BANANA, short LGBTQ miracles
Russell T Davis should be remembered for his masterful screenplays and his advancement of LGBTQ storytelling. He has entertained, innovated, and challenged us all to new and high expectations After making his reputation in groundbreaking
television for young adults, he exploded into international focus with ‘Queer as Folk’ (1999) and ‘Bob and Rose’ (2001), the trilogy ‘Cucumber, Banana, and Tofu’ (all 2015) and best of all the sensational miniseries from 2019 ‘Years and Years.’
There are 8 unrelated episodes in BANANA and I think 7 of them are small miracles of film making that make you smile and think. Banana follows characters we get to know – but do not need to know – in Cucumber, as we meet lovers and strangers living in dilapidated factory/flat in Manchester.
A favorite episode finds Amy, who worries over the slightest thing, on a blind date with policewoman Kay but her obsessive behavior gets the evening off to a bad start. Fortunately, Kay is sympathetic and the evening does not end in disaster. In fact, the ending is gorgeously rendered in a brilliant stroke of film making.
A favorite of a different flavor follows handsome hunk Aiden and the less good-looking Frank who have been thrown together when they are part of a threesome with a man they met in a club. Next morning, they spend time together and get on very well, Frank suggests that they could be a couple. Aiden is not convinced as he regards himself as out of Frank's league and they can never be anything more than friends. The episode is so painful and hilarious, with a wonderful visual trick at the end which makes it stand out.
Only the final episode does not fully succeed as it tries to score some political points. But the rest of Banana is fun, fast, and festive. If you have not seen Cucumber, watch both so you see the intersection of the characters in the related series.
And track down Years and Years to see mega stars like Russell Tovey and Emma Thompson
create a post-Trumpian future with is dense and devastating.
BANANA (along with CUCUMBER) is featured on Amazon Prime