Scene 15 is a long and important scene. The big problem for the episode is firstly how will
Michael and Susan get back together and secondly how can Michael get closer to his son. The former
problem can only be resolved if there is at least progress with the latter. Matthew needs convincing
that his father is serious, that he won't be off again at the first sign of trouble. Michael informs
Matthew that this won't happen. Some success starts to seem possible when Matthew agrees to stay
in the restaurant and starts to open up and to tell his father through INFORM moves what is on his
I mean , You don't tell what is going on between you and mum, that's completely
Matthew says he is not worried but he clearly is at the prospect of things not getting better
between his parents, and that they might quickly get worse again. The problem is made clear as the
talk provides some of the means to solve it.
I mean , You don't tell what is going on between you and mum, that's completely different.
I'll tell you anything you want to know
well go on ask me anything.
Scene 17 is a return to the lunch scene much as when we left it. Real time may have gone
faster than scene time for a change. This is also one of the longest scenes in the show, and, connected
with the first half of the talking scene in 15 these two scenes between them account for 56 turns at
talk; far more than any other single episode. Surely this is a soap signifier of
Real progress is made here as Michael tells his son how he feels. Matthew offers his own
care of his mum as a solution to her problem for his father's evaluation. He evaluates what Matthew
did very positively but makes it clear that it is not the best solution; it is too heavy a burden for a
teenager to carry. The implication is that a full family solution will work better.
Matthew starts to be convinced. Action happens then through this scene. It is not just talk
about action somewhere else. The talk is constitutive of attitudes and emotions changing, changing
in a way that make a solution to this family's problems attainable. This progress is clearly marked
when Matthew agrees with his father, rare enough in itself but agrees that his childhood wasn't all
unhappy. There is agreement therefore that the family unit has value and is worth trying to restart.
The scene ends with ADVICE from son to father on how to solve the other side of the problem; how
to get Susan to take him back.
The solution of the lack of trust problem between father and son allows for the cycle to
continue with consideration of the problem between Michael and Susan. In case the audience missed
the fact that they now have a small time solution on their hands the fact is encapsulated in the talk
of Sanjay and Michael in scene 19. This both recounts the action for the audience, if they didn't catch
its full import the first time round, and also acts as an evaluation of what has taken
The question answer pattern provides a simple textual vehicle for this evaluative action to
So he's really alright about it now is he?
Yeah, I managed to convince him that I have got his mum's best interests at
We have yet to really deal with the problem that besets Susan and Michael but the major
problem that was besetting father and son can now be evaluated as 'alright'. Michael has 'managed
to convince' his son. This at least temporary solution to one problem allows the major problem to
be tackled, and with both men playing for the same solution. The rest of scene 19 with Sanjay gives
us a preview of Michael's chosen route to persuading Susan to have him back. The solution is aired
to the audience; now we can watch and see how it actually turns out.