|Quentin's got his dukes up.|
When I sat down to watch Britain's Worst Husband I steeled myself for a display of the nation's most wicked spouses. A cavalcade of violence and infidelity nary seen since the reign of Henry the Eighth. Even Quentin Wilson himself (a man who's presenting style makes you feel like you're being told off by a boiled egg) promises that these are 'the worst of the worst'. Disappointingly these are unlikely to be anywhere near the worst unless the biggest offence a wife has experienced at the hands of her betrothed are trying to beat his fat arse dents out of the sofa cushions. These are men that merely see marriage less as an institution and more as a very personalised maid service.
We are introduced to 4 feckless vegetables that are the bane of their long-suffering wives' existence. First up, Brian. Brian is a gargantuan bolus of a man. Sitting in his armchair like a carrier bag full of wet bread he offers helpful comments to his beloved Ada ("Is that supposed to be a cup of tea?"). Brian stopped working due to a hip injury and never went back due to being exasperatingly bone idle. Ada shuffles between the kitchen and the throne with the expression of a holocaust survivor.
Then there's Carl. Carl is a surprising candidate because it's hard to believe he managed to spend long enough outside the walls of a police station to get married in the first place. His entire persona screams 'date rapist' and he slithers into view, bare-faced lies falling from his mouth like boxer's teeth. He met his wife Val by stumbling pissed into her back garden and she's tolerated him ever since. She gives an overview of his sparkling character between chain-smoking and chewing her fingers down to the knuckle.
The third contender is David, a football obsessed trainspotter type who's nylon tracksuit probably contained more personality when it was on the hanger. A dreary Nigel of a man, David admittedly spends 99% of his time playing or watching football and 1% actually paying attention to his exasperated family. In a bleak glimpse of what this involves we see David on a desolate football pitch, punting a ball through an abandoned goal and giving himself a little cheer. It seems David is so boring even other football bores don't want to be seen with him.
Lastly, we are introduced to Phil; a 38 yr old mashed-potato golem with the mind of a child. His 13 amp brain tick-tocks wildly between lazy ignorance and downright lunacy ("Women are all aliens. Aliens or wasps."). His wife, Carolynn, has the look of a woman on the edge. Whether it's the edge of divorce or homicide remains to be seen.
So the men are promptly thrust into their first challenge; to do a small number of simple household tasks within 30 minutes. Carl nearly detonates every electrical appliance in the kitchen, possibly explained by the fact he spends more time drinking and smoking than paying attention. David does little but make a mess and a bad smell. Brian outshines the rest of the team by showing all the domestic skill of a slice of ham. After boiling some pasta in milk he nearly electrocutes himself on the iron before melting the front off a dress. He finishes off by sweating heavily into the food. Finally, Phil shows everyone up by making a semi-decent effort but does so whilst mumbling grimly about 'woman's work'.
The second challenge sees all four couples having a romantic meal. Unfortunately the producers have decided that this would best be done with all four couples in the same restaurant seemingly devoid of any other diners. Dinner soon descends into a flatulent caterwauling and the men do everything possible to shame themselves and their wives short of flinging their own shit.
The men are then tasked with buying their wives a selection of thoughtful gifts. All fail miserably by normal standards but these women have been exposed to so much disappointment they probably get excited by a feint mist. Presents of note include earplugs and a wok. Carl steals the show by pissing away most of his allotted cash on a thunderously tacky smoking whirlpool with an oyster floating in it. Brian is the most clueless shopper and looks confused at the very notion of walking into a shop, nevermind actually buying something lady-flavoured. Every attempt at commerce looks set to give Brian a crushing migraine as he gawps into shop windows like a reindeer staring at a diagram of a jet engine. Shockingly, his efforts, whilst completely underwhelming, stand so far above 45 years of shuffling ineptitude that Ada literally crumples with joy.
In a futile attempt to train the beasts into passable human beings they are plopped in front of a romance coach. When asked where they think women like to be touched, the least insensible answer is 'on the face'.
Lastly the men are given 5 minutes in which to offer up some grain of affection in the hopes of securing future marital bliss. David talks like he's reading the football scores, Phil has forgotten what he's supposed to be doing, Carl gets away with a nauseating performance but scores highly for remembering to use the L word but the best offering has to be from Brian who, realising he's pretty fucked by this point, turns on the waterworks and blubs like a fat girl at a school disco. Irrespective of how sincere this episode may have been it becomes clear that Brian has secured himself another twenty years of bacon sandwiches and when the final vote comes it's Phil the Man-Child that comes off worse.
The entire process is completely academic anyway and therefore depressingly futile. It's clear that none of the men involved are interested in personal growth and all the women are so brow-beaten they'd stay put even if the men grew an extra mouth on their foreheads just for swearing. Quentin rambles smugly to camera, dreaming of the day they let him talk about Ferraris again and mercifully we're done.