Raised by Wolves celebrates howling, hilarious working class women

Alex Casey introduces Raised by Wolves, a coming-of-age sitcom created by UK feminist firebrand Caitlin Moran.

What’s the story?

Raised by Wolves is a semi-biographical retelling of the childhoods of Caitlin and Caroline Moran, set on an estate in the working class city of Wolverhampton. Join Germaine (who I’m assuming is inspired by Caitlin via her jet black hair and penchant for talking about periods) and her five home-schooled siblings as they bumble through puberty, boys and classic literature references. It’s a chaotic, colourful and pop culture-heavy world, anchored by their stoic single mother Della, who forages for food in the bins just as proudly as she announces that she just had her cervix scraped.

What’s the vibe?

A great antidote to Ken Loach’s bleak kitchen sink realism, Raised by Wolves is a joyous and genuinely hilarious sitcom about growing up without money and still being rich in having a bloody laugh. Here is a family of working-class women who are well-read, sassy, funny and miles away from the doom and gloom of Benefit Street and other narrow portrayals of being poor. Just as shows like Chewing Gum reframe the realities of life on an estate, Wolves takes you on a nostalgic, adolescent adventure, be it to the tampon aisle or into the mailbox of your suburban crush.

Who do you need to know?

Caitlin and Caroline Moran

Photo: Twitter

The brains behind the show. You might remember Caitlin Moran from such books as How to be a Woman, Moranthology and/or How to Build a Girl. The British writer, comedian, good-hair-haver wrote Raised by Wolves with her sister Caroline, who she swore “wrote all the funny bits while I sat on the desk going ‘What shall we wear to the Baftas? Let’s wear Ghostbusters jumpsuits, and see if we can get off with Ant and Dec,’” to The Guardian.  

Germaine

Helen Monks plays the raging teenage feminist torn between wanting independence and being completely, irrevocably in love with an idiot boy named Lee. She has a very scientific take on period indicators on the side of tampon boxes, one which I think we can all learn from. “One drop is turn your knickers inside out, five drops is Carrie.”

Yoko

The centre of peace and calm in the house, Yoko is the bookish, Saffy from Ab Fab type. In season one, Yoko is the one going through all the weird and wonderful womanly things for the very first time. Luckily, she has 40,000 older sisters to guide her through the hellscape.

Aretha

Aretha (Alexa Davies)

The precocious, eldest sister who is never far from Germaine’s side. In episode one, she stands on guard as Germaine caresses the mailbox of her crush. The true test of sisterhood.

Della

Not a regular mum, but a really cool mum. “Here’s a small mattress for your pants” she says, chucking one of her beloved children an industrial baggie of pads. Legend.

The Babbies

Just a bunch of babies really, who are you?  

What else to look out for?

Very, very funny lines that spew out about a mile a minute. Who doesn’t want a lovely day out in the park without the caveat to “enjoy it while it lasts girls, in 10 years this will all be underwater”? Who doesn’t greet their own Dad by saying “every time you talk about your sex life, an angel has its wings ripped off”? There’s also a very, very good soundtrack including ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ and lashings of Duran Duran.

How to watch it?

Best enjoyed with a Beef Bourginon and a Vienetta, and available right here on Lightbox.


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