Sitcom. How will Lee and Lucy's marriage fare after marriage counselling?
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# We're not going out Not staying in
# Just hanging around With my head in a spin
# But that is no need to scream and shout
# We're not going out
# We are not going out. #
-That was Mum.
-Oh, they're back from their holidays?
Yeah, they just got home. It was a lovely break.
Certainly was, but we can't keep them away for ever.
Where did Grandma and Grandad go?
They went to Venice.
It's a place in Italy with lots of canals.
I know that.
I know you do, sweetheart, I was telling Daddy.
It was a special present from all of us for their wedding anniversary.
50 years. Isn't that amazing?
Certainly is. Your mum deserves a medal.
It's only the "Till death do us part" line that's keeping her hanging on in there.
Anyway, they're coming around in a bit to tell us all about it.
Already? They've literally just got back.
-Sorry, is that a problem?
-No. But they are here quite a lot.
Not as much as you.
Actually, I've just remembered, I've, er...got to pop into work.
-On a Sunday morning?
Of course. I was forgetting you're the Archbishop of Canterbury(!)
You're going to be here, and you'll listen to their holiday stories,
and look at their photos and smile politely.
Lying and avoiding my parents.
I don't know which one is worse.
Oh, it's definitely your dad.
So, how are you?
Yeah, all fine.
Apart from the usual, Lee always trying to find an excuse
to nip out when certain people he has an issue with come around.
-Where is he?
-He's nipped out.
I mean my parents.
It's like he tries to avoid having anything to do with them.
Sounds like you two are having a few problems.
Oh, no, just letting off steam.
It's OK, Lucy, you can talk to me.
This might come as a bit of a surprise to you,
but, just between us,
my marriage to Toby isn't exactly perfect.
I know. We put on a show of being this ideal couple,
all sweetness and light.
The truth is, at times, I can be a little bit abrasive towards Toby.
I mean, abrasive?
But recently, we decided to try and improve things,
so we've been for some marriage guidance counselling.
-I have to say, it's been amazing.
I've been talking about things more, vocalising my feelings.
I'm really opening up.
Wow! What about Toby?
Yes, he comes along, too.
Really, Lucy, you should try it.
Us? Oh, we don't need marriage guidance.
Why not? It would help you get to the bottom of these issues
he has with your parents.
Look, I can see your marriage isn't in trouble,
but why wait until it is?
Look at it this way, if you found a lump,
even if you were almost certain it was nothing serious,
you'd still go to the doctor, right?
Well, in your marriage, there's a lump.
-And I'm quite sure it's absolutely nothing to worry about,
but it's still worth getting checked out.
You know, on the off chance it needs to be removed.
Yeah. Thanks for the advice, but have you ever heard the phrase,
-"taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut"?
Well, I'll probably just do that instead.
Venice was beautiful.
Yes, we loved it.
The food, the architecture. We had all kinds of new experiences.
Oh, what's Dad doing in this one?
-Look at this one of Dad.
-That's interesting, Geoffrey.
I never realised you showed up on photographs.
-So, thank you both.
-Oh, don't be silly.
If you can't put your in-laws on a plane and send them
1,000 miles across Europe, what pleasures do we have left?
So...50 years of marriage.
Come on, then, what's the secret?
Oh, there's no great secret.
If you want to stay married, don't get divorced and don't die.
So don't leave Lee and don't kill him.
We're not underestimating the size of the challenge.
Well, we probably should be leaving.
Is everything OK, darling, with you two?
Yeah. Why wouldn't it be?
You know we're always here.
Yes, I know you are, and so does Lee.
What? I did what you asked.
Really? I don't remember asking you to make smart-arse comments.
I thought I was quite restrained.
When your mum said that gondolier had taken her up the Grand Canal, I didn't say a word.
Anna popped around earlier.
That reminds me, the freezer needs defrosting.
-She told me something quite surprising.
Don't tell me, one of her servants has got rickets?
She and Toby are having marriage counselling.
And that surprises you?
If I was married to Anna, I'd want counselling.
I say counselling, it would be a bloke with a megaphone
telling me to step away from the ledge.
She suggested it might be good for us to give it a go.
Why is it every fad that Anna picks up, you have to follow?
Pilates, spiralizer, Fitbit. I hope they never get mauled by tigers,
you'll have me over the fence at Whipsnade with a pocketful of sausages!
