While most focus this Sunday is on Showtime's The United States of Tara, Secret Diary of a Call Girl returns for its second season, and just might surprise folks more. If season one seemed at times like a prostitute checking her watch, this season seems to have a better idea of how to give the audience what it desires, providing more titillating predicaments for our Belle, while also bringing more of her personal life (Hannah) into focus.
I think the distance we felt from Billie Piper's portrayal in the first season was due to a couple of reasons. Piper has been a star in the UK since she was a child, so taking the role as a call girl was a huge deal and it makes sense that they were cautious with what they did with her character. Meanwhile, the episodes are only 23 minutes and with only eight episodes a season (under four hours,) the season is over by the time most American series are just getting started.
With the second season, Belle no longer works for a Madame and even finds herself taking on the role of one, teaching the young and dense apprentice (Bambi, played by Ashley Madekwe, who's actually older than Piper). Meanwhile Hannah has a love interest in Alex (Dead Like Me's Callum Blue,) making the separation of her personal and her professional life that much more complicated.
In the first four episodes already, there are several inspired moments, like the twisted visual coupling of a baptism and a golden shower or a three-way from leopard-print hell. Musically, the second episode ends with the perfect use of The New Pornographers' "Adventures in Solitude". "We thought we'd lost you... welcome back."
Welcome back indeed.
Previously: Monday Night Vice (series premiere)