W H A T I S A W L A S T N I G H T
e rejoin our East End epic with The Asians embroiled in a fierce familial argument, coloured with homosexuality, Islam, and arranged marriage. An outraged Masood is ranting about his bitter enemy, Evil Doctor Yusef. "I knew it! I knew it was him! Of course it was him! Now do you see? He is sick! He has a sick mind!"
So blonde Cockney bombshell Peggy Mitchell's departure has given way to this: Pakistani melodrama. And let's face it, few can do melodrama like the Pakistanis. Tempered with religion and tradition, and played out by some truly superb actors (Nina Wadia and Nitin Ganatra are mesmerising as Zainab and Masood), it's brilliant, just brilliant. This is the backbone EastEnders has been crying out for. The East End is dead, long live the East End!
Out in the Square, Cockney Mitchell Lola is asking newly out Ben what boys he'd like to snog. Lola is a girl of the 21st century, and doesn't have a problem with her distant cousin's long-seeded homosexuality. "What about Tinie Tempah? I'd snog him," she suggests. "No!" Ben says emphatically. "What about the little one from JLS," she tries. "Aston?" Ben says, perking up. Lola's amused by the brand recognition: "You even know his name? You're so gay!"
So two white Cockney kids are talking about fantasy celebrity crushes, and as a matter of course, the two names that come are black boys. Now that's interesting.
Next we have some harmless fluff with some recent Walford immigrants: Essex boys and girls. Pretty and dumb, the Moon boys, and comedy relief Jodie and Poppy, light up the screen. Think about that: the ethnic minority gets the meaty drama, and the Caucasians get the comedy relief role. Make a phrase out of these random words: Other. Foot. On. Shoe. The.
Christian and Syed are arguing about the fallout from Evil Doctor Yusef's machinations. "I'm sorry I doubted you!" Syed whines. Christian charges off to belt Yusef, but doesn't, sadly. He's the better man, apparently. Personally, I'm all for a bit of righteous violence. It worked for Omar Little.
"'Ere, you know who else is gay, that bloke from The X Factor. Would you snog 'im?" Lola persists, reading from a magazine as Ben plays pool with sexy adopted brother Jay. Ben throws down his pool stick thing, and throws himself into a chair. Lola's reminded him that his Daddy, Phil Mitchell - a man for whom gays are pathetic embarrassments that happen to other people - is back on the Square. Sexy Adopted Brother Jay is the alpha male son Phil wishes he could have had, so it's beautiful to see him sit next to Ben and put his arm around him. "Has he said summat to ya?" Jay asks. "'Cos if he has then I'll 'av a word wiv 'im."
"Don't even give him the time of day," Lola says. "He's a twazzock."
Now, if only all our gay youth had a guard dog brother and a ready-made bitch fag hag! That's living the dream, kids!
Christian's brought Amira - boyfriend Syed's baby mama - back to their gay love nest. Her father's disowned her for having anything to do with the infidels. "I'm tired of fighting," Amira says, heralding a cessation in anti-gay hostilities. Remember, kids, she was once Christian's fag hag, and hell hath no fury like a fag hag scorned. Bitch'll be trying to get her claws back into her man as soon as Christian's waxed and tan-in-a-bottle's back is turned.
Christian's other annoying fag hag, über-chav Roxy, is up in her flat with annoying sprog Amy, trying not to get evicted by Walford's resident Cruella de Vil, Janine Butcher, whilst watching kid's TV. Hey, that's what happens when you spread your legs and put a bun in the oven: A BORING CHILD! Not to worry, Auntie Kim is here to save the day. "The fembots at the salon said you were having a bad day," Kim says, referring to our Essex comedy relief. She's all cleavage and attitude, without tedious female histrionics. Now, that is my kinda fag hag!
Zainab is talking to Evil Doctor Yusef about when they first met. Arranged marriage. Pakistan. "The first time I saw you, the very first time, we didn't even talk, you just smiled. And I remember thinking, 'What beautiful eyes.' He must be kind with eyes like that... I don't see that boy. I don't see him anymore." You're not joking, love, we've been watching Evil Doctor Yusef's machinations for months. Of course, unbeknownst to her, he was the one who set her on fire when she left him for Masood back in Pakistan.
Oh, I can't wait until that comes out.
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