Dates review – Episode Four – Channel 4

Dates Episode ThreeThis was my least favourite of the four episodes of Dates so far. The writing was poor with bad dialogue, the acting I didn’t really like and the directing was overly-sensual and used hand-held camera work that moved about too much. Even the music annoyed me.

The episode began with Erica, a lesbian whose family were unaware of her sexuality, meeting her date Kate in a bar. The two hit it off immediately, got in a fight, and went home together. The next morning they had another fight, culminating in Erica’s admission of her sexuality, which was accidentally overheard after she failed to hang up a phone call. That last detail felt cheap and contrived, and was a twist made obvious by the heavy-handed shot of the phone lying on the bed after Erica discarded it.

For a programme that’s part of a series supposed to illustrate the reality of modern dating, each of these films has lacked realism. In this episode, both characters were cool and self-controlled. They kiss five minutes into the date. Erica teases some guys in the club and Kate approaches them brazenly. Where are the awkward people who get nervous on dates and stumble through conversations? Sheridan Smith’s character in episode two is maybe the only normalish person we’ve seen so far. Even David from episode one was supremely self-confident and controlled.

This episode had some really weak writing at times. Erica was asked about her bracelet and she just happens to have a moving story behind it about a little girl sitting on a milk crate with a beautiful smile. ‘Just ask me something,’ Erica said at one point. ‘What do you hate most about yourself?’ ‘I’m a very good liar.’ ‘Who do you lie to?’ ‘Myself mostly.’

People do not talk like that. The dialogue throughout was annoyingly artificial. The characters kept speaking in short sentences and saying things that would be followed up with little knowing looks. The acting didn’t help, with neither actress being able to carry the poor dialogue and characterisation.

And the directing was a bit much, with every single scene straining to be sensual and sexy. It was inevitable that some of the films in this series weren’t going to work, and this was the first major misstep. It wasn’t completely terrible – it was an okay way to spend 30 minutes – but it at times resembled an episode of Hollyoaks and was quite below the standards of previous episodes.

Random notes:

  • As with some of the other episodes, the dialogue was hard to understand at times. I realise that the show is trying to be naturalistic but I’d like to be able to hear what people are saying. It’s kind of an important part of TV, comprehending the dialogue.
  • I checked out the writer’s IMDB page and he/she has not got much writing credits. I don’t like being that harsh on people that are new and presumably still learning, but I tried to explain and back-up my criticism (always do).

Dates Reviews: Episode One, Episode Two, Episode Five, Episode Six, Episode Seven, ………………….Episode Eight, Episode Nine


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