Michelle may tell him he’s thick, but Steve sometimes seems smarter and more insightful than even he thinks he is. In scenes on Thursday and Friday, there is deftness in the writing and portrayal of Steve, first with Michelle and then with Andrea.
He tries to explain to Michelle why he is unhappy about Lloyd and Andrea dating. It’s a friendship thing, he says, one with Lloyd and a separate one with Andrea. He wants the situation with both to stay as it is. He tries to explain the nature of best friends and how the entrance of a third person changes that, even when the third is also a friend. One party can end up feeling like an outsider, a gooseberry. He is the one feeling that way, especially with Lloyd and Andrea changing friendship to romance. Michelle cannot understand. All she can see is that he is being ‘stupid’, as usual, or that he is interested romantically in Andrea.
Michelle sees Steve’s jealousy as indicating only that he doesn’t regard her as a friend or want her as a lover. Steve is caught in the impossible situation of trying to explain to his partner why another woman’s friendship is important to him, when he doesn’t really understand it himself. The dynamics of emotional connections are very hard to disentangle. It is especially difficult to do with an audience of an already jealous girlfriend who appears unfamiliar with the complexities of friendship. Michelle listens, but you can see her mind so busy working along her own lines that she does not hear him.
Most of us know from experience what Steve is saying about friend alliances. We know Michelle’s fears too – the heartbreak that awaits when professed ‘friendship’ masks something much more threatening. Both are speaking truths, and they are truths that might overlay or disguise each other. Is it a case of the gentleman doth protest too much? Is Steve trying to avoid something as simple as the fact that he fancies Andrea? I didn’t know at the end of the scene. There is, of course, a bit of wishful thinking on my part. With the way Michelle has been toward him lately, I’d rather see him with anyone but her.
Friday, Steve told Andrea he had mixed feelings about her going out with Lloyd. Andrea was delighted; he was jealous therefore he must like her, oh happy day she thought. But he cut the moment short before she could tell him how she felt.
She got another chance a bit later. As she leaned toward him, ready to tell him how she felt about him, his face showed that he was very quickly assimilating what she was about to say. He averted it, by talking about mates and how happy he was to have her as one. She stopped what she’d been about to say and said yes, mates, that’s us. The switch in direction was not so smooth that they couldn’t see what had happened, but it was enough that they could pretend that the other wasn’t saying something awkward. Nicely played, Steve.