TV Review: SMILF (Season 1, Episode 2)
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The latest episode of SMILF builds on the successes of its pilot. In 1,800 Filet-O-Fishes & One Small Diet Coke, the women in Bridgette’s life expose their vulnerabilities, whilst Bridgette takes some much-needed down time. After Larry develops a rash, Bridgette takes her son to a walk-in centre with a queue so large it takes him all day to be seen. Ex-boyfriend Rafi has to take over so Bridgette can work, and feels strongly that Larry shouldn’t be vaccinated, which is a significant blow to the character’s likeability. For a moment I was worried that Rafi’s new girlfriend Nelson would turn out to be the driving influence behind Rafi’s anti-vaccination beliefs. Luckily, SMILF is a better show than that; Nelson (whose father is a doctor, because of course he is) is just as adamant as Bridgette that Larry should be vaccinated. Through this seemingly mundane plot, Shaw illustrates the precarious effect of living without health insurance. Bridgette risks missing work if she can’t get Rafi to stay with Larry, and Rafi himself could jeopardise his sobriety if he misses his AA meeting. Ultimately, the only person who can stay with Larry is Nelson, who’s under no such financial or emotional pressure. The way that SMILF has examined class in its first two episodes has been fascinating. Bridgette tries to convince her mother Tutu that Larry needs a tablet to stay ahead, and Tutu has to remind her daughter of the cost. Yet, Bridgette’s decision isn’t portrayed as irresponsible - instead, it’s a tacit reminder that Larry’s already starting his life at a disadvantage due to their money troubles.
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