Footballers Wives

Willie Oleson

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I think I'm going to do this after I've finished season 2 of "Sisters".
...he said two years ago. (and my Sisters rewatch has been massively sabotaged by lots of other priorities).
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I must say that Footballer's Wives has aged very well, it kind of feels like reading a trashy tabloid that has lots of sexy paparazzi snapshots.

Chardonnay is the gorgeous model who takes her Page 3 career very seriously and eventhough it's being sniggered at I think it signals a more unapologetic approach to fame and vanity and nudity in a mainstream context.
Footballer's Wives partially thrives on the idea of fame-for-all-and-sundry, something that will develop into much more extreme examples thanks to the internet. Paris Hilton is the queen of Fame4Fame, and very popular youtubers can become millionaires.
So there's already a sense of embracing popularity, regardless of the why and how, when Chardonnay refuses to give up her career in order to become a supporting footballer's wife.
You really can't compare this to cult icons like Brigitte Bardot, because she was French so everything she did was art. It's as simple as that.

Donna Walmsley has no intention whatsoever to support her husband in public - but will she be able to avoid the limelight completely?
Actually I didn't remember their first child Daniel at all, it's possible that I had missed these first episodes.
Of course there has to be obligatory troublesome soap sister, and Marie is a proper slut. I love her.

The meatiest part, and no-one is going to disagree with that, is the dysfunctional Turner marriage with all its unpredictable twists and outbursts.
In her very first scene, Tanya Turner immediately claims her position as the chain-smoking FW Powerhouse. She is the Sue Ellen on steroids and she just keeps giving.

Thankfully, there's also room for the men - a locker room, to be more precisely - and I really appreciate their effort to explore the sport itself from a more human angle.
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I have a feeling that this rewatch will be gobbled down pretty fast, and maybe that's the best way to do it.
 

Willie Oleson

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Footballer's Wives has the lamest bloopers I've ever seen.
The only one I liked was when the actress playing Jackie said: "I can't do any more with that cupboard" (she's supposed to be stacking stuff or rearrange things but it's too tiny).
 

Willie Oleson

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Footballer's Wives is such an unabashedly guilty pleasure, maybe because it's mostly cynical and satirical, and they want all the characters to look as bad and stupid and horny as possible.
Yes, dear children, that was still quite a thing to behold in 2002, before the reality soaps & games took over and before random Z-listers managed to cultivate the "proud to be a stupid whore" imago - thus diminishing the "guilty" in our fictional guilty pleasures.

There's little room for hope or redemption in FW, and any moment of doubt or inner conflict is immediately overshadowed by yet another plot twist or a shag on the kitchen sink.
I think that's the main thing that sets it apart from the classic soap opera, but can we call it a soap opera when there's only 8 episodes per season? Is that very different from 13 episodes per season?

But anyway, the fabulous Hazel Bailey (who looks like Cruella De Ville sans le fur) has arrived on the scene and she's been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.
She's Jason Turner's new agent/watchdog because the conceited, past-his-glory-days loose cannon needs to be protected from himself.
And of course it takes all kinds of trickery to keep him in the game.
In a better written drama, Jason would have been a fascinating character but like I said, FW only scratches the surface and focuses on his outrageous behaviour.
But still there's something very desirable about him - a man I'd hate to love, as it were - and that makes Tanya's position a bit more believable.

Not that Tanya is all about love. She has invested in her footballer's wife career and expects something in return. She loves being the captain's wife and all the wealth and luxury that comes with it, and certain inconsistencies can be snorted away in the privacy of a toilet stall (but it doesn't become an addiction storyline).

Ian Walmsley is the opposite of Jason: very ambitious and disciplined and he's still thinking about the game when he's having sex with his wife Donna.
Again, the focus is on the mockery rather than the drama.
That said, the actors play them with energy and enthusiasm (some better than others) and that gives it just enough gravitas.
Julie Legrand is very good in her role of the compromised nurse Jeanette Dunkley.

There's a super-fun twist when the wrong Mrs. Pascoe is being informed of her pregnancy which allows the writers to cook up a secret and dysfunctional solution.
We don't get to see much of Kyle Pascoe or what this character is all about, he usually reacts to what his wife or mother says.
But at the end of season 1 it's clear that he's teetering on the brink of something.