-I know we are, but Anna and Toby were totally fine once.
Why wait until we really need it?
I don't need a colostomy bag,
but it doesn't mean I'm going to get one fitted just in case.
A counsellor is not the same thing as a colostomy bag.
Oh, I don't know, I think there's a key similarity.
Why would you want to copy Anna and Toby?
Who'd want a marriage like theirs?
I don't want a marriage like Anna and Toby's, I want a marriage like...
Oh, I don't know.
Like your mum and dad, that's what you were going to say.
-Where are you going?
-To get something to keep polar bears away from that freezer.
Obviously, they're not a problem at the moment,
but why wait until we really need it?
-So, how have you been?
Yeah? Everything OK?
What do you pay when your library books are late?
-Is there something you're trying to ask me?
-Let me put it another way,
-but you promise to tell me if I'm being too cryptic.
How's the marriage counselling going?
That is supposed to be confidential.
Yeah, but surely I'm allowed to tell you.
Well, since you know about it anyway,
yes, we have been going to see someone.
So, what are they like, these sessions?
Well, it's not my kind of thing at all, really.
But at least I get to list all Anna's faults.
Well, not all her faults, obviously, the sessions only last two hours.
-So, what kind of things do you talk about?
We even have to talk in far too much detail about our...sex life.
-What kind of things do you say?
-Do you know what, next time,
I'll have a laptop at the ready so you can join in via Skype(!)
Counselling or the sex?
So, er...how bad had things got before, you know, you decided to go?
Well, things weren't great.
But at least the counselling has improved things a bit,
you know, in terms of the arguing
and the sleeping in the spare room, of course.
-Is that where you were before the counselling?
-No, that's where I am now.
Before the counselling, I was at the Premier Inn.
-Things must have been awful.
-Well, there's no room service,
but it's clean and the showers are good.
And Lenny Henry always cheers me up at breakfast.
This is terrible!
Well, thanks for your concern,
but, like I say, we're working things through.
I don't mean for you, I mean for me!
Lucy wants us to go, but she must think we're in a right state
if she wants to talk to someone who deals with couples who are that messed up.
Remind me again why we're friends?
Look, it's fine.
The way I see it is this -
marriage is a marathon, not a sprint.
And like a marathon, you have to keep on going,
drink as much as you can,
and keep telling yourself over and over, "This will end".
Ladies and gentlemen, the bride and groom.
Ah. You ready to go, Anna?
Or are you too busy discussing more personal details of our marriage?
What is it this time?
Telling Lucy that I like to keep my pyjamas on during sex?
No. She didn't mention that.
And why would she? It's a made-up example.
Exactly. Because, as we know, Lucy,
despite their wonderful marriage counselling, they never have sex.
No, they're having a lot more sex since counselling, actually.
I think you'll find they're in separate bedrooms, actually.
-Yes, but they have an arrangement on Wednesdays where they...
I think I preferred it when you were talking behind my back.
-I'm sorry, too, Toby.
I hear what you're saying
and I acknowledge that you're annoyed with me.
I shared information about our private life without your consent
and without considering how that might make you feel.
Well, I hear what you're saying, too, Anna.
I appreciate your apology.
I should have understood that sometimes you need to share
your feelings with friends.
I apologise, too. I shouldn't have tried to stifle your conversation.
We should be going.
Thank you for being so honest with us.
It won't go any further.
Of course. And best of luck for Wednesday.
See? Impressive, right?
Impressive? It was like watching two Daleks trying to mate!
At least their problems are discussed, Lee.
Unlike the one you have with my parents.
-We're nothing like Toby and Anna.
-Of course we're not!
But counselling's improved their relationship in all sorts of ways.
You heard, they're having more sex.
Well, are you prepared to give it a go?
If it's what you really want, then, yes, I'm prepared to have more sex.
What about the counsellor?
I'll have to see a picture of him first.
Have you done any marriage counselling before?
-And what made you come to counselling?
He only came because I promised him a McDonald's on the way home.
-So, you're here reluctantly?
-A bit, yeah.
I think our marriage is fine.
And the way I look at it, if it ain't broke,
charge it £70 an hour and it soon will be.
Can we not discuss money, please, Lee?
