Banana - Review - Bethany Black - Episode 4 e4 Transgender

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Banana - Review - Bethany Black - Episode 4 e4 Transgender

Postby Ice Maiden » Fri Feb 13, 2015 2:30 am

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Banana - Episode 4
12/02/15
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Helen has to get tough with her ex, Eddie, but her birthday turns into a disaster when Eddie takes revenge.
Witty, heartfelt and unique interlinked stories covering different aspects of LGBT life, featuring the most exciting emerging talent.


REVIEW - CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!

Banana, Cucumber and Tofu relate to the differing erectile state of a penis.

A series of 30 minute vignettes across 3 channels about a group of people and what they get up to in their lives as their paths cross. Each episode focuses on just one person, and tonight it was Helen Briers' turn. played by real life transgender woman and performer Bethany Black.

This is very much a Facebook age 'qu*er as Folk' series (developed by Russell T Davis of 'Doctor Who' Fame). Sex is at the center of this whole series, and this is where it seems to 'flop' (a good pun that!), as in this social networking age where we can click a link and watch someone being burned to death or 10 men gang-banging a transgender woman on a smartphone, you really can feel the restriction with this series. It therefore feels like it is in a straight-jacket (50 shades anyone?) and relies on innuendo and sexy chatline levels of conversation. I understand why this is as Russell would no doubt like to have a little more 'freedom' to 'go there' but cannot, as over the air television has certain content constraints (compliance) upon it.

We therefore end up with 'Coronation street' Nights 'Lite' programme, sort of what Sean the barman gets up to that we don't see. (He - Antony Cotton - was in 'qu*er as Folk' too, ahhh those where the days eh?).

Julie Hesmondhalgh turns up in a few episodes - some Irony there. And she makes a cameo tonight - more on that later.

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So in this Episode we meet Helen who has a bit of a problem. She has an Ex who won't let her move on with her life after their relationship went sour, and it all goes a bit pear-shaped from here on in.

Her Ex is trying to get her back, and she says she has a date... He is not very happy about that and attempts to sabotage it later...

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It is her Birthday and her family make an effort to wish her well, but she has a date and is rather off-handish with them, to their disappointment.

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Later she discovers just how much she really needs them. Nice touch that.

Later we see her at work where she manages a restaurant, it appears, one of the young staff members is caught outside on the phone, and she challenges her, the girl replies, "it is my nan she has colon cancer", Helen calls her Bluff and says, "you should be with her, we can't pay you but see you tomorrow." The Girl then intentionally misgenders her..."Yes SIR!"

Helen's face drops a mile... It hurts!

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Helen then tours the tables and this is one of those moments the lives of other characters from other episodes cross-over.

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In this instance she tops up Julie Hesmondhalgh's wine glass... they have a little passing comment.

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But I found this a bit bitter-sweet to be honest. Some may say it was like handing over the baton (no pun intended) to a transgender woman from someone who pretended to be one for 10 years (on 'Coronation St' as Hayley Cropper). Others might find it a tad uncomfortable like A 'Black and White Minstrel' shaking hands with Lenny Henry. I am not sure if this should have been included. Or perhaps it was necessary, as if to say this is now a full stop, underlined and a new dawn?

Whatever way you look at it, it really was an interesting scene.

Later, Helen is dining with her new beau, and her Ex enters the scene and sits down with them trying to put him off her, "Did she tell you from the off she used to be a bloke?"

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"Yeah, she did, Its best to deal with the big stuff straight up isn't it, I mean...I told her I was a Blue (supports a different Manchester Football team, Manchester City wears a Blue Strip compared to the United Red) and we nearly fell out..."

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He then tells her Ex - "Do you wanna f*ck off then?!"

(Her Ex leaves in a mood...).

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"I really like yah - you know that."

Helen - "But?"

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"Eddie (her Ex) seems like it is a bit unfinished, but give me a call when it definitely is..."

