Lala | Ohio | 06/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been waiting impatiently for the second series of this delightful British show (titled Jam and Jerusalem there) to be available on this side of the pond. Although it still hasn't aired here on BBC America, I did catch these episodes in 9-minute chunks on YouTube (certainly not the best way to catch a TV show, but grateful for the access anyway). It's a sweet, funny, and very poignant character study of the quirky women of Clatterford, a small fictional village in Devon. If you've not seen series 1, don't think you're getting another AbFab from the brilliant Jennifer Saunders. This is a very different show. Like series one, it showcases the gentler side of English village life that is sadly passing away."
Very disappointed after excellent first season - limited rec
Terry Weiss | Corvallis, OR U.S.A. | 09/06/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
I wrote a review rhapsodizing over season 1 of Clatterford and couldn't say enough good things. We were on the list to get season 2 the second it became available on Amazon U.S. Alas, we are sadly disappointed. We should have been alerted when we saw a second name on the writing credit. However, we figured Jennifer Saunders would have remained on top of things and kept the characters and plots congruent, as they had been in season 1. The stories flowed so naturally from the characters that we were able to sit back and simply bask. However, season 2 is not in the same category - it is still better than most television, no matter what side of the Atlantic it's being produced, hence the 3 stars - but it certainly is not a 5 star series any more.
I'm going to confess here that a big piece of our disappointment was a totally unbelievable glitch in the behavior of one of the main characters, Sal. Sal's daughter, 36 years old and mother of a young child, is unable to take care of herself, can't make a decent decision, has to live with her mother because she won't/can't find work, and is neglectful of her son. This is not pretty, but it is believable - as is the way Sal alternates between being frustrated beyond reason, and co-dependent to a fault. This rang true to us, as we have a similar situation in our own family - and we identified mightily with all of it- the frustrations, the co-dependency, the futile attempts to expect and demand adult behavior from someone who simply isn't capable of it - and continuing to love and hope despite all evidence to the contrary. It was the first time we'd seen this situation portrayed with sensitivity, honesty, and accuracy in any medium and we were mightily impressed. In Season 1 that is.
Then comes season 2 - wherein Sal, portrayed as an intelligent, experienced woman, who, although co-dependent, is not blind to her daughter's flaws - encourages her to hook up with a man who is in worse mental health than the daughter, addicted to drugs, and even less responsible. Are we to believe that Sal lost enough IQ points in a year to take on a life time of supporting 3 people, rather than passing along the two she's already in bondage to? There is a solid and responsible man who wants to take care of them - are we to believe Sal would actively try to disrupt this happy state of affairs? I don't think so. It is especially annoying because this idiotic plot theme takes up a good bit of the season. Look around you - feckless, aimless, helpless people marry stable people who will take care of them. And then there's changing Tip from a funny, witty, kind, hard working woman who has a difficult life with a man she loves and who loves her - and the fortitude, wisdom, and humor to keep on with it - into a bitter, unhappy, whiner. A conflict with a lot of inappropriate verbal sniping between two other characters - Eileen and Katie is unlikely, unpleasant, and irritating to watch. Given the character development of these two women, it simply wouldn't be. And we are smart enough to know that.
Conflict for conflict's sake is just plain painful (as well as boring and annoying) to watch. This plot technique only causes a person to click the clicker and pop in a different DVD - or go read a well written book. Season 1 of Clatterford we watched virtually in one sitting, it was so compelling. Season 2 we turned off before the disk was done. We will probably finish watching it some time - but we felt no need to lose sleep over it. My only regret about writing this review is that I plan to resell it and have to hope no one reads it before buying!
To be honest, there is some constancy as well, which makes it worth a viewing. Is it that there was only one good season in this setting, with these characters? Certainly I expected there was more gold to be found in Clatterford. Or is it that the firm and talented hand that guided the first season is doing something else, and a television hack writer has taken charge? The acting remains topnotch, it's the writing that has fallen off. We've seen a few television series where that has happened - the originator has said all he/she has to say and moves on, leaving the plotting to a lesser talent. After a season or two of implausible plots and incongruent characterizations, the series simply fades away. What a shame to have this happen to Clatterford.
I am giving a limited recommendation: you will find some of it less than plausible and therefore not nearly as entertaining as season 1; but there is still enough remaining of the superb characters and their doings to be worth a watching. I'm not so sure I'm glad we bought it, however. I would love there to be a season 3, back to the quality of the first season."
More small town life...
James Donovan | Plainfield, Vermont USA | 09/15/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Clatterford is like a cup of hot chocolate and a blanket on a wintry day. It's warm and inviting, and celebrates a slower pace of life that I personally long for. That being said, Season Two is a slight step below the first one. I really only have two chief complaints with this season: The first is the absence of Joanna Lumley's character, who makes an appearance in the first episode and is gone from the rest. She was a lot of fun to watch and was sorely missed.
The second, and more important complaint is the out of character plot line for Sal. All of last season, Sal was trying to get her thirty-something daughter Tash to grow up and take responsibility of her life. At the end of last season, Tash had hooked up with a childhood friend who was a good, responsible man who loved her and her son. You'd think Sal would be thrilled. However, for some unknown and out of left field reason, this season Sal instead tried to push Tash and SPIKE together. And succeeded. Now Spike is a likable drug-addicted loser (!), and actually not too bad a match for Tash, personality wise, but the whole thing came across as contrived. Why would Sal want her daughter to ditch her oh so dependable boyfriend for someone who has less going for him than Tash? It simply doesn't make sense and therefore takes us out of the show.
That being said, the show is still very entertaining and the cast is a joy to watch, and I can't wait for Season Three, which just finished airing in the U.K. As I ask is for a little more consistency in charactization."
Another Wonderful show from BBC
Beck | 10/04/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Season one was a real winner, this season not so much. Too much pandering to the unappreciative daughter and would have liked to have seen more of the individual women's lives, all in all too great a cast to not give a good review. I Did miss Joann Lumley in the second season. It is a shame when the cast changes in these and I hope to see them all return for season 3. Anxious to see that released soon."