This review contains spoilers.
In this day and age, it can get a little uncomfortable when homophobic characters crop up on TV. Fresh Meat’s JP (Jack Whitehall) is one such agent of awkwardness, who in this week’s episode informs his reclusive friend Howard that “by fancying Sam you are essentially admitting that you want to bum me”.
Of course, from assuredly clever comedy scribes Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, JP himself is obviously the butt of the joke. Trouble is, the joke was never that funny to begin with.
Nevertheless, this episode is generally more concerned with telling us a story than producing too many “bum” notes. Howard does indeed fancy the show’s newcomer Sam, and against all odds, the feeling seems to be mutual. Meanwhile, Josie has landed back in Manchester, which confuses matters for her boyfriend Kingsley, since Kingsley is also Heather’s boyfriend. The greatest predicament of the episode, however, is Vod’s ill-advised engagement to Javier the illegal immigrant.
While Vod (played pitch-perfectly by Zawe Ashton) wants to see Javier go it would be better if he stayed, since the Mexican becomes increasingly good value with each extra minute on screen. As for his fellow new ensemble addition Candice, the Christian Union goodie-goodie, her precise function in the group’s dynamic thus far is best summed up Javier’s description of her during his pub wedding speech with a hesitant mumble of: “Candice… I don’t know.”
Then again, there doesn’t appear to be enough time to give regular Oregon (Charlotte Ritchie) much to do either – despite being the centre of attention in previous seasons during an affair with her English tutor.
With elevated interest in its various sticky situations, you get the feeling that episode two should really have been episode one. Sure, Fresh Meat suffers from a generic identity crisis as a comedy-drama, but with Howard’s new love interest and Vod’s nuptial dilemma, the drama is at least going places.