sugar rush 2
star

2006

Producer: Johnny Capps

A new television moment has hit my all-time top five. It happens about five minutes before the end of the season finale in Sugar Rush 2. I can't say what it is. I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise for anyone yet to watch the show. But I know it is there, and I'll probably watch it another twenty times. It was perfect, and the fact that such sexy lesbian moments are now possible on TV just blows my mind. Trust the Brits to get there first, and on a show apparently meant for teens of all things.

Sugar Rush 2 is that rare and wonderful thing – a "sequel" that surpasses the original. I actually thought season one 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.

Season two of the show rectifies that problem, and introduces a new character, Saint, to vie for Kim's affections. The second season is more about Kim, about her perspectives on life; her jealousies and fears and fuck ups. There's still a lot of obsessing, but Kim's obsessions don't just have one target anymore. 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 she tries to.

The rest of the supporting cast is back. This season Kim's odd parents become swingers in an attempt to spice up their dull sex life. Her brother Matt ceases to believe he's an alien and turns into a transsexual goth boy 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 Anna, the older predator who picks Kim up and dumps her just as quickly. There's Melissa, Kim's geeky stalker, who Kim finally gets rid of in a hilarious way. There's Montana, the sexy singer (played with relish by Hex's lesbian ghost Jemima Rooper) who tries to lure Kim away from her true love.

The big changes focus mainly around Saint (Sarah-Jane Potts, of Felicity fame, who looks like a younger, dykey version of Kate Beckinsale). She's a sex shop owner and DJ who Kim meets early in the season. Saint comes across as equal parts sexy, playful and emotionally distant, but we do see her mainly through Kim's eyes (through her insecurity and paranoia!)

We do get to see Saint briefly on her own terms during the hours when Kim is incapacitated and unable to give us her perspective, and those moments are truly enlightening. Saint has an unexpectedly raw and powerful love for Kim that Kim either refuses to see, or is incapable of seeing. The second 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 characters at the centre of this series are shown in a new and revealing light.

I get a warm little glow in my stomach when thinking of this show and these characters. The weird thing is, you can see the mistakes Kim is going to make from miles away, but part of the fun is that pantomime-ish feeling of expectation, like you know what's coming and have the absurd urge to cry out "look behind you!" Then sometimes the show surprises you and it goes wrong in hilarious ways you don't expect. Then, just when you think Kim will screw up once more, she gets something totally right, and your heart melts for her.

Then, finally, it all comes down to those last few minutes of the season when you realise it is nearly over. Your heart falls into your stomach and you realise, I'm going to really miss these characters. I haven't really felt that way since shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or even the first season of The L Word. It's moments like this I realise that I really love good television writing.

If there was any justice in the world Olivia Hallinan and Sarah-Jane Potts would team up to make a lesbian film together. Their chemistry onscreen is just off the scale. Damn those Brits, having all the fun. Great writing, great music, great acting, great sex, just all-round great TV.

Note: The DVD editions of Sugar Rush and Sugar Rush 2 (only available in the UK) may 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.

Got a comment? Write to me at nancyamazon@gmail.com

 

 
Olivia Hallinan as "Kim"
Sarah-Jane Potts as "Saint"
Sarah-Jane asks you out to play....

Last updated: 10 Feb 2008