A few days ago, I wrote about the miniseries Tripping Over and it’s fleshed-out female character. I spoke about Tamsin, and I’ll speak now about Tamsin’s friend Lizzie, who was supposed to be taking the trip of a lifetime with her longtime boyfriend Callum. She’s got her hopes set on marriage and children, except it turns out he’s gay. She returns back home to lick her wounds, not helped by a meddling stepsister, who goes on at every opportunity about how “˜blessed’ she is to have a loving husband and children, and hey, Lizzie’s twenty-six, that’s close to thirty and that’s when men stop being interested in marrying and having children with you, don’t you know? Condescending claptrap from someone who enjoys gloating about their perfect, traditional life – we’ve all met them.
At this point, I loved that they made a distinction between Lizzie being expected to marry and have kids and Lizzie wanting that. She’s got no real interest in being in a relationship, but she wants to get her stepsister off her back, so she enlists in the aid of her mate Dan, who happens to be a popular soap star, to pretend to be her boyfriend. They, and the audience, has a good laugh at the idiocy of the pressure being heaped on Lizzie to have a husband and children – why the hell should she, or any woman, enter marriage and create a family if that’s not what she’s interested in? Tripping Over illustrates well the pointless pressure that’s applied to people, women in particular, to have a man and beautiful children.
On another note, Lizzie’s stepsister is impressed beyond words when it turns out Lizzie is “˜dating’ a hunky soap star. Tripping Over well illustrates the preoccupation many have with judging a woman by the kind of man she can attract. Lizzie-who-couldn’t-keep-a-man-straight is a woman to be held in contempt for her utter lack of feminine sexuality; Lizzie-who’s-snagged-a-hunky-soap star is a woman to be envied for her truckloads of feminine sexuality in getting said soap star to choose her. Of course, both these claims are absolute rubbish, something TO demonstrates, and this is what I really liked about the show. The relationships are flawed, sometimes destructive, sometimes dishonest. And they have to take responsibility for their actions – and their relationships – if they want to move on in life.
Just like real life!