The Walmsley kid has been kidnapped and something goes terribly wrong, and Frank Laslett finally remembers what happened on that fateful night.
Just when you thought things couldn't get worse for the fabulous Turners. Roll on series 2.

p.s. I noticed that the shower scene posted above was reused in another episode. The locker room butt shots are all exclusive because it happens in different scenes, but only the extras, not the actors. I'll keep my eyes peeled for any fakery or inconsistency.
 

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Season 1 was fun, but season 2 is soapier because the drama/romance/tragedy feels more important.
After a harrowing period of waiting for news about their kidnapped daughter, Walmsley's career at Earls Park FC is over and Donna has chosen to continue her relationship with that slimy Biagi. I'd love to strangle him with his own stupid hair.
But she has a change of heart and I really liked their happy ending.

It would be easier to describe what doesn't happen to the Turners, also because Jason is involved with the Pascoes - and their baby in particular.
Jackie has totally underestimated her feelings for baby Paddy and now it's family at war!
The christening is a pretty picture but at the same time it looks rather trashy, just like their fairy tale wedding and the silly fairy tale costumes.
It's the kind of thing some rich people do just because they can and it almost gives me a feeling of vicarious shame.
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There's also a dead body in the pool, Tanya seduces new and very young player Darius and club owner Frank Laslett is still on the warpath.
It's very addictive non-stop entertainment.
I'll keep my eyes peeled for any fakery or inconsistency
Well, Jason's big hairy ass was definitely no fake!
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Willie Oleson

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Just finished season 2 and I've got to say it was absolutely fantastic.
The Pascoes become more likeable eventhough it took a few bitch-slaps to get there. Nurse Dunkley returns to blackmail Tanya and the whole situation goes from bad to worse.
Biagi becomes sort of romantically involved with Stefan's daughter, a girl with psychological problems (wasn't hard to figure out why). It's not as exhilarating as the other storylines but it's watchable enough.
Zoe Lucker gives an explosive performance in the renewal of vows scene, and Jason's reaction to Tanya's betrayal sent me in a tizzy.
(incidentally, I find this renewal of vows concept so tacky, regardless of who's doing it).

Jason spanks Darius (lucky bitch) because he's becoming too opinionated, so I'll add it for the FW-bum-score.
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After all, it is about football.

I think Darius becomes a nasty little rapist in the next season, or season 4?
 

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Series 3 starts with Chardonnay's funeral (huh? huh? oh, she starved herself to death) and her best friend Tanya Turner cites Robbie Williams' Angels.
With Jason Turner gone (boo! hiss!) there's room for a new captain and that is going to be Conrad, a skinny guy with a sexy smile, funny ears, complicated hair and lots of fashion awareness.
His very first scene reminds us that this is still very much a football story.
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His wife Ambah is a Bollywood actress and also a one-note bitch, the type that usually dies first in a slasher movie. Unfortunately that's not the case in Footballer's Wives but the shady cartel they're involved with has killed her precious dog (well, it has four legs and a tail) and put it on the menu.

Tanya marries Frank Laslett (it's a two-year contract) which seems like a neat solution to keep her in the series. After all, it's not Footballer's Widows.
Everybody tells her that she's better off without Jason, and she knows that's true, but that doesn't mean there was no bond between them at all.
I'm glad they allowed her to show some grieving. She's a good actress so it would be silly not to take advantage of it.
For whatever reason they keep dressing her up with the most hideous hairpieces, whoever thought this was a great idea deserves a special place in hell.

Kyle is angry...about stuff! And more angry, shouting! Angry! Grrrr! He even slaps his own mother, how dares he!
But then it turns out that he's struggling with the knowledge that Chardonnay had sort-of-killed Jason, which may have caused the anorexia.
Nevertheless, that continuous display of anger wears off pretty fast.

Oh and there's another football player (forgot his name) but all he does is puke.
Darius fake-confesses the murder of Jason Turner to Tanya and expects her to fall into his arms and love him forever. As if!
Maybe there's some football in the deleted scenes, I'll check it out.
 

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Oh and there's another football player (forgot his name) but all he does is puke.
His name is Harley, and when he doesn't puke he smiles. More importantly, he looks like Princess Diana's twin brother.
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And not kinda , but like, for real. Can you believe this?
When his girlfriend Shannon meets Tanya she says with her Minnie Mouse voice: "Yi're Tinji Tirniii?" (translation: "You're Tanya Turner?")
Years after Footballer's Wives had finished I was still imitating that line. You know, spontaneously, while doing the dishes or something like that.
Yi're Tinji Tirniii? Ha, funny.

