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“I’m sorry” is a phrase that gets used in BBC 1’s four part series True Love twice in two episodes – and both times it’s used by men to their wives after cheating on them with another woman.
The wives then on both occasions forgive their adulterous hubbies and in charmingly ironic mode, Jackie DeShannon’s “What The World Needs Now Is Love” pipes up, and everyone feels a little depressed. The irony of the title hasn’t escaped me – playing on our Hollywood ideas of romance then dashing our hopes with what love can be really like is a fairly interesting and often at times enjoyably angsty romp – but do the women have to be so terribly weak in it? And must the men all be selfish, monosyllabic cheaters?
We’re only halfway through True Love (so by now we really should be talking about where this is going) and with Billy Piper coming up into tomorrow’s episode god knows what will be happening in the final two episodes. So far however, whilst the music has been excellently moody and the cinamatography, peppered with gloomy walks along beaches and grey skylines, suitably atmospheric, beneath it all I can’t help but wonder whether this is just another Love Actually but for single or recently spurned women.
“Damn the men! Damn their cheating ways and roving eyes!” we women can all howl as David Tennant has marvellous sex with his ex who he loves much more than his wife, then watch him be forgiven because, after all, he’s all she’s got. And of course, it would have been more like Eastenders if she slapped him and slammed the door in his face and not quite so arty and angsty, but really, is this what we’re like? Sad and a bit taken to moping at home?
To say this is a sexist programme would be wrong, because I don’t think it does either sex any justice. In this way perhaps the BBC have gone uber PC and just been entirely negative to both males and females, just to make sure that neither can complain. As a one off episode either of the two already aired would have been stronger, because it would have highlighted the reality of love and how it’s not all quite Colin Firth and Hugh Grant. But with both episodes together, it just becomes an entirely depressing cycle, where a couple meet, the man cheats, and the women, torn between living with a cheater and single parenthood decides to ignore the affair for an easier life.
You may well argue that for a four part series on love, the Beeb very well can’t just have people joyously making out and rolling in the sand for half an hour – and I would agree – (listen they just can’t ok?!) But let’s hope that for the remaining episodes we get to see some different sides of this crazy thing called love, rather than an approach that whilst trying to be realistic, actually becomes a stereotype of itself all too quickly.