As the witty Wolverhampton teens Germaine and Aretha — based on the show’s co-writers Caitlin and Caz Moran — delve deeper into adolescence, the comedy gets even better. And filthier.
Germaine (Helen Monks) is obsessed with two things: Google and sex.
When her mum Della (the brilliant Rebekah Staton) switches off the WiFi, fed up with the cost of the internet, Germaine protests that she absolutely definitely needs YouTube to watch TED talks. Looking through her internet history, Della doesn’t find any searches for “inspiring lectures”. Instead it’s “Tom Hardy topless”, “Tom Hardy top on”, “Benedict Cumberbatch hatless” and “Benedict Cumberbatch hat on.”
Her younger sister Yoko (Molly Risker), on the other hand, turns out to have less mainstream sexual interests, having googled “Andrew Marr on his moped”.
The first series of Raised by Wolves was funny, unusual and absorbing — but in the new episodes, the characters feel even more human and well-formed, not to say hilarious.
Even the constant stream of jokes and cultural references doesn’t feel out of place, because the kids are home-school oddballs, untouched by the normalising effects of school. Rather than being in step with other teenagers, Germaine and Aretha (Alexa Davies) speak in a wonderfully old-fashioned way about the most universal teen problems.
Scared of a mean-looking boy in Wolvo’s public library, Germaine grabs a copy of The Female Eunuch off the shelves and holds it up, as if repelling a vampire with a clove of garlic. “This feminist dialectic will ward him off,” she says as her siblings stare open-mouthed.
It doesn’t quite work, and she ends up on her first ever date. And because this is a Moran-penned comedy, this romantic milestone isn’t a schmalzy, sweet, prom-style date, but rather a sexually-charged rendezvous at the bus stop in broad daylight.
While Germaine discovers the art of seduction, Della is back on top form as no-nonsense mother, DIY expert, and problem-solver extraordinaire. Staton’s character is the best thing about the sitcom, rummaging through a skip – “the poor woman’s IKEA” – like she’s going into battle.
Before the first series aired, Moran said that Della was based on a mixture of tough-talking Linda Hamilton from The Terminator… and Clint Eastwood. She also revealed that after the first rehearsal, Staton said, “I’ve just got a feeling that if you play a single mum of six kids like Clint Eastwood coming into town, that’s going to work.”
It’s still working now. Even topless pictures of Tom Hardy aren’t as attractive as the Moran sisters’ sitcom.
Raised by Wolves is on at 10pm on Channel 4 on Wednesday 2nd March