Spoiler-related thoughts on episode two of Winners and Losers after the jump...
I said in my review of the first episode of Winners and Losers that I had massive qualms over the late-episode plot development where the four friends become lottery winners. The reason for this is that it is incredibly difficult for us to become invested with people who are so rich we will soon have nothing in common with them. Every show I’ve ever seen feature a lottery winner has fallen away soon afterwards (Roseanne comes to mind) because the money that person won came to define them.
What W&L needed to do in its second and third episode was make sure that the problems the characters were having were universal and not solved or created by the money they had come into. Sadly, what we got instead was every single main character using their lottery win to improve their lives – Frances uses her money to advance her business career, Sophie buys an apartment, Bec’s fiancé uses money to set a date, buy a ring and does it all on a boat and Jenny buys herself a car and quits her job. None of this involved actual character development – it was just the use of money to paper over each character’s flaws and also handily erased any conflict the first three episodes had set up. It was a little bit galling towards the end – maybe I’m just bitter but I have flaws and problems I can’t fix through a Lotto win. It's a happy show, for the most part, but Parks and Recreation is one of the happiest shows I've ever seen, but it has more wit, charm and character development in five minutes than I've seen so far here - and the characters on that show aren't rich. If the characters here are going to be wealthy without actually earning it, they have to earn their emotional wealth instead. They don’t even go close here.
The lottery win also had me cringing at the beginning of the episode where Jenny whines constantly about how unfair it is she isn’t getting any money. Maybe I just fall in the category of if you don’t invest, you don’t get the rewards, but it seemed incredibly selfish that she would even think about asking for some. Her persistence proceeded to make me dislike all the characters bar Bec as they tussled over a problem only 0.00001% of us will ever have to deal with, especially on that scale.
Enough of my ranting about the plot – the performances are coming through from the four main girls with Virginia Gay still being the standout and Melanie Vallejo still being the weakest link – mainly thanks to having the weakest character. On the flipside, the periphery characters are getting worse. The one I have the biggest issue with is Frances’ gay best friend Jonathan. Damien Bodie’s line readings aren’t great but worse is the character plays into every single stereotype you would expect. Why does the show’s primary gay character have to play into every single stereotype we would expect? I’m sure every gay man on the planet isn’t like this. It’s like every straight young male character on the show has an aversion to shirts, drinks beer and looks like he stepped out of a GQ cata-…oh.
You may have guessed by now that I’m losing interest in Winners and Losers, so if you’re out there, I would love to hear from people that are enjoying it. What am I missing? Is there more to this show than Rafters meets Sex and the City (meets last season Roseanne). Help?
I actually wanted Michala Banas back.