Forget the embarrassing discussions about money, let's just talk about the sex.
That's not the first time he's used that line to a woman.
That's a joke.
Lee's never paid for sex.
We've got three kids, you always end up paying for it in the end.
So, why did you want to come here today, Lucy?
Um...you were recommended to us by our friends, Toby and Anna.
You know them, right?
I'm afraid I can't discuss any of my other clients.
I wouldn't admit to that one either.
That would be like saying you were Shane MacGowan's dentist.
I don't discuss anything that happens in here at all.
It's all confidential.
Confidential. You could learn from that.
-What does that mean?
-You, discussing our marriage with Anna!
Some things are supposed to be kept between a husband and wife.
-You're not paying me to judge or point the finger.
Oh, that's extra, is it?
I only talked to Anna because you and I don't discuss our problems properly.
Like your attitude towards my parents.
Here we go. Right, you want me to discuss things, I'll discuss things.
Lucy thinks I have an issue with her parents,
but the real issue is that she puts their marriage on a pedestal,
which means she then has unreasonably high expectations
about our own marriage, and when we fail to meet those expectations,
she sees it as a failure, rather than what it really is,
which is the normal tensions that exist in any loving, happy relationship.
Especially those that don't idealise their perfect parents' marriage.
-Well, you asked me to do this properly.
But you weren't supposed to think about it in advance.
Does any of Lee's account strike a chord with you, Lucy?
Well, I suppose I do see my parents as having the perfect marriage.
When I was growing up, it was always a very happy home.
And what about you, Lee, when you were growing up?
Way ahead of you, Doc.
Classic broken home, which, to some, might suggest an unhappy upbringing,
which led to me having personal relationship issues as an adult.
But it's actually the complete opposite.
It enables me to value what Lucy and I have in our own marriage
and makes me less likely to compare our perfectly happy marriage
with anybody else's.
Maybe you need some one-on-one time with my wife. Shall I pop out and get us all a coffee?
Or maybe it's possible that Lucy,
who comes from a place of security and warmth,
is more able to vocalise these bigger questions about your relationship
because she's not afraid of it causing bigger problems.
Whereas you fear addressing anything you consider unpleasant
due to your own deep-rooted anxieties.
How do you get along with Lucy's parents?
Her dad hates me.
It takes two people to make a bad relationship.
Fair point. Her mum doesn't like me much either.
Of course they like you.
You talk about them not liking you, but maybe you don't like them
because of what they represent.
The secure and solid marriage
that you didn't have around you growing up.
Perhaps Lucy's parents aren't judging you at all.
Perhaps you're judging yourself.
Hang on. Can we go out and come back in again?
Yes, I'm going to recommend you come several times.
No chance. You'll have me saying I've got desires to set fire to things and sleep with my mum.
Oh, I've had enough of this!
Lee, can you sit down, please? This is progress.
No. I came here on the express condition that it would be a complete waste of time.
If I'd known it'd be worthwhile, I would have never agreed to it!
So, you didn't enjoy it?
No, I didn't, and it's all your fault.
-Because you've been in there.
You know how awful it is, and you didn't stop me from going.
This is like Lord of the Dance all over again.
I didn't exactly recommend the counselling.
No, but you didn't warn me that it'd all turn out to be my fault.
Oh, I see.
Yeah, that's right. It's all me, apparently.
It doesn't mean she's right. I mean, you're a doctor,
I bet you've made the odd incorrect diagnosis.
Course I have. I'm not infallible.
But put it this way, if I had a patient who owned a crocodile
who came in complaining of lower limb pain
and carrying his foot in a plastic bag, I wouldn't diagnose mumps.
Maybe it's time you made some changes. I know Anna has.
Exactly, Anna's made the changes, which means I'm the Anna.
I'm the baddie, I'm the evil one, I'm the Wicked Witch of the West.
The counsellor said we needed to think of new pet names for each other.
Look, I know I was sceptical about the counselling,
and I still am, but I can't deny it has improved my marriage.
We're sharing a bedroom again.
-Well, Anna has it the first half of the week...
..I have it the second. But it's a start.
Yeah, well, like I say, with all due respect,
me and Lucy are not as bad as you two.
Because if counselling can't help you,
you are worse than me and Anna.
You are worse than me and Anna.
Sorry, it's just not a sentence I get to say to people very often.
