Dossa and Joe: episode guide

Episode 1

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UK (BBC2): Wednesday, May 15, 2002
Australia (ABC): Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Dossa and Joe Bailey are a typical working class couple, married for 40 years, living in a comfortable house in a comfortable suburb of Australia. When Joe retires after 40 years of undistinguished work in a nondescript factory everything changes, and both he and his wife find themselves spiraling downwards from a life of contentment into depression and discontentment.

While Joe has spent most of his adult life playing cards and dispensing knowledge and humour as a foreman to the 'smoko boys' at the factory, Dossa has busied herself with community work, dishing out banana cake and compassion to the sick and infirm with her devoted friend and neighbour Vanessa.

Forever the caretaker, Dossa insists she and Joe see a marriage counsellor in an attempt to save their marriage and their sanity, and so begins a series of visits to the therapists sofa where they examine the nature of married life.

While Joe has worked all his adult life in a factory, Dossa, has had her own life and pursuits. Now with Joe around the house, neither finds they can adjust to a new way of life. Dossa's community activities clash with Joe's inactivity; visits from neighbour, Vanessa, irritate Joe further; and Joe's overly nostalgic look back to his working days seem to give him his only sense of purpose.

Episode 2

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UK: May 22, 2002
Aus: May 20, 2003

Dossa and Joe continue with the counsellor in the second episode of Caroline Aherne's bittersweet comedy drama about the nature of life-long marriage. Joe is still resistant to the idea of therapy and discussing his 'feelings' with either Dossa or Claire the counsellor.

Joe is obsessed with death—his and everyone else's. He studies the obituaries religiously and it's depressing Dossa. He is 65 and has been retired for a month but he has no motivation to do anything because he thinks he could be the next one to die.

Reflecting back to his times with the Smoko Boys, they discuss their best pickup lines and techniques. The stud of the group, Wayne (Darren Gilshenan) gives the boys some pointers. Chook (Donal Forde) and Big Sean (Robert Bruning) take their time grasping the concept.

Joe is devoted to his kids, well, his son Bobby at least—the chip off the old block. They bond he says. Dossa rings daughter Giselle in England and Joe frets at the cost and he won't be convinced to go and visit her. An expert on England ("I watch The Bill"), Joe will not be swayed. Dossa thinks Joe doesn't care about Giselle but Joe retaliates: "Just because I don't send ten banana cakes and two dozen Cherry Ripes over to England every fortnight, it doesn't mean I don't love her." "But she can't get Cherry Ripes in England" says Dossa.

Pushed to think of a happy memory Dossa can't think of one. Joe reminds her of 'that night'. "What night?" "That night—the romantic night he laid down all that romance for her—the Frank Sinatra night, when he swept her off her feet, dancing to Frank in the shed. It doesn't get any more romantic than that, eh Dossa?"

Episode 3

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UK: May 29, 2002
Aus: May 27, 2003

Another session with the marriage guidance counsellor and Joe is convinced counsellor Claire is a 'fruit loop': "you're hostile to men, you have your own car and a moustache bigger than mine…" just as he suspects Robbo at work to be. Joe says everything has been fine since their last session, but Dossa has not been feeling well at all and the counsellor thinks their problems could have something to do with her illness. Dossa thinks Joe has passed his malaise on to her but Joe will have none of that—he thinks it was his devoted nursing that brought her back to health and there is nothing else wrong with her.

Robbo tries to get the boys to come to his gig on Saturday night, but ever the outsider (and convinced he's gay), the boys don't want to have anything to do with him.

Dossa is under the weather so, for the first time in their 40 year marriage, Joe makes his wife two boiled eggs with toast cut into soldiers. Joe is very proud of himself, but Dossa is less than impressed.

Vanessa visits Dossa in her sickbed and son Bobby drops in to cheer her up too. Ever the apple of his mother's eye, Bobby entertains them with his skilful playing of the 'pencils' and his imitation of a tap dripping, much to his parent's pride.

Episode 4

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UK: June 05, 2002
Aus: June 03, 2003

Dossa goes along to marriage guidance counselling alone. Joe has refused to come so Dossa has the opportunity to truly share her feelings with Claire. Claire delves into Dossa's past to find out how she and Joe met and what their first date was like.

Joe makes Dossa feel like a stranger in her own home. The boys come round to watch the rugby league international match and Dossa tries to join in but Joe treats her like the hired help.

Meanwhile, Joe and the Smoko Boys discuss Wayne's girlfriend Narelle and her second place in the wet T-shirt competition in Bali. Big Sean continues to have problems with his pets—this time his fish has died and he swears he's not having any more.

It's Robbo's birthday and the Smoko Boys won't take him out for a drink, but a rousing rendition of YMCA gets them all going.

Dossa takes up line dancing as a new hobby (apart from 'scratchies') much to Joe's amusement and Bobby impresses his father with his new body slapping routine.

Dossa has decided to go to England to visit Giselle without Joe, but he doesn't believe she'll go without him. He complains to Bobby that she can't do that to him. "Do what Dad? She just wants to visit Giselle."

Episode 5

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UK: June 12, 2002
Aus: June 10, 2003

Joe's old friend, Charlie (Roy Billing), pays a visit to Dossa and Joe and enjoys flirting with Dossa. He's a real charmer and has brought French champagne ("How much do you think it cost? Whatever you think, double it… ") and flowers to impress Dossa.

Charlie has done very well for himself and his secret is 'organic fertilizer', but it's all just chicken shit as far as Joe is concerned.

In their session with Claire, Dossa tells her she is feeling much happier since Charlie's visit. Joe still isn't happy about being there and he doesn't like taking advice from Claire—at work he was the foreman and all the boys came to him for advice…

Narelle's younger sister is coming onto Wayne and Joe advises him to stay away. "Too late", says Wayne with a snigger.

Joe misses the mental stimulation he used to get from the boys at work—they used to discuss all the big issues: world affairs, tits and getting laid. Retirement just isn't the same.

Episode 6

UK: June 19, 2002
Aus: June 17, 2003

Dossa buys Joe a karaoke machine for his 60th birthday.