I’ve kept up with the bizarre and incomprehensible MotherFatherSon out of sheer dumb curiosity – because, having given it four hours of my life already I can’t bring myself to jettison the entire series and besides, there’s a certain voyeuristic thrill to be had from seeing just what will happen. But god, it’s hard work.
This week in episode 5 we learn about Max’s childhood with an abusive and controlling father (yeah, I’d never have guessed) and how Max thinks he was horrible but right, rather like the Roundheads in ‘1066 and All That’ who were ‘Right but Repulsive.’ The central scene is a dinner ‘conversation’ between the three protagonists which is staged in a symbolic glass house, some of which goes like this:
Son: Why are you here?
Father: To tell you that I don’t think we should talk. The plate you dropped – it was deliberate
Mother: Max, you can’t do this
F: Caden, you’re in love. Why would you want to fight with me?
S: We have to talk about this
F: If we talk, we fight! This is the line. If you want to go over the line, this is it. It’s the end. There’s no coming back.
M: How does it end?
F: The way all fights end – badly
S: Then good for you
F: Good for me, for all of us
S: A cover-up!
F: Families are hundreds of cover-ups. Let’s finish our meal
S: And then we talk
F: All right, let’s talk. This is you. Your mother’s doing it for you
S: Fuck you Dad
F: Well, there we have it. We can pretend that this is about the news or ethics but it’s not. Good. Now do you feel better? Fine. Now be a man. Tell your mother you don’t need her to fight your fights.
S: All this make-believe. All this fake family. There’s no love.
F: You hear him? He’s wrong
M: I’m not part of your conspiracy. And I’m not afraid of you.
F: Should I be afraid of you?
M: We are going to talk about extortion, blackmail…
F: Stop! We have one more chance. Please. End this.
M: You’re brilliant.
F: I’m belligerent when I’m right.
M: Are you ever wrong?
F: I didn’t realise you wanted to save our marriage.
There’s more of this, acres more – and yes, I have taken some bits out but I promise you it makes no more sense with them left in. It’s like odd bits of dialogue downloaded from schlocky dramas by someone with no idea about how people actually talk – which makes it all the more astonishing that this was written by the same person who wrote ‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace’ and ‘London Spy’, both of which were excellent dramas. I simply cannot understand how the same person could have written such strikingly different scripts. Here he is talking about his work and shedding no light at all on that question – and here, should you wish to use it, is a link to the series. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…