sugar rush 2
TV, 2006, 4.5 stars
Producer: Johnny Capps
First Run: 2006
A new television moment hit my all-time top five. It happens around five minutes before the end of the season finale in Sugar Rush 2. I won’t spoil the surprise, but it was sheer perfection, and the fact that such moments are now possible on TV just blows my mind. Trust the Brits to get there first, and on a show meant for young adults of all things.
Sugar Rush 2 is that rare and wonderful thing – a "sequel" that surpasses the original. I did think Sugar Rush was pretty special. It made me laugh and cry in equal measure, but there was something about the way the character of Sugar refused to change and evolve right to the end that always bugged me.
Sugar Rush 2 rectifies that problem, and introduces a new character, Saint, to vie for Kim's affections. The second instalment (I won’t say “season” as these are really standalone mini-series) is more about Kim, her perspectives on life, her jealousies, fears and fuck ups. There's still a lot of obsessing, but not with just one target. She finally wakes up to herself and starts to see Sugar for who she really is, and loves and accepts her for it anyway, or at least tries to.
The rest of the cast is back. Kim's odd parents become swingers to spice up their dull sex life. Her brother Matt turns into a transsexual goth who sleeps in a coffin and loves trying on pink, frilly underwear.
Then there's the lesbian scene of Brighton, to which Kim is finally introduced, and all the temptations within. First there's the older, sexy predator who picks Kim up and dumps her just as quickly. There's Kim's geeky stalker. There's the sexy singer who tries to lure Kim away from her true love.
Then there's Saint (Sarah-Jane Potts, mostly of Kinky Boots fame, who looks like young, dykey Kate Beckinsale). She's a sex shop owner and DJ who comes across as equal parts sexy, enigmatic, and emotionally distant, but we do see her mainly through Kim's insecurity and paranoia.
In those fleeting moments we are allowed to see Saint on her own terms, we finally understand what Kim cannot. Saint has a raw and powerful love for Kim that she struggles with, because she’s never given so much of herself to anyone else before and is not quite certain what to do with that. For so long, Kim's insecurity won't let her see or appreciate Saint for who she really is. As soon as we get back to Kim's perspective, all we see are Saint's walls re-emerging. The aftermath is a clever piece of TV, beautifully written and executed, where all three main characters are shown in a naked, revealing light.
I get a warm glow in my stomach when thinking of this show. Kim telegraphs her mistakes from miles away, but part of the fun is those pantomime-ish moments "look behind you!". Then the show surprises you and it all goes wrong in hilarious, unexpected ways you don't expect. Just when you think Kim will screw up yet again, she gets something totally right, and your heart melts for her.
It’s all wrapped up neatly in those last few minutes of the season. Your heart falls into your stomach and you realise, I'm so sorry this is over, I’m going to really miss these characters.
I really love good television writing. Damn those Brits, having all the fun. Great writing, great music, great acting, just all-round great TV.
Note: The DVD editions of Sugar Rush and Sugar Rush 2 (only available in the UK) will be a huge disappointment for any fan who loved the music in the original broadcast. Due to copyright reasons, the DVD contains a lot of elevator music in place of the amazing soundtrack and it changes the entire feel of the show. If you can, get hold of copies of the original version aired on TV and hang onto them, there will never be a DVD edition that is as good.