What are you reading?
Really? The Dummy's Guide to Telepathic Communication.
Oi! No, I will not, cheeky, I've just brushed my teeth.
Look, I've been thinking, about your mum and dad.
I already know what you think of my mum and dad.
Hang on, this is a positive thing.
-It's true that I don't feel comfortable around them.
I always thought it was because your dad was a miserable old sod
who always put me down and expected everyone to do what he says
and that your mum is also a bit stuck up in her own sort of way.
Can we print these lovely words on a cushion and give it to them for Christmas(?)
But, like the counsellor says...
..maybe it's possible
that I'm threatened by how strong their relationship is.
I hear what you're saying,
and perhaps I should start feeling less threatened
and start admiring them a bit more.
Are you after sex?
Obviously, I'm not completely ruling it out.
I mean, keep talking.
And so I've decided to make more of an effort with them.
And I'm going to start by cooking them a celebratory anniversary meal.
Lee, this is really great.
But can you do me a favour?
Don't mention any of this marriage guidance stuff in front of Dad.
He thinks it's a sign of weakness to have semi-skimmed milk.
Maybe this counselling is having a real effect.
I wish I'd saved this chat for a Wednesday.
Thank you, darling. We feel very spoiled.
First Venice, now this.
Don't thank me, thank Lee. He did all the cooking.
I loved the croutons.
They were mushrooms.
And it wasn't just the cooking, the whole thing was Lee's idea.
Well, I must say, that's very uncharacteristic.
Careful, Dad, you almost gave Lee a compliment.
Oh, I'm quite capable of giving compliments when I want to.
Well, I'm around all evening.
If I were a cynical man, I'd say you'd done something terrible
and now you were trying to make up for it.
-It's OK, Lucy.
I hear what your dad is saying.
I am trying to make up for something, Geoffrey.
Lost time with you and Wendy.
Perhaps if I spent more time with you both,
I'd learn what it takes to have such a long, fulfilling and wonderful marriage.
My God, he must have done something awful.
Ignore him. I thought this meal was wonderful, and so does Geoffrey.
Look at his face!
Why don't you two go and make yourselves comfy and we'll clear up?
Well, this is going well.
Look, I know Dad can be a bit gruff.
It doesn't matter to me what Dad says or thinks,
what matters to me is how you're reacting to him,
and you're being really lovely.
KNOCK AT DOOR
Sorry to just land on you like this,
but we were just passing and thought we'd say hello.
Yeah, nothing at all to do with Anna wanting to hear about your counselling.
Of course not.
But now that Toby mentions it, how did it go?
Well, um...we weren't sure at first,
but I have to admit, the results are pretty impressive.
How many sessions have you had since?
Same as you, just Wednesdays.
Just the one. But I've booked us in for another.
-Well, I thought that's what you'd want.
Don't forget, someone's still owed ridiculously undersized McNuggets
and a bit of limp lettuce.
Is there anything you haven't told them about our sex life, Anna?
I'm talking about McDonald's.
As you were.
Look, I'm sorry to be rude, but Mum and Dad are here at the moment.
We invited them over for dinner.
Oh, sorry, I didn't realise. Of course, we'll leave you to it.
It's just that Dad's a bit old-school about this sort of thing,
so I'm really trying to avoid him finding out we've been having marriage guidance.
He'd probably say something like...
Marriage guidance? What the hell are you talking about?
Something like that.
It's, um...Anna and Toby.
They've been going for marriage guidance.
Going through a rough patch.
Keep spreading the word, we're not quite trending on Twitter yet.
You weren't talking about them, you were talking about you and Lee going!
-I knew it! I said he'd done something wrong, didn't I?
Dad, all sorts of people go for marriage counselling.
It doesn't mean we're in trouble.
Rubbish! It's for marriages in jeopardy, that's what it is.
The word jeopardy isn't very helpful.
Unless you're playing Scrabble, of course.
So, come on, then, what's he done?
I'll tell you exactly what he's done.
He's made an effort to do something really nice for you and Mum
and you've thrown it back in his face!
Yeah. I'm glad I didn't get you that lawnmower.
He's never made an effort before.
He must be trying to atone for something. So, what is it?
-Yes, leave Lee alone!
-Don't shush me!
Not everyone who goes to marriage guidance has done something wrong!
