Sunday, 27 September 2015

"Boy Meets Girl" show, and actors

I’ve been watching this BBC comedy series, "Boy Meets Girl", initially from curiosity, then almost from a feeling of duty, but after episode 4 I really love it. A straightforward sitcom about a boy and a girl dating, and their weird families. Except she is transsexual, which creates a different tension. Not the most sophisticated comedy or insights, but very sweet, and informative for those who know little about trans life. The comedy characters are the grotesque parents and siblings, not the two lovers. There are some good laughs in each episode. Sitcom stalwarts like Janine Duvitsi and Denise Welch give it quality. But the dad’s relationship with his sons is beautifully and movingly portrayed and the last episode had me in tears. I don’t know if this show will have long-term mileage with the general viewing public but I think it should be seen for its humane and genuine look at the sort of things we face.

Catch up with it on BBC iPlayer:

It is one of the shows which has a genuine transgender actress (Rebecca Root) in a lead role. I often hear rants and whines in the trans community that transgender characters on screen are often played by non-transgender actors and that this is wrong. Without going into depth about the purposes, methods and history of dramatic representation, I think this demand is daft. An actor is judged on their performance as a character. Is Felicity Huffman (female) any good as a pre-op transsexual in Transamerica? Definitely. Is Jared Leto (male) any good as the same in Dallas Buyers Club? Not bad at all. What will Eddie Redmayne be like in The Danish Girl? Let’s wait and see. You don’t need an actor who’s old/young, white/black, big/small, tall/short, male/female to play a role that is supposed to be a specific thing. Judge them on how well they act the part. Is Rebecca Root any good acting the role of a post-op TS who’s dating? I’ll reserve judgment on her performance till the end of the series.

A different presentation

Since I’m here, I thought I’d add a link to this article on one Alex Drummond, who lives as a woman but has a beard. Food for thought for me at least

Sue x


  1. If I may say, an interesting and possible contentious post this week, Miss Richmond :-)

    Should trans characters be played by trans actors? Hmm..... I'm a bit torn on this (but not in a painful way :-D ). On a less flippant note, I'd like to think that a trans or non-trans actor should be considered on their merits. Perhaps the main one being, can they act? I can think of a few films where the person attending the set and reading out lines, is struggling to fall into the category of "acting". I think that bugs me more than anything else.

    This next line may rub a few people the wrong way, but it's not intended to do so. Here's a few questions for you: if a film did not have a star in the lead, would it still have been made? Does having a star in the role, mean that we get to hear about a project and the release makes mainstream media?

    TransAmerica and Dallas Buyers are two I can think of and ignoring the trans elements, there's no doubt many more. For what it's worth, I think Huffman & Leto did great performances in their respective roles.

    If an actor has to have insider knowledge, or even experience, that the character does: where do we go with murderers, gangsters, rapists, cyborgs or aliens? Note, to any cyborgs or aliens reading this, I do not bracket you with murderers or other human monsters. ;-)

    Maybe ideally, we'll get by the whole concept of a trans actor, or a gay actress, and just have actors. I don't really give a sh** who you were, or who you sleep with. I've paid to see a movie/TV show, and I'd like to be, not so much entertained, but engrossed in the performance.

    Looking at Root's performance, I think she's a really good fit. She's got the comic timing and ability to draw sympathy. The fact that she's trans may help politically, but really, I'm just glad to see her talents used well. Hell, if she turned up as general in UNIT, or a mum in a kid's drama, I'd just think "good for you girl."

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful post, Lynn. I like Rebecca Root and obviously she has the right credentials through being a proper actress and actually being trans as well. Her performance is natural in some ways, but seems a little stilted at times, too. I'm looking forward to seeing all episodes and I hope there will be another series as you can't help liking both her character and Leo and wishing them both well. Comedy with a heart and soul. Sue x

  2. I'm enjoying the series. The cast are amazing, Root and Hepple are perfectly cast as the two main characters, and the script is so well written that even though it raises the issues that trans women face when it comes to dating it does it in a way that isn't preachy.

    I loved the end of the episode 4 and the conversation between Leo and his Dad. It was so touching.

    I would normally say that when casting parts then the actor who is going to be best able to portray the character should be picked, even if that means that we end up with a cis actor playing trans parts. Lynn has already made the point about actors having to play parts that they have no actual experience of. I usually add though that sometimes selecting a trans actor for a role could cause them emotional problems if they are having to revisit actual experiences that they found difficult or hurtful.

    I do hope that Boy Meets Girl receives some awards as it well deserves them and so do the actors and actresses that play the characters.

    1. Thanks, Jenna, and I agree with all the points you've made. I do think the script does quite well in educating and also amusing, the actors are all well cast. I would like to see another series and, indeed, a suitable award would ensure that. Sue x