Cucumber, Banana & Tofu: Hilarious, honest and full of heart
Showrunner Russell T. Davies (a little known writer responsible for reviving Doctor Who) told Gay Star News that his inspiration for the three new interlinked shows, Cucumber, Banana and Tofu was, “I woke up to discover Tom Daley was dating a middle-aged writer who wasn’t me!’
Courtesy of Russell T. Davies, we now have a set of modern day LGBT stories in the form of Cucumber (an eight piece drama), Banana (a series of one-shot dramas following different characters) and Tofu (documentaries about the day-to-day realities of sex). The first of each were available on their various platforms last night – Channel 4, E4 and 40D, in that order.
If you’re wondering, the titles (Cucumber, Banana and Tofu) are explained in the first thirty seconds of Cucumber. Yes, they mean exactly what you think they mean.
Cucumber follows the story of an older gay man, Henry, struggling with both keeping up with the gay community and his dull nine year relationship. When things come to a head (or to no head) his whole life changes. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, cheeky, sexually frustrating and, when the moment calls for it, a bit devastating.
Banana features some of the younger characters we meet in Cucumber. This week we met Dean, a delivery boy at Henry’s insurance firm. He is absolutely adorable – I kind of want to pet him, even though I saw him doing the sort of things that would probably make a nun blind last night. Banana is definitely Cucumber’s sexier younger brother, the E4 to C4, but it’s not without the humanity that makes Cucumber so endearing.
Tofu is a short series of wonderfully frank talk about sex from both the cast of Cucumber and Banana and members of the public, where we learnt about things like escorts, whether size matters and how to go at it in a hospital bed. It’s interspersed with a short fictional sequence that I found awkward and unnecessary, but I think that was exactly how I was supposed to feel.
Russell T. Davies looks to be onto a winner with his three new series, but then, we expected nothing less. Each show is refreshingly honest, and human, and really rather funny. My only warning would be don’t watch any of them at work. (No, not even Tofu).