Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope: so well written that it was hard to watch

There were moments of farce, but overall RTE’s searingly honest drama proved to be a winner

A clip from Can't Cope, Won't Cope, starring Seána Kerslake as Aisling. Video: RTÉ

 

Just like a typical bad night out, Can’t Cope Won’t Cope kicked off with laughter and skitting outside Flannerys before ending in tears and tantrums outside Coppers.Aisling and Danielle’s friendship has come full circle, their differences no longer buried and their grievances laid bare for the world to see.

Aisling’s folly has finally caught up with her, while Danielle’s hard work has paid off. The clouds have cleared, the hangover has lifted, and there is a new reality staring them both in the face.

The gap between them has widened to such an extent that we’re not sure if they will ever bridge it again. It is hard to have sympathy for Aisling, described by a garda in the final episode as “a remarkably juvenile 26-year-old”.

The first few episodes were much more realistic than the last, though the underlying themes still ring true. There were moments in the later episodes which veered too far into farce to be relatable –Aisling going out on her own and drinking cans on the train; Danielle blocking her on social media when they still lived together, the pair getting into a fight which resulted in a black eye. Being a fictitious drama, some poetic license is of course permitted – though I’m just not so sure it was necessary.

That said, this series should be hailed as one of RTE2’s finest moments - a window into the life of a twentysomething woman struggling to find her feet in the big smoke. A series so well written and at times so convincing that it was hard to watch.

Aisling, whom you just wanted to give a clip around the lugs, had so many relatable characteristics that she could be lurking inside many of us. Her endless excuses, alcohol-fuelled eejitry and hateful abuse of Danielle were revealed as the actions of an insecure and lonely woman. Her over-reliance on her best friend turned the relationship toxic, and it seems she may now have taken it all too far.

Fired from her job, deserted by her friend and with a browned-off family at home in Mallow, reality has well and truly bitten for Aisling.

It is easy to look with disgust and contrast her with Danielle, but their situations are entirely different. Danielle has drive and has been taken under the wing of one of her lecturers. She has a good friend in Ferg and less of an insecurity complex than Aisling. But I have faith that Aisling can turn it around.

What is now needed is a deeper exploration of their back stories and a more fuller sense of who they are. Will Aisling recover from losing her job? Will Danielle be able to forgive and forget. Will Aisling’s mistakes leave lasting scars? Will they ever again catch up with each other?

There’s no word yet on whether the show will return, but this fellow Aisling is asking RTE, please, give us a second series – or I may end up throwing my own tantrum outside Coppers.

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