After nearly a year of the show’s fans suffering with heavy withdrawal-symptoms, Fresh Meat is finally back on our TV screens. At the end of the extremely successful second series of the show, we were left with the unity of the characters in tatters with them all pursuing their own endeavours. Whilst Vod and Oregon finish the series going traveling together and JP and Howard snuggle up in a hot tub (who’d have thought?), Josie leaves to go back to Cardiff to prepare herself for starting university afresh at Southampton University. The audience was also teased with the potential coupling of Josie and Kingsley. The classic ‘will they, won’t they?’ storyline has entwined its way around the plot of the comedy-drama so far and with Kingsley running after the bus Josie is on but missing it by merely seconds at the end of the season finale, we’re left – yet again – with the suspense of whether or whether not the couple will unite.
With that suspense hanging in the air for almost a year, the new episode was in high-demand and premiered on 4OD on Monday 28th November, a week before its showing on TV. When watching the opening of the first episode, littered with the crude and explicit humour from JP that we simultaneously cringe but laugh at, you can almost hear the substantial sigh of relief: all the main characters are back and reunited in the same house. Phew. The only one missing is Josie, who is supplied technologically on the iPad. This extremely odd technique is questionable and it seemed a little forced, unrealistic and awkward. However, on reflection, it can only be gratifying for the audience as we can still hope for the Josie/Kingsley saga to continue once more.
We are also introduced to the new housemate, Candice, who has extremely large, blunt but hilarious boots to fill after the departure of Sabine. We don’t learn much about her in the initial episode with her character traits not very prominent or established, but we can only hope she develops into another device for even more humour in this promising series.
Once introductions to the new series are underway, the episode proceeds in containing the exact right ratio of all that we demand. Whilst JP goes on with his comical but slightly politically incorrect pursue of female Freshers, we are introduced to a love-interest of Howard’s. Although this doesn’t go quite to plan on the first episode, we can only hope/pray/wish that romance is in the air for the lovable geologist. We are also left in suspense of the underlying rifts between Vod and Oregon after their time traveling together, which we can only suspect to be partly to do with Vod’s acquisition of a lover on her travels. Oregon still tries to hide her literature enthusiasm by upholding the ‘cool student’ facade, particularly with the reference to the comical drug vernacular to impress Candice. Vod’s androgynous personality doesn’t fail to amuse, either, especially with her attempt of communication with her Mexican lover who relies purely on Oregon to understand a word Vod says. Josie and Kingsley are reunited after the gang decided to travel down to Southampton to see her. (We will ignore the unrealistic spontaneity of this venture from one side of the country to the other.) The episode concludes, however, with a shocking and immoral Kingsley, leaving the audience itching for its outcome which we hope to witness next episode.
Overall, the series opener was an encouraging one. Whilst it latched onto the ever-entertaining character traits which the audience lap up, it introduced us to new plot strands which seem extremely promising in their humour yet emotive potential. The new characters could be seen as slightly dull, but when against timeless ones such as Vod, Howard and JP, the room for improvement is extremely minimal. Despite the characters now being second-year students and not-so-fresh, Fresh Meat’s humour and series three prosperity certainly is.
8/10 Fresh Meat is broadcast on Channel 4 on Mondays at 10pm