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Secret Diary of a Call Girl: The Final Season

(Showtime; US DVD: 9 Aug 2011)

Secret Diary Of A Call Girl: The Final Season brings the adventures of London escort—and secret author of a tell-all book about the business—Belle Du Jour to a close. It’s the fourth season of the show, which ran on ITV in the UK and aired on Shotime in the US. Billie Piper (Doctor Who) returns as Belle, who is Hannah when she’s off the clock, and she’s just as gorgeous and engaging as she was in the previous three series. However, this season there seems to be something missing.


When we left her at the end of season three, Belle is jetting off to a holiday in the Maldives with a client, just as Hannah’s best friend and confidante, Ben (Iddo Goldberg) has professed his love in a hand-made valentine. The two weeks away is supposed to allow her to make up her mind about Ben, but as episode one of the final season opens, we find Belle no closer to a decision. In fact, she’s more concerned with her new home and all of its finery. 


This is where viewers have the first inkling something is amiss, because despite all the absurdities in prior seasons, and Belle’s unabashed love for her work, she’s always cared for Ben. His continued devotion and willingness to try to accept her career choice was always a major point before, but in these episodes it’s treated as simply another annoyance that keeps Belle from getting everything her way.


That’s kind of what every scenario is in this season, actually. An interpersonal annoyance, followed by a client with a fetish, then some shopping, an annoying daily life encounter, more shopping, an argument, a sex scene, a shopping montage, another annoyance.


Chief among the annoyances, of course, is the big Ben question hanging over everything Belle/Hannah does. When that’s not enough, she asks him to move in, which allows her to be annoyed by a clumsy male presence in her pristine, expensive home. Then Belle’s mentor/agent, Stephanie (Cherie Lunghi) gets arrested and goes to jail to await trial. Why do these things always happen to her?


So Belle must take over running the agency, much to the other girls’ dismay. Why do they hate her so? And finally, Stephanie’s 19 year old daughter, who knows nothing of her mother’s true whereabouts or Belle’s profession, also moves into Belle’s house. This makes it even more difficult to run the escort service, and even more difficult to take in clients. How annoying!


OK, so it’s not like earlier story-lines were any less ludicrous, but they were a bit more substantial. As for all the comparisons made between Secret Diary of a Call Girl and Sex and the City (based on a book, heroine speaks to the camera, sexy, fashionable, risque, etc.), seasons 1-3 acknowledged this while keeping enough individuality to keep viewers interested.


Season four makes no attempt to retain a separate identity. Belle gets confused by a love triangle and flees from making a choice by literally fleeing to New York City to discuss turning her book into a movie. Upon arriving she indulges in a shopping montage that would shame even Carrie Bradshaw.


That’s not to say Secret Diary of a Call Girl: The Final Season isn’t fun to watch. It’s still great guilty pleasure TV, mainly because Piper has the ability to make Belle charming even with all of her shallowness on display. It’s just that it seems the writers were rushing headlong toward an end, throwing every cliché they could think of into the mix without a thought for continuity or quality.  As a result the show, though still titillating, is not as smart as it once was, and therefore, not as sexy.


Secret Diary Of A Call Girl: The Final Season DVD doesn’t contain any bonus features, which is odd given that it’s the wrap up to four years of a successful series.

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Christel Loar is a freelance writer and editor, a part-time music publicist, and a full-time music fan. She is often an overreactor and sometimes an overachiever. When not dodging raindrops or devising escape plans, Christel is usually found down front and slightly left of center stage reveling in a performance by yet another new favorite band.


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