Screenplay by Russell T. Davies.
Banana‘s the E4 sister show of Channel 4 show Cucumber, airing the same night. Cucumber finishes as Banana‘s starting, with a character from the Cucumber episode that night being given the spotlight in Banana. This week’s is Dean, resident of an unregistered property that becomes Cucumber protagonist Henry Best’s new hold-up at the end of Cucumber: Episode 1. Here, in Banana: Dean, we see Dean’s point-of-view of that episode, with both shows’ episodes crossing-over when they meet. Both end with Dean welcoming Best to the place, unaware of his predatory intentions shown in Cucumber: Episode 1.
Given the choice, I expect I’m going to prefer Banana by the end of its and Cucumber‘s first season for its anthology format. Davies has described Cucumber as a novel, wheres Banana is a collection of short stories. I prefer short stories; there’s more of an art to them, since you have to establish the world and characters, develop them, make it interesting, and conclude it in a shorter space of time. Cucumber will develop over fourty-five minute episodes, whereas Banana features standalone stories in twenty-five minute episodes.
If the universe of Cucumber and Banana‘s to be congratulated for anything, it’s the casting. Andy Pryor always finds the perfect actors for each role, and Fisayo Akinde being cast as Dean was another perfect find. He’s the kind of actor that makes you realise only they could be their character (that’s not true, but they can still make it seem that way). And I find Dean so interesting as a character because he, almost uncannily, reminds me of someone I know. She’s the kind of person who tells great tales of their domestic life, yet lives quite an average existence. Davies has the advantage of having lived a life full enough to meet enough types of people to be able to write them as characters, and it would see, Davies has met this person too. Or at least someone like her.
Hopefully, every episode of Banana will be as entertaining as Dean, with characters that all have their own, strange sex habits and ways of getting it. Dean, as a person, makes a vow of chastity until the person he’s been stalking becomes available, which forces him to literally saw his way out of it and rush to his apartment. It’s something only Davies could come-up with, and I have absolutely no doubt – this coming from a huge admirer of his work – that he’ll be able to ride this wave right to the end.
The next episode, Scotty, is a tale of lesbianism conducted through social media.
Banana: Dean – introduces quirky sex comedy anthologies. 7/10