Ice Cream Girls
19 April on ITV at 2100
The last three part ITV murder-drama I was asked to review was ‘The Town’, it was about a young man who returns to his home town after a long absence following the sudden death of his parents and uncovers a mysterious past.
The ‘Ice Cream Girls’, a new three part murder-drama from ITV, is about Serena, a woman who returns to her home town after a long absence to help support her dying Mum and uncovers a mysterious past.
Where ‘The Town’ was enigmatic and funny, with writing that showed a sophistication way beyond what is necessary for a run-of-the-mill crime thriller, Ice Cream girls is, judging from the opening episode, pretty standard stuff.
Based on the book of the same name by Dorothy Koomson and adapted for the small screen by Kate Brook (co-writer of recent period production, Mr Selfridge), ‘The Ice Cream Girls’ focuses on the aforementioned Serena, who has returned home to be with her family and her contemporary Polly, who quite remarkably has also just come back to the small seaside town after completing a bit of time in stir for murder.
Though Polly did the time, did she really do the crime or was it Serena? Or both? You would think I would care but I really don’t.
The victim of the crime, who we meet through the power of flash back, is not very nice. He is a womanising and slimy young bounder with a penchant for the manipulation and deflowering of young women.
There is great play made of how unpleasant he is. He takes advantage of his position as a teacher; he calls women bitches and openly flirts with one young girl whilst in the company of another. He is so abhorrent and corrupt that at one point he uses rape as a tool to best demonstrate his love and future fidelity.
I suppose this is layered on so thick in order to give a good reason for the two young women to kill the odious little fart and remain sympathetic. Which, to my mind, is a massive cop-out. Add some layers of ambiguity to the villain and you automatically add some complexity to the motives of those that did him in.
So, unless the plot suddenly pulls the rug out from under us, the remaining two parts will be who really did the crime one, the other or both together.
Now, maybe I am being harsh, this could be interesting if it just wasn’t so depressing. The two protagonists wander about looking at objects from their past with sad and pensive expressions as a particularly mawkish strain of cello music tells you to feel sad but inquisitive.
Even if the plot is weak and the music heavy handed, it could still be good if the dialogue had some layers and nuance. But it ain’t; it’s just all on the nose, there is no sub-plot at all, just what is happening or has happened. There is nothing enigmatic about any of the characters or their motivation. We know why and what they are about because they tell us directly.
At the end of the first instalment of ‘The Town’ I knew nothing about what had really happened (though I had my ideas) but I was intrigued and excited and hungry for the next episode. With Ice Cream Girls on the other hand, I feel like I know exactly what happened and why but don’t even care enough to watch more to have that confirmed.
Two nice girls killed a bastard, one got done the other didn’t. Life sucks. Whatever.