On paper, Rosie Molloy Gives Up Everything could be good. A thirtysomething woman, addicted to every substance under the sun, gets a scare and tries to set herself on the straight and narrow.
That’s the idea, anyway. Unfortunately, this new six-episode Sky show, much like its main character, fails to summon the willpower to properly charm its audiences.
Sheridan Smith is Rosie Molloy: a mess of a woman who wakes up in a hospital bed after her brother’s wedding, only to be told she’s ruined it.
Her first response, after he furiously berates her, is to lever herself out of bed (still wearing her “best woman” dress, taped together with medical plasters) and head to the nearest bar, where she asks for a coffee, water and a glass of wine – actually, hold the coffee and water, and make that glass a bottle.
That’s fine. Her motivations are clear; Rosie is an enthusiastic consumer of what seems like everything, and Smith plays her with a combination of bolshiness and insouciance. The issue is that what is clearly an addiction problem is milked for laughs in almost every scene – and almost every one of those laughs misses the mark.
There are no heroes here. Rosie’s father smokes and drinks through his own diagnosis of terminal heart disease. Ardal O’Hanlon, who plays her ailing father, and Pauline McLynn, Rosie’s mum, perform with admirable commitment, but are given some real clangers of lines here that any actor would struggle to pull off – including pretending to understand in hospital that blood doesn’t get pumped through the lungs.
At home, things aren’t much better. Rosie’s housemate Rico (played by Oliver Wellington) is a chronic enabler, who is set up affectionately as a sort of “he’s bad, but you love him” lad-about-town; conversely, Rosie’s sister-in-law (Adelle Leonce) is sneered at by both of them for her attempts to sober Rosie up. And the less said about Monica, the well-meaning and desperately unfunny office dimwit Rosie tasks with getting her clean, the better.
The disasters, inevitably, pile up, hitting rock bottom and smashing straight through. Rosie ends up causing her brother to miss their own fathers’ death by getting him drunk on cheap vodka, gets bladdered at her own promotion party (how she gets promoted is anyone’s guess) and tries to convince a doctor to prescribe her medication to sort out her medication abuse issues. She also goes to rehab, only to promptly run away.
There is a dark history the show puts at the heart of Rosie’s story to explain her issues, but even then it’s hard for audiences to sympathise and I’m not entirely sure what message we’re supposed to take from this show.
Her attempts to clean up are consistently half-hearted; the show seems to think that it’s far more fun watching her lapse and embarrass herself, over and over. After a while it becomes deeply uncomfortable to watch.
Ultimately, who’s really laughing? There are better portrayals of addiction than this. Hell, there are funnier ones too – think Trainspotting or TV series Catastrophe. To make things worse, it doesn’t handle addiction with anywhere near enough sensitivity: there could be addicts, or even recovering addicts, watching this show which, although the intention may not be to trivialise and mock the issue, nevertheless trivialises and mocks it.
The upshot is this: Rosie Molloy serves up a lethal dose of dullness. Anybody looking to be entertained, turn away now; this is about as addictive as watching paint dry.
Rosie Molloy Gives Up Everything airs on Sky on December 7