Satisfaction: articles

Absence of a farewell for Tippi reduces our Satisfaction

CLOSURE. While the word may be as overused as a middle finger in a traffic jam, I found myself pondering its meaning while watching tonight's episode of Satisfaction.

I love this Australian pay-TV drama. I've been a fan from the very first scene of the first episode of the first series. Since the demise of Sea Change and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it's one of the few pieces of television I am passionate about. Every Tuesday evening I look forward to spending time with my old friends at Melbourne brothel 232.

But I'm disappointed. Truly, deeply disappointed with the writers — and not just because they've ditched the Portisehead song from the opening credits for the second series.

Fair enough they've killed off two major characters — brothel owner Nick and hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold Tippi, this season. That's all part of the rich fabric of television drama and I'm not mourning their demise as such.

What I am mourning is the loss of an appropriate farewell for Tippi.

When a major character dies, you want closure. You want to sit in front of the plasma with a block of chocolate, bottle of wine and box of Kleenex.

That's part of the emotional journey you go on with quality drama. That's the deal — you give me a funeral with weeping friends and angst-ridden eulogies and I'll give you ratings. So imagine my surprise when discovering that tonight's episode completely glosses over Tippi's death.

Hardly a mention of her shooting. No funeral, no memorial, no conflict as her working life smashes head-first into her family life. Not even a ceremonial burning of her La Perla panties or fishnet stockings.

Now I didn't expect the girls to go all Steel Magnolias. I just wanted to be able to squeeze out a few tears for Tippi along with her friends and colleagues.

To be honest, there was more of a fuss made when Lauren ran over Heather's tortoise. At least we got to see Lauren bury the hapless pet in the backyard while acknowledgment of his brief life was made over his shoebox coffin.

Satisfaction is take-no-prisoners viewing which explores the warts-and-all workings of the sex industry, complete with STD checks, confronting fetishes and recreational drug-taking.

The series stars Diana Glenn as Chloe, a single mother battling this season to keep her relationship with the wandering Josh together; Bojana Novakovic as Tippi; Peta Sergeant as lesbian Heather; Alison Whyte as Lauren, the upper-class Melbourne housewife experimenting with her sexuality and an ambitious politician; and Kestie Morassi as Nick's daughter, the damaged and hard-edged brothel madam. And then there's Madeleine West as the classy escort Mel.

It's a major, major departure for West who is probably best remembered as someone's dead wife in Neighbours.

Tonight's episode is all about Mel. Her mother — played with a haunting mixture of fragility and madness by Jacki Weaver — is in town to turn the brittle call girl's life upside down.

Bring on the juicy family secrets.

By Sam Strutt
January 05, 2009
The Courier-Mail