“The Ship of Theseus” is a paradox that raises the question of whether an object which has had all its component parts replaced remains fundamentally the same object. I only mention it because the ninth (!) series of Two Pints started this week, with only two of the original cast members/characters remaining, after Sheridan Smith and Kathryn Drysdale jumped ship to swim to sunnier and shinier shores. In their place, we have ‘Cassie Claypole’, an aggressive young “emo skank”, played by Georgia Henshaw (of Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging fame). I actually quite like her as an actress, and I know I should be glad to have another cute goth-y girl on telly… but I was so turned off by how empty and unfunny the first two episodes of this series were, I can’t really work up much enthusiasm for her character. It doesn’t help that when she’s playing happy and smiley, she just reminds me of a younger version of Smith, and makes me nostalgic for those halcyon days gone-by.
The proper critics have never had much time or respect for this show, so it seems silly to try waxing intellectual about it, but I really feel as if the show’s creator, Susan Nickson, had a unique comic voice… and since she sidled away from the show, there’s been a marked drop in the sort of cleverly-stupid, surreal dialogue that made the show so much fun back in the day. The new series is also rather handicapped (pun!) by the fact that ‘Gaz’ (Will Mellor) is now confined to a wheelchair, and the jokes about his condition simply aren’t funny enough to negate the bad taste. I’m still quite fond of Natalie Cassidy, but she seems to be half-heartedly going through the motions as ‘Donna’ now, as if her friends have all gone off to the dance-floor and left her at the table watching their handbags and humming along to the music. Poor thing.