For goodness' sake, woman, stop sticking your nose in!
Not everyone is like you and your little floozy!
Floozy, another good Scrabble word.
Not as good as jezebel, but...
-Nothing. Ignore me.
OK. Huh! Can I tempt anyone to an olive?
What, that wasn't her name, was it?
-It was nothing. It was just a couple of lunch dates.
Three lunch dates,
one evening at a Berni Inn and a Demis Roussos concert.
I'm going to take a punt and say this wasn't recently.
Course it wasn't recently, it was many years ago,
before you were even born, Lucy!
Absolutely nothing physical happened, and...and you know it!
I'd never have come if I'd known Brenda was going to be dragged up.
What, you mean she was actually a man?
-Are you enjoying this?
Lucy, it was nothing,
and, to be quite honest, it's none of your business!
Geoffrey's right, what he did all those years ago is his affair.
-Well, not affair, I mean...
-No, I will not shut up.
I'm doing what you asked and showing some interest in your parents.
We wanted to know the secret of their wonderful marriage, now we do.
-Oh, my God, you actually are enjoying this!
-Course I'm not.
We had some problems, but we dealt with them and we moved on.
At least I thought we'd moved on.
That was the whole point of those sessions.
-We had some marriage guidance.
Ha! I'm still not enjoying this.
What do you mean, "Ha"?
Well, you know, marriage guidance, your perfect parents.
I hoped you'd never find out about it, and you wouldn't have done
if somebody hadn't opened their big mouth!
Oh, typical! I tell you about his fling
and he's more embarrassed about having counselling!
Good job I didn't mention the pipe he started smoking during that time
because he thought it made him look like a poet!
Ha! All right, I enjoyed that one.
Oh, come on, you've got to admit, it's quite ironic.
We only went to marriage guidance in the first place to be more like them!
You're using this as a weapon!
So what if they had a bit of counselling? It's no big deal!
I agree. At least they went for a proper reason.
-Your dad had an affair.
-How many times...?
I don't know, Geoffrey, is there others we don't know about?
I should knock your block off for that comment.
Typical! Never content until there's a squabble or a ruckus!
Don't mention Scrabble again.
-Great, I'm getting more grief than your dad!
Maybe I should have had an affair and I'd have got off lighter!
Have you got her address? I'll go down to the nursing home and wheel Brenda out.
Maybe I can borrow your pipe!
Let's all take a moment to acknowledge what's been shared.
Lee, I hear what you're saying...
Oh, shut up, Anna!
I beg your pardon?!
If you had kept our business private in the first place,
instead of telling the whole world, none of this would have happened!
I don't need permission to speak from you, Toby.
I am bloody sick of holding my tongue
just to protect your so-called feelings!
Well, I hear what you're saying
and you can stuff it up your jacksie!
Wait for me!
So...where were we?
I was just saying,
how's the marriage guidance going?
Well, that went well(!)
I would book into the Premier Inn,
but Toby and your dad got the last two rooms.
Look, I know you're angry, and you've got a right to be.
I should have been more sympathetic.
I was a bit too busy enjoying your dad being knocked off his perch.
It's when you take pleasure in another person's misfortune.
It's fairly well-known.
Is it like when you're pleased because you know a word that somebody else doesn't?
Because we can all play that game.
Look, I've said I'm sorry.
I must have missed that. What language was that in?
Before, when I offered you a Jaffa Cake.
What did you say?
I said, "Do you want a Jaffa Cake?"
That was the apology?
Come on, I put them on a plate,
you must have been able to read between the lines.
Anyway, I do apologise, and I mean it.
I should have considered your feelings.
And I think I owe you an apology, too.
Turns out my parents aren't so perfect after all.
They're doing all right, and so are we,
especially after we go for another counselling session.
Oh, can we not?
Can we just work things out on our own from now on?
I'm glad we went. It made us talk things through,
and that's all I ever wanted.
So I guess there's nothing else left to do now apart from have sex and move on.
Actually, I'm a bit tired.
I wonder what time that McDonald's drive-thru closes?
# We're not going out Not staying in
# Just hanging around With my head in a spin
# But that is no need to scream and shout
# We're not going out
# We are not going out. #
If Lee and Lucy's marriage wasn't in trouble before they go to marriage counselling, it is by the time they leave.