There are plenty of things to enjoy about the second installment of A Touch of Cloth, a British miniseries that began last year on the UK’s Sky 1, but at the top of the list are these: it co-stars Suranne Jones (Scott and Bailey) as an out bisexual, and it includes some quite raunchy lesbian jokes that are actually made by lesbian characters themselves, as opposed to jokes made at the expense of lesbians by men. Maybe it’s just me, but there is not nearly enough of either of those things on our TVs.
A Touch of Cloth is a parody of all detective and crime dramas ever, obviously targeting the UK culprits in particular. But really, it’s entertaining if you’ve watched anything of the genre in any nation. It’s irreverent, often inappropriate, over the top, and that perfect amount of stupid that is also somehow wonderfully amusing which the Brits do so well. I found myself laughing out loud on multiple occasions, although it’s hard for me to assess whether it was actually really funny or if I’m just turning more and more British the more shows from across the pond I watch. But I think it’s the first one. Or both.
Anyway, each “series” is a whopping two episodes long, and the two episodes of the second series aired earlier this month. You don’t really need to watch the first one to jump right into the second, where the really good gay stuff happens. Suranne Jones plays DI Anne Oldman, who’s in the midst of solving a bank heist along with her partner DI Jack Cloth, played brilliantly by John Hannah, when she’s seduced by mayoral candidate Hope Goodgirl, played by Anna Chancellor.
First though, Oldman and Cloth have to hash through some sexual tension leftover from the first series. After Oldman talks dirty to Cloth over breakfast one morning, Cloth starts to storm away from the table, saying, “You don’t want me anyway. You’re gay.” To which Oldman responds, slightly exasperatedly, “Bi, Jack.” Jack, of course, hears, “Bye” instead of “Bi,” and turns and leaves. There’s another bi/bye joke made later on, as well, and it’s entertaining both times.
Other than Bo (Lost Girl) and Kalinda (The Good Wife), I can’t think of any other (female) bisexual characters on TV in years, even while the lesbian character numbers spiral into a glorious happy place. Of course, there have been characters who “experiment” with their sexuality, or who are sexually fluid but don’t label themselves as bi.
Don’t get me wrong, I love sexual fluidity, and labels aren’t for everyone. Yay for sexual fluidity! But there is something incredibly refreshing for those who do identify as bisexual in seeing a character actually refer to herself as bi—like, out loud—without hesitation, or or self-doubt, or shame (*cough*Piper*cough*). It’s also nice that we see her having sexual relations with both men and women, and none of it seems strange or scandalous. Or, OK, I suppose everything here is meant to be scandalous. My point is, even if it’s on a ridiculous show like A Touch of Cloth, B visibility in the LGBT is always great to see.
But onto the dirty jokes, which is really what I want to share!
Hope Goodgirl is persistent in her attempts to seduce Oldman, whether Oldman is suffering from sexual tension with Cloth or not. She invites Oldman out to dinner. At Sappho, of course.
As they’re seated, Goodgirl asks Oldman, “Do you like eating out? I love eating out.” Seconds later, a terrifically dykey waitress strolls up, to whom Goodgirl says, “I’ll have the lesbian special.” She turns to Oldman. “Why don’t you try the clam? It comes drenched in its own juices. You’ll lap it up.”
No, really. She really said that.
After a bit of plot foreshadowing, Goodgirl then moves her hand smoothly up Oldman’s thigh and suggests a variety of naughty things that could be in their future. As the waitress returns, Goodgirl sniffs and observes with a grin, “Your clam’s ready. And it is absolutely steaming.”
This may be the single most amazing scene I have ever witnessed.
The next time we see the two together, it’s at Goodgirl’s apartment, where after a bit of chit chat, they lean forward for a kiss.
“We can’t do this,” Oldman breaks away to say, flustered.
Goodgirl smiles and pushes her down on the couch. The camera pans to the wall behind them:
Meanwhile, hijinks ensue all around with Cloth and the rest of the characters, and Goodgirl ends up having more up her sleeve than anyone expected. I won’t spoil the rest of the episodes completely. But I will say that the finale includes Oldman and Goodgirl rolling around on a stage together, so there’s that.
If all of this isn’t enough, Amelia Pond, also known as Karen Gillan, will feature in A Touch of Cloth 3, scheduled to air in 2014. Crossing my fingers and toes that she and Suranne Jones will make out. Or at least share some sexy detective glances. I’d take that, too.