Well here we are again, batter, bruised, beguiled by the absolute pile of twaddle that was last weeks Archers. But let’s not harp on about that. Some things, much like Ruth’s lasagna skills, don’t need to be repeatedly mentioned. I’ve decided to perk myself up by making a fun game of guessing which characters will be picked for each week. This week I want Lynda, Robert, Lillian and Kenton. However, as The Archers have decided to use Covid as an excuse to set fire to the show and let it burn, we start Monday with Ben and Emma.
HATE to say it, but Ben is not a good monologue-r. I feel especially bad saying that because at the end of the episode they said the voice actor had done a video for us about how he recorded at home. Anyhow, I’ve linked it here, and even though I feel bad for saying it, I’m not going start lying to you week 2.
Back to the content, if we can call it that…. Ben is whining about how he wants to watch Netflix and eat sandwiches, but instead he’s having to help his Granny (Jill) type up a history of her life. We get serious little dribbles of what she’s written throughout the episode. It’s all about her time during the war. The skeptic in me would suggest that **maybe** this whole storyline is propaganda from the Beeb to highlight how our lives could be worse, and that we should suck it up buttercup about Corona. Ben further whines about people gathering in the parks, and how he has to always work on the farm. Poor poor you Ben, safe on your parents farm, with tons of outdoor space away from the horrors of corona. I’d give him 0.0004 seconds in a high-rise in London before you’d be begging for Brookfield. We then skip to Emma, who is baking cakes alone. Out of the infinite words the writer could have had her say, they predictably go for the most boring, and we have to be subjected to Emma wondering what time exactly early afternoon is. She settles on 3pm. I am SO relieved we cleared that up, next to a cure for cancer that seems like a majorly pressing issue. Ben comes by with some eggs, of course we don’t hear them interact, because that would be sensible. We do however learn that Lynda’s favorite cake is date and walnut. Emma tells us ” she never knew that, after all these years.”
I have seen completely through what the show is doing here. They know this is all complete garbage, but they also know that we’re sitting out there, dying to add to our Archers back history info. They’re throwing us a bone. A snipet of info for when we all write out fan fictions where Lynda goes on the bake off. This really is hard hitting stuff from Ambridge today. Cake is evidently the food theme of the day. I wonder if the writers are so short of stuff to talk about they just think “oh I’m making lasagna for lunch, shove that in the episode, time to bake a cake with my kids, ok whack that in to the episode too.”
We then cut back to Ben, he’s bloody on about cake too. His favorite is carrot, just like Jill. I’m honestly losing the will to live. I’m ending Monday here. I’m going to make myself a drink. I would have had some cake, but I’m not feeling it. Perhaps I’ll lose a couple of stone, through the Archers harping on about food so much it puts me off it.
Tuesday – thank god its not more Ben. We have Susan, she’s going to be Dj’ing on Radio Borchester. Her doorbell rings. THIS COULD BE IT PEOPLE. WE MAY HAVE A CONVERSATION. Nope. It’s Clarrie. Playing ding dong ditch apparently. Why even bother having her ring it? We then cut to Ed, he’s upset the pub is closed. He wants to take Emma out for a drink to celebrate the fact they’ve called the divorce off, boy oh boy, what. a. romantic. Half a pint down the Bull to celebrate duct taping their relationship back together. Ed is not just upset about the pub, covid has meant he’s had to cancel his plans with Jazzer. We hear they were planning on traveling around in a van sheering sheep. Personally a summer in a van with Jazzer, covered in wool clippings sounds like a nightmare, but Ed slept with his brother’s fiancée on her hen do, so we probably have different ideas on what makes a good time.
Back to Susan doing her show. She shouts out the NHS workers, and all those working in shops. Her editor isn’t pleased. She finds a bottle of duty free under the table, and we are then supposed to believe that Susan Carter, not the brightest crayon in the box, but a grown woman none the less, decides to get drunk whilst doing her radio show. Apparently she’s going to be doing a community phone in. I ACTUALLY CANNOT COPE AT THIS POINT. Picture the scene, the bright minds behind the Archers, on a zoom call discussing how they’re going to do the show during the pandemic. “Well the Proms are doing a 350 piece orchestra performing together. Each member at home, they’ll edit it all together. Anyone want to shoot a text to someone in the Proms office and ask how they’re doing it? Anyone? Ok, well if we’ve got no takers let just have our guys have no conversations, maybe let’s do a radio Borchester phone in?” They’re killing me.
Three quarters of the way through our 4 episodes for the week. It’s Wednesday. Yesterday ended with Ed trying to win a sheering competition against Jazzer. However he was listening to Susan on the radio and she said something that shocked him into slowing down and he lost. It had better have been something exciting. If it turns out to be her favorite type of cake I’m stopping listening permanently. We start today with Susan lamenting whatever she said on the radio. Apparently she will never be able to show her face again. Its a pandemic Sus, no ones looking to gather. You’re golden. Still no details on what she’s actually done. I’m hoping it’s scandalous.
