“I thought you would enjoy this.” A set of DVDs, brought ’round by a good friend, so casually, so innocently. I should have known it was a set-up.
I don’t like to wait. It may be a fatal character flaw — we’ll see. But my friend knows this about me and that is why she decided to part with her beloved first season of the British series Bad Girls on the gamble that I would not rest until I had found a way to discover what the hell happens next in Larkhall, the fictional women’s prison where it is set.
She was right. After a two-day immersion I clawed my way up from the couch, bleary-eyed, headachy and downright punchy. I had to get more. The writing, the characters, the acting — all fantastic. By the end of that first season, one of the most compelling lesbian storylines ever to air was unfolding in a way that would drive any normally reasonable dyke to head to her local video store at midnight to get her next fix.
One small problem.
There is no series two, at least, not in North America, aka region one in DVD-distribution speak. And you can’t play European DVDs in North American players. They are formatted differently. Bastards. (The show, by now, had so taken hold that my spouse complained about all the British slang I was slinging. Sorry Luv.)
The Brits have been enjoying Bad Girls since 1999. It was cancelled this year. Tossers. There are no plans to release any more seasons in North America. What kind of wanker does that? It’s not on. There had to be a way. And I would bloody well suss one out. Because if I didn’t find out what happens to Nikki and Helen, or if Fenner, a right pig, gets his comeuppance in the end, I was going to implode. Just like my friend knew I would. The evil cow.
I don’t even want to begin to talk about what comes up when you type “bad girls” into Google. I did, however, find the official website, which was bloody useless, but tempted me with a detailed spoiler episode guide. Steely self-control made me step away from the monitor for a while. When I returned, I hopped onto YouTube.
Hang about! Some nutter had actually posted every episode of season two in nine-minute installments. Bad Girls 201 was right there, ready for download. Granted, it was a slightly pixilated, poxy four-by-five-inch window, completely unwatchable at full-screen size, but it was there. I sat hunched over my monitor for God only knows how many hours. Pathetic git. I called my friend to gloat but she didn’t seem too impressed. Worried, more like. I accused her of not giving a tinker’s fart about the show or she would have been YouTubing right along with me. She suggested therapy. I hung up. It’s true, I was going cockeyed. There had to be a better way.
Who knew there is such a thing as a region-free DVD player? Most manufacturers make them, but you can’t actually buy one. Wot? Are you taking the piss? Yes, the retailers had heard of them, but no, they didn’t stock them. Although Brad from a Newmarket superstore had one of his own he had purchased on-line. Bollocks.
I had no choice. I was committed, and frankly, by then, deep in the throes of Bad Girls delirium tremens. The series two cliffhanger had left me gutted. I felt physically ill. I, like Brad from Newmarket, was ready to surrender my common sense and key in my credit card number to a dubious website. But one last, desperate search took me to an obscure techy message board telling me that the best place to buy a region-free DVD player in Toronto was about three blocks from my house. Brilliant! I legged it to Little India.
Twenty minutes later and 90 bucks poorer I had it. Sorted. Then I placed an order for the boxed set from Amazon.co.uk. It cost 60 quid, plus whatever customs would slap on top. I didn’t give a toss. Besides, my friend offered to go halves with me, after I had done all the hard work. Apparently, her Bad Girls fever had returned. The slag. Then I waited. And whinged. And waited some more. At last it arrived and I inserted disk one. The TV immediately flashed “wrong region.”
“You fecking gobshite!” What a clusterfuck. This was really getting on my tits. I barely refrained from chucking the knackered piece of crap out the door. Back to Little India, where I returned the sodding machine and, just to add to my aggro, spent another $50 upgrading to the better model. Back to my living room, and in went disk one.
I only recently came up for air, after peeling my numb body from the couch. I was actually dehydrated. Was it worth it? You bet your sweet arse.