Fresh Meat (Channel 4) Review Series 2 Episode 4

Fresh Meat

I’ve been slightly underwhelmed by this year’s run of Fresh Meat, but episode four brings us right back to the highs of its first series with style and confidence.

Hilarious and heartbreaking, often at exactly the same time, it recalls the JP-centric episodes at the tail end of series one and recreates the uplifting quality that’s been missing from a fairly depressing series so far. The episode also takes us away from the house-share for the first time (except for the London student riots last year) with a group trip to JP’s “very big house in the country”. Josie, Vod and Oregon leave Howard and Kingsley back home for a ‘study’ trip to Cornwall, where they predictably don’t get any studying done.

Kingsley, staying at home just to spend time with his girlfriend, soon finds his gumption (and permission) and joins the gang much to Josie’s annoyance. It’s a testament to how much I liked this episode that even the stilted love story between these two ended up moving me ever so slightly. Their story this series can best be described as passive aggressive and, with the wine flowing over the weekend, we finally get to see some honesty pass between them.

We find out that ex-boyfriend Dave is using his and Josie’s planned wedding day to marrry someone else, and the group spend most of the hour holding her back from driving to Wales and ruining the day. All we’ve seen of Josie this year is how good she is at complaining and getting blind drunk, and both activities are present and correct this week. The difference is that this is accompanied by genuine sadness and what I hope is the peek of her personal meltdown, and hopefully this means things will be turning around for both her and Kingsley from now on.

Oregon and Vod are given the more light-hearted story of the week with the former still dealing with the fallout from last week’s magazine war. With Twitter collectively calling her a fascist and a homophobe, she’s desperate to prove them and her own doubts wrong. This means that the least heterosexual person in the room is targeted, and Oregon and Vod’s friendship takes a step up. It’s all tongue-in-cheek, and nothing ends up happening between anybody, but the story thread at least provides a distraction from the emotional turmoil going on all around.

This brings us to JP’s story, which starts out as a humorous portrait of privilege and turns into some nice character development for the character. The best thing about the character last year was the war between his selfish nature and some genuine emotion, and Jack Whitehall shines again here. The episode succeeds because it’s one of the funniest I’ve seen this series, but also because I find myself caring about these characters again. JP’s life is pretty tragic when shown in the harsh light of day, and he really has found a new family in these housemates. All of these people spend their time hating each other, but are the best of friends when it’s really important.

What did you think of the episode? Will Kingsley and Josie ever work out their issues? Let us know in the comments.