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October 13, 2015

Secret Diary of a Call Girl: Episode 1-08 (season finale)

by Kristin Sample, posted Aug 5th 2008 8:38AM
Secret Diary of a call girl(S01E08) Like so many of the episodes this season, this one felt too short. The show is good but when it feels too short, it often feels underdeveloped too. Despite the lack of development in places, Belle did get some closure. And I think it's pretty obvious that closure in a season finale is important. I, for one, was glad to see her satisfied with her situation at the end.

Tonight Belle tried her hand at being a courtesan. Wow, semantics makes all the difference, huh? There's your street-walking hookers, your pimped out prostitutes, high class escorts, and your professional courtesans. As she explained how courtesans were different than even highly paid call girls like herself, I thought of one of her very first asides on Secret Diary of a Call Girl. In the season premiere Belle told us that it didn't matter which way you slice it or what you call it, she gets paid to have sex.

I think we saw tonight that terminology does indeed matter to Hannah / Belle. Being a "courtesan," means that she can call the shots. She'll have a few long-term clients. She work with a sisterhood of courtesans, not fork over forty percent of her earnings to Stephanie. And she get more money and prizes. In fact, Belle got a sweet flat with a view of Big Ben out of the deal.

The courtesan storyline worked rather brilliantly this episode. I liked how it worked on a thematic level. Belle wants independence (i.e. from Stephanie, from her current life as a call girl). And she thinks being a courtesan is the perfect answer. But Belle finds out that she really lost a good deal of control. Being a courtesan is very much like being a kept woman. Belle sat in a lovely home in Scotland while it rained and Mitchell went to work. She was so bored and uninspired by the trip that she threw his cell phone across the floor. This didn't go over well. And when Belle tried to call the other women for support, she was gravely disappointed. So, overall, points for good thematic work.

Now I want to address briefly why I think the show is underdeveloped. (I really think it should be an hour.) I like finding out more about these clients of Belle's. When we only see them for a few scenes in a single episode, they come off as one-dimensional. For example, who is this Mitchell person? Belle seems to have such a chummy relationship with him, yet the only person she ever mentioned in any affectionate way was Ashok. Also, I had no idea that Belle wanted more out of her career. We did know that she was unhappy with Stephanie, but even their last exchange didn't leave me thinking that Belle would just up and leave Stephanie. What do you think?

If you're looking for more Belle, get the book. The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl is really good. I'm about two-thirds of the way through. If you don't want to get the book, there's always her blog.

Did you think the season finale was good?
Yes39 (57.4%)
No8 (11.8%)
Passable21 (30.9%)

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You know, I liked this episode, but also found it unrealistic. I'm wondering if the real Belle Du Jour had this option. Considering the number of nightly/weekly clients Belle prefers, some type of health risk must be attached. I wonder why she didn't stay as a Courtesan for a year and maintain clients, before going off on her own at a higher level. Plus, 20 years later, saying she's a professional GF is less horrific than saying she's a 'hooker'. Plus, with the extra time, she could've gotten a grad degree. And I didn't understand why she didn't go out and explore Scotland while Mitchell was on set.

I'm wondering what people thought about the ending with Ben. It's slightly creepy how easily he's gotten sucked into this world from friend to fellow escort to pimp and wonder how he'll handle working as her pimp and a bar manager -

August 05 2008 at 5:06 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I agree re the show feeling underdeveloped. I feel like I could be watching a series of vignettes where you don't really get the depth of character you want, especially from the orbiting characters. There are connecting themes, but it doesn't feel like enough.

August 05 2008 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joe Siegler

This show was renewed by ITV for a second and third series. Series 2 is apparently filming now, which is interesting as Billie Piper is very pregnant.

August 05 2008 at 10:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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