It’s kind of sad that This Life +10 was a such a flop. You need look no further than Spiked’s ‘This Life will eat itself’ for a fair summary, although I’d say This Life has eaten itself already; eating yourself being a kind of popular term for deconstruction and a metaphor that (along with the idea of disappearing up your own arse) probably explains Derrida’s thought better than any text book.
It failed because while the original had believability, this clumsy effort didn’t. It appealed to people who thought the characters ordinary and who were able to identify with them. These are the people landlords call professionals (to differentiate them from the unemployed). Typically recent graduates beginning their careers, committed urbanites, more or less happy to share a house like when they were students to stay close to the city. So This Life was a pre-reality TV, character-driven drama that was allowed to simply unfold. Seeing as these characters aren’t found elsewhere on TV a cult following was, with hindsight, bound to follow.
Ten years on they’d have grown-up proper, got married (perhaps divorced) had kids but more importantly for dramatic purposes moved out to the suburbs and not seen each over for… ‘is it really that long?!’
Not much drama there, so creator Amy Jenkins deconstructs the whole thing and jettisons the ordinariness. Egg is particularly extraordinary, a literary phenomenon, whose book is a proxy for the original series. Which makes him Amy Jenkins. And then she peels another layer off the onion by making him and the ‘real people’ who inspired his novel the subjects of a documentary. And Miles has become an even more extraordinary entrepreneur with a huge country pile.
You have to feel for Milly, now stay-at-home mother to Egg’s child. He calls her a supermum, but surely means not that she has it all – kids and career – but that she’s a super mum. Desperately ordinary she wishes her husband was ordinary too and cries because the conventional life she craves eludes her. Ugh!