TV review: Sara Pascoe tries to destroy your faith in love with new sitcom
Sara Pascoe invites viewers into her brain in an exploration into sexual dynamics and our struggle to make sense of love in the 21st century.
The comedian opens her sitcom Out of Her Mind by declaring “my name is Sara Pascoe and I’m going to destroy your faith in love”, and whether you’re a hopeless romantic or a cynical lover it might be worth getting comfortable and giving her a shot.
After hearing about her sister’s recent engagement, Sara, playing Sara Pascoe, embarks on a quest to disprove the myth of marriage, love and any chance of a happy ending in this TV show.
When Lucy shows the wedding ring Sara is left speechless, only to come to the conclusion: “What’s the point of marriage?”
Why waste your time on trying to fall in love and finding joy from romance when you could explain it with a simple science lesson? This is all basic biology - “it’s no more romantic than digestion and excretion”.
With a heavily pregnant best friend, and a wine-drinking, Zumba-obsessed mother, Sara is in a conundrum - why doesn’t anyone else think the same thoughts as her?
We learn the character’s cynicism, and erratic hatred of all things love actually, was born from an emotionally shattering moment, where she was dumped by her fiancé whilst trying on her wedding dress.
Attempting to simultaneously solve and ruin her families and friends' situations, Sara gets caught up dealing with her emotional baggage and father issues, whilst trying to avoid her inevitable new found affection for romanticism.
The show’s crutch is Pascoe’s hectic and addictive breaking of the fourth wall. Arriving in the first episode riding a scooter and wearing a multi-coloured unitard, the creative ambition of the explainers continues to grow from episode to episode. The highlight is a felt doll stop motion flashback that’s both unnerving and nostalgic.
A skill that she has honed and perfected through her stand-up shows and writing career, Pascoe is most at ease in the show when dissecting the dynamics of sexual politics directly to camera.
Adding visual elements to topics discussed in her excellently crafted books, Animal and Sex, Power, Money, it’s easy to get drawn in and become fascinated whilst attempting to understand why we struggle to process break-ups, or why, like birds, humans crave more than one sexual partner.
The show gets off to a shaky start with a sluggish first episode, but picks up nicely thanks to the well picked ensemble. Fiona Button is brilliant as Pascoe’s sister, Cariad Lloyd brings snark to her role as the yogurt devouring best friend, and Juliet Stevenson brings a couple of scene stealing moments, drinking white wine whilst sprinting on her cycling machine.
Following on from a string of successful female fronted comedies on TV, ranging from Aisling Bea’s This Way Up, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag, and Micheala Coel’s game changing I May Destroy You, Out of Her Mind is less about self identification in the character, and more about examining our relationship with why we struggle to watch others fall in love.
It would be incorrect to look at Out of Her Mind as a wake-up call, but maybe more as the sex education lesson lots of us never had. That heartbreak is biological and, for all of us, also inevitable.
From the grim realities of modern day romance, to the instant charm of the latest series of Strictly Come Dancing (BBC One). This year’s edition shares similarities with the other nation’s favourite, The Great British Bake Off.
Both shows have doubled down on Covid-19 safety precautions, with Strictly having all contestants and professionals bubble up together. Last week’s introductory episode was sure to tell the viewers the complex list of safety precautions, albeit sounding like a very dull primary school assembly.
Strictly also joins Bake Off as a welcome retreat away from the glum news cycle that occupies most of our daily lives. More than ever, there’s a real appeal to sequins and sambas on a Saturday night.
The show’s secret formula for success is finding surprise stars from its celebrity line up. One has to look back at YouTuber Joe Sugg’s shock show-stealing season in 2018, and Susan Coleman winning over the nation's hearts in 2017.
This year’s cast list has potential to produce some loveable characters. Jamie Laing, who withdrew from last season after injury, promises to deliver his trademark posh wit and charm. Boxer Nicola Adams will no doubt produce some memorable performances, with the athlete being partnered with Katya Jones in the show’s first gender pairing.
The launch show’s group dance number provided its annual first judging opportunity for who’s got the dancing chops, and showcased a surprising number of confident stars. Making the viewers fall in love with the ensemble will be vital for this year’s Covid edition to work.
If you need a break away from frustrating political decision making, then steer away from Roadkill (BBC One). The new Sunday night BBC drama depicts British politics at its most vile.
Power hungry Cabinet minister Peter Laurence is promised a promotion to an office of state, but we quickly learn that his personal life runs an incredibly risky chance of derailing his career.
Hugh Laurie marks a return to our TV screens in a traditionally exceptional performance. He is inch perfect at playing a man whose charm and charisma play the perfect disguise for his slimy populist ideals.
Helen McCrory excels as PM Dawn Ellison, bringing dagger eyes and cunning vindictiveness to Downing Street.
However, the show feels slightly lumpy at times, with the first episode seemingly playing an entirely prelude role for the rest of the series.
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