Same Shire, different time

Not at all awkward ... Mitch and his Mum, The Shire
Not at all awkward ... Mitch and his Mum, The Shire
Nothing good comes of texting ... Michael, The Shire

Nothing good comes of texting ... Michael, The Shire

Tegan rehearses ... The Shire

Tegan rehearses ... The Shire

Happy with a golf date ... Tegan, The Shire

Happy with a golf date ... Tegan, The Shire

Not a real science ... Fat Blasting, The Shire

Not a real science ... Fat Blasting, The Shire

Sophie (worried), The Shire

Sophie (worried), The Shire

Sophie (happy), The Shire

Sophie (happy), The Shire

Previously on The Shire, big decisions were made; Stace is going to come out to his family, Mitch is going to meet his Dad, and The Shire is moving to a time slot more suited to a show watched solely by the friends and family of the participants.

It’s to be an episode of high drama, real people dealing with real, emotional situations, which we will lampoon. You may say that’s harsh, we say that’s what happens WHEN YOU DO IT ON TELEVISION.

The Players
, fatherless and shirtless
Gabby, all about Mitch
Andy, was about Mitch, now about golf dates with Tegan
Simon, now mostly about random appearances as an MC
Michelle, Mitch’s Mum, guaranteed to walk in at the most inopportune times
Beckaa, the best personality Daddy’s money could buy
Stace, Beckaa’s BFFs, no sign of Kris
Tony, Beckaa’s father, financier and failure
Joel ‘Rif-Raf’, Have you seen this man? Please call his producers, they’re worried.
Sophie and Vernesa, a.k.a. Verphie, botox brand ambassadors
Kerry, Tegan’s bestie
Tegan, Kerry’s bestie, now been on ONE date
Nickee, lingerie model, possibly pregnant
Michael, Nickee’s boyfriend, possibly a father, possibly about to be dumped
Megan and Courtnii, Nickee’s friends and lingerie colleages
Boogie, Megan’s ferret ... sadly not in this episode

We begin with a happy birthday to Mitch, who wakes up to every man’s fantasy of his Mum walking in to his bedroom while he sleeps in his birthday suit, giving him that double thrill of the awareness that he’s an adult who still lives with his Mum plus the knowledge that his Mum could refer to “little Mitchy” at any moment.

Hoping to generate a new customer for Verphie’s fatblasting business, Mitch’s mum has made him a cake for breakfast – because it’s nice to know your birthday is also likely to be the last day you can see Little Mitchy without using a hand mirror. Mum doesn’t feel this is awkward enough yet, what with her holding a cake and Mitch lying naked in bed under the doona so she grills him about whether he called his Dad yet.

Yay, birthday guilt and an awkward conversation chaser for the cake!

Meanwhile Kerry has dropped in on Tegan’s band rehearsing in an incredibly large theatre, a location they can afford because The Shire supports the arts ... or because the producers couldn’t get a permit for a public music performance in a neighbourhood area from a council who is looking for an excuse to call the cops.

Kerry grills Tegan on the likelihood of her having a second date with Andy. It’s likely says Tegan. Kerry / the producers aren’t happy with this lack of tension, so Kerry grills Tegan on why she is being so undramatic. Tegan explains that there will be another date because the first golfing date was so bad it didn’t really count ... and with that men of Australia book out driving ranges for the next year. Entrepreneurial golf clubs start offering couples tees, his and hers golf gloves ... and strangely none of them offer satisfaction guarantees.

Finally, the day has arrived. Fat blasting. Here we go. You’ve heard the phrase, you’ve heard Verphie “sell” it, now you can hear the fat blasting gel flatulate all over a customer, sporadically interrupted by Sophie waving a glow stick over some poor schmuck the producers paid to take their clothes off and act like a punter.

Sophie’s phone keeps ringing which stresses her because she can’t work out why, or how to answer it, or what it is. She rationalises that she needs her “wifie” Vernesa. Vernesa, she knows, can answer the phone for her. Of course the fact that it is inevitably Vernesa who is calling means that her presence should eliminate the problem, but let’s be honest, any solution is impressive given the numerous obstacles involved.

