Dear diary, I find myself thinking of a time when calculator watches were as popular as mediocre quality headphones endorsed by a rapper. Or when a person wouldn’t be prosecuted in The Hague for wearing trainers with a dress. Of course, it’s the 90s and with the era in mind we saw My Mad Fat Diary return to our screens for a second series on Monday.
Raeism of The Week: ‘I want him to go down on me for so long he has to evolve gills!’
During the first series, the life of Rae (Sharon Rooney) was a chaotic minefield. She had recently been discharged from a psychiatric unit and had to deal with her mother and her considerably younger Tunisian boyfriend at home. Meeting her a year later in series two, everything seems to be going just fine for Rae. She has a new group of friends, her relationship with her menopausal mother has improved, she has an intimately close relationship with a boy, and life is as close to normal for Rae as it can be.
Initially I was sickly concerned about the new series as I really didn’t want to diagnose it with second series syndrome. I desperately hoped that it could live up to the expertise of the first series, with its comedic charm, the defining moments of mayhem and the music filled scenes where words just don’t cut it. If the first episode is any indicator, we’re in for another blinder of a series.
The relationships in the show are still a product of beautiful warfare. Chop (Jordan Murphy) and Izzy (Ciara Baxendale) are still together, Chloe (Jodie Comer) is still her wilfully flirtatious self, though single, as is the closet gay of the group, Archie (Dan Cohen). The bond between Rae and Finn (Nico Miragello) is at a considerable high. They share a moment of finger-fuelled fantasy in Rae’s bedroom with Rae christening Finn a ‘sex wizard’ and me having thoughts of Finn, one day, rescuing me from a rainy car park whilst I’m sobbing along to ‘Someone Like You’ by Adele, with Haagen-Dazs boxes littered across the dashboard and the contents smeared all over my face.
With the summer drawing to a close, Rae, in true Rae Earl style, drew up a ‘Shagus Pactus’ with Izzy to lose their respective virginity. The utter genius writing accompanied by the on-screen talent lined up a series of events in order to increase the girls’ sex appeal with Chloe, of course, leading her troops into the fight for intercourse. Rae settles for some suggestive lingerie and on her way to show Finn, catches a glimpse of him in the shower at home. Sweet Lord, what a sight that was; Nico Miragello has an arse that should be used as a tool for world peace. Ban Ki-Moon really ought to stand in front of the General assembly and present the goods to all 193 representatives, who wouldn’t be able to help but applaud and cheer in awe and respect… One can dream.
The time came for the camping. Finn decided to surprise Rae with an adorable campervan of love. Clapping at the screen like a Seal on ecstasy I was so happy for these two people living inside of my TV and incredibly jealous of their loved up situation. What could possibly go wrong? Rae proceeded to find a photograph of herself and Finn, coming to the startling conclusion that he is way out of her league. The self-esteem issues that Rae had battled with for so long had crept up on her, with a sledge hammer draped over its shoulder. This whole turn of events really got my arteries bulging in my neck like Deirdre Barlow attempting a 300kg dead lift. Fragmented writing like this is what sets MMFD apart from many other TV shows. It portrays mental health exactly how it is; an unpredictable creature that can strike at any time.
Towards the end of the episode it was time for Rae to start college. The anxiety of the situation was tangible, perfectly exhibited by Rooney. I had every conceivable thing that could be crossed, crossed, hoping that Rae would just stroll in like Trinity in The Matrix and possibly throw a few wall kicks about. Instead, Rae inevitably started to fall apart meaning her paranoia couldn’t be more obvious if it walked into the building dressed as a Butcher walking its pet Leopard. Slowly but surely, the summer of Rae was wearing off as the leaves of autumn decline set in. Rae makes a beeline for the exit, to be greeted by a stranger standing outside. On the face of it he seemed to be unimportant, an extra who got lucky with a speaking part perhaps?
Naturally, Rae ran to Kester (Ian Hart) the voice of reason in the show, and one of the best written characters to appear on TV in my opinion. His sincere but rounded approach with Rae has enlightened the show, helping Rae to an extent that even she doesn’t realise. Kester invites her to group therapy where Danny ‘two-hats’ is reintroduced into the script, minus his cranial companions. Interestingly enough, the stranger from earlier is present at the group session, perhaps this could help Rae climb this new educational mountain in her life as now she knows of another student in the college struggling with a mental health issue. Possibly even a romance? Watch this space.
The second series has maintained MMFD‘s fresh and innovative hold on TV, through dialogue that has great comedic value, and utterly believable on-screen interaction between characters that speak to friendship while shining a sensitive light on mental health issues. It’s still fat, it’s still mad, it’s still top TV.