My Love Affair with Cold Feet
I have to admit I was a bit cautious when ITV mentioned that Cold Feet was going to return. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it was a 90s drama which followed the lives of three 30 something couples at various stages of their lives. Me and the husband were attracted to it because he is a Mancunian and we don’t live too far from the big city. The duration of the show from 1997 (the original pilot) until 2003 coincided with the early years of our relationship as we got together in 1996 and moved in together, got engaged, bought our first house,married, moved to a forever house and started to plan our family. For those reasons I think that we felt a real bond with the characters.
One thing that I felt when I originally watched Cold Feet was how well they dealt with the awkward transition from your twenties to thirties. One minute we were a young (ish) couple just out of university and then before we could turn around we had made a commitment to each other and had the responsibility of owning a property. All of a sudden life does become a lot more complicated and Cold Feet always had a humorous way of dealing with those issues. If anything it felt good to know that other people were going through similar pressures, albeit in a fictitious drama.
So many shows seem to have been brought back and flopped tremendously. We recently watched the return of The X Files and apart from one episode we were very disappointed as the show seemed to have lost its original quirkiness and originality. Not content with remakes or the ‘Lazarus effect’ (resurrecting a once popular show from the dead) the BBC (and sometimes ITV) seems to have an obsession with reinventing popular tv shows with spin offs and prequels. They have recently dabbled with Porridge, Keeping Up Appearances (which I was never a huge fan of) and Open All Hours (a penchant for Ronnie Barker, BBC?) and I’ve felt a sense of mild outrage that they felt they could improve these comedy gems (the outrage was so mild, I think I may have tutted!) In spite of our reservations we decided to watch the first episode of Cold Feet and then make our minds up (Ok, so I’ve made it sound like a monumental decision when clearly we are only talking about sacrificing one hour of telly time, but I don’t get out much ok?!)
I was pleasantly surprised with the first and subsequent episodes and would go as far as to say that I am enjoying it as much as I ever enjoyed the previous series of Cold Feet. Part of that I think is because like us the lives of the characters in Cold Feet have moved on too. We have gone from being carefree 30 somethings to becoming responsible 40 somethings. Our lives have changed just as dramatically as the characters (maybe more so). We are still in the same forever house, but that seems to be the only thing that has remained constant. We now have two children who arrived in 2005 and 2013 and all the responsibility (and joy) that entails. We have both made huge career moves, I gave up a successful job as a Funding Manager in a university back in 2014 and the husband gave up an equally successful career in aviation in 2011. Fast forward to now and the husband has completely changed careers and now works in a pastoral role in alternative provision which he loves and I am at home with Siena, ‘writing’ for a living. It’s interesting to see how the characters in Cold Feet have changed, David and Karen divorced at the end of the original series 5 and he is now married (albeit unhappily) to someone else whilst Karen is on the brink of a new relationship. Adam is marrying someone he has met whilst living in Singapore and trying to rekindle his relationship with his son, and Pete and Jenny, well they seem to be muddling along as usual.
What the show does illustrate though is that being in your 40s is far from plain sailing. Pete is battling depression, Karen is apprehensive about starting a new relationship and Jenny seeks excitement from the humdrum of her life. I think that both the husband and I can relate to a lot of that which is why we’ve have a new found love for the return of Cold Feet. By the time you reach your forties, there is often a feeling that you should be able to sit back and marvel at the fact you have made it through the tough times and pat yourself on the back for how well you’ve done. You should have had your family by now and be reasonably settled in your career. By your forties, you should have ‘made it’ (there seems to be a lot of ‘shoulds’ in your forties!) That’s not always the case though and I think for many 40 somethings it is a time of great reflection as you approach the mid point of your life. What have you done? What have you achieved? What did you set out to do? They are all questions that start popping into your head.
I feel relieved that the characters in Cold Feet haven’t got it all worked out, because we certainly haven’t. Pete is depressed because he feels like he has reached the pinnacle of his life ‘working two minimum wage jobs’ to make ends meet. Jenny is trying to support him, but at the same time dealing with her frustration and boredom. David and Robyn seem to have reached the end of the line in their somewhat unhappy marriage, and to top it off his job is in a very precarious position. Even Adam who normally seems to ‘wing it’ is torn between being married and developing a relationship with his teenage son. It makes me feel better that I can relate to some of these problems and to do so with humour makes it all a bit easier to deal with. The forties can be a time of nearly as much angst as the teen years and as your children get older and you start to think about the future, a little voice keeps popping into your head which asks ‘is this it?’ I feel heartened by the fact that I can share another decade with one of my favourite shows. I feel like they are growing older with me and reinforcing the fact that life isn’t always perfect, but at the same time there is an awful lot to be happy about. Who knows perhaps when I’m retired I’ll still be relating to this group of friends as we all welcome grandchildren, pensions and bunions (Cold Feet -The Incontinent Years, anyone?!)