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Switch 1.03 "Episode 3" REVIEW

TV REVIEW The Ex-factor

Switch Episode 3 TV REVIEW

Episode 1.03
Writers: Tim Price, Chloe Moss
Director: Dominic Leclerc

THE ONE WHERE Stella’s nightmare of an ex, Lucy, returns; Jude switches herself a fast track to a job in fashion design; Hannah is offered a job as shoplifter (she’s the victim of a con); and Grace gets closer to Jude’s boyfriend.

VERDICT There’s an inherent problem with stories that deal with obnoxious, nightmare exes; the ex, unless cleverly written, can simply end up obnoxious and a nightmare to watch. That’s the problem here, and it’s a crucial one. Lucy is such a horrendous creation – both in the way she’s written and even more in the way she’s played – that not only is she irritating, but she makes you think less of Stella for ever going out with her, let alone falling for her all over again. Lucy’s not given one sympathetic moment where you can go, “Aw, maybe she does have another side.” She’s just a screechy-voiced, sequined granny-pant-clad, harridan from beginning to end. It’s funny for about a minute then you just want someone to give her massive, sparkly-red wedgie and kiss her ass out the door.

Also annoying is that she doesn’t get her comeuppance at the end. She just wanders off, presumably as cocksure of herself as ever, with the threat of a return visit hanging over us.

It’s a shame because there’s a lot to enjoy otherwise. In a light, frothy, comfortably predictable kind of way. Sure, you probably guessed the outcomes of both Jude and Hannah’s plots before the first ad break; that Hannah’s employer was a con artist, getting her to shoplift for him under the pretense of exposing security lapses, and that Jude would learn that hard work rather than magic is the only way to a satisfactory career advancement. They aren’t exactly plotlines bursting with originality, but they do provide the framework for some good old fashioned fun. Hannah’s exaggerated attempts to get spotted shoplifting so the security guard doesn’t lose his job is both sweet and funny, and you have to love her revenge on her employer: bewitching him to return the stolen goods to the shop, and announcing: “My name is Rupert Peabody, and I am a pathetic conman with a very small penis.”

Jude, meanwhile, has to suffer the snobbery of the fashion trade, and her board meeting was deliciously awkward to watch. You never doubt that she’ll get the intern reinstated after landing her in sackable trouble, but this is a show that operates in that kind of “comforting” zone: you know that the witches will always do good in the end, and when they do, it make you feel a little bit warm inside. You’re unlikely to find stunning insight into the human psyche in this show; it’s from a Bill and Ted school of philosophy where “be excellent to each other” is, like, really deep, man.

Having said that, you can’t help wishing the show would be a little bit more adventurous. It doesn’t need to be edgy and dark, necessarily; just a few more surprises and clever turns of plotting would be welcome. It can’t survive on being simply light and frothy and life-affirming for too long. Episode two was moving in the right directing with unexpected stalker guy, but episode three is a little too safe.

Though we haven’t discussed Grace yet. And her tambourine. And her will-they-won’t-they? relationship with guitar-playing tease, Gerry. It’s the one storyline that seems to be operating on a slightly different level, with a bit more heart, and a bit less silliness. It’s like a little bit of Bridget Jones’s Diary going on inside an episode of Charmed . And it kinda works.

CLOTHES MAKETH THE WOMAN A bit of unsubtle signposting here: Grace’s elemental power is water, so she wears a dress covered in fish. Jude (fire sign) wears a dress of flaming orangey colours for most of the episode and Hannah (air sign) is wearing a jumper with clouds on it. Not sure what earth sign Stella’s leopard pattern top is supposed to signify, but she does wear a floral patterned dress at one point in the show.

SECRET SWITCH? Jude may have decided that using a switch for her own advancement in the fashion trade was cheating, but the speed with which she found a pitch on Camden Market makes us suspicious that some magic must have been involved. Either that, or all those plugs for Camden on the show over the past few weeks have finally paid off.

ODDLY SWEET Grace’s tambourine wig-out was bizarrely sexy.

BEST LINE
Hoity male fashion designer: “Are you going to follow the trend for swackets, whorls and mubes.”
Jude: “How dare you? You know what, I’m not even going to dignify that with an answer.”

Dave Golder

Switch airs on Mondays at 10pm on ITV2

• Read our other Switch reviews .

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Switch Interview: Nina Toussaint-White
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