As a native Scot, I had to restrain my excitement when I realized the second televised contemporary lesbian drama series in the world is set in Glasgow, a few mere miles from my birthplace. As you can probably guess, I am following the show religiously and possibly investing a little too much in the characters (stop yelling at the TV, Grace Maxwell, they can’t hear you)…
So let’s get down to business and trot them out, shall we?
Frankie played by Ruta Gedmintas
Frankie is a bad-ass soft-butch arty photographer. She is pretty “messed-up”, which serves as giving her character “depth” and a free pass to act socially awkward. She seems unable to sustain healthy relationships and substitutes this with impromptu sexual encounters. Frankie can barely muster the ability to act civilized after these sexcapades, making faces tinged with disgust and resentment before fleeing or turning her back on her lover-of-the-moment.
Like Shane before her, Frankie’s sexual encounters are somewhat implausible. It’s unlikely that a random receptionist would accept your proposition to sex her right there in her workplace, even more so if her workplace happens to be A MORGUE. Also, she didn’t even have to buy the girl dinner and a bottle of Pinot Grigio first.
Frankie’s similarities with The L Word’s Shane are undeniable. Her wardrobe is all tight-fitting, low-riding trousers, studded belts, vests-without-bras and leather jackets – Shane’s wardrobe, plus a woolen hat. And that messy short hair which is styled in a way that screams “I could have sex with any chick I want”. Stop being so obnoxious, hair! She is also a fan of stooping, pouting and leering at girls in the same way.
Unlike moody, mysterious Shane “I used to turn tricks” McCutcheon, however, Frankie’s issues are explored from the get-go, and we are introduced to her dysfunctional family. Lip Service begins to unravel Frankie’s troubled past, and it could be an intriguing ride…
Cat played by Laura Fraser
Cat is a successful, highly-strung architect. She is at a point where she doesn’t want to f*ck around, doesn’t need the drama, wants to succeed in work and move forward positively with her life. She is thrown completely off-kilter when her ex Frankie returns to Glasgow.
The mere sight of Frankie puts Cat on edge, making her anxious and exasperated at the same time. Frankie exploits this to her full advantage. This culminates in Cat making several faux-pas on a first date, including talking about her ex and rambling incessantly. Apart from that, Cat seems to be reasonably well-adjusted and frequently dishes out advice to her friends (whether they ask for it or not).
Her newest romantic interest is Detective Sergeant Murry – the one she made a tit of herself in front of – and it’s hard not to root for them because despite the embarrassing moments, they go very well together.
Cat is focused and determined yet has a very vulnerable side, which makes her all the more endearing.
Tess played by Fiona Button
Tess is a ditzy, fresh-outta-college and out-of-work actress, who takes on a variety of odd-jobs to pay the bills (including dressing up as a can of juice and fetching coffees for her celebrity lover). She provides frequent comic relief and seems to be the most up-beat member of the Lip Service gang. Her laid-back attitude contrasts nicely with house mate Cat’s high-stress personality.
Romantically, it’s not plain sailing for Tess; she whines, “why do I always like girls who treat me like shit?” and bemoans the fact that her ex cheated on her while her current “girlfriend” (for want of a better term) Lou, will not reveal their relationship to any one. Despite warnings from Cat, Tess is steaming on and becoming smitten with Lou. This will likely end badly.
Tess is a supportive friend and generally quite adorable.
Sam played by Heather Peace
Sam is a straight-talking lady and a dedicated Detective Sergeant police woman with a handsome chiseled jaw. She chats with Cat on Gaydargirls.com and invites her for a drink after work, and thus begins their romance. Unfortunately, Sam has to bail out on the awkward and embarrassing first date with Cat due to a call about an important case.
Luckily for us, Sam and Cat give the first date a second go and this time it’s not nearly as cringe-worthy to watch. Also, they have sex.
Hopefully, Sam will stick around, although Frankie’s presence could threaten this relationship before it really gets off the ground.
Lou played by Roxanne McKee
Lou is a morning talk-show host who has never dated women before (“but you’re gorgeous!” she coos whilst making out with Tess). Lou seems nervous and slightly paranoid that people will find out about their budding sapphic romance and thus shuns Tess on a number of occasions. She is also reluctant to “give” when it comes to the bedroom, though she seems to have no quams about “receiving”, leaving her partner to please herself after a morning tumble. However, she does seem to be making progress, expressing a desire to really be with Tess and doing something to her in bed that I didn’t really get, especially since it was followed by a cut to Tess’ confused and surprised facial expression. Um, moving on…
Ed played by James Anthony Pearson
Ed is Cat’s brother and other house mate. He is good friends with and has a major crush on Tess, but that’s about all we know about him. So far, it’s difficult to sympathize with his situation since he seems just to gaze at her when she’s not looking and drop subtle hints followed by excessive blushing. It remains to be seen what will become of bashful Ed and his unrequited love.
Jay played by Emun Elliot
Jay is supposed to be a sarcastic wit and a notorious ladies man. A colleague of Cat’s and a close friend of Frankie’s, he often finds himself caught in the middle. Unfortunately, he is the most grating character on the show. His screen time mostly consists of making lewd comments or licking his lips while staring at ladies rear-ends. His behavior around women is less charming and flirty more “I would slip drugs in your drink and have my way with you”. Yes, Jay comes across as a total date-rapist. God only knows why his nice, normal girlfriend is still hanging around.
So, what do you all think of Lip Service so far?