Sunday 26 March 2017

Toilet chats, vodka shots and the Irish dream on Can't Cope, Won't Cope

(L to R) Seana Kerslake and Nika McGuigan in RTE Two dramedy Can't Cope Won't Cope
(L to R) Seana Kerslake and Nika McGuigan in RTE Two dramedy Can't Cope Won't Cope
(L to R) Seana Kerslake and Nika McGuigan in RTE Two dramedy Can't Cope Won't Cope
(L to R) Seana Kerslake, Amy Huberman and Laurence O'Fuarain in RTE Two dramedy Can't Cope Won't Cope
(L to R) Seana Kerslake and Nika McGuigan in RTE Two dramedy Can't Cope Won't Cope
(L to R) Seana Kerslake and Nika McGuigan in RTE Two dramedy Can't Cope Won't Cope
(L to R) Seana Kerslake and Nika McGuigan in RTE Two dramedy Can't Cope Won't Cope
Acting out: Seana Kerslake in character as Aisling on set
Shot in the dark: Seána Kerslake in Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope
Karen Nixon launches her Vintage Tea tour. Photo: Emma Moseley
Sophie White at the book launch of Recipes for a Nervous Breakdown
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

How times have changed. This week, RTÉ's new puking, shagging and carjacking drama Can't Cope, Won't Cope hit TV screens.

It seems strangely fitting that Stefanie Preissner's series is premiering 10 years since RTÉ last ventured into the realm of twenty-something gals living it up in Dublin.

I'm talking, of course, about Fade Street, the post-Celtic-Tiger docu-soap about young women OMG-ing their way around D2.

The show wasn't exactly a hit, with critics describing it as "a slow motion train wreck sprayed in fake tan" which was about as enjoyable to watch as "pouring hot gravy down your trousers".

Fade Street was born out of an era when RTÉ seemed obsessed with emulating MTV formulas - in a bid to capture and cash-in on that late-teen/ early-20s target audience.

FADESTREET.jpg  

Remember J1 Summer in the Sun? A show we were told would rival the drama of MTV's Laguna Beach.

"Dust down your bikini, and press your prized FCUK T-shirt" the press release read, "as we watch students fend for themselves in the US of A".

Let's just pause right there, shall we? "Press your prized FCUK T-shirt"? Doesn't that statement make your blood run cold? Thankfully, Preissner's series couldn't be more different.

Not only is it a drama rather than reality TV but it hasn't been moulded by US sensibilities.

Preissner didn't want to produce a honed and honeyed American TV show or create an Irish version of Girls or Broad City.

She wanted something uniquely Irish.

Cant-Cope-Wont-Cope-Nika-McGuigan-Danielle-applies-make-up-to-Séana-Kerslake-Aisling.jpg

"We're not the same as English or American people, we just aren't," she said. "I have not seen my friends naked, we do not hang around in the bath together like they do in Girls. I wanted to see girls on TV that are actually like me."

So we have Coppers, and deep-and-meaningful chats in a toilet cubicle, and losing a shoe on a night out, and drinking vodka out of Fruit Shoots and extremely patient taxi drivers.

Oh, and terrible, terrible sex with twenty-something men - which no one ever gives you enough advance warning about.

After the show aired there were the usual killjoys saying they were unimpressed by the vodka swilling but I'm glad RTÉ have stopped chasing the American TV dream.

This drama has more reality about it than Fade Street ever did - and, better yet, there's not a pressed, prized FCUK shirt in sight.

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