Meanwhile Michael is at a point of crisis. His girlfriend Nickee’s potential unwanted pregnancy has come at exactly the same time that she worked out he was texting other girls pictures of his tackle. That’s not the crisis though. Rather, he’s just pulled up outside the tattoo parlour on his Harley and discovered that it’s closed as no one is drunk at this time of day. Conveniently Nickee texts just then to let him know that she’s waiting on an empty beach where she’s just done a pregnancy test.

Because beaches and pregnancy tests go sand in hand.

Nickee it turns out isn’t pregnant. Michael selflessly admits that he wants to be with Nickee and he wants to be happy again. She isn’t sure that now would have been a great time to be pregnant, yet bizarrely, inexplicably, Nickee is not giddy with joy. So Michael throws her over the back of his motorcycle and drives her back to the tattoo parlour because it’s SURE to be open by now.

Speaking of understaffed parlours, Sophie’s fat-blasting parlour Beautylicious now comes with a waiting complete with a Vernessa and ... a kitchen. Yes ok it’s a kitchen where Vernessa sits and answers the phone by doing impersonations of a human while Sophie insults her customers in the next room, before she gets bored of that so she calls Vernesa in to also insult them for having body hair and other “human” traits.

After hours, Verphie debrief and Vernesa expresses her concern that she has literally talked her lips off, which is in all likelihood the only fat lost by anyone at Beautylicious today.

Beckaa is taking a walk with Stace in the park to rehearse coming out. Her advice is that he take his mum to a car yard then offer to NOT be gay if she buys him a BMW. Talk about win win! Stace has a radical plan about just telling his mum that he’s gay, but he’s grateful to have Beckaa around as it always reminds him that things could be worse.

It’s Mitch’s birthday party which is an excuse, as far as Mitch is concerned, to get together with his friends for a few beers, and an excuse for the design department to dress everyone as angels and demons to justify their budget in a show where everyone is already wearing too much makeup when they arrive.

Tegan on seeing Andy, says she feels like a year 7 girls meeting a boy for the first time. Andy sees Stephanie, Tegan sees Andy see Stephanie, we see Tegan see ... oh bugger it, this actually is a year 7 formal and it’s illegal to film those for a reason.

Elsewhere, Verphie are spoiling themselves after a hard day’s fat blasting and lip flapping, and are taking advantage of the thinking time that a manicure provides to decide to hire a receptionist at Beautylicious, because that will save on Vernesa’s lips, plus the script department already played the ferret card.

Back at the party, Mitch and his girl Gab have ducked off for a quiet snog ... or possibly just a quiet anything away from Tegan’s band who have just started up. Spotting the next most awkward moment to walk in on Mitch today, his Mum appears out of nowhere. Again it’s not uncomfortably enough though so Mitch’s mum gives him a birthday card from his father that she waited until the middle of the party to hand over as it seemed the most ummm... nope, there’s just no reason to do that.

“Dear Mitch, I remember the day you were born...” begins Mitch’s Dad who goes on to deliver a reminder that no matter whether Mitch moves or changes his name, he will never lose him, which is either “really cool” as Mitch tells Gab, or “really chilling” if read in a more sinister tone.  Of course Mitch looks like he had his makeup done at Verphie’s tanning salon which betrays the emotion of the scene a tad.

Somewhere on the streets of Cronulla, Beckaa is giving her best friend who she spends all her time with Stace a pep talk. He has to realise – she says – that his mum is his best friend who he spends all his time with. Beckaa points out how betrayed his mum will feel when she realises he’s kept his biggest secret a secret from her (because there isn’t enough emotional baggage in this situation) and we ponder how betrayed his mum will feel when she learns he didn’t correct Beckaa when she indicated she was just like her.


Oh FFS! They’re going to tease us with these job interviews for the rest of the series aren’t they?! To be fair, this car crash looks worth watching as Verphie find the Mini Me they’ve yearned for ever since they discovered puppies have fully functioning digestive systems, and a girl who has named her breasts Tink and Bell... it looks like Tink and Bell will be the most intelligent pair of the five personalities in that particular room.

This story Same Shire, different time first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.