Maintaining the same novelty and originality as the first two seasons was perhaps an easier task for writers Armstrong and Bain, now that the Manchester-based gang had entered their second year and had a new stock of first years for JP (played by the consistently refreshing Jack Whitehall) to attempt to lure into the newly renamed ‘Pussy Haven’. As an establishing shot, the audience know instantly that this season was not going to attempt to push some new sense of maturity into the mix.
New housemate Candice, though underused throughout most of the episode, also created a sense of underlying self-awareness for the second years returning from the holidays, a joke returned to time and again through Oregon and Kingsley’s assertion that they were cool, and coke was not a drug, ‘just a facilitator’.
Even with this new take on the same characters, Kingsley’s unfortunate love triangle that developed through the episode seemed like old territory in need of shaking up. The trip to Northampton gave Kimberley Nixon and Joe Thomas a real opportunity to flesh out a romantic situation that had begun to feel dull and repetitive. Reintroducing Heather put Kingsley right back into the awkward position he found himself in last year.
Speaking of awkward positions, the communal bedroom scene has to be the highlight of the episode. A perfect blend of surrealism with JP’s sex drive, and testament to the fact that, however awkward or frictional, at the end of the day they are still a close-knit bunch capable of handling anything, including ‘quiet’ copulation in the corner.
The first episode did a successful job in reassuring audiences that the Fresh Meat crew have survived the transition into their second year, and set up enough intrigue to encourage the hardcore fan base. The blend of cringe-inducing familiarity with circumstantial hilarity is a formula that, given such a ripe setting, will likely never grow stale.
PHOTOS\\ digitalspy, ohnotheydidnt