Opening with a bit of fourth wall breaking, Sara Pascoe announces that she’s the main character in this show and that “I’m going to destroy your faith in love”. It’s quite the statement and a fantastic start to a series which takes a look at the nature of love, not only from Pascoe’s perspective but from her soon to be married sister Lucy (Fiona Button), mother Carol (Juliet Stevenson) and pregnant friend Scooby (Cariad Lloyd).
Pascoe’s character is brutally honest throughout and it’s this which makes the character so funny, she doesn’t shy away from saying exactly what she thinks at any point, and even though she’s trying to change and improve her failure to do so elicits strong laughs. The way all of her family and friends refuse to put up with her behaviour makes the series even better, and when she’s challenged on certain subjects it often becomes not only very funny but also fascinating material.
The plot is fairly simple in this opening episode as Sara tries to cope with her Sister’s forthcoming marriage and friend’s soon to be born child, and in some ways it echoes Pascoe’s amazing book Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body as she gives very short lectures on various subjects, which include an explanation to the nature of love and why it’s chemically based, and how they wear off over time. And sure, it’s undoubtedly didactic but Pascoe presents the material in such a way that she always makes sure to also make it laugh out loud material.
As well as the sharp use of dialogue the way it plays around with sitcom conventions with glee is impressive, and that sense of playfulness is infectious indeed. It’s an extremely smart, inventive show, where even in flashbacks the fourth wall is broken, and Sara often appears in an empty hall on roller skates to comment on what’s taking place and the nature of not only her life but also the television show we’re watching.
It’s a unique sitcom and then some then, beautifully shot with a fantastic central concept, the cast are all uniformly superb and for my liking it’s the best thing that the BBC have commissioned in a long time. The whole series is available to watch on iPlayer too and given how fantastic this opening episode is I imagine I’ll have binged it all within an exceedingly short time, as Pascoe has created something truly special here.