Callum and Erica had a different, more comical tone from the rest of the episodes of Dates. It might have been a little too sitcomy at times, but it was interesting to see something a little different from the other films.
Erica, the lesbian from episode four, was back this episode, having been set-up on a date by her brother. At the restaurant she met Callum, played by the excellent Greg McHugh, who brought his Scottish accent and patter and an ability to make lines funny by delivery alone.
He was obliviously obnoxious, Callum, using stereotype to insult the Asian waiters in front of his Asian date and declaring that the ‘public fucking stink.’ It’s not surprising then that he was affronted when Erica revealed that she wasn’t interested in him, and that they weren’t, in fact, flirting like something ‘straight out of a Meg Ryan film.’
Callum was a little broad as a character, and not really in keeping with the naturalistic tone of the show, but Dates has made a point of injecting large and borderline whacky moments and people into its episodes, and when it works, as here, it is enjoyable (when it doesn’t work it has felt really out of place, and the more I think about episode two the more randomly absurd Neil Maskell suddenly fucking a waiter seems, or Stephen in episode three taking Mia to his hospital).
Erica revealed to Callum that she was, in the words of her date, ‘a gay,’ but decided to stay in the restaurant, with the couple getting drunk together before an argument turned into a fight between Callum and the restaurant staff. Erica’s brother arrived, who Erica finally stood up to, and off she went into the night with her new friend.
The writing in the episode was good, with some unique little moments, like Callum’s rant about the sexual continuum, or his commitment to a ‘zero tolerance’ philosophy. And I liked Erica more this episode, as she seemed more consistent in character. It was maybe not the most affecting episode, but one of the more enjoyable and fun ones.
- ‘Never, ever let anyone tell you what to do. Now, here’s what you do…’
- Stephen is back next episode with Mia making an appearance, then Sherlock’s Andrew Scott is dating Sheridan Smith from episode two next Tuesday, with the final episode bringing David and Mia back together on Wednesday, 3 July.