on July 10, 2011
Before getting into my review I would like to pinpoint the fact that while Season 3 is not even released on DVD yet, Season 4 will be by the end of the month. This is very strange and extremely frustrating for the fans of the show living in the Region 1 area, considering that Season 3 is way better than Season 4.
That being said, I was quite disappointed with the final season of Secret Diary. My biggest disappointment is the finale, which I absolutely hated. I thought it was terrible, especially because it left the door open for a motion picture (which I do NOT want, see Sex and the City). However, I will not spoil the finale for those who have not watched the season yet.
In this season Belle is now a Madam, replacing Stephanie while she is in prison. She also has to take care of Stephanie's teenage daughter, her relationship with Ben and still being an escort at times (i.e. very rarely).
Season 4 is no longer about SEX. It is all about Belle/Hannah's personal life. She is more of a Drama Queen now than ever. The show also tries to take a humorous tone (similar to black humor), but is not always successful. The jokes fall flat.
Which brings me to: where was Bambi? She got married at the end of Season 3 and then she just disappeared. She is not mentioned once in Season 4 and I think she was one of the best characters on the show. She made Belle/Hannah a little less uptight. I loved Bambi. She was a great addition to the show and I missed her a lot.
Charlotte was a new supporting character on the show. She is a rival Madam and she definitely hates Belle. A little weird, but very interesting.
In conclusion, Season 4 is my least favorite season of Secret Diary. If I had to put them in order or preference, it would be: Season 1, 3, 2, 4. I missed Bambi's humor, simplicity and clumsiness and the finale was not good at all. The show no longer focuses on sex, like it used to do so well in Season 1. Maybe Season 4 will grow on me at some point, but it is unlikely to happen any time soon since Season 3 is not even out on DVD yet and thus there is no point in buying Season 4.
on August 29, 2011
Wish I could say the the 'Final Season' (4) of Showtime's "Secret Diary of A Call Girl" ended with a 'bang' but (for me) it was more of a 'thud'. I really got into the whole mythos of 'Belle de Jour' - read all of her books (based on the infamous blog that launched the series) and really enjoyed the way that the TV series initially portrayed the characters and sexy situations that (the real) Belle described in her autobiography. Billie Piper was gorgeous & fresh as the liberated call-girl with a heart of gold, the tension between characters was nicely balanced, the dialog saucy, and even the 'tricks' were interesting & believable - with just enuf skin to remind you that this was an 'adult' cable show. Things moved very smoothly thru the first 3 seasons. For those that are perplexed at the lack of availability in North America of the third season ( I agree - what the heck!?!) the 3rd Season IS out there but only in a Region 2 PAL version (available from Amazon.UK) - yet another good reason to get a 'region free' DVD player!
The 4th Season manages to chip away much that the show had working for it. Not to say that there aren't a few choice moments to be enjoyed during the 8 final episodes - but the series seems to have run out of gas (and ideas). The edgey chemistry between Belle and her 'best mate' wanna-be boyfriend, Ben, devolves into a lot of unattractive squabbling when they try to attempt a live-in relationship and a somewhat annoying new character, Poppy (daughter of Belle's temporarily incarcerated 'madame', Stephanie) is introduced to further muck things up. A new, rather un-likable, male 'detective' character is also injected as a counter-foil to Ben adding yet more aggravation to the mix. Generally, everything seems taken a bit too much to the extreme - Belle's 'clients' fetishes become comically absurd (less 'human' & sexy) and the make-up and hair styles manage to make even the lovely Ms Piper look like a trashy streetwalker much of the time. Possibly some of this is 'intentional' as much of the drama of the series is based on the duality of Belle's character struggling between wanting to be 'normal' but also loving the excitement and wealth that her escort business ensures. Thus, despite the efforts to glamorize the 'pay for play' lifestyle - the old morality creeps in and the tawdry aspects of a 'life of sin' are emphasized via the make-up... one would have to imagine that the show's producers must own 'stock' in a mascara francise! I noted there were a couple of 'new' directors for the final season and maybe it was their 'vision' that sorta changed the tenor of the show to one of shrillness approaching outright parody - where even the beautiful & sophisticated Belle is made to appear grotesque in numerous scenes. By the time the plot concludes in a tumultuous flurry of tortured indecision and a rather haggard looking Belle stalks resolutely off into the darkness with great rivers of black eyeliner streaming down her face - I was feelin': 'Yeah, enough already - time to wrap this one up!'. Doubtless, die hard fans of the series will wish to see how it all culminates (I did!) - but be prepared to be under-whelmed. I sincerely hope that the 'real' Belle/Hannah is having a happier time in her life than what was crafted for her celluloid counterpart's denouemont.
I was curious to watch "Secret Diary Of A Call Girl: Season 4" both because it is based on a true story and due to my previous familiarity with Billie Piper. I own one of Billie Piper's greatest hits music collections (which is pretty good) and I have seen her in a few Dr. Who performances (also strong performances). Billie Piper gives an excellent portrayal as Hannah Baxter. Hannah Baxter happens to be an intelligent high class escort who is incredibly gifted in her job. Baxter's character is shown to be living in a lavish house and having clients from very affluent backgrounds. Hannah Baxter even ends up working temporarily as a London madam for her boss Stephanie (played in a fantastic way by Cherie Lunghi). Snippets from the song "You Know I'm No Good" by the late Amy Winehouse are used for the theme of "Secret Diary Of A Call Girl". It is made very obvious in season four that she makes a good living as a high class call girl and is even offered the chance to have her life story translated into a movie. By the way, the episode where the movie idea gets pitched to Hannah Baxter is extremely humorous. Hannah Baxter also deals with strong professional competition from Charlotte (played in a convincing way by Gemma Chan). In season 4, Hannah Baxter must also choose between Ben (well played by Iddo Goldberg) or her job. I confess that I think that "Secret Diary Of A Call Girl: Season 4" would make an interesting film. Obviously, it would also be a good idea to consult with the woman that the whole series is based on (to strengthen the plot and message of the movie). "Secret Diary Of A Call Girl Season 4"is best for those who like shocking and racy tv shows.