Saturday, 14 January 2017

Game On

I'll teach you how to get girls... But I'm not interested in girls - you don't need to be interested in them to shag them!
Say you're the girl, and I'm you, right? kiss
What are you staring at us like that for, Martin? I was just showing Jason what to do with girls. You must be joking, Jason and I are too busy being double hard bastards for love. We think people who are in love are girly shirtlifting tosspieces, don't we, Jas?
I fancy a bit of a wrestle. (at the gym) I think one or two of them might be arsebandits.
As a matter of fact, I love Matthew. I treasure those stupid socks because they're yours, Matt!

Game On was a BBC sitcom which ran for three series between 1995 and 1998. It was part of the ‘lad’ genre, aimed at 20-somethings, and followed the lives of three friends who shared a flat: Martin (Matthew Cottle) the ‘ginger tosser’ who spends the first season a virgin, Mandy (Samantha Janus) the well educated graduate who always messes up her career prospects with sex, and Matt (Neil Stuke)  - his parents died in a car crash and left him enough money to purchase the flat and not to need to work. Which was just as well, seeing as their deaths also left him with a crippling case of agoraphobia, on top of his abrasive and self-involved personality.

These clips are from three episodes which originally aired in September 1996 on BBC2 in the 10pm time slot. In the first, ‘Slime Surfers and Jissom Monkeys’ (S2:E2), Mandy asks her psychologist friend Jason to try and help Matt, under pretence of being her cousin recently returned from Australia. The problem with the deception, as Jason soon points out to Mandy, is that he’s ‘always had a bit of a thing for nutters’ and can tell he’s falling for Matt. After letting Matt teach him how to get a girl, and a spot of bed sharing, in the next episode ‘Double Hard Bastards and Girly Shirt-lifting Tosspieces’ Jason actually succeeds in getting Matt to leave the flat to go to the park, and then to the gym. Jason asks Martin if Matt has said anything about him - about them - and freaks Martin out when he confesses: ‘It’s terrible. I’m desperately in love with him.’ So much so that, after a rambling monologue about how he’s totally cool with ‘gay people being as gay as they want’, Martin blurts out that Matt thinks all gay men should be castrated…

Things finally come to a head in S2:E4 ‘Heavy Bondage & Custard Creams’. Mandy’s old boyfriend, Stoat, turns up out of the blue and it soon becomes apparent that he is a prison escapee - the gun he’s brandishing is something of a giveaway! Stoat ties them up, much to Martin’s dismay: ‘My girlfriend is tied to your boyfriend in my bedroom.’ Matt freaks out at that and starts talking about how totally straight he and Jason are - which leads to Martin getting Stoat to switch their bondage arrangements, and confessing to Clare, his girlfriend, that he worried Jason might just pretend to be gay to steal other guy’s girlfriends. Later, when Clare unwittingly reveals all to the rest of the gang, shit really hits the fan.

Martin apologises but Jason is left with little option but to admit the truth. Matt refuses to talk about it, changing the subject over and over until Jason warns that if he won’t engage with him about it, he’ll leave and never return. …I think this was the first time I ever wanted fix-it fic!

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TV and Film History

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