The second season of Amy Huberman’s sitcom, Finding Joy (RTÉ1), began with its vlogger heroine filming a fantasy rebirthing sequence for her online followers. It was to be viewed as a metaphor, colleague Emer informed her, before assuring her that “100pc of the audience are going to get this”.
Well, I’m afraid I didn’t, but then I didn’t get anything about the whole episode, just as I’d never got anything about the entire first season of this twaddle when it aired two years ago.
So who’s to blame for resuscitating it? Probably not Amy Huberman herself, even though she is billed as co-creator and sole writer and takes the central role. Instead, this vanity project required a green light from RTÉ commissioners, and they’re clearly so enamoured of their star’s celebrity status and so persuaded of her pulling power that even her most misguided forays into comedy are indulged.
And so, in this opening episode, the viewer suffered through scene after scene that made no sense, whether in the office inhabited by the main characters or in Joy’s old school, at which she turned up on the misunderstanding that she was being honoured as a success story.
As for the dialogue, one example will suffice. “We need to reclaim our vaginas from the patriarchy”, said Emer apropos of nothing, to which camera operator Stan responded: “Absolutely! My penis is the worst!”
And there were in-jokes that went nowhere, one referencing Huberman’s role in the cack-handed legal drama Striking Out, and another referring to her domestic life: “Why would you think I’ve anything to do with rugby?” she asked at one point and again apropos of nothing. But enough already.
There was nothing funny, either, in Champagne Football: Inside John Delaney’s FAI (Virgin One), which took the form of an hour-long interview with journalist Mark Tighe, co-author of a recent book of the same name about the recent sorry state of our soccer administration.
What a grubby story it was, too, with self-serving arrogance, egotism and greed at Irish football’s core. Indeed, with such venal priorities flaunted from the top, it’s a wonder that our national team managed to win any matches at all. Put it down to honest players doing their honest best.
The Confessors (RTÉ1) was something of a misnomer. Yes, Alex Fegan’s documentary began with priests reflecting on the time-honoured but dwindling role of the confessional in Catholic lives, but it soon moved on to other, and more interesting, topics.
What emerged was a portrait of a beleagured and mostly lonely group of men, their sense of isolation further emphasised by the Covid pandemic, which has seen them even more socially adrift from their parishioners — with some of them now calling to people’s doors in order to maintain contact. And the tradition of housekeepers attending to their domestic needs has become a thing of the past.
They all seemed decent, thoughtful people concerned about their role in society: one of them sardonically reflecting on such eccesiastical titles as Your Grace, Your Lordship, the Right Reverend (“Who are we trying to impress?”); another leaving his collar at home when out in public in case he gets verbally abused by some stranger. This was a quietly absorbing film.
In the final episode of The South Westerlies (RTÉ1), the local publican barred two guys for creating a scene. Ah, those were the days. And at the end Kate drove out of town, leaving the viewer to wonder whether she’ll be back. Don’t bother, Kate.
Meanwhile, Us (BBC1), which was adapted by David Nicholls from his bestselling novel, ended sweetly with put-upon, bemused, separated Douglas starting up a conversation with a woman in an Amsterdam art gallery. She turned out to be the lovely Sofie Grabol, whom he’d encountered earlier in his travels around Europe. Lucky David, though he deserved her after all he’d been through.
Mind you, he might have met up with Emily in Paris (Netflix), though nobody would deserve that. The epitome of unwarranted American entitlement, the young Emily (Lily Collins) has been enraging French viewers through her blithe ignorance of local customs and her encounters with stereotypical Parisians and their chain-smoking, leering ways.
Yes, it’s offensive tosh, but that’s only if you’ve a mind to get offended by tosh. Otherwise, there’s always the remote.
Or you could be Lodging with Lucy (Virgin One), who this week was entertaining Adele King, otherwise known as Twink. However, Lucy warned young chef Nick, “don’t call her Twink, call her Adele”.
In Lucy’s words, Adele/Twink was not only “the panto queen of Ireland” but also “an Irish showbiz legend” and, as befits legends, she arrived in Lucy’s garden with a white cockatoo perched on her shoulder, from which vantage point it never strayed throughout the whole visit. Maybe it was stuffed, but I’m sure I saw its head move.
Anyway, we heard all about Adele’s “struggles to pay her mortgage”, which apparently were “well-documented in the tabloids”, and about how, since the age of six, she had “worked my ass off” to entertain people, and about how she missed Brendan Grace, and it was somewhere around there that I decided to leave the two of them at it and get on with my own life.