Starstruck is the BBC Three romcom from Rose Matafeo that has got people in the mood for romance again.
Bingeing Normal People during those first weeks of lockdown was, in hindsight, a masochistic move for a single woman to do at the start of a pandemic. Let’s face it: those steamy scenes were a kick in the teeth for the sex-deprived.
Making the decision to finally prioritise my dating life in the pandemic and beyond (albeit doing it virtually), I made better choices when it came to my TV consumption. In lieu of debriefing dates with friends over an overpriced glass of wine, I knew I’d find comfort, reassurance and a bit of normality in the characters on screen.
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I revisited Girls and Sex And The City – old reliables that made me feel less alone and ready to get back to meeting new people in my city again when the first lockdown started to lift. After an ill-fated summer romance, I guzzled Anna Kendrick’s Love Life, and was comforted by the fact that – pandemic or no pandemic – romantic failures are just something we all endure. And, when Christmas came around, Netflix’s Nordic romcom Home For Christmas reminded me that being single is better than a bad relationship.
And now, days after the first of what I hope will be many fun dates as we head towards 21 June, I’m in the mood for something that will get me in the mood for a summer of love.
Enter: BBC Three’s Starstruck.
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Created by award-winning comedian, writer and actor Rose Matafeo, Starstruck tells the story of Jessie (Matafeo), a millennial woman living in east London and juggling two dead-end jobs. On New Year’s Eve, Jessie finds herself in a rather unusual ‘morning-after-the-night-before’ type situation when she realises that she accidentally slept with a famous film star called Tom (played by Nikesh Patel). What ensues is a year of a ‘will they? won’t they?’ between the two…
It’s funny. It’s a bit farfetched. It’s a light, refreshing tonic. It’s unashamedly a modern romcom. And it’s the series that all of my single friends have whizzed through this week.
Jessie might not have a dream career or much money to her name, but… she’s just happy and confident in herself. It’s rare to have a single female character who doesn’t have a trauma to address or an aspiration to aim for. She enjoys having casual sex (there is a great scene where she starts dancing in the sunshine after a night with a guy on a barge). And, like most of us at some point, she also gets caught in an unhealthy situationship. She doesn’t have many expectations about what happens next in all areas of her life, and she’s just getting through it with her friends, flatmate and flings.
She’s just really watchable because she’s very funny, a bit chaotic and pretty relatable.
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Basically, Starstruck is a story about two people who have great chemistry but, due to misunderstandings, bad timings and life’s obstacles, they aren’t in a relationship. Everything in between is pure entertainment that makes you laugh, wince and smile over six episodes. And, yes, you’re also rooting for them to get together.
That’s why I really enjoyed it. How nice it is to fall for a bit of romance again, and to see a funny performance without any deeper meaning behind it. And I liked pointing out the Hackney hotspots they filmed in, picturing myself there when we’re free once more.
And then there’s the end scene. Without giving away any spoilers (because I really hope you’ll watch it), the last few minutes gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling in my tummy – the same butterflies I get on the bus back from a date that reminds me romance isn’t dead.
God, that sounds so mushy doesn’t it? But, actually, I think Matafeo just officially made it cool to be an old romantic. So, here I go: I can’t wait to get those bus butterflies again!
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