TV Review: SMILF (Season 1, Episode 8)
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SMILF’s finale is not quite as successful as the phenomenal previous episode but manages to tackle an equally serious issue. The epigram that begins this week’s instalment is an infamous Woody Allen quote, “the heart wants what it wants,” and the series’ typical credits are abandoned to mimic those of Allen’s Manhattan. It’s a bold, clever statement in support of Dylan Farrow’s allegations against her father, ones that share no small similarities with the experience of Bridgette Bird. It’s unfortunate that Mark’s Lunch & Two Cups of Coffee never again reaches the heights of its pitch-perfect opening scene, which sees a young Bridgette rehearse conversations about her abuse with her therapist. I didn’t foresee laughing at the line “my dad touched my vagina… yeah, I’d love to get tacos,” but the ordinary rules don’t seem to apply to SMILF. Difficult though it is to write a sitcom about child abuse, SMILF successfully taps into the darkest vein of humour imaginable by making Bridgette’s therapist the butt of the joke; her insistence that talking about her experience to everyone, even to other children, will help Bridgette recover is patently absurd. However much Bridgette has moved on from her experience, trauma is still part of her life. Things are going pretty well for the adult Bridgette, as she’s reclaiming her apartment thanks to her new job. Not even an unfortunate bowl cut can get her down, until her foray into Tinder throws her back into contact with her abusive father. The accidental contact with Richard sends Bridgette into a spiral that sees her stealing colleague’s lunches, binge-eating in the bathroom, and sleeping with her boss Ally’s son Casey once again. Throughout the sex, Bridgette insists that Casey degrade her, and when he politely advises her to keep quiet for the sake of Larry she humiliates him.
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