitted to a home for aged Glaslesbians in Partick.

In the episode’s most implausible and ludicrous moment, Tess goes to meet her ex, Chloe, thinking she’s being summoned for a birthday drink.

However, she’s totally forgotten it’s Tess’s birthday and despite having it pointed out to her, Chloe excitedly flashes an engagement ring. When poor Tess understandably gets a tad grumpy, Chloe wails and bitches and stamps her feet – conveniently forgetting she only broke up with Tess a short while ago and cheated on her and suchlike. She then announces that Tess is a loser and that’s why she dumped her.

Sorry, but who on Earth would do that? Not even the evil Emperor from Star Wars would call their recently dumped ex a loser on their 30th. And I should know – we used to go out (man, the things he could do with his lightning-hands).

It wasn’t quite cartwheeling burping caterpillars, but it was fairly unrealistic. As was Tess’s subsequent decision to get Botox. I mean, she’s an out of work actress with an expensive hair-extension and mini-kilt habit. I really don’t think she can afford costly forehead treatments: it’s much cheaper to grow a fringe. I should really get round to that myself, actually: I’m 30 too, and the minute my birthday was over I instantly turned into Zelda from Terrahawks. A reference that most of you probably won’t get as you’re far too young.

While Tess and her evil ex were exchanging insults, Cat and Frankie were exchanging several longing looks as they (implausibly) toured their old, abandoned school on vaguely work-related reasons- reminiscing about how they used to look down each other’s uniforms and suchlike.

Urgh, they’re such paedos.

In fact, they were smouldering away so much that they set the school on fire a bit, leading to Cat getting shouted at by her rampantly lesbophobic boss. Sorry, but does that architecture firm not have an HR department? An equal opportunities policy? Or failing that- some kind of sharp, pointy metal ruler lying round that Cat could use to cut his tiny todger off?

When it seemed that Cat (rather than her boss’s todger) was going to get the chop, Frankie took the blame for the errant cigarette, leading to yet more swoon-filled looks from Cat. Things seemed to be speeding towards a moderately predicable conclusion (e.g. Frankie and Cat scissoring frantically in the back of a black cab), but sadly it was not to be.

You see, little Ed – who’s in love with Tess- got wind of Jay and Frankie’s transgressive man-lady sex and comes to the following conclusion:

If (x) represents Frankie having manwillysex, and (y) is the fact that all lesbians are the same person, then (z) = Tess might shag him.

He announces he loves her, but it doesn’t go terribly well. In fact, she runs off howling, ignores the assembled surprise party in her flat and locks herself in her room. When they discover why she’s upset, Jay laughs at Ed for confessing his feelings.

Jay: “Tess is gay!”

Ed: “That didn’t stop you and Frankie”.

Oh deary deary me. Cat goes even paler than she usually is: an impressive feat, given that she looks like an anaemic Marilyn Manson at the best of times. It’s all quite dramatic, really. Looks like the Cat/Frankie saga isn’t quite at the scissoring phase after all.

Oh well.

Yes, it was silly and a bit contrived, but yet again I was glued to the screen. In fact, I feel a bit sad-  I might actually slightly  miss this carnival of lesbian tomfoolery once it’s over. It’s like Gay Hollyoaks.


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

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