Baby Paddy looks like Butters from South Park, but Jason was very much an Eric Cartman so that makes sense.
Jackie Pascoe calls Hazel Bailey "H", which reminds me of South Park's Canadian characters T(errence), P(hillip), B(ob) and C(eline) D(ion).
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Conrad and his complicated hair seem to be in constant competition, but I love his big mouth and crooked teeth.
Amber and Tanya have a catfight, which looks exciting but mostly because of the frenetic camera work, and it gets more serious at the end of the episode when Kyle hurts himself during a locker room fight. That wound looks really gross!
Frank Laslett fears he'll go bankrupt if they can't turn Earls Park into a winning team. I find him surprisingly sympathetic in season 3.

There's a recurring theme/score in all the episodes, I don't know if it's vocal or purely instrumental but it sounds like "heeeyyy".
That "heeeyy" reminds of the "staaayy" in Why Don't You Stay The Night by Brothers 'N' Sisters, and it's frustrating because I subconsciously want to turn the "heeeyy" into that Stay The Night song but of course that never happens.


And now I'm going to log out again because I'm only here to talk about Footballer's Wives and nothing else. Maybe forever.
 

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There's a sad song playing in the background (pretty loud for a background song, to be honest) while Kyle is half-standing/half-leaning on crutch in his playroom.
He looks at all his Golden Boy trophys and pictures from season 1 and 2 and starts to cry.
I didn't immediately notice it, but he really is the surviving original Footballer now that Jason, Ian and Salvatore have been written out.

Tanya hijacks Conrad's ass when he's on a plane to somewhere for some reason.
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Is that a Brazlian wax? You slut!
There's some harder softcore going on, I don't even dare to post the images.
But make no mistake, there's nothing insignificant about this scene because his behind also gets the episode's close-up freeze frame.
When Amber sees the scratches caused by Tanya's expensive fake fingernails, she realizes he's been unfaithful again. So now it's Tanya FKA Mrs. Jason Turner who's having an affair with a compulsive adulterer.

Hazel Bailey makes an interesting career move when she becomes the new owner of Earls Park, including an Alexis Carrington style board meeting.
She also has something to say to the (half-) naked workers. With some lingering on a full-frontal. *clutches pearls*
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Auntie Hazel has come to the rescue. With the help of....Websy here I'm gonna turn this club around, and get you to the top of the premiership.
Tanya decides to sex Frank to death but eventually she has to resort to stimuli and that feels a bit like cheating imho.

Friends and family feature in Harley and Shannon's wedding episode. They all look like they just walked of the set of Rita, Sue & Bob Too.
The DJ plays an interesting house remix of Beethoven's 5th symphony, I wish I knew who did it so I could seek out the full version.
Tanya is dressed in a combination of black and pink & purple, I think it's based on Maleficent's outfit. I know she's going to wear a similar one (black/red/yellow) in another party episode, outing one of the players by means of a secret video recording. A risky move as it could alienate her biggest fanbase.
Anyway, Amber looks stunning in her white (!) outfit with the big white (!) feathers.
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There's a big balloon surprise for Harley and Shannon, but I don't think it was supposed to luftballon a-way. I remember how excited I was when I watched it for the first time, it looked like one of those big tragedy cliffhangers.
Somewhat disappointingly, Harley manages to put the thing on the ground - but lookee! There's a twist. Unbeknownst to them he has landed in a dangerous wildlife park! Cue lion's roar.
 

Willie Oleson

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WHERE ARE THE PENISES?
IN PEYTON PLACE! KEEP WATCHING!
:door:

Needless to say I'll only post pictures that are relevant to the story or represent the mood of a scene in a way I couldn't do with words.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Amber fakes her own kidnapping in order to revitalize Conrad's love and devotion.
It works, and she also manages to give the press a beautiful happy ending coverage.
Tanya, who's already very eager to think the worst of her nemesis, becomes suspicious when she sees Amber in such a perfectly glamorous and unscathed condition.
I'm not sure how she found out about the hotel that Amber had used as a hideout, maybe it was just a guess with very lucky results.
Thanks to some additional amateur detective work Conrad discovers the truth and throws her out.
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But he's also not going back to Tanya, he's had it with women for a while. 5 minutes later he jumps on co-footballer Noah.

