I have a great idea for a TV show. It’s a drama about a hopelessly dysfunctional family and all the crap they get themselves into.
Let me give you the basic outline. The husband is big man on the factory floor, and everyone calls him “sir” at work. But he’s also a bully who behaves insufferably towards his wife. Let’s call him Rodney.
The wife, Heather, is loyal in public, but secretly loathes the man she has found herself trapped with these last few years. She keeps a diary of all the slights and insults she is forced to endure, and she plans one day to release this to the world. That diary will reveal that, although her husband is a bore and a bully, she is prone to overreacting.
The eager-to-please teenage son, John, is always seeking to earn the praises of his father. He’s a headstrong boy who’s just like his Dad. He won’t listen to reason and thinks he knows it all. He worships the ground his father walks on and likes the way Dad lays down the law at home.
Meanwhile, David, the boozy and slightly smelly lodger, has been staying in the caravan out the back these last few months after a series of personal disasters that left him homeless. Nobody really likes David, but someone once did a big favour for Rodney and the price Rodney had to pay was to find somewhere for dear old David to stay. It’s only for another year or so, Rodney tells himself.
The story follows the breakup of this hopeless marriage. It is a long-simmering disaster, but the eventual explosion is triggered over something stupid and trivial. Heather’s been stashing away secret papers, and Rodney learns of their existence. In a fit of mad jealousy Rodney demands to see them. She refuses, and he rages at her, accuses her of unfaithfulness, and threatens to kick her out of the house.
John takes his father’s side, and believes every word Rodney says about his mother. David doesn’t care much for Heather, because she’s a women and women are all the same. It’s Rodney’s castle and it’s a man’s world. He doesn’t plan to step in if Rodney decides to chuck her out of the house. Even though his days are numbered and nobody likes him, he still dreams of moving out of the caravan and into the house, into a proper bed.
Granddad Roger, Heather’s Dad, tries to mediate. He’s no angel and has a dark shameful past, but family is everything to him. He knows his daughter is headstrong and flighty, but he’s also old-fashioned, and in his world you don’t walk away from your marriage. He urges conciliation between the two and tries to get Rodney to change his attitude.
But Rodney won’t be told what to do by anyone, and certainly not by some old man. He throws Heather’s belongings out of the marital home and then stomps off to work. When his work colleagues ask what’s been going on (they’ve all heard the rumours), he refuses to talk about it, and just snarls at them.
But Heather is planning her revenge. That’s Episode Two, and I haven’t worked out how that will go yet.