Back to Ben. He’s listened to the radio show with Susan. We finally discover she got drunk and told all the listeners what spices get Neil in the mood. I’m revolted. The Archer’s is on at 1pm here in Oklahoma, and it takes all I’ve got not to lose my lunch over the thought of Susan creating cumin chili to get Neil into bed. Ben mulls over how embarrassing it was listening to it with his Gran. We have this in common, being embarrassed by what we are listening to on the radio. He then says how nice it was that Susan shouted out the workers. This I am on board for. Those guys are saints. I actually could have listened to more on this, the NHS deserve all the recognition they can get. However instead Ben segue ways this into thinking about some girl called Chloe who is a junior doctor. He decides to text her. Thats right folks. Ben Archer is using the pandemic as a pick up line. We are then subjected to some painful inner monologue on what he should put in his text to her. Pretty surprisingly she texts back. I guess that’s what happens when you’re 11 weeks late to the pandemic party, the doctors have time to socialize.
We’re back to Susan. When you think it cannot get ANY more unbelievable it turns out the calls, texts and comments are flooding in, and people love Susan’s show. I’ve sunk to new levels of despair for the folks of Borchester if they’re lapping this up. Apparently they love that “an older woman talking frankly about sex.” Oh god. Is it going to be an agony aunt Ambridge sex line call in? We then hear that Jill wants chili recipe, god it’s happening. A whole town cooking up chili to get laid like Susan. Ben wonders if Chloe likes chili. I take it back. Let’s go back to the cake, at least that didn’t come with sexual overtones.
Another week down. We end here on Thursday. We know we won’t be getting anyone new, character wise, so that at least lowers some of the expectation.
We start with Emma who is trying to avoid Susan due to her show being a “cross between a nature documentary and love island.” She quickly moves on, thanks writers for that bone. She harps on about a school project Keira kept quiet about. The kids had to collect people’s memories of the war. Of course she would have asked Joe. This actually does make me feel a little sad and feels like the Archers of yore. I miss Joe.
We’re quickly back to the ridiculous though. The touching memory of Joe is less than fleeting as we jump to a green coffee table with legs shaped like dolphins. Emma has moved it, and Ed is in a strop because he’s banged his shin on it.
We zoom back Susan reading out memories from the war, just as I’m googling coffee tables like Emma’s for a proper visual. Susan is talking about the village website that has been uploaded with pictures to go with Jill Archer’s memories. Kiera did the pictures…. um ok. I know due to the social distancing we can only have a couple of characters a week, but now these same characters have to do everything mentioned? I REFUSE to believe that Kiera Grundy got this commission. When did she get together with Jill to brainstorm? We’ll never find out. That’s the way it goes round here.
Susan is hosting a Q and A Mr A writes in for more recipes. Apparently after the success of telling everyone about her chili the whole county wants more sex potions. Vomit. Richard and Sabrina write in to say they’re playing board games, using a whisk and a kitchen table. What would have been completely innocuous a week ago has now been tarred with this new raunchy radio show, and the idea of picturing this couple on their kitchen table push me back onto google to look up a coffee table. Even that would be a better visual at this stage.
Speaking of the table, back to Emma who is mind mapping “plans for coffee table location” she doesn’t like where it is located, apparently it’s a centerpiece. She’s cut a scale model and is positioning it. So apparently Emma doesn’t have the time or inclination to get school work done with her kids, and bitchily keeps mentioning how Helen seems to get it all done. Here’s a parenting tip for free Ems. Spend the time you’re using to plan the table with your spawn. We then hear Ed wants to have a chat. She’s nervous. What a weird dynamic this is. Sitting at home, moving a paper coffee table round a paper map of her front room, getting anxious about having a conversation with her husband. Is he calling it all off again? GIVE. ME. PHILIP. MOSS. We don’t need this.
Quickly back to Mrs. Carter, she is listing everything loves about the local area, it’s actually very sweet. Not a single sexual euphemism to be heard. More of this please writers. We don’t need the food. We don’t need the fornication. Susan ends her show with a song request from a husband to his wife – lush life Zara Larson, I don’t know the song, but hopefully it’s tasteful and not some sort of Cisco thong song.
We end our week with Emma telling us Ed told her “This isn’t working” I was only semi listening, but this piqued my interest. Perhaps he really is jacking it all in and heading out in that van with Jazzer and a mask. It then becomes clear Ed can’t stand the coffee table. The coffee table isn’t working. What a build up for nothing. Perhaps Susan can offer it up on the radio. Perhaps Tracy can flog it for funds for the cricket team. Perhaps Richard and Sabrina can have sex on it. So many options. We discover the “Lush life” shout out is for Emma. She doesn’t care about the table anymore. Once it’s gone they’ll have space to dance to the song. It’s sweet, although I hope Ed has showered after the sheep….