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She then confronts her Ex on the Door where he works and tears him down, publicly saying he needed Viagra to have sex with her etc... The other door staff overhear and laugh and humiliate him. This was a mistake on her part.

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Watch the episode... Very good and believable scene.

But he then takes revenge on her by releasing their private intimate sex videos and photos to the net, and social networks, and tagging everyone she knows into them. She panics and watches it slowly escalate before her eyes.

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This was cleverly done, as to have a Laptop screen act as a third person here, with videos of people contacting her, pop-up messages and watching her various social feeds start to spin out of control to a rising sinister music track track was very well edited, and a nod must be given to the editors of the programme here.

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She then throws-up in the sink. With the shock!

The next day she is walking to work and everywhere she looks she feels as if everyone is talking about her and laughing (paranoia style POV camera-work). When she arrives at work, she is told that head-office needs to know about the tape as it could adversely affect their image.

The girl (waitress) she reprimanded the day before approaches her gets her revenge and says, "you looked good you know, I thought you'd have scars and sh*t!" Relating to her genital surgery.

However, her family were also looped into this mayhem and they turn up angry to her home.

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Here we see her father wants to kill him (metaphorically speaking) but she stood in the way of the car stating he didn't know where he lived.

She sat in the car and she said something quite poignant.

Helen - "Every Cloud eh?"

Father - "What do you mean?"

Helen - "Well that is the first time you have lost your rag (got angry) and not called me Ken!"

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They laugh and this is a very sweet moment.

They return to the flat where they then discuss how stupid she was to allow this to happen (videoing her in the nude etc...), and the mother broke down, saying she could never help her, and for 18 years felt helpless about Helen's gender. But Helen said that her mother could not do any more than she did and she was well cared for. Amongst all this with her father and mother, her brother tries to stem the flow as they assumed he was computer literate and could stop this happening - turns out he is as helpless as anyone else in all this, but they kinda give-up and say, "what the hell it is out there and people will soon bore of it..."

The ending sees her brother lift up a basket with a squished cake in it... The mother asks him, "to put in the candles - it is her birthday..."

Camera closes in ... she is safe with her family around her a family who loves her no matter what her past.

She smiles - she is safe and loved!

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What a great tale!


Pros
Transgender Woman plays a transgender woman - HOORAY! Something I continually press for...
Not wooden! I would say if I thought she was.
I believed her in the part, and she was actually very impressive! I am so relieved here as I would have been devastated to have ripped this apart!
Well written short from Charlie Covell (created by Russell T Davies).
Left me wanting more!
Played it down, an ordinary non-tarty, regular woman in a leading role - thank goodness! I was fearing the invasion of the Jenna Talackova's tbh! The 'normality' of her presentation (no skirt up her backside, breasts hanging out etc) even though there was a sex video abuse - topical). I openly embrace this presentation and I for one am very happy to see her deliver the dialogue in this way, no make-up, gritty - fantastic!
Normality at last! Actually reminded me of Julia Grant when she ran the club in the 90s - but that is another story - ask her about it - she is on Facebook ;).
Tough act to follow! As Bethany has set the benchmark quite high! She reminds me of Alison Moyet.

Cons
Banana - It is all part of the Gay sex triangle <GLB> - she is apparently a straight woman as she fancies men. Makes no sense other than keeping trans within the Gay World. But it gave her an opportunity to shine so maybe it is a plus. This will embed trans people as Gay with the viewing public even though she is not in this instance.
Usual smattering of transphobia as part of the script - its a staple unfortunately. A bit like every time a black person is in a programme there has to be rascism? So that's no longer viable anymore, although it depends on the context of course.
Left me wanting more!

Image 5/5 TZ Stars - Excellent!

Watch it now on 4OD
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/banana/on-demand
Disclaimer!!!! Please Read! http://media.transgenderzone.com/?page_id=2

"Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have." M.Mead

Man [...] must count no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth." - J.P.Sartre.

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