Baby Paddy almost drowns in the swimming pool thanks to Kyle's negligence but he's saved by the hot physiotherapist Elaine (is she the future Dr. Who?)
Either that baby was actually underwater (if only for a moment) or it was the most magical editing I've ever seen. Is there something like a stunt-baby?
Kyle's got serious gambling problems and during yet another heated argument he strikes Jackie again, this time resulting in a nosebleed.
It's all getting excitingly dysfunctional at this point, and it's interesting to see that Jackie's decision to have her baby raised by its half-brother is at the core of all the drama.
It doesn't help that Earls Park's new manager Roger Webb is also Jackie's new boyfriend.
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Storywise, it doesn't hurt that Websy looks like a real dilfy.

Tanya's plan to exhaust her husband in a sexual way backfires when Frank tells her the news that his health has improved significantly. In fact, it has prolonged his life expectancy!
An impressive cholesterol and alchohol intake ("let's celebrate life, darling!") and some cocaine in his drink finally does the trick.
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It's a macabre sight to see her teasing him with his medication. Frank dies as he stares in the eyes of his executioner.
And there's even more witch-like shenanigans to come when Amber contacts a voodoo master in order to fix Conrad and Tanya...it's so Nip/Tuck and I love it!
 

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Amber has fallen from grace and she can kiss Bollywood goodbye, but she balks at the idea of doing a soap series.
Noah is hanging out at Conrad's place but he confuses sex-for-fun with love. I suppose I could attribute his clingy and delusional behaviour to his young age.
The war between Tanya and Amber intensifies but Amber's schemes and trickery only allows Tanya to get closer to Conrad.
"You can't have my life!" she screams at Tanya.
To be fair, when these women met for the first time there was no particular reason for any animosity, and it was Amber who started with the put-downs while simultaneously flaunting her perfect life and perfect husband.
I found it a rather weak set-up for their future rivalry as it misses the dramatic element of betrayal or history.

Either way, courtesy of Amber, Tanya suffers from an horrific skin rash and it all looks excitingly pulpy.
But her vulnerability - and Conrad's compassionate reaction to it - also results in a surprisingly touching scene.
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Furthermore, Amber explains to someone (forgot who) how utterly challenging it can be to be the wife of a sexy, popular footballer.
Because of the many temptations there appears to be an ongoing pressure to outdo herself in order to keep him interested and entertained.
Which is probably why she agreed to engage in threesome sex.
It doesn't necessarily make them more likeable but at least it softens the effect of the one-note bitchery (if only for a few moments).

Footballer's wife Shannon is still working hard on her media-bimbo-imago, she wants to become a Chardonnay.
And again I'm reminded of that peculiar change regarding the modern perception of sexy and/or glamorous.
There's nothing new about the concept of a sexy imago but I think it used to be work/career related, and in many cases it probably wasn't something that these actresses, singers. models and whatnot set out to accomplish from the very beginning. It kinda worked out that way, and if it proved to be successful then why not maintain it?
Glamour can go hand in hand with sex appeal, but technically they're not the same thing.
As I mentioned in my first post, the Paris Hilton generation seem to have morphed these two qualities into one thing, and sexy has become a synonym for glamorous.
But it's not the kind of sexy as we (old folks) used to know it. Modern "sexy" borders on porn-ish, trying to look like expensive trash while flaunting the nip/tuck work rather than being secretive about it. There's almost something grotesque about it.
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A few decades ago one might have wondered if it would be great PR to invite Katie Price, but now she's the main attraction in Harley and Shannon's wedding.
Don't get me wrong I'm not dismissing these people, I'm just intrigued by this cultural change.
I know she's going to wear a similar one (black/red/yellow) in another party episode, outing one of the players by means of a secret video recording.
Ah, another fake memory (how very Colbys Fallon of me).
It happens during a 1970s party. Tanya does ABBA, Elaine does Boney M, Darius and Harley do...Bay City Rollers (I think) and as for Jackie, the only one I could think of was the singer of ESC "Ding-A-Dong" winner Teach In.

It all looks very fabulous and the colours really pop!
The shocking outing of Noah causes some great firework between Hazel and Roger Webb.

I wasn't completely wrong about Tanya's black & flames outift.

It's totally kick-ass, I guess that's why she's wearing it for almost the entire episode. I think it's my favourite FW outfit (and the Maleficent outfit as the runner-up).

