Yup, I'm going to tackle all three shows in one blog, usually every Friday or Saturday for the time being, so here's a short look at what happened in the three shows last night.
Cucumber: The main series and one that kicked off with a bang as the explanation behind the titles for all three shows (plus the peeled banana) were deftly explained for those not in the know. The main action centred on a date night between insurance worker Henry (Vincent Franklin) and his long term boyfriend, Lance (Cyril Nri) where the latter's attempt of proposing marriage was met with derision by Henry and a threeway with the rather stoned Francesco (Peter Caulfield) resulted in the ten year relationship coming apart at the seams and one of the strangest domestic callouts any policeman would've had to deal with, probably ever.
There were so many gems throughout this opening episode - the strained dynamic of both Henry and Lance's sex life (or slight lack of one), the introduction of both men's various family, friends and co-workers as well as a neighbouring having to point out one of the lads masturbation habits and that scene where Henry, Lance and a group of older men were not only checking out a hot waiter (supersoaker anyone?), the scene where they speculated on certain male celebrities being gay as well as a rather interesting way that the song Your Disco Needs You was used as well. I've also seen Boney M in a brand new light as well.
As an opening episode, this was a riot from start to finish. The subplot with a plagiarising co-worker didn't quite work and I would've liked to have seen more of Henry's sister but other than that, it's great to have Russell T. Davies back on television.
Banana: The first of two spin off shows and the one that aired on E4. From the looks of it, while Cucumber's primary focus is on Henry and Lance, Banana is clearly going down the Skins route by having an episode focus on a particular character a week. For the first episode, the focus was on 19 year old office boy Dean (Fisayo Akinade), whom we actually met in Cucumber as he works with Henry spent most of this episode, either trying to hook up - first with a Geordie businessman, played by Andrew Hayden-Smith and then with another bloke at the end of the episode and failing to pay his half of the rent, until a solution literally came knocking at the very end.
It's a funny half-hour with Akinade proving to be quite a find as Dean came up with every excuse going to his beleaguered flatmate and man about town Freddie (Freddie Fox) about not having the rent money while lying to his friends, including the rather sweet Scotty (Letitia Wright) about his parents, which was something I found rather annoying, considering that there are plenty of kids out there who have to deal with homophobia in their family. Overall though, I did like the opening episode but the parent show had the stronger hook for me if I'm being candid here.
Tofu: A companion piece to both shows, hosted by Benjamin Cook and one that lasts about 12 minutes too, which is probably a good thing. If you're expecting this to be a Confidential of sorts to each episode of Cucumber and Banana, you'd be off base. Sure, there's definitely contributions from actors of both shows, but mainly this focuses on the real life sexuality with a fictional minisode also thrown into the mix - turns out that hunky businessman Dan isn't quite the hit with the ladies that he likes to think he is as he learned quite harshly that manscaping doesn't impress so much.
Along with that, there were some discussion from a mother and son, an older woman on her sexual partners, a man who uses high class escorts and doesn't care what people and even some contributions from adult star Jake Bass and teenagers themselves being quite frankly on what they like sexually. I'm not sure what subsequent editions of this will add into the mix but I liked this little companion piece though.
So which did you prefer - Cucumber, Banana or Tofu?