Opinion

BBC's Things You Should Have Done is distracting me from the things I should be doing

Lucia Keskin's "unhinged" new show sees the comedian and YouTuber flexing her deeply weird skills

Lucia Keskin as Chi in Things You Should Have Done. Image: ©BBC / Roughcut TV / Jack Barnes

Therapy speak is now so popular that you can’t buy a pie at Big Joe’s Food Van without hearing someone talking about boundaries. I have to confess – because I have no filter and will tell anyone anything – that I’m one of those people who go to therapy. This is for a number of reasons that I won’t go into (hey, check out my boundaries!), but I enjoy it because I’m curious about the way my mind works. 

It’s baffling to me that I’m still a mystery to myself at the age of 51, but there you go. Also, maybe one day I will understand simple cases of cause and effect, such as: ‘I get angry when I’m tired’ and ‘When I’m stressed, I need to go for a walk, not stare at Instagram for five hours and 32 minutes.’

The younger people I know seem to have a much better handle on managing their day-to-day mental health. They talk fluently about self-care and although they still get it wrong sometimes – and also wear some terrible clothes – I’m always impressed by their ability to see the bigger picture.

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The other week, my 16-year-old son blamed me for rushing him and making him forget his iPad, but then later on told me he was sorry for projecting. PROJECTING! When I was 16 my brain was as smooth as a chicken fillet and could be divided into three sections – boys/whether we could get in the Kenilworth pub with fake ID/my Billy Liar GCSE essay. 

If you’d asked me to explain the psychological concept of projecting, I would have shrugged and gone back to browsing through the racks at Top Shop in Stockport Precinct. 

However, I’m getting there, and one thing I’m learning is the tyranny of ‘shoulds’. (I should clean that toilet, I should go to work, I should be a millionaire, etc). I have a feeling that Lucia Keskin, ultra deadpan TikTok comedian and star of Things You Should Have Done might have had a few sessions herself.

Her barely sentient, lo-fi impressions, including an uncanny Gail Platt from Coronation Street, have a vague whiff of occupational therapy about them. And when you see her as 20-year-old Chi, whose parents have died in a car crash and left her their house on the condition she fulfils certain life goals, you might wonder whether her new show is a cry for help. 

But you’d be wrong, because even although the transition from 60-second social media video to character-driven sitcom is a bumpy ride, there’s still lots to be happy about. My favourite part was when Chi gets a short-lived delivery job with her step cousin Lucas, and when she ends up at a day centre for the elderly, she realises that the thing she most wants to do is retire. 

As she lounges in wingbacked chairs wearing a T-shirt with spaghetti on it, Lucas wonders how the social hierarchy works. “It’s simple really,” she says, in a moment that would have done Father Dougal proud. “They’re the goths, they’re the Jocks and they’re the mean girls.” 

In one joyfully silly and surreal scene, Chi befriends a woman who is convinced that she’s her dead husband Roy, ending with them both getting into bed and Chi accidentally pulling the emergency cord, thinking it’s the light switch. It made me laugh with uncomplicated glee, like when Morecambe and Wise did that dance with the toaster and put grapefruits on their heads. 

At the moment, the plot seems pretty unhinged and might be in need of some intervention, but it’s worth it to see Keskin flexing her deeply weird skills. There are some promising characters, too, including a vigorous performance by Selin Hizli as Chi’s Auntie Karen, who wants her useless niece out of the house. 

At this stage Things You Should Have Done is still a work in progress, but aren’t we all? And I’m not saying you should watch it, but you know, you…could.

Things You Should Have Done is on Thursdays at 9pm on BBC3.

This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine, which exists to give homeless, long-term unemployed and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income. To support our work buy a copy!

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