My Mad Fat Diary, E4 - TV review: Sharon Rooney is affecting as ever as Rae
This is still a programme to make you wish yourself young again
Ellen E Jones
Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.
Monday 17 February 2014
Dear Diary, is it wrong for me, a fully grown adult to enjoy watching television programmes aimed at angsty teens? I’m so confused. What if they’re really good like, My Mad Fat Diary, which returned to E4 for a second series last night?
When we first met Rae (Sharon Rooney), at the beginning of the first series, everything was going wrong. She’d just been discharged after a four-month stay in a psychiatric hospital, found it hard to fit in at school, and hated living with her flighty mum and her Tunisian toy boy, Karim. Now, a year has passed and everything’s going great. A long hot summer is drawing to a close, Rae is getting on well with her mum, has a gang of mates and – best of all – a new boyfriend.
The dreamy Finn (Nico Mirallegro) has so many positive attributes that he tests even Rae’s formidable powers of description. How does she love him? Let her count the ways: “His arse is so beautiful, sometimes I have to stop myself from crying when I look at it.” And also: “I want Finn naked, covered in Dairylea.” And additionally: “Oh my God! He is a sex wizard!”
Luckily, in this mid-Nineties-set drama, if words fail us, there’s always the expressive Britpop soundtrack to compensate. When Rae fears her insecurities about her body will prevent her from losing her virginity, as she’d hoped, “You’re Gorgeous” by Babybird plays encouragingly in the background. But is Rae’s new reality as rosy as she describes it? Or is that just the tint on her Liam Gallagher-style rounded shades?
As ever, Sharon Rooney was natural and affecting as Rae (it was a great pleasure to see her branching out with a role in Sherlock over the New Year). Her performance should provoke a painful twinge of recognition in even the most grown-up grown-ups, yet this is still a programme to make you wish yourself young again. Not for the peer pressure or pop music, but because at least today’s teens have some decent telly. MMFD lets them know it’s OK not to feel OK all the time.
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