The last episode of season 3 combines the victory of Earls Park with all kinds of personal losses.
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Noah gets beaten up by Angry Fans and Tanya defeats Amber with the news that she's pregnant too, but her victory is short-lived when she receives a nasty surprise video from her deceased husband. Of course I already knew this, that's why I recognized the clue in a previous episode.
Kyle completely loses it after he's been arrested. First he causes a big scene at Earls Park and then he starts to trash his own house (which isn't even his house anymore).
The last thing we see of him is when he literally runs out of the series. Kinda like Allison MacKenzie, only…faster.
What an amazing season finale!
 

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It's big baby business in the first episode of series 4, which creates the opportunity to bring back the wicked nurse Dunkley as Tanya's accomplice.
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It's a fun episode that focuses on the switcheroo and other kinds of trickery, but it kind of undermines the dysfunctional domestic situation - something that could have worked in a long-running soap series.
Neither the wives nor the footballers seem to be impressed, let alone shocked, by this bizarre father & mothers triangle. So whatever happens, happens between Contrad, Tanya and Amber.

I guess the golf scenes have to make up for the lack of football scenes. And it's not that I like to watch football (on the contrary) but in this case I would have liked to see a little bit of it for the sake of authenticity. Sometimes I have to remind myself that they are footballers, and not just a bunch of generic pretty rich people behaving badly.

These are short series so I understand that they have cut to the chase, but the introduction of Bruno and Lucy feels rather hokey, and unlike Jason and Tanya they don't have the charisma to pull it off. I simply don't understand why these people got married in the first place.
Bruno is the most handsome footballer so far but strangely enough he doesn't have as much sex appeal as Jason or Conrad (and he doesn't do any nude as far as I can recall, let's hope it's yet another fake memory).
It's also the beginning of the rapist & vengeful victim storyline, and Noah tries to cure his homosexuality in a spiritual way (I didn't remember this at all).

The episode ends with an hilarious but also extremely shocking cliffhanger.
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What a way to die! And look at that guilty expression on the dog's face.
Furthermore, there's the very important question: which baby is the victim in this bizarre murder plot? And then you also have to consider the fact that that baby is not really that baby!
 

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Amber accidentally discovers that fake-Pundarik/real-Troy had been fake-tanned by nurse Dunkley.
Initially, her claim that the babies have been switched is perceived as yet another delusion, and her hysterical behaviour only seems to confirm that belief.
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The baby's grave looks more like a mini-mausoleum!
Eventually she persuades Conrad to test baby "Troy's" DNA . This leads to the reveal of Tanya's evil scheme and, consequently, her banishment from England.

Thanks to Harley's erroneous rape accusation towards Bruno, footballer's wife Lucy finds herself in an unexpectedly favourable position, and she demands all the things she couldn't do or have before.
Again, without any background or character motivation that ongoing power struggle fails to impress me.
Bruno has opened a club (Cocoon), a new set for the footballers and their wives to hang out as a group rather than seperate parties.

The thing with Darius and rape-victim Katie is sorted after a kidnap/hostage scenario, but this is also the beginning of Darius' nervous breakdown! Yes, another hysterical footballer.

I had to wipe the drool of my mouth when I saw baby Pundarik's Fabergé egg-shaped cradle.
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It's like a prop from a Snow White movie, and even by Footballer's Wives standards completely over-the-top.
In the meantime, Tanya Turner pops up in Alexis Carrington's former playground, charming an old and overweight millionaire. Oh well, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta to do.
That also applies to Shannon Lawson who's trying to make the most of her celebrity status. She's such a hoot!
She's currently filming a six part documentary about, well, Footballer's Wives. The rest of the cast doesn't like to be filmed and nobody's watching the show.
The cameras also unintentionally expose the illegal aliens working in the kitchen of Cocoon. (Bruno doesn't like it when you say the Cocoon).

Roger's son Sebastian "Seb" Webb joins the cast and immediately injects some serious father-son dysfunction into the show. Roger is determined to avoid nepotism but this manifests itself in unreasonable demands and expectations towards his son.
Conrad has to bend over backwards to win Amber's love back, but she wants her own life and career before she's ready to become Mrs. Gates again.
We've seen this scenario countless times in other soap stories, and it's just never exciting to watch.
Amber has set her sights on a singing career but the only thing she's good at is playing the difficult diva. And that duet with Peter Andre is also not going to happen.
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Ha ha!
 
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