Tuesday, 20 September 2011

OfSTED puts Waterloo Road into special measures: grades it Outstanding.

Apparently there are seven teachers.
Like gas, Waterloo Road returns when you least expect it. I don't usually watch it because it presses my buttons like a flautist on Benzedrine, and I don't like that normally. From the outside it looks like a normal school, and then about ten seconds pass beofre something happens that has me somersaulting on the couch and shouting like an intemperate old man. Usually something absurd has happened. All drama involves willing suspension of disbelief, after all, and even the driest of reconstructions requires the viewer to dislocate some sense of scepticism. But this goes beyond Magic realism, and makes the Magic Roundabout look like Pinter.

I'm sure that the show has some perfectly good advisers who help the construct some form of narrative skeleton. The school looks like a school, and the kids look like kids, albeit with the usual Dawson casting. But even in the most outlandish of escapism, the science can be as bollocks as it needs to be- it's the human dimension that has to ring true, otherwise you're no longer watching a human narrative, but the irrelevant actions of toy soldiers. Exhibit A-Z: WR.

It's depraved- last time I looked, the asisstant head was gaily sleeping with a GCSE student (the Head's daughter, no less, which probably gets him some special level of Dante's Hell), and inexplicably NOT being clapped in chains like les oubliƩs. The Spanish teacher did pounce on some A-level giant, but that was OK, apparently because it was a pretty, female teacher nailing a young man, so no child protection issues there, no-siree. Then there was the unlovely scowling harridan in year ten who accused the dinner lady's son of rape. Cue: police, etc. But at the end of the episode she broke down and admitted it were all a laugh, and like an episode of I love Lucy, everyone hugged it out at the end and agreed to say no more.