Just like old times, ITV’s superior relationship soap Cold Feet returns firing on all cylinders, with plenty of laughs and just the right amount of drama.
It’s still good! And you should take that as a blessing because it wasn’t for a while. But some way, somehow, after over two decades on and off the air, ITV’s midlife relationship drama still has the goods; it’s like catching up with old, funny friends, most of whom you’ve grown up with. Some are showing their age now, but there’s timelessness to Cold Feet 2019 that gave this third revival energy that most of us thought it might never find again. Even old dogs can learn new tricks. (Unless those old dogs are Silent Witness, I suppose.)
But then again, the beauty of Cold Feet 2019 is that it works in spite of itself. It hasn’t really learned any new tricks at all. It’s all pretty much as you remember; the same people in the same energetically-shot Manchester, reading from the same witty script. Some of the problems are the same, too – but isn’t the whole thing with relationships that they circle the same drain? That truthfulness – and the honesty about getting old, especially when you don’t want to – is what makes Cold Feet a superior show despite its age and despite its stubbornness.
Adam (James Nesbitt), for instance, is refusing to act his age, chasing the same woman as his teenage son and dyeing his implanted hair. But middle-age isn’t well-suited to the dick-slinging lifestyle; the pleasures are harder to come by, the pitfalls are easier to slip into. The son’s mortified, obviously. And while most of it is played for laughs, there’s that truthfulness again. Dads see youthful enthusiasm in their sons; sons see fattening embarrassment in their dads.
But what do you see in your partner? Jenny (Fay Ripley) and Pete (John Thomson) see doe-eyed adoration, but a medical calamity threatens to curtail flourishing romance, as such things tend to. Happiness doesn’t make you immune to tragedy, which is something a lot of shows about relationships and getting older tend to forget. Love isn’t the end goal; it’s a helpful handrail that’ll help get you there.
What is the end goal, then? Who knows? That’s the point of negotiating life’s many hurdles, particularly those that spring up in middle-age. The warm familiarity of Cold Feet 2019 is in how it recognizes that life doesn’t stop when you get older, or get married, or have children, or whatever – it only stops when you do. Might as well make the most of it.