TV review: Why Am I Still Single? First Cut, Channel 4
Dates, Channel 4
Judging from Naomi's Twitter page wallpaper, she isn't a shy woman. It consists of a shot of Naomi from behind wearing only a pair of black knickers. As if she was worried that this might not be inviting enough, she's also peeling the fabric back from her right buttock to reveal the phrase "Chaos and order" tattooed across the top of a cheek.
It's a bold look, but it doesn't exactly suggest that what Naomi wants most in the world is to climb off the sexual carousel and settle down with Mr Right. As it happens, though, that's exactly what she longs for, which is why she'd agreed to surrender what little privacy she retains by taking part in Why Am I Still Single?, the latest contribution to Channel 4's relationships season.
The idea is that two unwilling singletons swap lives, poking through each other's dirty laundry to try and work out why nothing's quite clicked yet. Quite why they're regarded as better qualified for such an analysis than someone who has actually pulled the trick off, I'm not sure, but television producers are as susceptible to the allure of symmetry as the rest of us, so Naomi's other half for the purpose of this exercise was Lex, who similarly yearns to become half of a couple rather than the whole of a lad about town. Essentially, he had to work out why someone wouldn't stay the course with her while she performed the same service for him.
Naomi can't be faulted for lack of effort. "In the last four years, I've been on 120 dates," she said. The fact that you're counting might be one clue, Naomi. There's nothing quite as unnerving as the pheromones of desperation, which she also tends to waft about her by a willingness to start the sex talk within a sentence or two. She even did it to Lex, leaving a note for him pinned down by a plastic dog turd: "Please don't masturbate in my bed," it read, an instruction that Lex declared he was going to ignore. Naomi is a part-time stand-up, so I think this was a sample of her comedy stylings.
All of this lairiness, you eventually discovered, was a front, concealing a romantic soul who (pop psychology klaxon) was looking to compensate for paternal abandonment and parental divorce. When Naomi went to talk to Lex's first serious girlfriend, she burst into tears when she heard an extract from one of his love letters ("I've never had a letter like that written to me") and she later confessed that she was still carrying a torch for the first real love in her life, a chap called Dave, who got a fierce dressing down from Lex, when it emerged that he was still drawing sexual benefits without properly signing on.
I'm not sure that either of them learnt a lot from the experience, though Naomi seemed startled to be told that men in search of a loving and long-term relationship might find raunchy small talk unnerving rather than attractive and Lex discovered that he could survive delivering his own stand-up routine, when this was foisted upon him by the producer under the pretence that it would give him a greater insight into Naomi's problems. He also came to the catch-up meeting with a girlfriend. It might have been intriguing to hear from her about how the treatment had worked, but very sensibly she decided on a non-speaking role only.
Dates, Channel 4's mix-and-match drama series, continues to impress. Last night, Stephen (Ben Chaplin) came back for second helpings of the lethal Mia only to get dumped at the last minute and swerve into a flirtation with Heidi. The writing and performances are as sharp as each other and once again it honoured the truth that there aren't a lot of neat endings in life.
Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Top Gear team of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May officially heading to Amazon Prime for new car show
- 2 Stuart Baggs: Apprentice star 'The Brand' found dead aged 27
- 3 How to cancel Amazon Prime: after Top Gear hiring, how to leave premium service
- 4 Tesco scraps 'unexpected item in the bagging area' as self-checkouts switch to less 'frustrating' audio
- 5 Living in Spain and commuting to London 'cheaper than actually working in London'
Top Gear hires female executive producer Lisa Clark amid reports Jodie Kidd will join Chris Evans fronted show
Frank Ocean, where's that new album at?
Top Gear team of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May officially heading to Amazon Prime for new car show
Jon Snow not dead? Kit Harington spotted in Belfast where Game of Thrones season 6 is filming
Top Gear: Jenson Button reportedly joining Chris Evans as replacement host
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
While we fixate on Calais, the Government is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: For desperate migrants it is 'England or death' as they brave dogs, riot police and speeding trains