'Grandma's House' Series 2, Episode 4: 'The Day Simon Was Really Determined To Heal His Grandma's Pain' // Words: Saam Das
SYNOPSIS: "Sitcom. Simon gets Grandma to see a therapist about her unresolved grief - and the ensuing kleptomania." (bbc.co.uk)
I was somewhat morose, and perhaps even distraught, at the plummeting scale of quality witnessed between episodes two and three of what was otherwise becoming my favourite thing on British television. Thankfully, 'Grandma's House' has just about managed to recover its composure.
Maybe I was too hasty to build up this series of 'Grandma's House'. Or maybe I'm slowly embodying Simon Amstell's character - second-guessing myself at every step, flailing in my own neuroticism. 'The Day Simon Was Really Determined To Heal His Grandma's Pain' tones it down slightly compared the overly dramatic and somewhat sinister previous episode, albeit turning itself into something more reminiscent of slightly quirky soap opera episode.
Following the fallout of the last episode, Clive (James Smith) doesn't go out with Tanya (Rebecca Front), instead accompanying Liz (Samantha Spiro), whose marriage is in a somewhat precarious position despite her protestations, on a night out at the theatre. Repercussions develop as it emerges that Clive and Liz kissed, halting Simon's attempts to introduce his unwittingly grief-stricken Grandma (Linda Bassett) to a therapist and his date with Ben Theodore.
Following on the usual formula of pop culture references, meta moments ("Why do you have to use your family to entertain strangers?"), brilliant one liners and dodgy singing (Simon singing the intro to 'Circle Of Life' from 'The Lion King' was quite something), episode 4 finds its footing as something of a post-modern tragicomedy. In particular, this episode allows Samantha Spiro to shine, her character deriving an entirely unexpected source of empathy from the viewer.
Equally unexpected is the scale of Tanya's anger about Clive and Liz's minor indiscretion considering her supposedly flagrant disinterest in the former, pushing Grandma's rather more important issues aside. Simon finds himself stuck in the middle, as ever, his dampened mood somewhat indicative of where the series has now found itself - "Okay, well this is almost fun isn't it?" Almost, Simon, almost.
'The Day Simon Was Really Determined To Heal His Grandma's Pain' is available to watch on BBC iPlayer until 22:29, 31 May '12. Previous episode reviews here.