Such Brave Girls is funny, gross, and tragic at the same time, and it is one of the best shows we have seen in such a long time. There is absolutely no point to the story, and that fact ends up making it even better. The show is about three women, Deb (the mother) and her daughters, Billie and Josie, who have been unable to move on with life ever since their father left them ten years ago. Deb is just trying to find some stability in her life, while Billie is dealing with her abandonment issues with the power of pure delusion. As for Josie, nobody likes her; she is depressed, and she wants to date men despite being gay because she prefers to feel nothing. The cocktail of these three women makes for a hilarious and engaging story that you cannot stop yourself from bingeing on.
First of all, the humor of Such Brave Girls is impeccable. The exaggeration of the dysfunctionality is surprisingly balanced. We were expecting that to be cringeworthy or extra, but we were happy to be wrong. As for the scenes that were decidedly gross, including all the ones in the toilet, we simply couldn’t decide if the fun of the show was heightened by them or if we would have preferred for that visual to be edited out. Secondly, a part of the humor revolves around how much Josie is disliked by her family. It is borderline emotional abuse, to be honest, but in the world of these brave girls, that is reality. The surprise for the audience is that we don’t actually feel bad for Josie at any point. It is never clear to us why she is so unlikeable, but we also don’t understand why we don’t feel bad for her. In fact, we feel more bad for her sister, Billie, for the delusions she walks into willingly and not for a real lack of options. It takes some time to understand, but the realization hits that the audience was never meant to empathize with the characters, which is the reason for the lack of feeling. There is also no plea for understanding either, and all we are instructed, or rather, ordered to do, is to watch from a distance and laugh at the well-timed jokes. That is a new thing.
Something else that eludes understanding for a while is the name of the show. Why are the girls brave when none of them are really facing reality? Deb repeatedly says to not love with all of one’s heart, and Billie cannot walk away from a toxic man because of her fear of abandonment. As for Josie, she is denying her true nature because that would mean that she has to start feeling things, which is the one thing she wants to avoid at any cost. Bravery is clearly missing from the equation. Would it be fair to assume that the name was simply sarcasm to point out the true state of the girls?
However, another thing that the series addresses, albeit through some exaggeration, is that the kind of help the women need is simply not available. Deb had to stay married to a man because of an unplanned pregnancy, and it was this man who ended up walking out on them later on, leaving them with lots of debt and completely penniless. Billie simply wants a man to not abandon her, no matter what kind of man he might be. As for Josie, perhaps she is so used to the hatred that she has stopped responding to emotions completely so that she can preserve whatever sanity she is left with. Each one of them needs extensive therapy, but that costs seventy pounds per session, so there is no option but to think of it as a waste. As for free therapy, there is a two-year waitlist for that, so what do the girls do? They live in denial. In their world, it takes as much courage to run away from reality as it takes to face it, so they are brave for refusing to acknowledge facts.
We can go round and round about the philosophy of “such brave girls,” and we still wouldn’t find a point. To be on the safe side, it is advisable to detach yourself a little so as not to be triggered by some of the fiend points of the show. Just remember that it is supposed to be tragic. It helps that the writer of the show, Kat Sadler, is also the one playing Josie, so she was acutely aware of the tempo of the scene and the characters she was constantly tapping into.
Another great thing about the show is its actors. While Kat Sadler easily manages the nervous Josie, and Lizzie Davidson has perfected the ‘Nicky’ chant, it is Louise Brealey as Deb who is the most impressive. The pacing of her dialogues, her comic timing, and even the eye rolls with the gritting of her teeth convey just how well she knows what she is doing. If you haven’t seen her in anything else, you will only think of her as Deb in all the future roles she plays. That is how good she is. The supporting cast also does a good job, but they are the supposedly ‘normal people’ in this show, and that is not hard to play. Finally, we love how contained the locations of the story are. Most of it takes place in their house, which is the origin of their dysfunctionality. But it is the scenes in the bathroom that take the cake. They are proof that there are no boundaries in that house and that neither of these women knows how to handle their ‘shit,’ for lack of a better word. In so many ways, the women have been stuck in time ever since the man in their lives walked out on them, and the process of moving on is equally violent for all of them.
Such Brave Girls is a fantastic show. The high point of it is perhaps in the second episode, where Sid and Josie’s rizz is entirely about their trauma. This is a must-watch and must not be missed.