As my tag-cloud will attest, I used to be a big fan of Ch4’s antisocial-superhero series Misfits back in the day, but lost interest once they all started trading in their original powers, and Robert Sheehan jumped ship. Meanwhile, my crush on Bafta-winning actress Lauren Socha took a nose-dive when I read about her conviction for “racially aggravated assault”, after she topped-off a nine-hour drinking session by attacking the Asian taxi driver who was taking her home! Feh.
Nonetheless, I’ve been seeing a lot of Misfits DVDs in charity shop recently, tempting me to revisit the series and consider giving Socha a second chance. To this end, I decided to watch the episode of Plebs she appeared in, last year… one of the first roles she scored after serving her court-mandated (and vaguely ironic) community service. For those who don’t know, this laddish ITV sitcom is set in an anachronistic version of “Ancient Rome”, and follows the misadventures of three gawky young men looking to get rich and/or laid.
Socha had a supporting role in ep #2.1 (“The Chariot”) as ‘Amanda’, a comely young woman who moves into the same apartment complex as one of the main characters, and unexpectedly agrees to go on a date with him… only to belatedly reveal that she is in fact a prostitute, and expects to be paid for the time they’ve spent together (I would slap a “SPOILER” warning on that plot-twist, but it’s revealed quiet early in the story, and was pretty obvious anyway…). It wasn’t a particularly challenging or distinctive role for Socha, but she has such an irrepressible personality, and such an expressive face, she really brought the character to life, and it wasn’t hard to remember why I was so enamoured with her before her fall from grace. Just seeing her grin at the end of a scene warmed my cockles… and, on a totally superficial level, I’d still say she’s one of the sexiest women on TV… dammit!
Naturally, this crush-resurrection has resulted in some internal conflict… I can’t excuse or defend what she put Mr. Iqbal through that fateful night, and I don’t mean to diminish his pain and suffering… but she did pay her fines, and serve her time, and seems to have kept her nose clean since then… so should I still feel guilty/selfish for wanting to see her career take off again? Because, I honestly think our TV and cinema screens would be (and were) a lot poorer and blander without her unique presence…