4.25.2015

Comedic Sisters: Antonia Thomas in #ScrotalRecall

Antonia Thomas as "Evie"
If Netflix really did release Scrotal Recall back in 2014, I don't know how I missed it.  Some folks believe the title is the very reason it passed so many of us by.  I think it's that the fact that BW/WM is a pretty dominant theme throughout the show (it's British after all).

I just spent this whole morning watching all six episodes of the first season and wondering when the hell we're getting the next one.  Antonia Thomas of Misfits fame stars as "Evie", part of a trio of BFFs who all live together until (I'm assuming) Evie gets engaged to Mal (Richard Thomson).  Evie is a sarcastic sweetheart; she's a photographer and graphic artist, and the most level-headed member of the main cast.

Evie's in love with Dylan, the central protagonist portrayed by actor/musician Johnny Flynn.  He's in love with her as well; their inability to get together is a running theme of the show.  That and the fact  Dylan generally sucks with women, but not in the cliched tortured, selfish, narcissistic "bad boy" kind of way.  Dylan is simply the living definition of awkward.  Think Frasier and Niles Crane in one body, younger, but without any of their wealth or pretentiousness - just their awkwardness.  Dylan's well-meaning but horridly misguided, socially clumsy, and he buckles very quickly under pressure.  It's quite charming, actually.

The show begins with Dylan being diagnosed with chlamydia.  His doctor tells him to call his sexual partners to let them know.  So Dylan...being Dylan...drafts a list in alphabetical order and starts from the top.  Thus, most of the story is told in flashback, with each episode focusing on a different woman he slept with.  He gets really drunk the night of Evie's engagement, and leaves messages for several ex-lovers.  Some call him back in various order, so the story is overall non-linear, spanning multiple years.

Johnny Flynn as "Dylan"...with the list
Luke (Daniel Ings) is the final roommate, a shallow, promiscuous, hilarious guy who sometimes gets Dylan into trouble.  He's shown only ever falling for one woman, Phoebe, the last woman featured in Season One.  She and Dylan dated five years earlier.  Phoebe was the female version of Luke, hence the very mutual attraction.

*spoilers* Phoebe's phone is disconnected, and her emails bounce back, so the guys go to see her mother, who tells them Phoebe died six months earlier.  Dylan is taken aback, of course, but Luke is outright devastated.  He never asked Phoebe out because he didn't want to be the guy who dates his best friend's ex.  He argues with Dylan (they even fight), and comes to the age-old epiphany about telling people you love them while you still can.

So when Dylan and Evie go to dinner later that evening (where she asks him to be her maid of honor), a distraught Luke shows up and professes Dylan's love to Evie for him, because he knows Dylan won't do it himself.  The season ends with Dylan and Evie sitting in awkward (teary) silence across from each other.
Honestly, I kind of love Evie just because Antonia Thomas is such a beautiful and terrific actress. Sadly, Evie proves to be a rather underdeveloped character though. As the one female lead in the show, I expect Evie to be more than just another potential love interest for Dylan. Evie receives the most screen time as a woman. Yet, four episodes in and I can’t think of a single reason why she has fallen for her best friend. (Source)
While I agree Evie could stand to be more fleshed out, I tend to factor in as many variables as possible. Variable #1, stories typically lie within the drama and comedy of pain, screw-ups, insecurities; Evie is the least dysfunctional member of the trio. But now, she has to choose between the BFF she fell for, and the really good guy she's engaged to. You know...the smooth, tall handsome one who didn't take forever to say he loved her.

When will human beings learn that people won't wait...for people who deliberately make them wait?

And speaking of falling for the BFF, Variable #2: people fall for their best friends because they are their best friends.  Dylan is actually a very supportive friend to Evie, which is why he sucks so much with other women: because she comes first.  Some of them even realize this, like the ex-girlfriend he up and abandoned in the middle of an already disastrous family dinner to go help Evie.  Women - sistahs in particular - report all the time how unappreciated they are, how the men in their lives don't have their back, so why wouldn't Evie fall for the guy who's always been there for her?

Not to mention they're simply adorable together. *spoilers* In one flashback during Episode #3: "Cressida",  the trio head to the Highlands to attend a birthday party.  Evie and Dylan read Luke's bucket list, which includes sleeping with the birthday girl and jumping out of a car James Bond-style.  Using Luke's own car for the attempt, these two negotiate with each on how fast they should go and decide that going five kilometers (I'm assuming they're going with kilometers) per hour should be safe enough (though Evie initially opted for 10).  We're shown Dylan driving and then jumping out of the car successfully.  But then the camera pans and shows Evie jumped out too, leaving Luke's car to roll on down by itself and sideswipe the birthday girl's car.  Appalled, the two start bickering about whose turn it was to jump out.  The birthday girl's brother witnesses their debacle and blackmails them, demanding to see Dylan naked in exchange for silence.  Dylan gets naked for him in a basement room (with Evie still present), but then the blackmailer wants more.  Seeing a business card in Dylan's pants for Cressida (a woman who unsuccessfully hit on Dylan), Evie briefly assumes her identity, hands the blackmailer "her" card, and tells him to send the bill to her office.  He accepts and leaves.

Still naked, Dylan tries to get his underwear back from Evie, who's having too much fun (initially, she thought she'd have to be the one getting naked; imagine her relief when the blackmailer revealed he was gay).  Their little struggle leads to kissing, which leads to sex.  This makes Evie one of the partners on "the list", but Dylan lists her as "Cressida" instead of using her real name.

Episode #2: "Anna", also really stood out to me mainly because it was a sistah-heavy episode with some stunning guest stars.


Riann Steele portrays Cleo, a psychology student whom Luke dubs the best sex of his life.  Trouble is, she wants to get to know him, and Luke doesn't want her to know just how shallow and empty he really is.  So he convinces Dylan to come along as his wingman on a double-date and keep the conversation focused trivial topics.

Problem is, Dylan's date turns out to be Anna, a woman Dylan falls for almost immediately .


 Nigerian-British actress Nikki Amuka-Bird (of Luther fame) guest stars as the titular Anna, an older, successful career woman studying psychology on the side, which is how she met Cleo.  Dylan's infatuation with her is intense and all-consuming; he tries to act older and more mature for her, cook and host a dinner for her.  Naturally, the power goes out, throwing a wrench in dinner, and after hiding his booze, video games, and porn, an already-livid Luke has to deal with an increasingly inquisitive Cleo.  So Dylan ends up scurrying about, desperately trying to salvage the evening and find ways to keep Anna there...like hiding her purse and car keys in separate locations.

After finally admitting defeat (and apologizing for hiding her stuff) Dylan confesses to Anna how she makes him feel and that he just really wanted her to stay.  His confession leads to kissing, leading to sex (hence why Anna's on "the list"...and let's just say, her chlamydia call scene is not pleasant).  Meanwhile, the power comes back on and a heartbroken Evie (who was fine with everything up until she overhears them making up) goes to her room.  The next morning, Mal shows up to bring Anna her spare car keys, which is how he and Evie meet.

Verdict: Scrotal Recall a great show.  It helped to clean out the nasty aftertaste of Scandal.

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