This is about the UK TV programme Stella. Warning: no mention of Jane Austen

Stella is brilliant.

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 15.54.01

Even though I’ve only watched the first two episodes, I’m going to tell you why. It’s all about impossible contradictions, and that is what makes it such a stonking artistic achievement.

  1. It’s laugh-out-loud funny and tear-jerkingly poignant.
  2. It’s populated by people who don’t often make it onto the screen and yet are highly attractive and/or hilarious, yet never contemptible. Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 15.55.35
  3. The character of Stella is such that you both want to be her, and are grateful that you are not her.
  4. It seems real and believable, while at the same time managing to be utterly romanticised.
  5. It makes living in a downbeat Welsh country town seem both like a great idea and a terrible idea.Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 15.55.08
  6. It shows us how petty and awful and imperfect everyone can be – everyone, even the main lovable characters – and yet that the essential goodness of humanity will win out.
  7. It takes complex social issues – racism, teenage pregnancy, poverty, marriage break-up – looks them in the face and makes them into human and universal stories. With a happy outcome.
  8. The sets are so believably unstylish, that you have to think they filmed in people’s actual homes. They feel like homes, not sets.
  9. Ruth JonesScreen Shot 2015-02-22 at 16.05.08
  10. There is a pony that lives in a house across the road.
  11. Did I mention Ruth Jones?

That will do for now. I may say more when I’ve watched a few more episodes.


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